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How to Write a Glossary for a Report

Updated February 21, 2017

A glossary is a list of terms that a book, essay or report uses. The glossary defines each term in context based on how the author used it in the work. The glossary for a report, for example, may include technical terms that the author uses that the reader may not fully understand. Place the glossary at the end of the report in addition to or as part of the appendix.

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  1. Go through the report, and find any technical or industry-specific words that might need defined for a reader.

  2. Underline or italicise these words the first time they appear in the text. Add a footnote for the first underlined or italicised word in the report. The footnote should tell readers that the glossary defines the italicised or underlined words in the report. Also, the footnote should specify the location of the glossary, which is usually at the end of the report.

  3. Alphabetise the list of words you found.

  4. Write a definition for each term on the list. Make sure the definition you write helps the reader understand how the report uses the word and the significance of the word. The terms should be in bold type, and the definitions should be at least one line apart to make it easier for the reader to look up a word.

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About the Author

J. Johnson has been completing freelance writing work since September 2009. Her work includes writing website content and small client projects. Johnson holds a degree in English from North Carolina State University.

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