HintTry always to find a reference or benchmark for what are you doing or writing.
Technical Report Writing• LAW 1The reader is the most important person.• LAW 2Keep the report as short as possible.• LAW 3Organise for the convenience of the report user.
Technical Report Writing• LAW 4All references should be correct in all details.• LAW 5The writing should be accurate, concise• LAW 6The right diagram with the right labels should be in the right place for the reader.
Technical Report Writing• LAW 7Summaries give the whole picture in miniature.• LAW 8Reports should be checked for technical errors, typing errors and inconsistency.• LAW 9The report should look as good as it is.
Technical Report Writing• LAW 10The reader is the most important person.
General structure of scientific manuscript• Your report needs a good Format and structure – it should include most of the following categories:• Heading Page• Content List• Executive Summary• Background / Introduction• Results / Discussion• Conclusions and Appendices
Heading Page• Leave the Report heading page ‘til last!• The report Header needs a lot of thought & first impressions count when looking at a report• Think about the Layout of the front page:• Size and Style of font•• Colour of font (the bigger the font enables you to use a lighter colour)• Use of images and logos• Use the Report Templates via Microsoft Word™
Logo Institute name Title Authors name Supervisor name Date of Submission
Contents Page• This is obviously another page you will leave until you have compiled the main body of the report• A contents list is only necessary for a lengthy report• Give each section of your report a title and cross refer this to a page number• Page numbers can be automatically entered by setting the appropriate section of the Microsoft Word™ Header or Footer
The contents list• For most people, the contents list is a summary of the chapter and section headings, together with a page index, and is normally written when the document is already complete.• However, the contents list is the one place in the document where overall structure can be examined, so why not get the structure right at the start?• Early organization of the contents list is certainly not a trivial problem and may take up to a few days to draft.• The level of detail should go down to (probably) sub subsections, where the final level contains one key idea and takes up, at most, two to three paragraphs of text.
Abstract• Write this LAST!• It summarizes the whole report in one, concise paragraph of about 100-200 words.• It might be useful to think in terms of writing one sentence to summarize each of the traditional report divisions: objective, method, discussion, conclusions.• Emphasize the objective (which states the problem) and the analysis of the results (including recommendations)
Sample : An abstract• This report compares nuclear plants, fossil fuels, and solar generators, in order to determine which energy source will best meet the nations needs. (why the work was done)• The criteria for comparison were the economic, social, and environmental effects of each alternative. (what was done)• The study concludes that nuclear energy is the best of these options, because North America is not self- sufficient in fossil fuels, and solar power is currently too unreliable for industrial use. (what was found)• Although nuclear plants are potentially very dangerous, nuclear energy is still the best short-term solution. (why this is important)
Several names for summaries existSummary Technical Informative Abstract Abstract Abstract Descriptive Executive Abstract Summary
Hint: try always to summarize what are you reading
Logical structure• By logical structure is meant the natural unfolding of a story as the reader progresses through the document.• This is achieved by going from the general to the specific, with the background material preceding the technical expose, which should lead logically to the conclusions.
Chapter order• With a technical document, it is often beneficial to write the technical chapters first i.e., the core material, leaving the introduction, discussion and conclusions until the end.• This is especially important when some results are still not available and the time has come to begin writing your document.• Even in cases where all results are available, leaving the introduction until the end allows a better perspective to be had on the document as a whole.
Introductionthe introduction of a technical report identifies the subject, the purpose (or objective), and the plan of development of the report.The subject is the "what", the purpose is the "why", and the plan is the "how.“Together these acquaint the reader with the problem you are setting out to solve
• Use the introduction to provide the reader with any background information which the reader will need before you can launch into the body of your paper.• You may have to define the terms used in stating the subject and provide background such as theory or history of the subject (Literature review).• Avoid the tendency to use the introduction merely to fill space with sweeping statements that are unrelated to the specific purpose of your report .
Results• This section should detail the results of the exercise – the facts. These can be presented in text or tabulation format, depending on the content• If the results are quite short they can be presented within the body of the report – Remember that charts, diagrams or graphs can be exported from Excel or PowerPoint and embedded into the body of the report• If, however , the results are lengthy consider if they would be better placed as an Appendix
Discussion• This section is the most important part of your report. The section where you evaluate and interpret your results• Should answer these questions:• – Was the hypothesis supported or not?• – Did your study have results that were consistent or not• consistent with previous research?• – What has your study contributed to the field of• research?• – What are your conclusions about your results (what• does it all mean)?• – What are the implications of your findings for future• research, for applied situations?• – Were there any limitations to your study?• – If so, how might they have affected the results?• • Includes a paragraph summarizing the findings (last• part of the discussion)
Recommendations• This section allows you to make recommendations based on the findings of your report• The recommendations could be for:• – Change – Improvement – New Ideas• The recommendations should be based on the findings / results detailed in the report
Conclusions• The ‘How’ factor!• How the implementation of your ideas and recommendations would improve – Service – Productivity – Performance• Your assessment of the outcomes• Your evaluation of the benefits• It’s your chance to really ‘sell’ your ideas and recommendations to the reader!
In a strong ending, you analyze results and give a future perspective ConclusionsAnalysis of Results Analyze results from overall perspective Future Perspective Several options: Make recommendations Discuss future work Repeat limitations
• Conclusions must conclude! They must give some overall insight into the value of your work in general and inform the reader of what the major impact is, together with any caveats which the reader should be aware of.• Don’t fill the conclusions section with a summary of whats in the technical chapters.
• This concludes nothing! The summary (if present) should be at the start of the document as an abstract.• It may be helpful to flag items on a list, which are appropriate for the conclusions section, while writing the technical chapters.• The key to your conclusions is then provided by the list.
References• Make sure that your referencing method is one of the popular ones (such as the Harvard or MLA styles). Theres absolutely no point in inventing another system of your own. Ensure you know how to correctly reference:• A journal paper:• Ex: Hirschorn, R.M. and Miller, G., Control of nonlinear systems with friction, IEEE Trans. on Control System Technology, Vol.7, No.5, Sept. 1999, pp.194-200.• A conference paper:• Ex: Whitfield, A. and Wallace, F.J. Study of incidence loss models in radial and mixed-flow turbomachinery, Proc. Cong. Heat Fluid Flow in Steam and Gas Turbine Plant, Univ. Warwick, Coventry, UK, April 1973, pp 122-32.
References• A PhD/MEng thesis, final-year project or research report :• Ex: Murray, F. Time Series Forecasting Methodologies for Electricity Supply Systems, PhD Thesis, Dublin City University, 1997.• A book :• Ex: Kreyszig, E. Advanced Engineering Mathematics (7th Ed.),, Wiley, 1993.• An Internet source (via the URL):• Ex: Ringwood, J. and Galvin, G. Artificial Neural Networks - An Introduction, Available from: http://www.eeng.dcu.ie/~annet/ [Accessed 15th Nov. 1999].
Full report sections:Executive Summary (1) Abstract (2)Introduction (3)Background (4)Methodology (5)Analysis of Results (6)Conclusions (7)Recommendations (8)References orBibliography (9)Appendices (10)Figures and Tables (11)
Report sections order options• (1) and (2): not always needed.• (3): although not always a section entitled• “Introduction” is needed (e.g., in short reports),• an introductory section (e.g., a couple of paragraphs) is always required .• (4): required when the history of the problem (Or methodology) is long. Otherwise, include as part of the introduction.
• (5) and (6): Must be separate sections when they• are relatively long. Otherwise describe (5) before• (6) in the same section.• (7): Must follow from the main body (must be supported by).• (8): If short, put at the end of conclusions.• (9): Use one or the other.