Writing a good technical report has some easier aspects compared to writing an essay or a research paper, but it also has some difficult ones. This guide is aimed to help you benefit from the easy parts and avoid difficulties while writing a technical report.
Technical Report Writing Format
Before you start working on your report, you need to find out how all the sections should be arranged. Here we will present the general and most widely used format of technical report writing. Remember that some of the parts can be moved or deleted according to the format preferred in your educational institution. Make sure to check it before submitting your paper.
The format of your title page highly depends on the requirements of your institution, so check them beforehand. General information that should be present on any title page is the title, who the report was prepared for, the author and submission date. This page is not numbered.
This part is a short description of the purpose of your report, and key findings that you’ve made during the research process. And by short we mean really short – it shouldn’t exceed half of a page.
Also, your abstract should not contain any specific information, such as figures, statistics or professional jargon. Think of this part as an advertisement of your report to an uneducated audience. You need to make it simple and interesting for them to read the whole text. This page doesn’t need numeration as well.
Make sure you included all the subsections and appendixes, and check the page numbers each time after you’ve made some changes to the report text, or else they won’t correlate. This page doesn’t need a page number.
Here you have to describe the aim of the work, the main problem and the ways of approaching it. In other words, this section should provide your readers with answers to the following questions: why was the work done? How was the work done? What have you found? Also, this part may contain a brief description of the relevant background theories, if necessary.
Remember to avoid any professional jargon or unexplained abbreviations. According to the official format for technical report writing, to introduce an abbreviation in the text you need to write the full name first and indicate the abbreviation in the parentheses. You can use the abbreviation only afterward.
At this stage you need to give the detailed description of your design. Make sure that you also use sentences, not only equations. Divide this part into several sections if it’s necessary. In case your project doesn’t involve a design, only analysis, provide all the important steps of the process. Be as brief as possible, because there’s no need to describe every tiny action you performed, like “Now we are moving the specimen to the other side of the table.” This is a sarcasm, of course, but you get the point.
This section is highly dependent on the rules of your educational institution and demands of the assigner of the report. Your main goal is to describe the procedure used to test a theory or verify a design proposed in the previous section. The procedure may vary distinctly according to the field in which it is performed. A general rule states that you need to be brief and straight to the main point. What a relief, right? Mostly, technical reports have no minimum word count, so you can be really short. Just make your sentences understandable for your audience without using telepathy! Also, this section shouldn’t include any figures, measurements or discussion of the results obtained during the research.
At this stage you finally present your readers with the results obtained. Choose visual form, such as graphs or tables, if possible, to maximize the understanding of your points. Here you are supposed to discuss the results. You need to explain what these results mean to the field of studies or a particular problem, what trends they point out.
Here you are also supposed to discuss any possible sources of error in your measurements and calculations. Make sure you describe only those sources which can add significantly to the measurements. If the tolerance of the observed materials is 1%, while the accuracy of the equipment you use is 0.01%, you don’t need to include this factor in your error evaluation.
This section is similar to the abstract, except the part with the usage of statistical information. Here you have to back-up your conclusions with quantitative information you obtained while doing the research for your report. This section should also be written in such a way that a person without specific knowledge of the subject will be able to understand it.
List all the works cited in your report. Remember to put references to the works in the text. Begin this section from a new page, not the same page as the conclusions section.
This section is optional in your technical report writing. If you have any extensive calculations, lab sheets, bulky diagrams and any other kind of data that is extensive for your report (typically takes more than one page), put it here and make a reference in your text. Don’t try to be witty, such data is often counted as additional, so even if you place it within the report text, it won’t add the volume.
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