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Technical Report Writing

Content
Introduction What is Report Types of Report Importance of Technical Report Types of Technical Report Elements of Technical Report Layout, Presentation and style of writing Structure of Technical Report Writing Standards

The intention of this presentation is to provide you with enough information to produce a high quality report. A report is a form of communication and without the knowledge to produce a good report you will be hampered (in weak position) in your endeavours (try hard to do) to succeed in your future careers. Whether you are self-employed or an employee it will be necessary for you to communicate with colleagues and others in a clear, concise, and professional manner.

Introduction

What is Report
A report is a means of communication that has been written for a specific purpose and is aimed at a specific audience. It is more structured than an essay and is presented in a way that enables it to be read quickly. Structure and styles of writing for report will be discussed in detail later on in this presentation.

Types of Report
There are many different types of report each of which has a different format, writing style and emphasis or accent. For example, there are laboratory reports, which generally describe an experiment that has been undertaken. Under the umbrella term of Technical Reports there are for example Seminar reports, Industrial training reports, synopsis report, Project/ Thesis report, feasibility reports, proposals, and business plans etc. Regardless of the type of report common sense should prevail and you need to adapt your writing to suit your potential audience and the specified requirements.

Types of Report
Technicalbackground report This is the most frequently written type of technical report. It provides detail about a particular topic. Instruction Leaflets and Manuals These may take the form of a user manual for an appliance or a procedure to be followed in particular circumstances, such as fire alarm procedures. They may be short (in the form of a small insert included with a product) to large volumes with detailed instructions for setting up production lines.

Types of Report
Feasibility Report This type of report is the result of an investigation into a particular project or idea to determine its feasibility. The report will contains findings such as whether the project is technically possible and feasible (i.e., practical). Primary Research Report Primary research is the term used to describe experiments and surveys. In this type of report you extend the laboratory report by explaining the background to the experiment, your methodology and the facilities.

Types of Report
Technical Specifications (Data sheet) This report details a new product design and gives information appertaining to the product construction, the materials used and the product itself including its functions, features, operation, and potential market. A specification is not a flowing piece of writing; it tends to be fragmented with lists and tables replacing sentences.

Types of Report
Proposals Some proposals, such as a bid in the real world i.e., for the Millennium Dome or the National Lottery are extremely lengthy. Nevertheless, as a student you may be asked to write a short proposal as an assessed piece of coursework.

Types of Report
Business Prospectus This form of report is a proposal that may detail plans for starting a business venture or extending an already established business. It will contain information about the proposed business and provide details about the market place, anticipated share of the market, other established businesses who you may be competing with for a market share, financial issues etc.

Importance of Technical Report


A technical report is not something that is only written by engineers and scientists. Technical writing is a form of technical communication. It is a style of writing used in fields as diverse as computer hardware and software, engineering, chemistry, aerospace industry, robotics, finance, consumer electronics, and biotechnology. It is a report that may be written about any field of specialised knowledge.

Importance of Technical Report


You may need to produce several small reports during the course of B. Tech. study as part of group assignments, training report etc. A larger report will be required to describe your final year project.

Types of Technical writing


Journal paper Thesis Dissertation Project Report Seminar Report Synopsis Practical report

Elements of a Technical Report


Title Abstract (Executive Summary) Introduction Theory and Analysis Experimental Procedures Results and Discussion Conclusion(s) Acknowledgments References Appendix

Writing Style
LEARN TO WRITE Unfortunately, there arent any shortcuts for writing. The best way to learn how to write great documentation is to first learn how to write (anything). There are some important differences between technical documentation and your average writing style, but a solid foundation of good written communication skills is an irreplaceable prerequisite.

Writing Style
Writing English isnt any different than writing code: the more you do it, the better you get. Sure, there are different rules for fiction and non-fiction, literary criticism and technical documentation, etc. The important aspects dont change, though: good writing is clear, concise, and communicates ideas effectively.

Writing Style
Most importantly: dont let style stop you. In a moment Im going to start covering the rules and suggestions of good grammar and style. Its easy to get caught up in wanting your writing style to be perfect from the first words you set down. It doest work that way. While youre writing, turn off the inner critic and just write. You can turn the critic back on when you proofread and edit later, but the important part is to just do it.

Writing Style
GRAMMAR Yes, you do need to use correct grammar. Grammar conventions exist to help us clearly communicate our thoughts without ambiguity or confusion. STYLE While grammar rules are (fairly) set in stone, theres any number of ways of formalizing style. Style guides tell you when to spell out numbers and when to write them as digits, where to use dashes, how to cite sources etc.

Writing Style
Of course, careful breaking of the rules turns good writing into great writing. More Lively Writing (usually preferred)
First Person plural, Active Voice, Past/Present Tense

More Formal Writing


Third Person, Passive Voice, Past/Present Tense

Never use slang abbreviation)

(informal

words

or

Person
First Person Second Person Third Person

Present Tense Singular


I am called You are called He, she, it is calls

Plural
We are called You are called They are called

Person
First Person Second Person Third Person

Past Tense Singular


I was called You were called He, she, it was called

Plural
We were called You were called They were called

Person
First Person Second Person Third Person

Future Tense Singular


I shall be called You will be called He, she, it will be called

Plural
We shall be called You will be called They will be called

Person
First Person

Present Perfect Tense Singular


I have been called

Plural
We have been called

Active Voice, Passive Voice


There are two special forms for verbs called voice: Active voice Passive voice The active voice is the "normal" voice. This is the voice that we use most of the time. You are probably already familiar with the active voice. In the active voice, the object receives the action of the verb:
active subject verb Cats eat object > fish.

Active Voice, Passive Voice


The passive voice is less usual. In the passive voice, the subject receives the action of the verb:
passive subject Verb < Fish areeaten object bycats.

The object of the active verb the subject of the passive verb:
active passive Subject Everybody Water verb drinks isdrunk Object water.

becomes

byeverybody.

Writing Style
Use First-Person plural, Active Voice, Past Tense or Third-Person, Passive Voice, Past Tense
Not Recommended: Clean the gallium arsenide substrates by boiling them in trichloroethylene. Not Recommended: I clean the gallium arsenide substrates by boiling them in trichloroethylene. Acceptable: The gallium arsenide substrates were cleaned by boiling in trichloroethylene. Recommended: We cleaned the gallium arsenide substrates by boiling them in trichloroethylene.

Writing Mechanics
Check Spelling Check Grammar Minimize the use of Acronyms (abbreviation) If Acronyms are necessary, always define them at the first use Number all equations, tables, and figures All tables and figures must have captions. All figures must have labeled axes All quantities must have units

Writing the Report: An Approach


Decide on a title Create a brief outline with only main section headings Create a more detailed outline with subheadings Create an executive summary Create the main body of text Insert tables, figures, references, and acknowledgements

Abstract or Executive Summary


Think of it as a substitute for the report for a busy reader Length never less than three sentences or longer than a full page. Often 200 words. Sentence One: expand on the title Sentence Two: why the work was done Remainder: key results, with numbers as appropriate, conclusions, recommendations

Introduction
This is not a substitute for the report, and so does not repeat the abstract Here is the place for context, relation to prior work, general objective, and approach. it should also include your terms of reference (or brief) and a general background to the subject area of the report with references made to others who have worked in the area. This enables you to show that you have read about your subject and are aware of current work in your particular field.

Introduction
The introduction should detail not only the background to your research but also put into context why your work is useful and the particular problem that is to be addressed. The introduction is also the place for you to signpost your work, i.e., explain what you intend to do, how you will do it and how your report will be structured

Theory and Analysis


Briefly describe the theory relevant to the work Provide design equations Include calculations and computer simulation results Provide values for all key parameters

Experimental Procedures
Describe Apparatus and Materials Show test setups If this section is well written, any electrical or computer engineer should be able to duplicate your results.

Results and Discussion


Use tables and graphs Consider moving large quantities of raw data, detailed derivations, or code to an appendix Methods of plotting which produce well delineated lines should be considered Results should be critically compared to theory Consider limitations in the theory and engineering tolerances

Conclusion
Similar to executive summary Must be concise Reinforces key ideas formed in discussion Includes recommendations for future work, such as implementation of a design

Figures and Tables


Every figure must have a caption All tables must have a title Figure/tables are placed after they are mentioned in the text (all must be mentioned/discussed) Make figures/tables first, and then insert into the text Put the figure/table number beside its title, and put this in a standard location Dont start a sentence with an abbreviation: Figure vs. Fig.

Acknowledgements
Keep track of those to be acknowledged-keep a diary so that you dont forget anyone Include: your sponsor, outside sources (companies or agencies), other departments on campus, individuals outside of your team who have helped Be brief

References
Various formats have been developed. Pick one you like such as the IEEE Transactions format Decide on a sequence, such as the order they appear in the text Always give full references such that others may find the item

References (examples)
[1] A. Student and B. Professor, Very Important Project, in Journal of Irreproducible Research, vol. 13, no. 9, pp. 25-31, Nov. 2004. [2] C. Dean, The Book of Earth-Shattering Research, Husky Press, Storrs, CT, 2005.

Plagiarism
Never take the work of others without giving proper credit Never take verbatim sentences/paragraphs from the literature If you feel that you must use verbatim material, use quotation marks and a reference. Do this sparingly! There are search engines that can find if verbatim material has been stolen. Professors fail students who do this. Additional disciplinary action may follow.

Writing Standard
Title of Project
A Project report on

Sample Title Page

Submitted for partial fulfillment of award of BACHELOR OF TECHNOLOGY degree In Name of Branch Under the guidance of Name of Guide Submitted By STUDENT (name, Roll No.)

Hindustan Institute of Technology & Management, Keetham, AGRA May, 2012

Writing Standard
Certificate
Certified that Name of student has carried out the Project work presented in this report entitled Title of Project. for the award of Bachelor of Technology from Hindustan Institute of Technology & Management, Keetham, Agra under my supervision. The project work and studies carried out by Student himself and the contents of the report do not form the basis for the award of any other degree to the candidate or to anybody else.

(Name and Signature of HOD) Date:

(Name and Signature of Guide)

Sample Certificate Page

Writing Standard
PAGE DIMENSIONS AND MARGIN:
The dimensions of the final bound 3 copies report should be 290mm x 205mm. Standard A4 size (297mm x 210mm) paper may be used for preparing the copies. The Project report (at the time of submission) should have the following page margins: Top edge Bottom edge Left side Right side : : : : 30 to 35 mm 25 to 30mm 35 to 40mm 20 to 25 mm

Writing Standard
The Project report should be prepared on good quality white paper preferably no lower than 80gsm. Tables and figures should be prepared on good quality paper preferably not lower than 80 gsm. Tables and figures should conform to the margin specifications. Large size figures should be photographically or otherwise reduced to the appropriate size before insertion.

Writing Standard
ARRANGEMENT OF CONTENTS: The sequence in which the report material should be arranged and bound should be as follows:

1. Cover Page & Title Page 2. Bonafide Certificate 3. Abstract 4. Acknowledgement 5. Table of Contents 6. List of tables 7. List of Figures 8. List of Symbols, Abbreviations and Nomenclature 9. Chapters I, II , .. 10. Appendices (optional) 11. References

Writing Standard
MANUSCRIPT PREPARATION: The headings of all items 2 to 12 listed in section 4 should be typed in capital letter without punctuation and centered 50mm below the top of the page. The text should commence 4 spaces below this heading. The page numbering for all items 1 to 8 should be done using lower case Roman numerals and the pages thereafter should be numbered using Arabic numerals.

Writing Standard
Cover Page & Title PageA specimen copy of the Cover page & Title page for Project report are given in slide above. Bonafide CertificateThe Bonafide Certificate shall be in double line spacing using Font Style Times New Roman Font Size 14, as per the format shown in slide above. The certificate shall carry the Guide and HOD signatures

Writing Standard
Abstract- Abstract should be an essay type of narration not exceeding two pages outlining the research problem, the methodology used fro tacking it an a summary of the findings, when typed double line spacing, font Style Times New Roman and Font Size 14. Acknowledgement- The Acknowledgement shall be brief and should not exceed one page when typed in double spacing. The scholars signature shall be made at the bottom end above his./ her name typed in capitals.

Writing Standard
Table of contents- The table of contents should list all material. The title page, Bonafide Certificate and Acknowledgement will not find a place among the items listed in the Table of Contents but the page numbers in lower case Roman letters are to be accounted for them. One and a half spacing should be adopted fro typing the manner under this specimen copy of the Table Contents for report is given in slide below.

Writing Standard
TABLE of CONTENTS

( A typical Specimen of Table of Contents) <Font Style Times New Roman- size-14>
CHAPTER NO. TITLE PAGE NO. iii xvi xviii xxviii 1 1
2

ABSTRACT LIST OF TABLES LIST OF FIGURES LIST OF SYMBOLS, ABBREVIATIONS 1. INTRIDUCTION 1.1 GENERAL 1.2 USE OF INDUSTRIAL EASTE IN CONCRETE-MAKING
1.2.1 Beneficiation Ceramic Waste

2.

LITERATURE REVIEW 2.1 GENERAL 2.2 ALTERNATE AFFREGRATES 2.3 RECYCLING

69 75 99 100

Writing Standard
List of Table- The list should use exactly the same captions as they appear above the tables in the text. One and a half spacing should be adopted for typing the matter under this head. List of Figures- The list should use exactly the same captions as they appear above the tables in the text. One and a half spacing should be adopted for typing the matter under this head. List of Symbols, abbreviations and NomenclatureOne and a half spacing should be adopted for typing the matter under this head. Standard symbols, abbreviations etc. should be used.

Writing Standard
Chapters- The chapters may be broadly divided into 3 parts (i) Introductory chapter, (ii) Chapters developing the main theme of the thesis, (iii) Results, Discussion and Conclusion. The main text will be divided into several chapters and each chapter may be further divided into several divisions and subdivisions.

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