How to Write a Technical Report for Engineers

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Technical papers are used to convey the findings of laboratory experiments or research. There are two types of papers engineers predominately write: original research papers and survey papers of preexisting documented research. Technical papers are incredibly detailed and precise, as the information can be potentially used for publication, project implementation or to promote further investigation.

Things You'll Need

  • Goal of the report
  • Theory
  • Data
  • Computer

Goal of a Research Paper

  • Determine the goal of the research paper. A research paper is designed to present research findings, survey research papers, prove a theory or evaluate the performance of an engineering design or material.

  • Obtain all of the data or information. If the technical paper is a presentation of research findings, conduct the research necessary according to the respective American Society of Engineers' specifications. For papers that present research surveys, investigate all potential information sources thoroughly.

  • Format the data into spreadsheets, databases and charts. Include proper details, such as headings, labels, units and engineering equations. A good method of data presentation needs to be visually attractive to communicate effectively without having to reference the report.

  • Determine the audience for the research paper. Potential audiences include college professors, technical publications and journals, conferences and engineering societies. The type of audience dictates the information that you will need to present. AP format is generally used for research papers, but be sure to check with the publication for their accepted standard or format style.

Writing the Technical Report

  • Write the abstract, or summary, of the findings. This section is typically 100 to 150 words.

  • Write the introduction. This section introduces the problem, describes the importance of the problem and provides a brief outline of the solution.

  • Reference related work. If you conducted research, describe the publications and books used to dictate the direction of your research. If you are submitting the technical report for a conference or an engineering publication, add resources of professionals that have contributed to the publication or will be attending the conference.

  • Outline the paper, either in a list form (table of contents) or a paragraph form (summary of the paper).

  • Complete the body of the paper. The format includes the problem, approach and results. The problem and approach are addressed in a paragraph format. The results are generally presented in both a data base and chart format, including labels of the units (feet or centimeters), ranges (maximum and minimum) and engineering equations utilized.

Conclusion

  • Describe the findings in the "Realization" section, which includes implementation details, location and research specifications.

  • Evaluate the research in the "Evaluation" section, which analyzes how the experiment or survey worked. Provide further studies, investigation or recommendations.

  • Summarize the research and repeat main results in the "Summary and Future Work" section. Include any future proposed investigation.

  • Include the final sections, "Acknowledgements" (research assistants or professors), "Bibliography" (Works Cited) and "Appendix" (data and research findings).

  • Check for punctuation, format, language and data errors. Editing these aspects is imperative, as technical papers are incredibly detail-orientated and are utilized for future research and project implementation.

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