Title Page and Guidelines for MENG 351 Experiments
Prepared for Meng 351
Dr. Nadir Yilmaz
Name of Member 1
Name of Member 2
Name of Member 3
January 30, 2008
This document shows the standards required for laboratory experiments reports. Topics
include writing style, format, use of figures and tables, and reference citations. Common
errors are noted, and suggestions are offered for avoiding them.
REPORT WRITING TIPS AND GUIDELINES
FOR MENG 351 EXPERIMENTS
To write successfully takes much thought, hard work, and multiple drafts. Depending on
the nature of the information being conveyed in the report, both the format and content
can vary greatly. Sections may appear as needed, while others may disappear.
It is important to keep in mind that a report is to convey information to a reader who has
no idea what you plan to discuss. In other words, you must assume that the reader has no
specific knowledge of the subject, except for what you tell them. Therefore, the report
must lay the groundwork so that the interested reader can understand the message you are
trying to convey.
A logical approach and strong organization of the material are very important.
Appropriately placed section titles for dividing the information in the report can help you
Sections- type of information each should contain
The top of the page will show your title for the report. It should be descriptive of the
major items that were studied and reported.
The context for the report should be given next.
Name of the person or company to which the report is submitted should be identified.
You may choose to combine these two items.
Authors: the team captain’s name should appear first, with the names of the other
authors listed below. Each author should initial his/her name to signify they have
looked at the report, provided input, and are willing to accept the rewards of
deficiency of the effort.
Date. Normally, this is the due date of the report.
The ABSTRACT is often one paragraph summary of the whole report. Its purpose is to
give the reader an overview. It should contain:
What was done
How it was done
The scope of the work
It should not include reasons for doing the work – no justification belongs in the
Reference citations do not belong in the abstract
Normal length can vary, but approximately 100 words would be typical
Keep in mind that the purpose of the abstract is to provide a quick overview which
helps readers who are scanning texts to locate complete reports that cover information
they are seeking.
A one piece of 30 gauge (80% nickel, 20% chromium) wire was subjected to 4.35 amps
until the wire melted and broke electrical continuity in the circuit. The time elapsed was
recorded for 30 samples and the average was compared to the theoretically predicted time
values for four different cases: 1) assuming no energy losses from the wire; 2) assuming
convection and radiation heat loss; and 4) assuming conduction and radiation heat loss.
For the fourth case, a finite difference scheme was used to simulate the conduction and
radiation effects. The predicted break time for the third case was 2.47 seconds. This
most closely approximated the actual experimental mean measured break time of 2.71
seconds. The others predicted too short a break time. Thus, convection and radiation
heat transfer proved to contribute the most to the overall heat loss of the wire.
The purpose of the introduction is to introduce the reader to the material you are
presenting. It should contain the following:
A justification as to why the experiment was done
A discussion of, and citations, of previous work
A section that leads the reader into the project you are about to discuss
Typically, the introduction begins with an explanation of the context of the problem, i.e.,
why does anyone care about this, as far as society or the scientific/engineering world is
concerned. The reader needs to be accompanied by specific citations (or references) to
such previous work. Any limitations of previous work, with regard to satisfaction of a
need, can be noted. Next, you will summarize for the reader your objectives and what
you plan to do that will confirm, contradict, or extend the work that has preciously been
This experiment was conducted to better understand how a wire behaves when under
I2R heating conductions. It is important to know and study this behavior because wires
are used in many of the electronics we need and use everyday. This experiment showed
the effects of I2R heating combined with the effects of cooling by three means of heat
transfer: radiation, conduction, and convection.
In understanding how wires cool, an engineer can be better understand what conditions
are required to prevent wires from being overloaded and failing. For instance, this
experiment shows that free convection is not a very effective way to cool a wire.
Four different theoretical cases were compared: 1. the adiabatic case in whish there is
no heat transfer; 2. the case of I2R heating minus radiation, 3. the case of I2R heating
minus radiation and convection; and, 4. I2R heat minus conduction. These theoretical
cases were compared to our actual results to see how will they matched up. They are also
compared to known data from Omega Engineering, Inc. Some of the results were not
consistent with expectations, and some were not even logical.
The work from this experiment was not done with the intention of being compared to
previous work done in this area so much as it was to compare the theoretical case with
actual results. Inconsistencies may be explained by the fact that the testing apparatus and
conditions are not and cannot be identical to the conditions assumed in the theory behind
The purpose of the theory section is to provide the reader with general knowledge about
theories related to the project you are conducting/about to conduct. It should contain the
A discussion of theoretical principles that have been followed and used for
predictions, or for comparisons to measurements
If the discussion is lengthy and can be in a reference, then it may be sufficient to
summarize briefly, with a specific reference to a citation from where the details of the
can be found- see Reference in Citation section
A discussion of any assumptions made that allow the reader to arrive at any of the
equations within the context of this application: i.e., are these assumptions justified
for this cause, and why.
Make sure that you do not introduce theory that is not used specifically for this study.
If equations are shown, use some sort of consistent numbering system so that they can
be referred to later without being repeated.
Note: In some reports that convey only theoretical principle(s), the theory will be the
main body of the report. In that case, a different title for this section may be chosen.
Depending on the nature of the theory, the section following the theory may be devoted
to calculations using equations that were developed. If this theory was used to make
prediction(s), the appropriate final equation(s) should be given, along with a comment
that these theoretical predictions will be compared to experimental measurements in the
“Results and Discussion Section.” If some method for data treatment is to be used, such
as an uncertainty or a statistical analysis, the principles that were used can be given here,
or at least discussed. If this latter comment applies, you will not be able to present results
from the data analysis until after you have presented you data.
APPARATUS AND/OR PROCEDURES
The purpose of the apparatus and procedures section(s) is to show the reader how the
experiment was carried out.
For this section, the structure may differ considerably depending on the type of
experiment you are conducting and the type of repot you are compiling. For example,
sometimes the title of this section may be Procedures only; sometimes, it may be
Apparatus only. The choice depends on how extensive the section is. If each section is
extensive, then separate sections should be used.
If a brief description if the apparatus is given in the body of the report, list with the
manufacturer and model #.
Harrison Laboratories 6264A DC power supply
Fluke 45 dual display multimeter
Fluke 60 MHz combiscobe PM3370B
Omega Engineering N180/CR20SI078006
Deltrol Control Relay 900DODT20241-83
This may be shown in an appropriately named section in appendix, especially if a long
list is involved.
In this case, be sure to identify in which appendix it will appear.
Appendix A- List of Apparatus
In some cases, where a unique apparatus was developed and used, you must provide a
detailed discussion of the apparatus and its design. If a brochure from the manufacturer
will help the reader understand the operation, a copy of that brochure should be included
as a properly labeled appendix. (Appendix B- Smith’s Electrical Conductors Brochure)
In other words, it is unlikely that the reader will need to know the full list of apparatus,
but if he/she needs specific information, make sure it is available.
The procedure should contain the more important items/steps in the procedure that was
used. It is not appropriate to discuss things like data treatment procedure here, unless
some criteria were used for a repeat of a measurement.
In general, both the apparatus and procedures should be given with enough detail for an
outside party to duplicate the experiment at some later time and at some alternative
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The purpose of the results and discussion section is to provide the reader with the results
of your measurements. These results can be in either tabular or graphical form. Again,
as with the apparatus and procedures section, this will differ depending on the type of
information you are portraying.
Generally it is preferable to use graphics for comparison. It is easier for the reader or to
comprehend what you are comparing in a visual form rather than pure text. Should you
elect to use graphics, please check consistency for graphic design throughout the report.
If some sort of data treatment was used, this should be indicated.
If a data fit was made, the method used to obtain the fit should be discussed.
If some data points were not used in an empirical fit, the method used to discard that
data should be given.
If you made theoretical predictions that you are comparing to your measurements,
this comparison should be shown.
You should discuss agreements between your predictions and your measurements.
If you have done an uncertainty analysis on the data, error bars can be shown to
indicate the uncertainty in your measurements.
You should discuss the agreement between your predictions and your measurements.
You should also indicate any explanations for discrepancy. Examples may include
inaccuracies in measurement instrumentation or deviations from the assumption that
was made in theory.
If there is strong agreement between predictions and the measurements, you can
comment on the validity of the assumptions or the accuracy of the instrumentation.
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The purpose of the conclusions (and recommendations) section is to “conclude” all that
you have worked on and discussed in the earlier sections of the report. Frequently,
casually interested readers will look at the conclusion after they have read the abstract.
Therefore, it is important to have a concise, well-justified conclusion section.
Note: If your conclusion states that there were flaws on the measurement, or in the
comparison of the measurements to predictions, then make recommendations as to what
steps would be necessary to achieve better results. At the very least, your conclusion
should provide your assessment of how well your work met the objectives that were set
out earlier in the report.
The purpose of the reference section is to inform the reader of the materials of sources
you have used in compiling your report. Materials or sources typically include text or
reference books, journal publications or meeting proceedings, internet sources, or private
communications. Any time you use information from any source that is not common
knowledge, it is appropriate to cite that source.
Also, by incorporating outside source material from experts within the field of your work
and by listing material as references, it enhances the credibility of your work.
Referencing shows you have a solid working knowledge of theories that apply to your
project. It allows the reader to understand why you took a particular route to accomplish
your work by showing your starting point based on information already available.
Many formats are used for references and for consistency. Each journal or publication
will specify what style is to be used.
Please follow these rules:
General references, which were not specifically cited in the body of your report
should never be given.
Specific references should be given. You need to give page numbers where this
specific information can be located, and if it can be located in a cook or periodical.
The citation symbol in the body of the work will be something like . Then, in the
reference list a 3 will be the number of the corresponding citation. If you have quoted
something from a reference, quotation marks should be used followed by a citation
designator. The following examples use ASME reference style;
Author(s), initial(s)., Year, Title (in italics if printed, or underlined if hand written),
Edition (except the first), Publisher, Place of Publication.
Vesilind, A.P., 1994, Environmental Engineering, Butterworth, Boston.
Chapter/Section/Volume of Books (You will probably use this in referring to Class
Notes and textbook):
Author(s), Initial(s)., Year, “Title of Chapter/Section/Volume,” Book Title (in italics if
printed, or underlined if hand written), Edition (except the first), editor(s), Publisher,
Place of Publication, Chapter/Section/Volume Number, pages referenced.
El Walkil, N. and Sacadura, J.F., 1992, “Some Improvement of the Discrete Ordinates
Method for the Solution of the Radiative Transport Equation in Multidimensional
Anisotropically Scattering Media,” Developments in Radiative Heat Transfer, S.T.
Thynell ed al., eds., ASME HTD, Vol. 203 pp. 119-127.
Note: when an author has contributed to a book which has been edited by a different
author, details by both contributor and editor are included.
Papers from Conferences:
Author(s), Initial(s)., Year, “Article Title,” in Conference Title (in italics if printed, or
underlined if hand written), Volume Number (in bold), Publisher, Place of Publication,
Jameson, A., 1995, “Re-engineering the design process: The role of computational
methods,” in proceedings of the ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress
and Exposition, ASME, New York, pp. 43-67.
Author(s), Initial(s)., Year, “Article Title,” Journal Title (in italics if printed, or
underlined if hand written), Volume Number (in bold), Issue or part (if available), pages
Reichhardt, T., 1996, “Environmental On-Line: A Guide to Internet Resources,”
Environmental Science & Technology, 30, 76A.
The purpose of the appendix section is to give additional information which will help the
reader understand the project being presented. It should contain additional information
that is not critical to your discussion, but it supports your presentation and enhances the
methods you chose to follow.
Types of information that may be included in the appendix are:
Photocopies/copies of data taken (from lab composition book), and predictions that
were submitted in pre-lab work
In some cases, a brief resume in which the author presents his/her qualifications for
making this study.
Each section of the appendix should have a unique designation, such as “Appendix
A,” followed by a title f the information presented. (If the information to follow is a
photocopy, such as your pre-lab predictions, it may be appropriate to use a title page,
which gives the appendix designator and title only. The appropriate material would
be included next.)
Consistency and clarity are the key standards for formatting. Format provides guide
posts for the writer and reader, supports the work’s organized structure, and encourages
readability and flow.
Body Text: Choose easily read font and size. (The default in Microsoft Word, for
example, is times 12.)
Section Headings: Font can be the same as text or different; but distinctly different
size or style (bold, all caps).
Subheads and Titles: Again, either the same font as body text or different, but
different in size from both body text and section headings.
APPARATUS & PROCEDURES
The purpose of the apparatus and procedures sect(s) is to show the reader how the
experiment was carried out.
A brief description
Equations: Number equations for referral in text. Use consistent numbering system
A= 1/2BC (1)
All figures (and tables) should be numbered and have title (centered).
In general, figure titles appear below the figure, but titles appear at the top.
Figures will have axes labeled, with dimensions.
Format should be consistent in tables (and figures).
Size of units and all lettering should be sufficient for easy reading.
If several curves on the same graph are superimposed, consider multiple graphs.
If multiple curves are shown on same graph, use distinctive line titles, and label as
such in the legend.
Orientation of full-page graphs and tables should be consistent. Generally if
landscape orientation is used, place the title at the bottom of the graph.
Do not show figures and tables until they are referenced in the body of the text. Then
they should appear immediately or on the following page.
In some cases, when figures are extensive, it may be appropriate to place figures in
Outline before writing and decide what sections need to be emphasized to convey
Organize format and sections appropriately to match message.
Tone should be formal.
Proper verb tense should be consistent.
Writing style should be consistent.
Generally, pronouns are avoided, although newer documents sometimes use personal
pronouns; i.e., “we.”
Use consistent type format.
Use consistent blank spaces between sentences and the following section titles.
Do not include blank spaces at the end of a page unless only a title of the next section
would appear at the bottom without any following text.
Proof your work. Read it yourself. Get someone whose knowledge and opinion
You respect to read it. Make corrections and/or revisions. Read it again.
Do not rely on spell check alone. Spell check can tell you if the word it finds is
spelled correctly, but not if it is the correct word.
At the end of your report, ask yourself if the report answers the questions: What,
why, and who?
Most importantly, does the report work?