EE350L – Signals & Systems Lab
Formal Lab Report
Due 10 December 2009
For this report you are to take the results of one of your labs, except the first lab, and expand the report to a
formal report or technical paper, suitable for submission to the BSU Presidential Writing Contest, or the IEEE
Student Paper Contest. To do this, take your results and reformat them from a list of answers into a formatted
document with text put into complete sentences and paragraphs, with numbered figures and equations. Include
a problem description in your own words, all the results from the lab and a summary of what those results mean
and how they relate to the theory you learned in lecture. You should include some more description and
analysis. This report should be written in a professional tone. It should be typed, 1.5 line spacing, 10 or 12 point
type. Format, spelling and grammar will be important here. Several writing guidelines are included on the back
side of this assignment. These are things that will be considered in the Writing Style grading section. As this
can be based on any lab except the first, this assignment may be turned in at a date significantly before the
official due date. Reports turned in before Thanksgiving Break will be graded and the author will be allowed to
correct and resubmit it for re-grading.
The BSU Writing Center is a wonderful resource for proofing your report and to work with you on writing
techniques. When you have completed a full draft, you are to make an appointment with the Writing Center for
them to review and critique your report. Make sure to also give your reviewer a copy of this assignment and the
writing guidelines. You should then make the appropriate changes to your report and submit both the original
(this should be nearly complete and not a rough draft when you visit the Writing Center) and revised reports
and the Writing Center receipt of consultation certification to receive your grade. Reports without a visit to
the Writing Center will not be graded. At the end of the semester you may find it difficult to get an
appointment at the Writing center within your available timeframe. DO NOT PROCRASTENATE!! To give
the Writing Center adequate time to read and critique your reports, have your appointment scheduled before
December 1st. You should also consider having a classmate read the lab report and give you feedback before
you submit your initial draft to the Writing Center. Remember, you can not earn an A in the lab course without
an A or a B on the formal lab.
You will be graded on
Technical aspects (grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.) (25%)
Writing style, clarity, structure and presentation (45%)
How you illustrate an understanding of the main concepts of the lab (30%)
The provided writing guidelines should be treated as rules. 1st violation = -5 points, each subsequent violation
of same rule, = -1 point. Be sure to check that you follow them.
10 September First date possible to submit Formal Lab
20 November Last date to submit Formal Lab and be allowed to resubmit for a better grade
1 December Last date to make your Writing Center Appointment (but be aware the appointments get scare
at the end of the semester)
10 December Formal Lab Due!
Some technical writing guidelines (for the purpose of this lab, treat these as “rules”)
1) The report should start with an introduction that briefly (more than 1 or 2 sentences) describes the lab assignment
goals in your own words. The introduction should introduce the reader to the upcoming structure of the report.
2) The introduction should include the objectives in paragraph, not list, format.
3) Describe the experiments you were asked to complete in general terms as steps towards an explorative goal, not
steps in a lab assignment. Include your results in the body section as a means to explain your conclusions.
4) Do not list the experiment steps or the answers to specific questions one by one. The why and what are much
more important than the Matlab code how for this assignment.
5) Write to an audience of peers who are familiar with the general subject, but not this specific topic.
6) Analyze what the goals of each question were, then group and summarize the questions and results based on the
concepts they were trying to communicate.
7) Tie the questions into the theory from lecture.
8) Consider how use of section headings can improve readability. Section titles of Objectives, Theory, Procedure,
Methodology, etc. as in ENGL202 are not mandatory. Think about what concepts are in each section and label
accordingly. Break your document into more sections or sub-sections as appropriate to keep like thoughts
together. Each section should somehow be introduced.
9) When starting new paragraphs, either indent the first line or leave a gap between paragraphs. (I prefer
10) Paragraphs should contain more than a single sentence. 2 sentence paragraphs should have adequate substance
and uniqueness of thought to be justified.
11) There shouldn’t be large gaps of blank space. Move the next paragraph earlier to fill in the gaps.
12) Each section should have an introduction and conclusion.
13) End with a few comments summarizing the results of the lab and what those results mean and how they relate to
the theory you learned in lecture. What was the lab trying to teach and how did the lab accomplish that?
14) Usually no new data or plots are introduced in the conclusion.
15) Even though all but minor equations are located on separate lines outside the main paragraph text, even when on
separate lines they are treated as part of the text and include associated punctuation as appropriate.
16) Referencing “In Equation # …” is only done on the second time that equation is discussed.
17) Equations occurring on separate lines should have sequential equation numbers. Numbers should be right justified
and surrounded by parentheses (#) .
Plots and Tables
18) All plots and tables should have figure or table numbers and descriptive labels/captions.
19) Figure captions go below the figure. Table captions go above the table.
20) You should import the images into the main text, rather than appending them at the end of the report.
21) Figures and tables do not need to be on the line immediately after they are referenced in the text. Their best
location is at the top or bottom of a page, or between paragraphs.
22) In the main TEXT refer to each plot indicating why they are included in the report and what sort of analysis they
contribute. For example “In Figure XX you can see a plot of ___. This result/plot shows that ___.”
23) If you have multiple pictures in a single figure use (a), (b) or (i), (ii) sub labels and your caption would then be of
the format “Figure 3: (a) a picture of __ . (b) a picture of ___.” and would be referenced “In Figure XXa you can
see a plot of ___.”
24) Don’t reference figures or tables with adjectives such as “above” or “below” (use the referencing specified in
Guideline #19). You may (as appropriate) reference “earlier” or “later”, but this is usually reserved for content of
the text, not figures, tables or equations.
25) Everything you reference that you didn’t create with your own thought and labor, should be cited.
26) All references should be some how numbered (not just listed at the end) and explicitly referenced in the text.
There is no one standard for formatting and referencing citations in EE writing. Common notation in the text is
[#], [Author Year], footnote/superscript (in that order). They should be in a section at the end of your document in
either order of reference if numbered in that order or in alphabetical order if using [Author Year] or numbering in
alphabetical order. Use end notes, alphabetical or numerical.
• First person is acceptable, but avoid it where possible. Try to reserve it for cases where avoiding it would make
the wording very long and tedious. Do avoid personal pronouns.
• Matlab code is not needed unless a snip of it shows some particular point.
• Supplemental experiments are not required, but would be accepted.
• Look at examples in papers or technical books (like your text) for how all these issues are addressed.
ECE 350L Signals and Systems Lab
Lab #/Title: _____________________________
Writing Style and Presentation
Body (transitions, clarity)
Guidelines improperly applied
Understanding of Lab Concepts