Guidelines for writing technical reports – Electronic Devices and Circuits AIM: The purpose of this section is to tell the reader what your report in less than a few lines. Do not copy what is written in the front of your prac handout. Your prac handout is not a technical report. It is a guideline for you to do the practical. Sentences like, “The diode is an important element in it’s own right, and it is also an essential part of the bipolar junction transistor”, do not tell the reader what your report is about. This sentence has been included in the prac handout for your benefit only. A suitable aim for the first practical would be: To investigate the I/V characteristics of a silicon diode. That’s all you need. It tells the reader exactly what your are doing. THEORY: This section should not exist. Again, the theory provided in your practical handouts is for your benefit only. If you really feel the need, refer the reader to a textbook or attach the practical handout with the report. PART 1 : Measurement of the diode forward characteristic. DO NOT give detailed step by step instructions on how you performed the experiment. Such detail can be read in your practical handout. The Method section is a “description” of what you did. Eg: Method: The diode and a resistor were placed in a series circuit with a voltage supply. The voltage across the resistor was set to 10V by varying the supply voltage and the corresponding voltage across the diode was measured. This was repeated for different resistor values. Now draw a circuit diagram. A picture is a thousand words. Make sure you label your diagram showing the points of measurement. Eg, VR, VD. Results: Display the data you recorded in a table. Don’t use too many significant digits. In your columns you should have VR and VD. It is clear where these measurements have come from because you can see it from the circuit diagram. Try to avoid using excessive zeros in the recording of data. Do not write down, VR = 0.00005V. This is not how engineers write numbers. Do not write down 5e-5V, unless the number is either very large or very small. This is how scientists write numbers. Write down VR = 50uV. Know your engineering notation, T, G, M, K, m, u, n, p, f. Analysis: This section includes calculations, graphs, comments, answers to questions. There is no rules for which come first. You need to use your logic to determine what order to do things. E.g Calculate the current ID from your data in the results section. Show that you used Ohms law. ALWAYS write your numbers in default units. ID = VR/R = 0.667/1k. 0.667 is in Volts 1k is in Ohms. Another example, ID = VR/R = 2m/1M = 2nA If you put, ID = VR/R = 2/1M = 2nA, you will loose marks. Make comments along the way if you need to, make it flow. LABEL your axis, indicate the units they are in. If you have something interesting to say, say it. E.g. As you can see from figure 2, there is a jump discontinuity in the measured data. It was likely caused by changing the scale of the ammeter. Demonstrate to the marker that you understand what is going on. E.g the measured value for ID kept increasing over time. This is caused by the heating of the transistor, which changes its electrical properties. If you’re not sure, say “This may have caused”. Keep you comments precise and short. Don’t waffle on for 7 lines. The marker doesn’t want to read this, there are too many reports to mark! Check the prac handout to see if there are any questions relevant to this section. If there are, answer them here. PART 2: Now go onto the next part. This method of report writing flows nicely and it is easy to read. Method: Results: Analysis: CONCLUSION The value for n and Is were found to be 45266 and 235235 respectively. The results are within 30% of the values from the data sheet which is a good result. Don’t say you’ve had fun during the prac and that you look forward to further encounters with diodes in the near future. Infact, you should never say I, we. EXPECT to get results which can vary by up to 100% of the expected value, especially with sensitive measurements such as Is. You aren’t expected to explain why your results don’t match what is expected. Don’t go searching for answers as to why your results don’t match and then conclude that the resistance of the CRO cable had something to do with it. TIPS FOR MARKING Most of your marks are allocated to the analysis section. If you’re having trouble with the analysis get help, from your peers or from the prac supervisor in a class. If you hand up dodgy analysis expect to get a bad mark. Ask yourself where you think most of the marks are. Its not hard to guess that the most marks are in the sections that have the most analysis. Read the prac handout before coming to the class so you understand what is going on. It is not necessary to write your pracs in Word and Excel. If it is neat, written well, you have fulfilled all the criteria, and there are no mistakes you will receive 10. Practicals form a large chunk of your final grade. I recommend you put in the effort to doing them well.
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