How to write a technical report by nul12583

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									                                                                                                                            8/26/2008




                                                                                           Fundamentals
                                                                       • The main purpose of a technical report
                                                                         (Theses) is to convey information.
   Additional Considerations for Writing
      Technical Reports and Theses                                     • The report should place as few hindrances as
                                                                         possible between the mind of the writer and
                        Mohamed El-Sharkawi                              the mind of the reader.
                       University of Washington                        • A secondary function is to stimulate the
                          Seattle, WA 98195
                           http://cialab.org                             reader




                    Fundamentals                                                           Fundamentals
• Your report should have clear answers to the following               • It is simply impossible to write a technical
  questions
   –   What is the report about?                                         document that will be equally easy for
   –   What are you trying to say?                                       everybody to read
   –   Who are you writing for?
                                                                           – Write a report that can be understood by the
   –   How long can the report be?
                                                                             decision makers
• Keep in mind that not everyone will read the whole report
   – Your report should start with a summary that can be read in a     • It's generally harder to write a short report
     few minutes.
   – You should arrange things so that key facts and conclusions are
                                                                         than a long one, because it requires much
     very accessible.                                                    better organization.
   – Ensure that your message will get across even if a person only
     skims the document.                                                   – Short reports are likely to be fully read




               The Standard Model                                          Components of the Standard Model
• It has been widely used in the western world for about               •   Abstract or summary
  50 years.                                                            •   Acknowledgements
                                                                       •   Introduction
• The first major section is an introduction                           •   Objectives
• The last section is a conclusion.                                    •   Theory
• Factual material and measurements are kept                           •   Method or methodology or procedures
                                                                       •   Results
  completely separate from opinion and interpretation,                 •   Discussion or interpretation
  often in different chapters or sections.                             •   Conclusion
• Formal, and rather impersonal, language is used.                     •   Recommendations
• The report usually refers quite extensively to the work              •   References and/or bibliography
  of other individuals.                                                •   Appendices




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                                                                                                                                       8/26/2008




  Language, Style and Presentation                                      Language, Style and Presentation
• Grammar and Spelling                                                 • Presentation: Your report will be based to a
• Style                                                                  large extent on the first impression made by
   – Formal                                                              the presentation.
       • The operator should click on the button labeled ”start”          – Consistency
   – Informal                                                             – Graphs and figures
       • now you should click on “start”                                  – Margins
   – Switching between formal and informal is not                         – General appeal
     acceptable




                          What to Avoid                                                  What to Avoid
• Clichés and stock phrases: phrases that were probably witty
  and stylish when introduced, but their very appeal has made          • Avoid giving too much data.
  them so over-used that they are likely to annoy the reader.             – Too much data gives the impression that the writer don't
       •   `at the end of the day...',                                      have much to say.
       •   `explore every avenue‘
                                                                          – Include only a summary of experimental data in a report
       •   `not to put too fine a point on it...‘
       •   `going foward, we will...'                                  • Avoid poems and other non-technical material
       •   `at this point in time...‘
                                                                       • Avoid computer program listings and long
       •   `in the opinion of the author...‘
• These phrases often add nothing to the content
                                                                         mathematical proofs.
                                                                          – Do you really think that anyone will want to read them?
• They could be replaced by a single word.
   – `at this point in time...' can usefully be replaced by `now...'




                          What to Avoid
• It is a bad idea to include statements about
   – how difficult the work was
   – how the report would have been better had the
     author had more time.
• People often say these sort of things in
  reports, and they don't look professional.




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