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How To Write A Technical Report

A Comprehensive Guide To Writing Impeccable Technical Reports

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How To Write A Technical Report
 John Millar   Published On Jun 12, 2020 | Updated on Oct 05, 2023  Writing Service

Technical reports are an essential mode of information exchange in the field of science and engineering. A large number of engineering activities and tasks require extensive report making. These reports present a precise summary of information on a certain endeavor.

Technical report writing is an essential part of any engineering program and requires a professional tone. Students have to state the results, methodologies and ongoing investigations of their research in their reports. Also, they must ensure to present all information clearly so that even no-technical audiences can understand the material with ease.

Writing top-notch technical reports call for preemptive preparation and a thorough understanding of the subject under discussion. Documentation of these kinds must reflect the professionalism, technical knowledge and acumen of its writers. This write-up aims to assist you in approaching technical report writing with ease and élan.

How to write an accurate technical report? Style Matters

The domain-specific nature of a technical report makes it essential for one to possess a proper idea about the subject and the research under discussion. If you do not have a rigorous knowledge of your discipline, you will not be able to write a good report.

However, the nuances of technical report writing along with all the unique formatting guidelines can put even the most knowledgeable pupils in a jam.The process is extensive and complicated and requires some looking into. So, let us dwell deep into the writing process and learn how to write impressive technical reports.

  • Always keep your audience in mind

Your readers are one of the most important parameters of your technical report. Beside your evaluators, other potential readers may be a client, a manager or even your peers. Thus, a perfect blend of technicality, formality and accessibility is essential. Substantial background details are essential to convince readers about the veracity of your report. Be aware of the grading criteria to develop a report that fetches the best grades.

  • Break down the work into individual tasks

Dividing the whole report into separate elements will not just help you write better, but also let your readers understand it well. Segregate the report into chapters at an early stage and plan the writing process accordingly. Follow the standard template or any specified formatting guidelines while creating the chapters. Try to break down all of the content early in the writing process. For example, in a mechanical engineering report, create a chapter on experimental details with the following:

  1. The instruments & types of equipment used in the investigation
  2. The environmental conditions during the testing process
  3. The parameters of the tests conducted
  4. Record of any changes made to the testing parameters

As evident, such segregation enables readers to gain a clear idea about the research methods and experimental steps.

  • Present an abstract

The abstract will help your readers understand the contents with ease. As it is a summary of all that's done, the abstract will offer a glimpse of the topic, the experimental approach and research methodologies. Abstracts also help readers from the non-technical background grasp the technicalities of complicated research.

  • Create a table of contents firsthand

This is one of the first and foremost things which you should do while writing. Having a table of contents ready at hand will help you keep track of your chapter-wise progress as well as overall completion. Write a chapter as soon as you complete a particular task.

  • Pay attention to the microstructure

The microstructure of a technical report deals with the internal structure of every individual chapter. Every report must have an introduction, central chapters and a conclusion. Every chapter must also possess a similar layout, with an intro, a central body and concluding statement. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind while crafting individual chapters:

  1. Keep paragraphs short at about ten lines each. Readers seldom read a large chunk of words.
  2. Start every paragraph with a theme or topic sentence. Place it prominently to help readers understand the context of the write-up easily.
  3. Try to distinguish amongst introductory, explanatory, linking and concluding paragraphs to enhance its readability.
  4. Always place your main idea in the central section or main phrase of a paragraph.
  5. Maintain a proper flow in your writing. Link your sentences to increase the coherency of the content. Use markers to indicate the direction of an argument.

Though chapter structures do have a general structure, many institutions specify a particular layout. Follow it to a T to garner the best scores.

  • Pay close attention to your writing style

Technical reports must be formal in tone and written in a professional manner. Take note of the following points and implement them in your writing.

  1. Write in the third person only.
  2. Always complete your sentences. Make sure they contain a subject, verb and an object.
  3. Do not connect sentences using commas.
  4. Be careful with your word choice, especially when using technical terminology.
  5. Active voices score over passive voice.
  6. Avoid making sweeping statements as they indicate a lack of knowledge.
  7. Do not include irrelevant information in the report. The more concise the content, the better the score.
  8. Avoid wordy expressions. Keep things formal and to the point.
  9. Write out common abbreviations and explain technical abbreviations as often as possible.

Imbibe all the above points in mind and utilize them for writing an excellent technical report. On that note, here is an example of a technical report written in the accurateformat.

A brief overview of the general technical report template

The following is a chapter wise description of a general technical report template. Note that your evaluator may specify a different format, but every permutation possesses similarities with the general version.

  • Letter of transmittal

The letter of transmittal is a courteous gesture if the letter is meant for official purposes. It addresses the client and containsthe name of the author, along with its purpose and affiliations.

  • Abstract 

Summarize key information in the abstract. Mention the necessity of your research, methodologies, results and discussions in brief. Wrap everything up as briefly as possible. Try to keep the word count within 500.

  • Table of Contents
List all chapters in your report here along with their page numbers. Add subheadings to make everything easily understandable.
  • List of figures and tables
Sequentially list all figures and tables in this section. Label them properly and use those labels to list them consecutively.
  • Acknowledgements
As the name suggests, give credit to everyone who has helped you craft your report. Acknowledge all contributions and mention the information sources that you referred to while writing.
  • Introduction

The introduction should deliver adequate background information, including all necessary technical information. Mention all vital concepts associated with the research to illustrate your technical skills to the reader.

  • Experimental Details
This section contains all the details of the research and experiments in concise details.All such information must be given in a paragraph or list form or a combination of both.
  • Results and Discussions

This section is the “meat” of your technical report. Present any raw data or auxiliary and intermediate results in appendices and report only the final results. Since this segment displays your knowledge and acumen, make sure to craft it to perfection.

  • Conclusions & Recommendations

Reinstate the points in the results section and make strong statements to put forth everything with emphasis.Explain the usefulness of your research methods and suggest ways to perform further research on the topic.

  • References
Citations and references are an essential part of a research paper or report. Properly cite all sources following the specified citation guidelines.
  • Appendices

All raw data obtained during experimentation must be collected in this section. Supporting information from the appendices and experimental details should be enough for others to use your research work with accuracy.

Go through all of the above information in details and imbibe them to master the tricks of writing the perfect technical report. Implement the above with diligence and deliver technical reports of unmatched quality. Yet, if unforeseen circumstances impede you from writing a proper paper, worry not for the experts of have your back.

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