Writing an Outstanding Technical Report in 7 Steps
If you are willing to impress your professor with a stellar technical report, you will find these tips timely and efficient. Some of the steps described in this article might seem too obvious to you, but that only means you have more experience than average students. However, sometimes, especially under the severe time pressure, it is easy to forget even about the simplest rules and principles.
Step #1 Make Your Summary a Summary
Mostly students confuse a technical report summary with an introduction or a conclusion. It doesn’t sound logical at all, but we know how many points have been lost at this stage. In the summary you should give a short overview of the substance of your paper. It shouldn’t be longer than half a page, and it shouldn’t contain any extra introduction phrases or broad descriptions. Imagine yourself looking for some particular report online. Reading a summary, you should understand if this text is what you need or not. Make it easier for your potential audience to understand whether your report is what they are looking for.
Step#2. Don’t Explain Yourself in the Summary
Make sure to delete anything regarding the actuality of your work, its relevance to the current situation, background or reasons behind your decision to do this research. The summary has nothing to do with you as an author, it should be totally about the research itself. You can also give hints about the major diagrams or tables which a reader should look through to understand the outcomes.
Step#3. Don’t Mess with the Introduction
Professors often complain that the introduction is the messiest part of the paper. Lots’ of students start writing introduction not having the full idea of what they want to write there. The introduction doesn’t have “official” academic structure, but you should create it yourself and follow it to the dot. Start with the short background of the report, state aims of the research, elaborate on technical assumptions necessary to dig deep into the report. While of course, it is a technical report, don’t make it too dry. The introduction is your hook, use it to attract readers and engage them into looking through your entire paper.
Step#4. Fill Appendices with the Less Relevant Data
Of course, Appendices section is not a dump where you should put anything looking not good enough or taking too much space in the main body of your report. However, it is wise a practical to use it for the less relevant data, especially when it comes to diagrams and tables you quote from some else’s research.
Step#5. Pay Attention to the Technical Formatting
We are sure you are not a stranger to the citation styles, and you know how to cite a literary entry in MLA, APA, Chicago or any other style. At the same time, technical formatting is rarer and require some precise attention. Make sure to check how to sign diagrams, tables, how to quote them from the external sources. Pay attention to citing experiments which were held by the same authors in the consequent years.
Step#6. Check Goals and Outcomes
You don’t make a research and write a technical report during one day. It means you might lose some significant information on your way, change the path of your research and come up with utterly astonishing results. As goals are often put into the introduction before the research has finished, check if they are still relevant to your outcomes.
Step#7. Look Through the References
Once you fail in the proper citation of the sources, you might be accused of plagiarism. It is the painful academic reality, and we can do nothing about it but double check every entry. Use our boring but efficient CTRL+F approach. Start with the introduction and Ctrl+F every cited author. Press “Further” till you don’t reach references and see that the cited source is there. Go back and repeat with the next source you stumble upon. Mark the references you have checked bold or with color. It will help you to spot a missing citation which you could delete accidentally while editing.
Don’t neglect following these steps and you will feel nothing but relief after submitting your technical report. Good luck!