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What is technical report and how to write it?

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Using laptop to find information for technical report writing

What is the technical report definition? A technical report is a document written to present research on a problem or subject in detail. Usually, it is aimed at clarifying an idea, demonstrating a new design or solution, or promoting a certain point of view.

Writing technical report is an extremely important skill for most of the job positions related to engineering, programming, architecture, design, and others that deal with new ideas and tons of data on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, such a skill is extremely hard to develop. Some universities give the possibility for students to learn how to write a technical report in case the latter will have to do it in their future workplaces. However, it rarely prepares students for writing reports and similar works they have to deal with upon graduation.

Outline of a technical report

Each company has its individual standards for structuring reports, and it is important to clarify them before getting to the writing process itself. When it comes to university, professors give assignments with an outline sample to help students organize the paper properly. If there are no additional requirements, technical reports writing can be done according to the outline as presented below:

  • title page (provides basic information about an author and work, includes a date and signed declaration);
  • abstract (summarizes the main aspects of a project);
  • table of contents (presents a list of headings and subheadings to guide a reader through the paper);
  • glossary (includes terms, which have been used in the paper, and explanations to them);
  • introduction (defines reasons for writing, states a question of research, and provides necessary background information);
  • literature review (shows sources that have helped you with the research);
  • technical report methodology (tells how you have collected and processed data and information);
  • procedure (describes the implementation process or the way you have applied the knowledge);
  • results (present and evaluate findings and outcomes);
  • conclusion (sums up the main points and analyzes the significance of the research);
  • recommendations (advise on further research or development of a project);
  • acknowledgments (show gratitude to everyone who has helped you on any point of the writing process);
  • references (list all sources that have been used);
  • appendices (present useful additional materials that have not made it to the main part).

Technical report format

  • Divide the document into sections so that the readers can easily find the information.
  • Include charts, graphs, and diagrams to convey information in a clear manner.
  • The use of headings and subheadings is also required.
  • The standard font and size for a report are Times New Roman 12.
  • The required spacing is either 1.5 or 2.
  • It is also recommended not to format the paper until you finish it completely.

Some important technical report guidelines

  • The first thing every person who looks through your paper sees is the way you organized it. Therefore, you need to try to make it comfortable to read and retrieve the information from. You have to analyze every part of your work before composing it in order to understand how suitable the points you include are for a certain situation and use a proper format to present them.
  • Some of the sections from the technical report structure presented above may be combined or removed depending on the purpose of your writing. The glossary is necessary only if your audience does not understand complex terms. It will appear redundant if the paper is distributed among your colleagues or just people proficient in the same field.
  • It is important to avoid any plagiarism issues. If you were using some ideas taken from the outside sources, you must cite and include all of them in the list of references. Remember that originality is one of the most important aspects you need to consider. Be sure to cite only the parts that you have based your conclusions on – not the conclusions themselves.

How to write a technical report?

Here are some tips that will help you in the writing process:

  • Formulate a clear message. Understanding your report objective, you will have no problems with stating the main points.
  • Define your target audience. This aspect affects the vocabulary you are going to use in your report.
  • List all the sources you used in references. Also, do not forget to cite all the quotes and visual materials you use.
  • Double-check all the information you find on the Web. It has to be credible and taken from relevant sources.
  • Proofread your paper in order to eliminate any mistakes and make sure that all the essential parts are presented.
  • Use diagrams, charts, and tables for better visualization. Remember that you have to refer to each of them in your text.
  • Mind that each of the visuals has to be properly cited with words such as “Figure 1.2,” “Table 1.2,” etc.

Writing technical report with professional help

Every person who has ever attended any technical reporting or writing course thinks that he or she is ready to start writing. Actually, it does not matter if you have studied it professionally. Learning how to work on different types of reports will definitely help you with writing, but it will certainly not prepare you for all the difficulties you are going to face.

Such works are considered the most complicated ones to prepare. They confound even the best specialists who realize that their skills will not be that helpful when writing a technical report. This type of paper requires more than just knowledge in a field but also a deep understanding of relations between all parts of the research process. Therefore, you have to dive into analysis and technical writing.

Report assignments will take an extreme amount of time and effort, and you will most likely have to devote a few days to the writing and proofreading processes. However, do not lose heart! As long as you approach this task responsibly and give yourself enough time for research, you will likely succeed. Also, do not forget about the tips presented above as they will help and guide you on your writing journey.

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