Tips: How to Write an Effective Technical Report
A technical report is one of the most substantial assignments one can receive during college or university years. It should be based on solid research data and original primary sources and be organized almost at the level of a dissertation. Before you dive into the methodology and other details, look through these tips prepared by our technical academic writers. Pay the utmost attention to each of them and increase your chances of getting the highest grade for this assignment.
Step #1. Answer Fundamental Questions
Actually, you should answer two major questions before starting to write a technical report of any kind: what are you trying to say and to whom? From more academic perspective these questions should sound like: what is the goal of your report and who is your targeted audience? Write down the answers to these questions and keep them in front of your eyes up till the presentation. Make sure that your answers are clear, precise, take not more than 2-3 sentences and don’t include any “water” or abstract terms. After finishing every part of your report read these questions and answers again, and check whether the completed chapter complies with them or not.
Step #2. Choose the Model of Your Report
If your professor defined the model already, you could skip this step, but if you are responsible for choosing it yourself, here are some options. The safest choice is a standard model, according to which you need to draw a straight line from the introduction, through the chosen methodology to the results and conclusion. You can, however, choose the segmented model, and focus on getting results employing the variety of methods. The conclusion first or “upside down” model, allows you to start with the description of your final outcomes. Statistics show that papers with conclusions at the top attract more attention and look more engaging.
Step #3. Write Central Chapters
The key rule for writing the central chapters of your technical report is simple — one chapter should cover one question (theme, topic). Every chapter has its goal, and this goal should be somehow reflected in the name of this chapter. The beginning of every chapter should logically follow the end of the previous one. Though it is a technical paper, not a novel, you shouldn’t violate the basic rules of narration. Go from theoretical part to the practical part and then to the conclusion. First, you have to mention the methodology employed and the background of your paper, later show the results of the research. The only part ruining this logic is the executive summary, which you write the last, but put it on the top.
Step #4. Brush Up Graphic Materials
Almost every technical report includes not only text but graphic materials such as graphs, diagrams, tables, etc. Each of them should be properly formatted. Make sure to label every graphic entry and check if its “label”, be it a name, or number, or both are mentioned in the text. It is not a rare situation when after general proofreading and editing the students lose references to the graphics data. Another mistake you should avoid is putting similar graphic data into different parts of your report. For example, two diagrams describing the same experiment should both be placed in the body paragraph or the appendices. You can’t show one in the text and save place sending another to the additional materials section. Me modest when using colors for your tables and diagrams, and don’t forget to use standard fonts and sizes when it comes to presentation materials.
Step #5. Make a Final Check Up
Before submitting the paper, you should look through it several more times. Of course, students always lack time for the intense proofreading, but it is the situation in which you simply can’t afford skipping this stage. We advise making several different checks: content, grammar, formatting and references. Though it sounds like too much work, it is easier and faster to do it this way, not checking everything at once. Use your table of contents to go through the report and check if all your chapters are placed in the right order. Check “ends” and “beginnings” of each chapter to make sure they are logically connected. Use your favorite grammar checker to find technical omissions and consult websites like Purdue Owl to deal with the formatting properly.
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