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Writing technical reports

In Engineering, one of the major forms of communication is the technical report. This is the conventional format for reporting the results of your research, investigations, and design projects. At university, reports are read by lecturers and tutors in order to assess your mastery of the subjects and your ability to apply your knowledge to a practical task. In the workplace, they will be read by managers, clients, and the construction engineers responsible for building from your designs. The ability to produce a clear, concise, and professionally presented report is therefore a skill you will need to develop in order to succeed both at university and in your future career.

While reports vary in the type of information they present (for example, original research, the results of an investigative study, or the solution to a design problem), all share similar features and are based on a similar structure.

Note: This document contains general engineering report-writing guidelines only. For specific departmental requirements, see your unit or study guide.

Key features of reports

Reports:

  • are designed for quick and easy communication of information
  • are designed for selective reading
  • use sections with numbered headings and subheadings
  • use figures and diagrams to convey data.

Basic structure of a report

A report usually has these components:

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