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49 10.8 Conclusions

We normally use the word “conclusion” to refer to that last section or paragraph or a document. Actually, however, the word refers more to a specific type of final section. If we were going to be fussy about it, the current chapter should be called “Final Sections,” which covers all possibilities.

There are at least four ways to end a report: a summary, a true conclusion, an afterword, and nothing. Yes, it is possible to end a document with no conclusion (or “final section”) whatsoever. However, in most cases, that is a bit like slamming the phone down without even saying good bye. More often, the final section is some combination of the first three ways of ending the document.

One common way to wrap up a report is to review and summarize the high points. If your report is rather long, complex, heavily detailed, and if you want your readers to come away with the right perspective, a summary is in order. For short reports, summaries can seem absurd—the reader thinks “You’ve just told me that!” Summaries need to read as if time has passed, things have settled down, and the writer is viewing the subject from higher ground.

Figure 1: Summary-type of final section. From a report written in the 1980s.


This report has shown that as the supply of fresh water decreases, desalting water will become a necessity. While a number of different methods are in competition with each other, freezing methods of desalination appear to have the greatest potential for the future. The three main freezing techniques are the direct method, the indirect method, and the hydrate method. Each has some advantage over the others, but all three freezing methods have distinct advantages over other methods of desalination. Because freezing methods operate at such low temperatures, scaling and corrosion of pipe and other equipment is greatly reduced. In non-freezing methods, corrosion is a great problem that is difficult and expensive to prevent. Freezing processes also allow the use of plastic and other protective coatings on steel equipment to prevent corrosion, a measure that cannot be taken in other methods that require high operating temperatures. Desalination, as this report has shown, requires much energy, regardless of the method. Therefore, pairing desalination plants with nuclear or solar power resources may be a necessity. Some of the expense of desalination can be offset, however . . .

“True” Conclusions

A “true” conclusion is a logical thing. For example, in the body of a report, you might present conflicting theories and explored the related data. Or you might have compared different models and brands of some product. In the conclusion, the “true” conclusion, you would present your resolution of the conflicting theories, your choice of the best model or brand—your final conclusions.

Figure 2: A “true”-conclusions final section. This type states conclusions based on the discussion contained in the body of the report. (From a report written in the 1980s.)


Solar heating can be an aid in fighting high fuel bills if planned carefully, as has been shown in preceding sections. Every home represents a different set of conditions; the best system for one home may not be the best one for next door. A salesman can make any system appear to be profitable on paper, and therefore prospective buyers must have some general knowledge about solar products. A solar heating system should have as many of the best design features as possible and still be affordable. As explained in this report, the collector should have high transmissivity and yet be durable enough to handle hail storms. Collector insulation should be at least one inch of fiberglass mat. Liquid circulating coils should be at least one inch in diameter if an open loop system is used. The control module should perform all the required functions with no added circuits. Any hot water circulating pumps should be isolated from the electric drive motor by a non-transmitting coupler of some kind. Homeowners should follow the recommendations in the guidelines section carefully. In particular, they should decide how much money they are willing to spend and then arrange their components in their order of importance. Control module designs vary the most in quality and therefore should have first priority. The collector is the second in importance, and care should be taken to ensure compatibility. Careful attention to the details of the design and selection of solar heating devices discussed in this report will enable homeowners to install efficient, productive solar heating systems.

One last possibility for ending a report involves turning to some related topic but discussing it at a very general level. Imagine that you had written a background report on some exciting new technology. In the final section, you might broaden your focus and discuss how that technology might be used, or the problems it might bring about. But the key is to keep it general—don’t force yourself into a whole new detailed section.

Figure 3: Afterword-type final section. The main body of the report discussed technical aspects of using plastics in main structural components of automobiles. This final section explores the future, looking at current developments, speculating on the impact of this trend.


Everyone seems to agree that the car of the future must weigh even less than today’s down-sized models. According to a recent forecast by the Arthur Anderson Company, the typical car will have lost about 1,000 pounds between 1978 and 1990 [2:40]. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates the loss of another 350 pounds by 1995. To obtain these reductions, automobile manufacturers will have find or develop composites such as fiber-reinforced plastics for the major load-bearing components, particularly the frame and drivetrain components. Ford Motor Company believes that if it is to achieve further growth in the late 1980’s, it must achieve breakthroughs in structural and semistructural load-bearing applications. Some of the breakthroughs Ford sees as needed include improvements in the use of continuous fibers, especially hybridized reinforced materials containing glass and graphite fibers. In addition, Ford hopes to develop a high speed production system for continuous fiber preforms. In the related area of composite technology, researchers at Owens Corning and Hercules are seeking the best combination of hybrid fibers for structural automotive components such as engine and transmission supports, drive shafts, and leaf springs. Tests thus far have led the vice president of Owen Corning’s Composites and Equipment Marketing Division, John B. Jenks, to predict that hybrid composites can compete with metal by the mid-1980’s for both automotive leaf springs and transmission supports. With development in these areas of plastics for automobiles, we can look forward to lighter, less expensive, and more economical cars in the next decade. Such developments might well provide the needed spark to rejuvenate America’s auto industry and to further decrease our rate of petroleum consumption.


In practice, the preceding ways of ending reports are often combined. You can analyze final sections of reports and identify elements that summarize, elements that conclude, and elements that discuss something related but at a general level (afterwords).

Here are some possibilities for afterword-type final sections:

  • Provide a brief, general look to the future; speculate on future developments.
  • Explore solutions to problems that were discussed in the main body of the report.
  • Discuss the operation of a mechanism or technology that was described in the main body of the report.
  • Provide some cautions, guidelines, tips, or preview of advanced functions.
  • Explore the economics, social implications, problems, legal aspects, advantages, disadvantages, benefits, or applications of the report subject (but only generally and briefly).

Revision Checklist for Conclusions

As you reread and revise your conclusions, watch out for problems such as the following:

  • If you use an afterword-type last section, make sure you write it at a general enough level that it does not seem like yet another body section of the report.
  • Avoid conclusions for which there is no basis (discussion, support) in the body of report.
  • Keep final sections brief and general.

Chapter Attribution Information

This chapter was derived by Annemarie Hamlin, Chris Rubio, and Michele DeSilva, Central Oregon Community College, from  Online Technical Writing by David McMurrey – CC: BY 4.0

Technical Writing Copyright © 2017 by Allison Gross; Annemarie Hamlin; Billy Merck; Chris Rubio; Jodi Naas; Megan Savage; and Michele DeSilva is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Guide to Technical Report Writing

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  • Guide to Laboratory Writing

School of Engineering and Informatics (for staff and students)

how to write a conclusion in a technical report

Table of contents

1 Introduction

2 structure, 3 presentation, 4 planning the report, 5 writing the first draft, 6 revising the first draft, 7 diagrams, graphs, tables and mathematics, 8 the report layout, 10 references to diagrams, graphs, tables and equations, 11 originality and plagiarism, 12 finalising the report and proofreading, 13 the summary, 14 proofreading, 15 word processing / desktop publishing, 16 recommended reading.

A technical report is a formal report designed to convey technical information in a clear and easily accessible format. It is divided into sections which allow different readers to access different levels of information. This guide explains the commonly accepted format for a technical report; explains the purposes of the individual sections; and gives hints on how to go about drafting and refining a report in order to produce an accurate, professional document.

A technical report should contain the following sections;

Title page Must include the title of the report. Reports for assessment, where the word length has been specified, will often also require the summary word count and the main text word count
Summary A summary of the whole report including important features, results and conclusions
Contents Numbers and lists all section and subsection headings with page numbers
Introduction States the objectives of the report and comments on the way the topic of the report is to be treated. Leads straight into the report itself. Must not be a copy of the introduction in a lab handout.
The sections which make up the body of the report Divided into numbered and headed sections. These sections separate the different main ideas in a logical order
Conclusions A short, logical summing up of the theme(s) developed in the main text
References Details of published sources of material referred to or quoted in the text (including any lecture notes and URL addresses of any websites used.
Bibliography Other published sources of material, including websites, not referred to in the text but useful for background or further reading.
Acknowledgements List of people who helped you research or prepare the report, including your proofreaders
Appendices (if appropriate) Any further material which is essential for full understanding of your report (e.g. large scale diagrams, computer code, raw data, specifications) but not required by a casual reader

For technical reports required as part of an assessment, the following presentation guidelines are recommended;

Script The report must be printed single sided on white A4 paper. Hand written or dot-matrix printed reports are not acceptable.
Margins All four margins must be at least 2.54 cm
Page numbers Do not number the title, summary or contents pages. Number all other pages consecutively starting at 1
Binding A single staple in the top left corner or 3 staples spaced down the left hand margin. For longer reports (e.g. year 3 project report) binders may be used.

There are some excellent textbooks contain advice about the writing process and how to begin (see Section 16 ). Here is a checklist of the main stages;

  • Collect your information. Sources include laboratory handouts and lecture notes, the University Library, the reference books and journals in the Department office. Keep an accurate record of all the published references which you intend to use in your report, by noting down the following information; Journal article: author(s) title of article name of journal (italic or underlined) year of publication volume number (bold) issue number, if provided (in brackets) page numbers Book: author(s) title of book (italic or underlined) edition, if appropriate publisher year of publication N.B. the listing of recommended textbooks in section 2 contains all this information in the correct format.
  • Creative phase of planning. Write down topics and ideas from your researched material in random order. Next arrange them into logical groups. Keep note of topics that do not fit into groups in case they come in useful later. Put the groups into a logical sequence which covers the topic of your report.
  • Structuring the report. Using your logical sequence of grouped ideas, write out a rough outline of the report with headings and subheadings.

N.B. the listing of recommended textbooks in Section 16 contains all this information in the correct format.

Who is going to read the report? For coursework assignments, the readers might be fellow students and/or faculty markers. In professional contexts, the readers might be managers, clients, project team members. The answer will affect the content and technical level, and is a major consideration in the level of detail required in the introduction.

Begin writing with the main text, not the introduction. Follow your outline in terms of headings and subheadings. Let the ideas flow; do not worry at this stage about style, spelling or word processing. If you get stuck, go back to your outline plan and make more detailed preparatory notes to get the writing flowing again.

Make rough sketches of diagrams or graphs. Keep a numbered list of references as they are included in your writing and put any quoted material inside quotation marks (see Section 11 ).

Write the Conclusion next, followed by the Introduction. Do not write the Summary at this stage.

This is the stage at which your report will start to take shape as a professional, technical document. In revising what you have drafted you must bear in mind the following, important principle;

  • the essence of a successful technical report lies in how accurately and concisely it conveys the intended information to the intended readership.

During year 1, term 1 you will be learning how to write formal English for technical communication. This includes examples of the most common pitfalls in the use of English and how to avoid them. Use what you learn and the recommended books to guide you. Most importantly, when you read through what you have written, you must ask yourself these questions;

  • Does that sentence/paragraph/section say what I want and mean it to say? If not, write it in a different way.
  • Are there any words/sentences/paragraphs which could be removed without affecting the information which I am trying to convey? If so, remove them.

It is often the case that technical information is most concisely and clearly conveyed by means other than words. Imagine how you would describe an electrical circuit layout using words rather than a circuit diagram. Here are some simple guidelines;

Diagrams Keep them simple. Draw them specifically for the report. Put small diagrams after the text reference and as close as possible to it. Think about where to place large diagrams.
Graphs For detailed guidance on graph plotting, see the
Tables Is a table the best way to present your information? Consider graphs, bar charts or pie charts.
Dependent tables (small) can be placed within the text, even as part of a sentence.
Independent tables (larger) are separated from the text with table numbers and captions. Position them as close as possible to the text reference. Complicated tables should go in an appendix.
Mathematics Only use mathematics where it is the most efficient way to convey the information. Longer mathematical arguments, if they are really necessary, should go into an appendix. You will be provided with lecture handouts on the correct layout for mathematics.

The appearance of a report is no less important than its content. An attractive, clearly organised report stands a better chance of being read. Use a standard, 12pt, font, such as Times New Roman, for the main text. Use different font sizes, bold, italic and underline where appropriate but not to excess. Too many changes of type style can look very fussy.

Use heading and sub-headings to break up the text and to guide the reader. They should be based on the logical sequence which you identified at the planning stage but with enough sub-headings to break up the material into manageable chunks. The use of numbering and type size and style can clarify the structure as follows;

  • In the main text you must always refer to any diagram, graph or table which you use.
  • Label diagrams and graphs as follows; Figure 1.2 Graph of energy output as a function of wave height. In this example, the second diagram in section 1 would be referred to by "...see figure 1.2..."
  • Label tables in a similar fashion; Table 3.1 Performance specifications of a range of commercially available GaAsFET devices In this example, the first table in section 3 might be referred to by "...with reference to the performance specifications provided in Table 3.1..."
  • Number equations as follows; F(dB) = 10*log 10 (F) (3.6) In this example, the sixth equation in section 3 might be referred to by "...noise figure in decibels as given by eqn (3.6)..."

Whenever you make use of other people's facts or ideas, you must indicate this in the text with a number which refers to an item in the list of references. Any phrases, sentences or paragraphs which are copied unaltered must be enclosed in quotation marks and referenced by a number. Material which is not reproduced unaltered should not be in quotation marks but must still be referenced. It is not sufficient to list the sources of information at the end of the report; you must indicate the sources of information individually within the report using the reference numbering system.

Information that is not referenced is assumed to be either common knowledge or your own work or ideas; if it is not, then it is assumed to be plagiarised i.e. you have knowingly copied someone else's words, facts or ideas without reference, passing them off as your own. This is a serious offence . If the person copied from is a fellow student, then this offence is known as collusion and is equally serious. Examination boards can, and do, impose penalties for these offences ranging from loss of marks to disqualification from the award of a degree

This warning applies equally to information obtained from the Internet. It is very easy for markers to identify words and images that have been copied directly from web sites. If you do this without acknowledging the source of your information and putting the words in quotation marks then your report will be sent to the Investigating Officer and you may be called before a disciplinary panel.

Your report should now be nearly complete with an introduction, main text in sections, conclusions, properly formatted references and bibliography and any appendices. Now you must add the page numbers, contents and title pages and write the summary.

The summary, with the title, should indicate the scope of the report and give the main results and conclusions. It must be intelligible without the rest of the report. Many people may read, and refer to, a report summary but only a few may read the full report, as often happens in a professional organisation.

  • Purpose - a short version of the report and a guide to the report.
  • Length - short, typically not more than 100-300 words
  • Content - provide information, not just a description of the report.

This refers to the checking of every aspect of a piece of written work from the content to the layout and is an absolutely necessary part of the writing process. You should acquire the habit of never sending or submitting any piece of written work, from email to course work, without at least one and preferably several processes of proofreading. In addition, it is not possible for you, as the author of a long piece of writing, to proofread accurately yourself; you are too familiar with what you have written and will not spot all the mistakes.

When you have finished your report, and before you staple it, you must check it very carefully yourself. You should then give it to someone else, e.g. one of your fellow students, to read carefully and check for any errors in content, style, structure and layout. You should record the name of this person in your acknowledgements.

Word processing and desktop publishing packages offer great scope for endless revision of a document. This includes words, word order, style and layout. Word processing and desktop publishing packages never make up for poor or inaccurate content
They allow for the incremental production of a long document in portions which are stored and combined later They can waste a lot of time by slowing down writing and distracting the writer with the mechanics of text and graphics manipulation.
They can be used to make a document look stylish and professional. Excessive use of 'cut and paste' leads to tedious repetition and sloppy writing.
They make the process of proofreading and revision extremely straightforward

Two useful tips;

  • Do not bother with style and formatting of a document until the penultimate or final draft.
  • Do not try to get graphics finalised until the text content is complete.
  • Davies J.W. Communication Skills - A Guide for Engineering and Applied Science Students (2nd ed., Prentice Hall, 2001)
  • van Emden J. Effective communication for Science and Technology (Palgrave 2001)
  • van Emden J. A Handbook of Writing for Engineers 2nd ed. (Macmillan 1998)
  • van Emden J. and Easteal J. Technical Writing and Speaking, an Introduction (McGraw-Hill 1996)
  • Pfeiffer W.S. Pocket Guide to Technical Writing (Prentice Hall 1998)
  • Eisenberg A. Effective Technical Communication (McGraw-Hill 1992)

Updated and revised by the Department of Engineering & Design, November 2022

School Office: School of Engineering and Informatics, University of Sussex, Chichester 1 Room 002, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9QJ [email protected] T 01273 (67) 8195 School Office opening hours: School Office open Monday – Friday 09:00-15:00, phone lines open Monday-Friday 09:00-17:00 School Office location [PDF 1.74MB]

Copyright © 2024, University of Sussex

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Technical Report: What is it & How to Write it? (Steps & Structure Included)

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A technical report can either act as a cherry on top of your project or can ruin the entire dough.

Everything depends on how you write and present it.

A technical report is a sole medium through which the audience and readers of your project can understand the entire process of your research or experimentation.

So, you basically have to write a report on how you managed to do that research, steps you followed, events that occurred, etc., taking the reader from the ideation of the process and then to the conclusion or findings.

Sounds exhausting, doesn’t it?

Well hopefully after reading this entire article, it won’t.

A girl writing a technical report

However, note that there is no specific standard determined to write a technical report. It depends on the type of project and the preference of your project supervisor.

With that in mind, let’s dig right in!

What is a Technical Report? (Definition)

A technical report is described as a written scientific document that conveys information about technical research in an objective and fact-based manner. This technical report consists of the three key features of a research i.e process, progress, and results associated with it.

Some common areas in which technical reports are used are agriculture, engineering, physical, and biomedical science. So, such complicated information must be conveyed by a report that is easily readable and efficient.

Now, how do we decide on the readability level?

The answer is simple – by knowing our target audience.

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A technical report is considered as a product that comes with your research, like a guide for it.

You study the target audience of a product before creating it, right?

Similarly, before writing a technical report, you must keep in mind who your reader is going to be.

Whether it is professors, industry professionals, or even customers looking to buy your project – studying the target audience enables you to start structuring your report. It gives you an idea of the existing knowledge level of the reader and how much information you need to put in the report.

Many people tend to put in fewer efforts in the report than what they did in the actual research..which is only fair.

We mean, you’ve already worked so much, why should you go through the entire process again to create a report?

Well then, let’s move to the second section where we talk about why it is absolutely essential to write a technical report accompanying your project.

Read more:  What is a Progress Report and How to Write One?

Importance of Writing a Technical Report 

1. efficient communication.

Technical reports are used by industries to convey pertinent information to upper management. This information is then used to make crucial decisions that would impact the company in the future.

Technical team communicating with each other

Examples of such technical reports include proposals, regulations, manuals, procedures, requests, progress reports, emails, and memos.

2. Evidence for your work

Most of the technical work is backed by software.

However, graduation projects are not.

So, if you’re a student, your technical report acts as the sole evidence of your work. It shows the steps you took for the research and glorifies your efforts for a better evaluation.

3. Organizes the data 

A technical report is a concise, factual piece of information that is aligned and designed in a standard manner. It is the one place where all the data of a project is written in a compact manner that is easily understandable by a reader.

4. Tool for evaluation of your work 

Professors and supervisors mainly evaluate your research project based on the technical write-up for it. If your report is accurate, clear, and comprehensible, you will surely bag a good grade.

A technical report to research is like Robin to Batman.

Best results occur when both of them work together.

So, how can you write a technical report that leaves the readers in a ‘wow’ mode? Let’s find out!

How to Write a Technical Report? 

When writing a technical report, there are two approaches you can follow, depending on what suits you the best.

  • Top-down approach- In this, you structure the entire report from title to sub-sections and conclusion and then start putting in the matter in the respective chapters. This allows your thought process to have a defined flow and thus helps in time management as well.
  • Evolutionary delivery- This approach is suitable if you’re someone who believes in ‘go with the flow’. Here the author writes and decides as and when the work progresses. This gives you a broad thinking horizon. You can even add and edit certain parts when some new idea or inspiration strikes.

A technical report must have a defined structure that is easy to navigate and clearly portrays the objective of the report. Here is a list of pages, set in the order that you should include in your technical report.

Cover page- It is the face of your project. So, it must contain details like title, name of the author, name of the institution with its logo. It should be a simple yet eye-catching page.

Title page- In addition to all the information on the cover page, the title page also informs the reader about the status of the project. For instance, technical report part 1, final report, etc. The name of the mentor or supervisor is also mentioned on this page.

Abstract- Also referred to as the executive summary, this page gives a concise and clear overview of the project. It is written in such a manner that a person only reading the abstract can gain complete information on the project.

Preface – It is an announcement page wherein you specify that you have given due credits to all the sources and that no part of your research is plagiarised. The findings are of your own experimentation and research.

Dedication- This is an optional page when an author wants to dedicate their study to a loved one. It is a small sentence in the middle of a new page. It is mostly used in theses.

Acknowledgment- Here, you acknowledge the people parties, and institutions who helped you in the process or inspired you for the idea of it.

Table of contents – Each chapter and its subchapter is carefully divided into this section for easy navigation in the project. If you have included symbols, then a similar nomenclature page is also made. Similarly, if you’ve used a lot of graphs and tables, you need to create a separate content page for that. Each of these lists begins on a new page.

A lady creating table of contents in a technical report

Introduction- Finally comes the introduction, marking the beginning of your project. On this page, you must clearly specify the context of the report. It includes specifying the purpose, objectives of the project, the questions you have answered in your report, and sometimes an overview of the report is also provided. Note that your conclusion should answer the objective questions.

Central Chapter(s)- Each chapter should be clearly defined with sub and sub-sub sections if needed. Every section should serve a purpose. While writing the central chapter, keep in mind the following factors:

  • Clearly define the purpose of each chapter in its introduction.
  • Any assumptions you are taking for this study should be mentioned. For instance, if your report is targeting globally or a specific country. There can be many assumptions in a report. Your work can be disregarded if it is not mentioned every time you talk about the topic.
  • Results you portray must be verifiable and not based upon your opinion. (Big no to opinions!)
  • Each conclusion drawn must be connected to some central chapter.

Conclusion- The purpose of the conclusion is to basically conclude any and everything that you talked about in your project. Mention the findings of each chapter, objectives reached, and the extent to which the given objectives were reached. Discuss the implications of the findings and the significant contribution your research made.

Appendices- They are used for complete sets of data, long mathematical formulas, tables, and figures. Items in the appendices should be mentioned in the order they were used in the project.

References- This is a very crucial part of your report. It cites the sources from which the information has been taken from. This may be figures, statistics, graphs, or word-to-word sentences. The absence of this section can pose a legal threat for you. While writing references, give due credit to the sources and show your support to other people who have studied the same genres.

Bibliography- Many people tend to get confused between references and bibliography. Let us clear it out for you. References are the actual material you take into your research, previously published by someone else. Whereas a bibliography is an account of all the data you read, got inspired from, or gained knowledge from, which is not necessarily a direct part of your research.

Style ( Pointers to remember )

Let’s take a look at the writing style you should follow while writing a technical report:

  • Avoid using slang or informal words. For instance, use ‘cannot’ instead of can’t.
  • Use a third-person tone and avoid using words like I, Me.
  • Each sentence should be grammatically complete with an object and subject.
  • Two sentences should not be linked via a comma.
  • Avoid the use of passive voice.
  • Tenses should be carefully employed. Use present for something that is still viable and past for something no longer applicable.
  • Readers should be kept in mind while writing. Avoid giving them instructions. Your work is to make their work of evaluation easier.
  • Abbreviations should be avoided and if used, the full form should be mentioned.
  • Understand the difference between a numbered and bulleted list. Numbering is used when something is explained sequence-wise. Whereas bullets are used to just list out points in which sequence is not important.
  • All the preliminary pages (title, abstract, preface..) should be named in small roman numerals. ( i, ii, iv..)
  • All the other pages should be named in Arabic numerals (1,2,3..) thus, your report begins with 1 – on the introduction page.
  • Separate long texts into small paragraphs to keep the reader engaged. A paragraph should not be more than 10 lines.
  • Do not incorporate too many fonts. Use standard times new roman 12pt for the text. You can use bold for headlines.


If you think your work ends when the report ends, think again. Proofreading the report is a very important step. While proofreading you see your work from a reader’s point of view and you can correct any small mistakes you might have done while typing. Check everything from content to layout, and style of writing.


Finally comes the presentation of the report in which you submit it to an evaluator.

  • It should be printed single-sided on an A4 size paper. double side printing looks chaotic and messy.
  • Margins should be equal throughout the report.

Employees analysing sales report

  • You can use single staples on the left side for binding or use binders if the report is long.

AND VOILA! You’re done.

…and don’t worry, if the above process seems like too much for you, Bit.ai is here to help.

Read more:  Technical Manual: What, Types & How to Create One? (Steps Included)

Bit.ai : The Ultimate Tool for Writing Technical Reports

Bit.ai: Tool to create technical reports

What if we tell you that the entire structure of a technical report explained in this article is already done and designed for you!

Yes, you read that right.

With Bit.ai’s 70+ templates , all you have to do is insert your text in a pre-formatted document that has been designed to appeal to the creative nerve of the reader.

Bit features infographic

You can even add collaborators who can proofread or edit your work in real-time. You can also highlight text, @mention collaborators, and make comments!

Wait, there’s more! When you send your document to the evaluators, you can even trace who read it, how much time they spent on it, and more.

Exciting, isn’t it?

Start making your fabulous technical report with Bit.ai today!

Few technical documents templates you might be interested in:

  • Status Report Template
  • API Documentation
  • Product Requirements Document Template
  • Software Design Document Template
  • Software Requirements Document Template
  • UX Research Template
  • Issue Tracker Template
  • Release Notes Template
  • Statement of Work
  • Scope of Work Template

Wrap up(Conclusion)

A well structured and designed report adds credibility to your research work. You can rely on bit.ai for that part.

However, the content is still yours so remember to make it worth it.

After finishing up your report, ask yourself:

Does the abstract summarize the objectives and methods employed in the paper?

Are the objective questions answered in your conclusion?

What are the implications of the findings and how is your work making a change in the way that particular topic is read and conceived?

If you find logical answers to these, then you have done a good job!

Remember, writing isn’t an overnight process. ideas won’t just arrive. Give yourself space and time for inspiration to strike and then write it down. Good writing has no shortcuts, it takes practice.

But at least now that you’ve bit.ai in the back of your pocket, you don’t have to worry about the design and formatting!

Have you written any technical reports before? If yes, what tools did you use? Do let us know by tweeting us @bit_docs.

Further reads:

How To Create An Effective Status Report?

7 Types of Reports Your Business Certainly Needs!

What is Project Status Report Documentation?

Scientific Paper: What is it & How to Write it? (Steps and Format)

  Business Report: What is it & How to Write it? (Steps & Format)

How to Write Project Reports that ‘Wow’ Your Clients? (Template Included)

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7.4 Technical Reports

Longer technical reports can take on many different forms (and names), but most, such as recommendation and evaluation reports, do essentially the same thing: they provide a careful study of a situation or problem , and often recommend what should be done to improve that situation or problem .

The structural principle fundamental to these types of reports is this: you provide not only your recommendation, choice, or judgment, but also the data, analysis, discussion, and the conclusions leading to it. That way, readers can check your findings, your logic, and your conclusions to make sure your methodology was sound and that they can agree with your recommendation. Your goal is to convince the reader to agree with you by using your careful research, detailed analysis, rhetorical style, and documentation.

Composing Reports

When creating a report of any type, the general problem-solving approach works well for most technical reports; t he steps below in Table 7.4 , generally coincide with how you organize your report’s information.

1. Identify the  What is the “unsatisfactory situation” that needs to be improved?
2. Identify the   for responding to the need

What is the overall goal?

What are the specific, measurable objectives any solution should achieve?

What constraints must any solution adhere to?

3. Determine the solution   you will examine

Define the scope of your approach to the problem.

Identify the possible courses of action that you will examine in your report. You might include the consequences of simply doing nothing.

4. Study how well each  meets the 

Systematically study each option, and compare how well they meet each of the objectives you have set.

Provide a systematic and quantifiable way to compare how well to solution options meet the objectives (weighted objectives chart).

5. Draw   based on your analysis Based on the research presented in your discussion section, sum up your findings and give a comparative evaluation of how well each of the options meets the criteria and addresses the need.
6. Formulate  based on your conclusion Indicate which course of action the reader should take to address the problem, based on your analysis of the data presented in the report.

Structuring Reports

  • INTRODUCTION :  T he introduction should clearly indicate the document’s purpose. Your introduction should discuss the “unsatisfactory situation” that has given rise to this report (in other words, the reason(s) for the report), and the requirements that must be met. Your reader may also need some background. Finally, provide an overview of the contents of the report. The following section provides additional information on writing report introductions.
  • TECHNICAL BACKGROUND :  S ome recommendation or feasibility reports may require technical discussion in order to make the rest of the report meaningful. The dilemma with this kind of information is whether to put it in a section of its own or to fit it into the comparison sections where it is relevant. For example, a discussion of power and speed of tablet computers is going to necessitate some discussion of RAM, megahertz, and processors. Should you put that in a section that compares the tablets according to power and speed? Should you keep the comparison neat and clean, limited strictly to the comparison and the conclusion? Maybe all the technical background can be pitched in its own section—either toward the front of the report or in an appendix.
  • REQUIREMENTS AND CRITERIA :  A  critical part of feasibility and recommendation reports is the discussion of the requirements (objectives and constraints) you’ll use to reach the final decision or recommendation. Here are some examples:
  • If you’re trying to recommend a tablet computer for use by employees, your requirements are likely to involve size, cost, hard-disk storage, display quality, durability, and battery function.
  • If you’re looking into the feasibility of providing every student at Linn-Benton Community College with a free transportation pass, you’d need define the basic requirements of such a program—what it would be expected to accomplish, problems that it would have to avoid, how much it would cost, and so on.
  • If you’re evaluating the recent implementation of a public transit system in your area, you’d need to know what was originally expected of the program and then compare (see “Comparative Analysis” below) its actual results to those requirements.

Requirements can be defined in several ways:

Numerical Values :   many requirements are stated as maximum or minimum numerical values. For example, there may be a cost requirement—the tablet should cost no more than $900.

Yes/No Values :   some requirements are simply a yes-no question. Does the tablet come equipped with Bluetooth? Is the car equipped with voice recognition?

Ratings Values :   in some cases, key considerations cannot be handled either with numerical values or yes/no values. For example, your organization might want a tablet that has an ease-of-use rating of at least “good” by some nationally accepted ratings group. Or you may have to assign ratings yourself.

The requirements section should also discuss how important the individual requirements are in relation to each other. Picture the typical situation where no one option is best in all categories of comparison. One option is cheaper; another has more functions; one has better ease-of-use ratings; another is known to be more durable. Set up your requirements so that they dictate a “winner” from a situation where there is no obvious winner.

  • DISCUSSION OF SOLUTION OPTIONS :   In certain kinds of feasibility or recommendation reports, you’ll need to explain how you narrowed the field of choices down to the ones your report focuses on. Often, this follows right after the discussion of the requirements. Your basic requirements may well narrow the field down for you. But there may be other considerations that disqualify other options—explain these as well.

Additionally, you may need to provide brief  technical descriptions of the options themselves. In this description section, you provide a general discussion of the options so that readers will know something about them. The discussion at this stage is not comparative. It’s just a general orientation to the options. In the tablets example, you might want to give some brief, general specifications on each model about to be compared (see below).

  • COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS : O ne of the most important parts of a feasibility or recommendation report is the comparison of the options. Remember that you include this section so that readers can follow the logic of your analysis and come up with different conclusions if they desire. This comparison can be structured using a “block” (whole-to-whole) approach, or an “alternating” (point-by-point) approach.

The comparative section should end with a conclusion that sums up the relative strengths and weaknesses of each option and indicates which option is the best choice in that particular category of comparison. Of course, it won’t always be easy to state a clear winner—you may have to qualify the conclusions in various ways, providing multiple conclusions for different conditions. *NOTE : If you were writing an evaluative report, you wouldn’t be comparing options so much as you’d be comparing the thing being evaluated against the requirements placed upon it and/or the expectations people had of it. For example, if you were evaluating your town’s new public transit system, you might compare what the initiative’s original expectations were with how effectively it has met those expectations.

  • SUMMARY TABLE : A fter the individual comparisons, include a summary table that summarizes the conclusions from the comparative analysis section. Some readers are more likely to pay attention to details in a table (like the one above) than in paragraphs; however, you still have to write up a clear summary paragraph of your findings.
  • CONCLUSIONS : the conclusions section of a feasibility or recommendation report ties together all of the conclusions you have already reached in each section. In other words, in this section, you restate the individual conclusions. For example, you might note which model had the best price, which had the best battery function, which was most user-friendly, and so on. You could also give a summary of the relative strengths and weakness of each option based on how well they meet the criteria.

The conclusions section must untangle all the conflicting conclusions and somehow reach the final conclusion, which is the one that states the best choice. Thus, the conclusion section first lists the primary conclusions —the simple, single-category ones. Then it must state  secondary conclusions —the ones that balance conflicting primary conclusions. For example, if one tablet is the least inexpensive but has poor battery function, but another is the most expensive but has good battery function, which do you choose and why? The secondary conclusion would state the answer to this dilemma.

  • RECOMMENDATIONS : the final section states recommendations and directly address the problem outlined in the introduction. These may at times seem repetitive, but remember that some readers may skip right to the recommendation section. Also, there will be some cases where there may be a best choice but you wouldn’t want to recommend it. Early in their history, laptop computers were heavy and unreliable—there may have been one model that was better than the rest, but even it was not worth having. You may want to recommend further research, a pilot project, or a re-design of one of the options discussed.

The recommendation section should outline what further work needs to be done, based solidly on the information presented previously in the report and responding directly to the needs outlined in the beginning. In some cases, you may need to recommend several ranked options based on different possibilities.

For more information on what technical reports are and how to write them, watch “ Technical Report Meaning and Explanation ” from The Audiopedia:


Additional Resources

  • “ How to Write A Technical Paper ” by Michael Ernst, University of Washington
  • “ Report Design ,” from Online Technical Writing
  • “ Engineering Report Guidelines ” (PDF example of a style guide for engineers from Technical Writing Essentials )
." [License: CC BY 4.0] " " Uploaded by The Audiopedia, , 21 Mar. 2018, .

Technical Writing at LBCC Copyright © 2020 by Will Fleming is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

how to write a conclusion in a technical report


This page will support you in satisfying Writing Learning Outcome:  

CONCLUSION - Provide an effective conclusion that summarizes the laboratory's purpose, processes, and key findings, and makes appropriate recommendations. 

Learning Objectives

You should be able to

Identify technical audience expectations for engineering lab report conclusions.

Describe what makes a conclusion meaningful, especially to a technical audience.

Relate the idea of audience expectations to prior writing instruction.

Write meaningful conclusions for an engineering lab report.

Summarize the important contents of the laboratory report clearly, succinctly, and with sufficient specificity.

Support conclusions with the evidence presented earlier in the lab report.

What is a Meaningful Conclusion in an Engineering Lab Report?

A conclusion is meaningful if it includes a summary of the work (i.e., objective and process) as well as the key findings (i.e., the results of the work and their implications) of the lab work.

The technical audience expects the following features to make the conclusion meaningful.

Restate the objective briefly.

Restate the lab process briefly.

Restate the important results of the lab work briefly, including any significant errors.

Restate the important findings briefly to meet the objective.

Provide brief recommendations for future actions or laboratories.

What Are Some Common Mistakes Seen in Poorly Written Engineering Lab Reports?

No conclusion is included in the report.

The conclusion is missing an important part (i.e., lab o bjective and key results) of the lab.

New data or new discussion is included that was not written in the report body.

Concluding statements do not address the stated objectives of the report.

The conclusion includes opinions only rather than the facts supported by other sections of the report.

Statements are overly general without containing any meaningful takeaways.

Statements are overly specific with the detailed descriptions which are supposed to be in the body.

Sample Conclusions

how to write a conclusion in a technical report

Why Does the Technical Audience Value Meaningful Conclusions From Engineering Lab Reports?

The technical audience reads the lab report conclusions carefully to take away the writer’s most important information. If the conclusion is well written, they may not need to read any other part of the report or know that they want to read the rest of the report to understand important details.

How Can we Use Engineering Judgment When Drawing Lab Report Conclusions?

In the context of engineering lab reports, engineering judgment can be defined as an application of evidence (i.e., lab data) and engineering principles (i.e., theory) to make decisions. The technical audience can trust the conclusions only when they are based on accurate data. The writer should use appropriate engineering principles when investigating and discussing lab data.

Common Mistakes

The conclusion is missing an important part (i.e., key results) of the lab.

Kim, J., Kim, D., (2019) “How engineering students draw conclusions from lab reports and design project reports in junior-level engineering courses,” The Proceedings of 2019 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Tampa, FL, June 2019. https://peer.asee.org/how-engineering-students-draw-conclusions-from-lab-reports-and-design-project-reports-injunior-level-engineering-courses.pdf

“Argument Papers”, Purdue University, Purdue Online Writing Lab, Argument Papers, https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/common_writing_assignments/argument_papers/conclusions.html

“Student Writing Guide”, University of Minnesota Department of Mechanical Engineering, http://www.me.umn.edu/education/undergraduate/writing/MESWG-Lab.1.5.pdf

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6 Writing the Discussion and Conclusion Sections

6.1 Discussion

This section discusses your results, presenting the “so what,” or “why should the reader care” about your research. This is where you explain what you think the results show. Tell the reader the significance of your document by discussing how the results fit with what is already known as you discussed in your introduction, how the results compare with what is expected, or why are there unexpected results. Here are some words to get you thinking about this section: evaluate, interpret, examine, qualify, etc.

Start by either summarizing the the information in this section or by stating the validity of the hypothesis. This allows readers to see upfront your interpretation of the data. End the discussion by summarizing why the results matter.

Writing tips:

  • Summarize the most important findings at the beginning (1-3 sentences)
  • Describe patterns and relationships shown in your results
  • Explain how results relate to expectations and literature cited in Introduction
  • Explain contradictions and exceptions
  • Describe need for future research (if no Conclusion section)
  • Overgeneralize, use specific supported statements
  • Ignore unexpected results or deviations from your data
  • Speculate conclusions that cannot be tested in the foreseeable future.

Example Discussion

6.2 Conclusion

The Discussion usually serves as the conclusion. If there is a separate conclusion section then it should be brief, only one or two paragraphs. In the conclusion typically authors offer either recommendations or future perspectives for the research. Figs. 2.9 and 2.10 show the Discussion and Conclusion sections from the sample paper.

Example conclusion

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Students often have difficulty writing the Conclusion of a paper because of concerns with redundancy and about introducing new ideas at the end of the paper. While both are valid concerns, summary and looking forward (or showing future directions for the work done in the paper) are actually functions of the conclusion. The problems then become:

  • How to summarize without being completely redundant
  • How to look beyond the paper without jumping completely in a different direction

1. Summary: Since the conclusion’s job is to summarize the paper, some redundancy is necessary. However, you are summarizing the paper for a reader who had read the introduction and the body of the report already, and should already have a strong sense of key concepts. Your conclusion, then, is for a more informed reader and should look quite different than the introduction.

In a report on bone tissue engineering, your introduction (see Online Handbook / Components of Documents / Introductions ) and literature reviews (see Online Handbook / Components of Documents / Literature Reviews ) might discuss osteoporosis, along with current methods of treatment and their limitations at length, since this involves developing context and establishing the gap for your paper. It would even likely form a large part of the literature review. Your conclusion, however, might summarize all of this in one sentence, while identifying itself as summary (by virtue of the “as mentioned previously”):

As mentioned previously, current treatments for osteoporosis that attempt to stimulate re-growth of bone are limited because of problems delivering appropriate signaling mechanisms.

A sentence like this in the introduction would create difficulty for most readers – who would not initially know what signaling mechanisms are or what role the play in process for bone growth. But by time they reach the conclusion, the audience should know what they are, as well as the problems with current mechanisms. The above sentence might not work anywhere else in the paper – since it relies on knowledge developed throughout the paper.

Similarly, since you”ve probably spent a fair amount of time and evaluating the solution in the body of the report, a simple reference to the technology is sufficient.

Techniques involving injecting nanoparticles containing bone growth factors at the relevant areas have been shown to be effective, safe, and stable [1,2, 8-10].

This sentence relies on the audience knowing that “effectiveness,” “safety,” and “stability” are the three criteria for a successful delivery method, and also what the terms mean.

These two sentences could form the basis of your conclusion: they review the key elements of an engineering paper (see Accurate Documentation / Conducting and Understanding Research in Engineering ) by going over the situation-problem-solution-evaluation structure very briefly.

The summary could be longer. It might, for example, acknowledge the limitations of this method in current research:

However, research on the use of nanoparticles has yet to be conduct in vivo (in any applications) and bone tissue engineering is still in its infancy as a field of science.

Or, the conclusion might develop any of the above aspects in greater detail. The level of detail you engage in your summary is up to you – a conclusion can be as short as a few sentences and as long as several pages – depending on the length of the paper and the complexity of the subject matter. Prescribing a length for the conclusion is difficult, but it should not exceed 10% of the document itself, and in many cases is significant shorter.

One final note on summarizing your own writing: avoid copying and pasting sentences from the introduction or other parts of your paper into the conclusion. They won’t fit together appropriately because they were taken from a different context, and readers have a knack for spotting duplicated sentences.

2. Looking Forward: The other role of the conclusion in a scientific paper is, in fact, to introduce new avenues of potential study or to explain the potential impacts of your conclusions. This is almost an expectation in scientific papers. It should not, however, be seen as an opportunity to develop these avenues in significant detail, and should be clearly linked to the work described in your paper. In the above example, one might conclude with the following statement:

As researchers conduct more research into nanoparticles for use in drug delivery systems and bone tissue engineering matures as a field, the potential for finding a cure for osteoporosis increases. Specifically, work on matching growth factors with types of nanoparticle compounds and ways of controlling the release of these factors over time should, in the near future, turn bone tissue engineering from a field of research to an actual treatment method.

The final sentence should provide a strong take away statement that allows the audience to remember the main point of the paper – in the above example, the potential for a cure for bone disease and the work that needs to be done to achieve it.

Conclusion: In summary, the two main problems students encounter in writing conclusions are related to the two main functions of that component of a document. In summarizing the paper, the conclusion will exhibit some redundancy: the key is to aim this summary at readers who have read your report. In developing other avenues of study or application, the conclusion may have to introduce new ideas: the key here is to clearly relate these new applications or directions to the content of your report.

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Expand your grasp of effective communication within the engineering sector as you delve into the essentials of a fundamental tool - the technical report. Gain insight into its significance, structure, varied applications across different engineering fields, and master the art of writing one with our comprehensive guide. This in-depth exploration paves the way for a deeper understanding of the concept, offering a practical advantage as you navigate your engineering career. Start your journey to becoming proficient in creating a persuasive technical report, the backbone of professional engineering communication.

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Understanding Technical Report: Meaning and Importance in Engineering

What is a technical report: an overview.

Technical Report: A document that describes the process, progress, or results of technical or scientific research. It also includes a detailed analysis and the conclusions drawn from that research.

  • Emphasis on research methods and analysis
  • Detailed technical information
  • Use of jargon and technical terminology
  • Targeted towards a specific technical community
IntroductionPresents the problem, its background, and the context in which it is placed.
MethodologyDetails the research methods and tools used.
ResultsOutlines the results of the research.
DiscussionAnalyzes the results obtained.
ConclusionSummarizes the research and suggests future research.

Importance of Technical Report in Professional Engineering

Beyond these practical applications, technical reports also serve a critical role in advancing the field of engineering. By sharing their findings with the technical community, engineers can stimulate innovation, inspire new research, and contribute to the evolution of engineering practices.

  • Facilitates knowledge sharing within and between organizations
  • Allows for the replication of successful projects
  • Provides a record of failures, helping to prevent future mistakes
  • Establishes a transparent, methodical approach for project documentation

Imagine an engineering project where a new type of engine is being developed. The technical report for this project wouldn't just include specifications of the engine, but a detailed description of the design process, challenges encountered, solutions implemented, and the final testing results. Without this report, the knowledge and experience gained throughout the project can be lost or misunderstood.

Breaking Down the Structure of a Technical Report

Key components of a technical report structure.

  • Title Page: Includes the report title, author(s), date, and other relevant information.
  • Abstract: Summarises the report in a concise paragraph, allowing readers to quickly grasp the report's purpose and findings.
  • Table of Contents: Lists the report sections along with their page numbers for easy navigation.
  • Introduction: Lays out the report's purpose, background information, and problem statement.
  • Methodology: Details the research methods and tools used in the investigation.
  • Results: Presents the findings of the investigation, usually in the form of charts, tables, or other visual data.
  • Discussion: Analyses the results, drawing out their implications and responding to the problem statement.
  • Conclusion: Summarises the main points and identifies potential avenues for future research.
  • References: Lists the sources cited in the report.
  • Appendices: Contains any additional information that supports the report, such as raw data or detailed calculations.

Comprehensive Guide to Technical Report Contents

Variations in technical report structure across different engineering fields, a walkthrough on technical report examples, technical report example in civil engineering.

  • Introduction : This section presents the background information and objectives of the project. It may include clear details of the project's location, requirements, constraints and the problem statement.
  • Design Principles and Calculations: The subsequent part covers the design principles adhered to, calculations, and theoretical models used. For instance, a bridge project could include structural analysis computations like: \( \text{Shear Force} = \text{Load} \times \text{distance} \)
  • Materials and Methodologies: This part provides detailed information on the materials used, their properties, and why they were chosen. It also presents construction methodologies used.
  • Construction Challenges and Solutions: This section explains any obstacles encountered during the construction phase along with the solutions implemented.
  • Cost Analysis: A detailed breakdown of project costs is presented usually in a table format. This includes workforce costs, material costs, and other expenditures.

Technical Report Example in Electronic Engineering

  • Introduction: Here, the engineer states the purpose of the project and gives some background information.
  • System Design: This section explains the overall system architecture. It's where the initial design of the electronic device or circuit, the choice of components and the rationale behind these choices are explained.
  • Theoretical Analysis: In this part, a step-by-step analysis of the circuit or device is conducted using theoretical concepts and mathematical models. For example, Ohm’s law may be used for circuit analysis: \( V = I \times R \).
  • Simulation Results: This portion is where the results from simulated tests using software such as MATLAB or Simulink are presented and discussed.
  • Physical Implementation and Challenges: The final implementation of the device or circuit is described here, alongside any glitches faced during the implementation, along with their corresponding solutions.

Technical Report Example in Mechanical Engineering

  • Introduction: This is where the goal of the report, project objectives, and relevant background information are presented.
  • Design and Modelling: This portion details the early design stages of the device, developed models, and any software used in this process such as AutoCAD or SolidWorks.
  • Theoretical Predictions: This section deals with theoretical predictions involving calculations and formulas. For instance, for a heat engine project, Carnot's theorem may be used: \(\eta = 1 - \frac{T_c}{T_h} \).
  • Manufacturing and Assembly: This is where the actual manufacturing process, assembly of the parts, and any issues encountered during this stage are documented.
  • Testing: Details of how the product was tested, its performance data and analysis of the same can be found here.

Exploring Technical Report Applications in the Engineering Domain

Role of technical reports in design processes.

Feasibility studies are preliminary investigations into a proposed plan or project to assess its feasibility, time it would take to complete and cost.

How Technical Reports Facilitate Engineering Research

For example, researching the latest advancements in Bio-medical Engineering? A technical report from a leading university or technology company on a newly developed bio-medical device would be invaluable.

Technical Reports in Project Management: A Crucial Tool

Master the art of writing a technical report in 5 steps, identifying purpose and audience: step 1 in writing a technical report.

The purpose of a report refers to the primary reason a report is written. It could be for updating stakeholders, justifying a design decision, sharing research findings, or even troubleshooting a technical issue.

  • What does the reader know already?
  • What information will be new to them?
  • What jargon or terms might need explaining?
  • What do they hope to learn?

Information Gathering and Organisation: Step 2 & 3 in Writing a Technical Report

For instance, if you're working on a report, "Advances in Solar Energy", you may have to experiment with various solar panels, read articles from reputed journals, research how the leading companies in this field work, and so on.

Methodology section delivers the nuts and bolts - what you did, how you did, and why you did. In simple terms, it's your action plan.

Results: This section concentrates on factual data obtained from your work. Excel in expressing this data by deploying tables, graphs, diagrams as needed. For instance a solar power data summary could look something like this:

Drafting and Reviewing: Final Steps in Writing a Technical Report

Technical report - key takeaways.

  • The meaning of a technical report: It's a detailed written document that presents the process, progress, and results of technical or scientific research.
  • Technical report structure: starts with a Title Page, Abstract, and Table of Contents followed by Introduction, Methodology, Results, Discussion, Conclusion, References, and Appendices.
  • Technical report applications: found in engineer design processes, project management , and engineering research providing valuable information about the project's feasibility, developments, and advancements in various fields.
  • Example of a technical report: vary based on the field of engineering but usually contains an introduction, methodology, results and discussions, conclusion, and references.
  • Five steps to writing a technical report: Identify the report's purpose, carry out the necessary research, organise the information logically, write the report including all necessary sections, and review, revise and proofread the report before finalising.

Flashcards in Technical Report 15

What is a technical report in the context of engineering?

A technical report is a detailed and concise document that gives an overview of the process, progress, and results of technical or scientific research, including a detailed analysis and the conclusions drawn from that research. It usually contains technical terminology and is aimed at a specific technical community.

What are some key elements within a technical report?

A technical report contains several key elements: Introduction (context of the problem), Methodology (research methods and tools used), Results (outcomes of the research), Discussion (analysis of results), and Conclusion (summary and future research suggestions). It also contains a section for experimental results.

What is the importance of technical reports in professional engineering?

Technical reports play a crucial role in engineering. They provide a detailed record of projects, facilitate knowledge sharing, allow the replication of successful projects, and help prevent future mistakes. They also contribute to innovation and the evolution of engineering practices.

What are some of the key components of a technical report structure?

A technical report typically includes: Title page, abstract, table of contents, introduction, methodology, results, discussion, conclusion, references, and appendices. These components may slightly vary depending on the nature of the report or the requirements of the specific engineering field.

What is the purpose of each component of a technical report structure?

Each component serves a specific purpose: The title page provides an overview, the abstract summarises the report, table of contents helps navigate the report, introduction provides context, methodology details the research process, results present the findings, discussion analyses the findings, conclusion summarises the report, references list the used sources, and appendices contain additional information.

Can the structure of a technical report vary across different engineering fields?

Yes, the structure of a technical report can vary slightly across different engineering fields. Specificities of the field might reflect on sections like 'Methodology'. Furthermore, the report's purpose can also influence its structure. For example, a feasibility report could have a section on 'Alternative Solutions'.

Technical Report

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Technical Report

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How to Write a Technical Report

Last Updated: September 28, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by wikiHow staff writer, Christopher M. Osborne, PhD . Christopher Osborne has been a wikiHow Content Creator since 2015. He is also a historian who holds a PhD from The University of Notre Dame and has taught at universities in and around Pittsburgh, PA. His scholarly publications and presentations focus on his research interests in early American history, but Chris also enjoys the challenges and rewards of writing wikiHow articles on a wide range of subjects. There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 86,351 times. Learn more...

Engineers, scientists, and medical professionals need to be good writers too—and technical reports prove it! A good technical report presents data and analysis on a specified topic in a clear, highly-organized, and effective manner. Before you begin writing, define your message and audience, and make an outline. Then, write the main body of the report and surround it with the other necessary sections, according to your chosen layout.

Technical Report Outline

how to write a conclusion in a technical report

Planning Your Report

Step 1 Establish the message you want to convey through the report.

  • For instance, you may want to convey the message that a new technique for extracting a particular chemical compound is both safer and more cost-effective.
  • The best technical reports remain clear and focused throughout—they have a specific purpose and convey the information in a logical order.
  • Work with advisors, supervisors, or colleagues to fine-tune the message and/or goal of your report. These can vary widely depending on whether the report is being produced for academic, business, or other purposes.

Step 2 Define your audience before you begin writing.

  • If others in your field will be reading the report, it can be more “technical” in language and detail. In many cases, though, technical reports are intended for those outside of your particular discipline. If so, cut back on the jargon for non-expert readers.
  • Consider having a non-expert friend look over your report throughout the process to give you feedback on its accessibility to a broad audience.

Step 3 Create an outline to follow while you write.

  • Determine which particular sections your report must or may have. Consult the person or organization to whom you’ll be submitting the report for any layout requirements.

Writing the Main Body of the Report

Step 1 Create a thorough but focused introduction to the report.

  • In most cases, the introduction will likely be 1-3 paragraphs in length.
  • The end of the introduction should clearly state what the report “does.” It might do so by way of a direct statement (“This report analyzes…”), or by providing a series of questions (which may in some cases be bulleted or numbered) to be addressed.

Step 2 Provide background information and/or a literature review in the next section.

  • Essentially, you want readers who may be new to the subject matter to feel like they have at least a rudimentary grasp of it after reading this section.

Step 3 Follow up with a clear and detailed project description.

  • If, for instance, your report is focused on a particular experiment, be specific on the way it was conceived, set up, and conducted.
  • This is sometimes called a “methods” section, since you are describing the methods used to conduct your research.

Step 4 Present your data and describe what it all means in the next sections.

  • It can be hard to determine how much data to present. Giving too little can significantly weaken your analysis and the overall report. Giving too much, however, can drown the reader in a sea of tables and figures. Make sure you provide all essential data, and err on the side of providing a bit too much unless otherwise instructed.
  • Present your data in a logical order, so that each table or figure leads into the next one.

Step 5 Round out the...

  • Be as bold in your conclusions as your data and analysis permits you to be. Don’t use terms like “might,” “perhaps,” “could,” and so forth—write something like, “The data shows that…” However, don’t draw conclusions that aren’t supported by your data.

Adding Components in the Proper Layout

Step 1 Check for specific guidelines with your university, employer, etc.

  • Executive Summary
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Figures / List of Tables
  • Main Report: Introduction; Background / Literature Review; Project Description; Data / Description of Data; Conclusion
  • Acknowledgements

Step 2 Create a simple title page at the beginning of your report.

  • Write the abstract after you’ve written the actual report. You want it to be a condensed description of what you have written, not of what you intend to write.
  • Check to see if there is a specific word limit for your abstract. Even if there isn’t, 300 words is a good word limit to aim for.

Step 4 Create an executive summary that condenses the report by about 90%.

  • The executive summary should focus on your findings, conclusions, and/or recommendations, and allow the report itself to present the data—although highlights of the data should be provided.
  • Depending on your situation, you may need to write an abstract, an executive summary, or both.

Step 5 Draw up a table of contents, list of tables, and list of figures.

  • Check for any formatting guidelines for these sections. If the format is left up to you, keep things simple and straightforward.

Step 6 Follow the main body of the report with an acknowledgments section.

  • This section typically runs 1-2 paragraphs, and follows a fairly simple “The author would like to thank…” format.

Step 7 Include citations in the references section, using a consistent format.

  • In some cases, you may also be expected to provide a listing of works you have consulted but not specifically cited in the work. Check with the relevant department, organization, individual, etc., if you’re not sure. [13] X Research source

Step 8 Use appendices...

  • Use a consistent, easy-to-navigate format when creating appendices. They aren’t meant to be dumping grounds for random snippets of data or information.

Expert Q&A

You might also like.

Write an Expression of Interest

  • ↑ https://students.unimelb.edu.au/academic-skills/explore-our-resources/report-writing/technical-report-writing
  • ↑ https://www.sussex.ac.uk/ei/internal/forstudents/engineeringdesign/studyguides/techreportwriting
  • ↑ http://homepages.rpi.edu/~holguj2/CIVL2030/How_to_write_search/How_to_write_a_good_technical_report.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.theiet.org/media/5182/technical-report-writing.pdf
  • ↑ http://www.sussex.ac.uk/ei/internal/forstudents/engineeringdesign/studyguides/techreportwriting
  • ↑ https://students.unimelb.edu.au/academic-skills/explore-our-resources/report-writing/executive-summaries
  • ↑ https://openoregon.pressbooks.pub/technicalwriting/chapter/10-4-table-of-contents/

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how to write a conclusion in a technical report

Engineering Technical Reports

Technical reports include various types of "technical" information. For example, if you need to report why a design or piece of equipment failed, you'd write a forensic report. Or, you might have to write about a design you created. Then, you'd produce a design report or, you may need to combine these two. Many report types are classified as technical reports. You should always determine what information you need to convey and who your audience is before you start writing.

Technical reports present facts and conclusions about your designs and other projects. Typically, a technical report includes research about technical concepts as well as graphical depictions of designs and data. A technical report also follows a strict organization. This way, when other engineers read what you write, they can quickly locate the information that interests them the most.

As a student, you might assume that your technical report's audience is your instructor, however, this may not always be the case. Your instructor may ask you to produce a report for your peers or for other engineers. However, you shouldn't always assume that your audience has a strong engineering background or is familiar with the engineering terminology you use. Always check with your instructor to know who your audience is.

As an engineer in the field, the most likely audience for the technical reports you produce is other engineers with a background similar to yours. This audience is more likely to understand the terminology you use. However, you should always evaluate who your readers will be before assuming they will understand your jargon. Consider how your readers will use your report. For instance, you might submit a technical report to a publication or your technical report may present a specific design. The audiences in each situation have different needs. Audiences may read the publication for information and insight while audiences reading about your specific design may critique your design or make decisions based on its content.

General Format

Technical Reports have an organized format because a majority of your audience may not read the entire report in one reading. This specific format allows readers to quickly locate the information they need.

Most technical reports include the parts listed below. However, you may be required to include or exclude specific sections. Be sure to check with your instructor before using the format outlined here.

Transmittal Letter

Transmittal letters often accompany reports and inform readers of a report's context. Typically, the letter includes information not found in the report. For example, the letter contains information about the particular project and/or due dates. A Transmittal Letter is a business letter and should be formatted accordingly; that is, you should include the recipient's address, your address, a salutation and closing. Depending on the project, you may also need to include contact information. Always check with your instructor to determine whether or not you should attach a transmittal letter to your report.

A technical report should always include a title clearly identifying the report. A title should be descriptive and accurate, but not wordy, verbose or too terse.

The Abstract is extremely important because it helps readers decide what to read and what to pass over. The idea of the Abstract is to give readers an honest evaluation of the report's content, so they can quickly judge whether they should spend their valuable time reading the entire report. This section should give a true, brief description of the report's content. The most important purpose of the Abstract is to allow somebody to get a quick picture of the report's content and make a judgment.

Since an Abstract is a brief summary of your report, its length corresponds with the report's length. So, for example, if your report is eight pages long, you shouldn't use more than 150 words in the Abstract. Generally, Abstracts define the report's purpose and content.

Executive Summary

Typically, Executive Summaries are written for readers who do not have time to read the entire technical report. An executive summary is usually no longer than 10% of the report. It can be anywhere from 1-10 pages long, depending on the report's length. In the executive summary, you should summarize the key points and conclusions from your report. You might include anexecutive summary with your report, or the summary can be a separate document.

Some reports only include an abstract while others include an executive summary. Always check with your instructor to determine which to include or if you should include both.

Table of Contents

A Table of Contents includes all the headings and subheadings in your report and the page numbers where each of these begins. When you create a Table of Contents, one of the most important decisions you have to make involves design. A good Table of Contents distinguishes headings from subheadings and aligns these with the appropriate page numbers. This also means you should pay attention to capitalization, spacing, and indentation.

List of Figures & List of Tables

These two separate lists assist readers in locating your photos, drawings, tables, graphs and charts. Like the Table of Contents, you need to present both of these in an organized, appealing format. Typically, you can shorten a figure or table's title when you create these lists.

Report Body

In a technical report, the body typically presents an Introduction, various other sections, depending on your topic, and a Conclusion. Throughout the body, you should include text (both your own and research from other sources), graphics, and lists. Whenever you cite information or use graphics from another source, you must credit these sources within your text. Check with your instructor to know which reference style to use.

Whenever you cite information (this includes graphics) from another source, you must credit the source in your References. Always check with your instructor to determine which reference style to use.

Appendices include information that is too large to fit within your report, yet information necessary to your report. For example, large graphics, computer print-outs, maps, or sample codes are best placed in Appendices. When making decisions about what to place in an Appendix, consider whether or not the material interrupts the reading flow. For instance, six pages of calculations would obviously cause readers to loose their train of thought. Appendices always appear at the end of a report.

Example Technical Report

As you read the example, keep in mind that this technical report was a requirement for CE208 at Colorado State University. The course instructor, Dr. Tom Siller, commented on this document. Other instructors or job situations may have different opinions or require a different format.

December 12, 1996

Dr. Tom Siller Colorado State University Fort Collins, CO 80524

Dear Mr. Siller:

We are submitting to you the report, due December 13, 1996, that you requested. The report is entitled CSU Performing Arts Center. The purpose of the report is to inform you of our design decisions for the center. The content of this report concentrates on the structural and acoustical aspects of the CSU Performing Arts Center. This report also discusses cable-stayed technology. If you should have any questions concerning our project and paper please feel free to contact Mike Bridge at 491-5048.

Sincerely, Mike Bridge Lead Engineer

Instructor Comments

This is not a very good business letter. In a business letter, you typically present your own address in addition to the receiver's address. Also, my address is incomplete. They need to include "Department of Civil Engineering." And what about a logo? Letterhead? Typically, businesses have letterhead.

Another problem is that the contact phone number is buried in the text. This makes it easy to miss. A good idea is to list the contact phone number under your title at the bottom. This letter should also provide a context for the project, "This final project was completed for CE 208…" In other words, this project represents your last say; no more is coming.

Project Engineers: Mike Bridge

Alice Lake Simon Civil Karen Nuclear

The title page here is missing key information. There should be date and client name (That'd be me!). A client in this environment is the class. For instance, you might say, "submitted for" or "to," something of that nature.

The format looks good. I like the use of bold in spots. It highlights the text.

It's also good that they identified themselves with the group.

MASK Engineering has designed a performing arts center for the CSU campus in order to provide a complex that will better serve the campus and the community. This facility will not only improve the performing arts programs on campus, but will encourage students and community members to attend more cultural events in Fort Collins. The capacity of the new facility will exceed that of existing structures on campus, and the quality of sound and aesthetics will be improved. Some of the features included are a large performing hall, a coffee shop, a banquet hall, and a recording studio. The total area of the complex is 56,500 square feet split into three levels.

This abstract summarizes the accomplishments of the project and what it will do. It also summarizes some of the actual design and indicates that it's going to include a performing hall, coffee shop, banquet hall, and recording studio.

The writing, however, could be a little tighter in my opinion. The first sentence looks like it's around 20 words long. First of all, that whole expression "will better service the Campus and the Community" doesn't mean anything. What does "better serve" mean? And so, I look at something like that and say, "Mask Engineering has designed a new Performing Arts Center that will meet the needs of the theater community," or something more specific.

And then the second sentence is typical. It gives the particular vehicle for doing the programs. It implies the facility improves programs, and I'm not sure that's quite the right subject in a sentence like that. There's no point in a "but" here. It will do this and this; it's not a contrast. They're not contrasting anything. And so, there are some grammatical problems here. I think these kinds of grammatical problems come up because students don't read carefully. They write it. To avoid this construction, read it sentence by sentence and say, "What does this sentence accomplish for me?" And you can see that this sentence structure doesn't accomplish; it implies there's a contrast, well, there is no contrast.

Then the abstract gets stronger. "The capacity of the new facility will exceed that," so they get very specific. "The quality, sound and ascetics will be improved. Some of the features included are this." They're very good at being descriptive and saying this, this and this. The struggle I think engineering students have is the motivational lead-in to their material. They're more comfortable at the descriptive aspect of their material.


MASK Engineering would like to thank Dr. Michael Schaff of the CSU Music Department and Ms. Annie Cleveland from the CSU Theater Department for their expertise and input for the CSU Performing Arts Center. We would also like to thank Dr. Tom Siller for his aid in our research and use of his research materials.

Excecutive Summary


Our main goal was to design a Performing Arts Center for the CSU campus that would blend well with the rest of the campus. To achieve this goal, our group split into two smaller groups; Alice in one and Simon, Mike, and Karen in the other. Alice concentrated on acoustical aspects of the complex. Simon, Mike, and Karen concentrated on the structural plans.

In this section, we specify the exact location of the structure and why we believe it is a prime location.

Cable-stayed Technology

Here, we present our rationale for using cable-stayed technology. We base this technology on several other existing structures.

Main Hall Acoustics

One of the key characteristics of a concert hall that greatly influences sound quality, is its reverberation time (the time before the decay of the reflected sound ). In the construction of the main hall for the CSU Performing Arts Center a balance will be determined that will create a reverberation time of two seconds, as independent of audience size as possible.

In this section, we discuss the materials to be used. Retractable banners will be built into the ceiling, and can be lowered to create this effect. Cloth seats will be used as they best assimilate an occupied audience area ( Beranek 1962 ). This allows sound within the hall to be independent of audience size. The low sound absorbency of plaster also makes it ideal for the creation of the desired reverberation time of two seconds.

The intensity of the direct sound should not be too weak, but at the same time, it must not become uncomfortably loud. This problem will be dealt with by limiting the length of the room, and by designing the surfaces above and around the stage to project the sound evenly throughout the concert hall. Another problem arises with the seats placed under a balcony. To prevent a muddiness within the sound, the depth under the balcony should not exceed the height of the opening beneath the balcony.

The Colorado State University Performing Arts Center consists of three levels. The total area of the complex is 56,500 square feet. The basement and ground floors consist of 20,500 square feet apiece. The second floor has a square footage of 15,500.

During the duration of the project, we accomplished our goal of designing a Performing Arts Center for the CSU campus that would blend well with the rest of the campus. A cable-stayed support system for the roof will allow for a compact facility and an unobstructed view for patrons. In order to achieve the best acoustical results in the main performance hall, we have designed a rectangular hall made of plaster. We have also designed the hall so that the depth under the balcony does not exceed the height of the opening beneath the balcony. The total area of the complex will be 56,500 square feet split into three levels. The main hall will have a seating capacity of 1,200.

Introduction: You don't need to summarize the paper's introduction since the introduction is generally an overview to the whole report. In other words, don't summarize what you're going to summarize.

Executive Summary: This summary is too short compared to the report's length.

Location: This information doesn't tell me squat. They should have said something like, "This report presents the location at the northwest corner of the Oval as being the ideal location. The motivation for this decision is documented in this section." This is a summary. Summaries should inform me; they shouldn't tell me what I'm being told.

Main Hall Acoustics: This section is more informative. Here, they tell me the key characteristics influencing sound quality. As for the phrase "It will be determined," well, hasn't it already been determined? They should have written, "In the construction of the main hall for the CSU Performing Arts Center, a balance of x was defined. This creates a reverberation time of two seconds." You need to positively say what's been done. In other words, you did this, you designed it.

Conclusion: You should only summarize the conclusion if it's really a conclusion and not a summary. By this I mean have you come to a conclusion? Based on everything you've done, have you made conclusions or recommendations and not summarized what you've covered in the report?



Executive Summary.............................iii

List of Figures..................................iv

List of Tables....................................v



Cable-Stayed Technology.....................5


Floor Plans........................................12



First of all, I like the dots that make the visual connection. This report does not go into much in the way of subsections, and so from that standpoint, it is probably appropriate not to number the sections. This table of contents doesn't use subsections, which is adequate for the length of this project. I'm expecting a more detailed table of contents this year. I'd like to see further subsections on ideas. That helps writing be more organized.

Example of Table of Contents with Subsections:

1.0 Introduction..........

Here, the main topics are at one level, then indented to the next level. And they're just great visual clues. One of the purposes of the table of contents is to give readers a visual map of the document. They can look at this before they start reading and know where things fit. Writers need to think of a table of contents as providing a mental map for readers.

List of Figures

The captions on this list are weak, and this is obvious because of the phrases, "Map of Campus," "Bridge Diagram." There's no use of capitalization because they're just phrases. This is a balancing act. You don't want to write long sentences, but you don't want to write something that's so vague readers aren't certain what it means. For example, a reader might ask "What campus?" The students are obviously thinking in their own minds of one campus, CSU. They need to think beyond that. One of the things I try to impress on students in figures and tables too, is that sometimes these will be pulled out of your report. And so now, they're out of context. You've got to balance giving enough information, so someone can interpret it when it's out of the context of the existing report. Captions should not be so overly verbose that you've got a paragraph. I think a figure caption should be about one line at the most. At times captions may get a little longer, but I find those distracting.

The purpose of designing a performing arts center on the CSU campus is to provide adequate capacity and higher quality of sound and aesthetics as compared to the existing structures in the region. Factors that MASK Engineering considered included accessibility, cost effectiveness, location, and an efficient use of space. Our intent was to preserve the open space of the CSU campus and to design the complex in such a manner that it will blend well with its surrounding environment.

We at MASK Engineering believe that this project will greatly benefit both the CSU campus and the surrounding Fort Collins community. Such a facility will lead to the improvement of the performing arts programs on campus. It will directly affect the students and professors in the music, theater. and dance programs at the university, eventually increasing enrollment in these disciplines. There are approximately 230 students in the performing arts programs at CSU right now. The amount of space that is available to these students is inadequate for their performances. The construction of this complex will not only provide them with the space they need, but will also continue the growth of these programs, making CSU a leader in the education of the performing arts.

These changes at the university will result in a heightened cultural awareness in the community. Currently, community events are held at the Lincoln Center, while CSU sponsored events are held at the Lory Student Center theater. A new facility will bring community and university events together and will allow a greater variety of outside events to be brought to Fort Collins. The location of this complex on campus will bring a greater number of students to these events due to the elimination of transportation problems.

MASK Engineering has focused on the structural and acoustical aspects of the CSU Performing Arts Center, while hiring other firms to handle the parking, mechanical and electrical operation, and utilities. A cable-stayed support system has been chosen, and a floor plan has been drawn up that will produce the best acoustical results. A. L. handled the acoustical aspects of the complex, while S.C., K.N., and M.B. concentrated on the structural plans. We are planning for the construction of this complex to begin within the next few years.

The site chosen for the Colorado State University Performing Arts Center is the plot of land upon which Green Hall now stands (Figure 1). This area was chosen primarily for its location on the CSU campus and its proximity to the downtown area. Green Hall is a condemned building and is not currently used for anything beyond university storage. Some office space has been granted to the branch of the CSUPD dealing with parking violations, but this department could easily move back to its old location at Aylesworth Hall. Our firm believes that this space would be better used as a home for the performing arts than as the site of a crumbling warehouse.

We have considered possible disturbances that the construction of the performing arts center on this plot might cause. Due to the close proximity of Green Hall to Allison Hall and Parmelee Hall, we have decided to begin construction early in the summer, after classes have ended. Green Hall will be torn down first, and construction of the performing arts center will begin immediately. This will allow us a good start on the project while students are not living in the nearby residence halls. According to the front desk at Braiden Hall,, which is located near the Morgan Library construction site, residents do not have a problem with noise and there have been no complaints of disturbances. MASK Engineering believes that this will be the case for the residents in Allison and Parmelee when they return in the fall as the performing arts center is finished.

A cable-stayed support system was chosen for the design of the CSU Performing Arts Center. One reason for choosing this system was to allow for a more compact facility because the space available on campus was limited. Another reason was to give patrons an unobstructed view of events by eliminating the need for columns.

The original use of cable-stayed technology was seen in bridges. German engineers established the design of cable-stayed bridges in the 1950's and 1960's. This technology was eventually adapted to buildings, using cables to support the roof. Each tower is buttressed by two sets of cables, transferring the load into the ground. Without a roof load to support, columns are not needed in the complex and the space can be used in more ways.

The concept behind cable-stayed technology is to have the supporting reactions to the load directed in only vertical directions as opposed to vertical and horizontal. It also eliminates any tension and/or compression force (Figures 3.1 and 3.2) . For a building, the load of the roof is directed through the cables, to the towers, and down to the ground. The walls do not support the roof as they normally would; only the cables are used to hold up the roof. An example of a cable-stayed building is the Alamodome, a multipurpose stadium in San Antonio, Texas (Figure 3.3). Our model is based on this design.

Background One of the key characteristics of a concert hall that greatly influences sound quality, is its reverberation time (the time before the decay of the reflected sound ). For orchestral or band music, the ideal reverberation time is approximately two seconds. Any times approaching 1.6 seconds will lead toward a dry, dead sound ( Beranek 1962 ). The other extreme is a time that is too long. This causes the music to lose its clarity, an excessive loudness, and the blending of incompatible chords ( Beranek 1962 ). A hall's reverberation time can be affected by such things as the volume of the room or the number of people in the audience. In the construction of the main hall for the CSU Performing Arts Center a balance will be determined that will create a reverberation time of two seconds, as independent of audience size as possible.

Sound quality is also greatly determined by the warmth of the sound. Warmth is determined by the fullness of the bass tones. If the middle frequencies of a sound have longer reverberation times than the low tones, then the sound will become brittle (Beranek 1962 1).

Materials Table 4.1 gives the absorption coefficients of different frequencies for common surfaces. It shows that materials such as heavy curtains or thick carpet absorb are the ideal choice for decreasing the intensity of higher frequencies. This leads to the production of a more full, warm sound. Retractable banners will be built into the ceiling, and can be lowered to create this effect. Cloth seats will be used as they best assimilate an occupied audience area ( Beranek 1962 ). This allows sound within the hall to be independent of audience size. The low sound absorbance of plaster also makes it ideal for the creation of the desired reverberation time of two seconds.

Design considerations The intensity of the direct sound should not be too weak, but at the same time, it must not become uncomfortably loud. This problem will be dealt with by limiting the length of the room, and by designing the surfaces above and around the stage to project the sound evenly throughout the concert hall. Another problem arises with the seats placed under a balcony. To prevent a muddiness within the sound, the depth under the balcony should not exceed the height of the opening beneath the balcony, as shown in figure 4.1 ( Beranek 1962 ).

Table 4.1 Absorption coefficients of different frequencies for main hall surfaces

  Frequency ( Hz )
Surface 125 250 500 1000 2000 4000
heavy fabric 0.14 0.36 0.57 0.72 0.70 0.62
heavy carpet on concrete 0.02 0.06 0.16 0.37 0.59 0.64
cloth seats 0.44 0.60 0.76 0.87 0.80 0.70
plaster on brick 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.02 0.04 0.06

Table based on: Beranek, L. 1966. Music, Acoustics, & Architecture. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York.

Figure based on: Beranek, L. 1966. Music, Acoustics, & Architecture. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York.

Floor Plans

The basement level of this center (Figure 5.1 ) includes two main dressing rooms with shower facilities as well as four private dressing rooms with individual restrooms for guest performers. The mechanical room for the building will be in the basement, housing such devices as the heating, ventilating, and air conditioning equipment as well as the mechanics for the elevator. A spacious performers' lounge has also been added in to the basement to provide a relaxing environment for the center's performers.

The building's main floor (Figure 5.2 ) includes the main performance hall as well as a small rehearsal hall. The main hall is 5,000 square feet and has a seating capacity of 1,200. A coffee shop and art lounge have been included in this plan for the enjoyment and convenience of the patrons. A large classroom is provided for dance classes as well as rehearsals. Sufficient office space is included adjacent to the center's box office.

The top floor of the CSU Performing Arts Center (Figure 5.3 ) includes a walk- around balcony overlooking the main lobby as well as a balcony for the main performance hall. An elevator is provided for travel between the first and second floors. A recording studio is also located on this floor as an added bonus.

In conclusion, MASK Engineering has carefully planned out the details of the proposed CSU Performing Arts Center. This facility will be a benefit to the performing arts programs at CSU, the students and faculty of CSU, as well as the members of the community. It will allow for the improvement of programs in the area and growth of interest in cultural events. The site of Green Hall will be accessible to both students and the community, and will use the space on campus most efficiently, preserving the green areas. A cable-stayed support system for the roof will allow for a compact facility and an unobstructed view for patrons. In order to achieve the best acoustical results in the main performance hall, we have designed a rectangular hall made of plaster. We have also designed the hall so that the depth under the balcony does not exceed the height of the opening beneath the balcony. The total area of the complex will be 56,500 square feet split into three levels. The main hall will have a seating capacity of 1,200. The facility contains necessary rooms to accommodate the performers, and several rooms to make the visit of the patrons more enjoyable.

Introducton: The one thing lacking in this introduction is a good, brief description of their design. The discussion about the benefits, etc. are not clear to me without first hearing what their solution is.

They do a good job of discussing the motivation for their project.

I personally like the introduction to end with a brief description of what the remaining portions of the report contain.

A little more background and possibly a map would help this discussion. DO NOT assume your reader is as familiar with this as you are.

Figure 2.1: With this figure, I'm not certain whether or not this is the caption or part of the title of the figure. This says, "Map of Campus, circle area represents the site where Green Hall currently stands." That mixes what it is. A revised caption would read something like "Map of CSU Campus Indicating Proposed Site Location."

The map also borders on plagiarism. When you take a figure from someone else's work, you put in the caption "from" and you list the document and that document better be in the references. And it's not "based on," it's "from." And that's a subtlety you need to learn. There's a distinction between something that is "from." To get permission to use this map, the writers would have to get copyright approval from the source. If they based it on, if they've redrawn the figure and they've used this map as a source, then they should, even at that point say, "based on," or "the CSU Map is from such and such source, page such and such, dated such and such." It needs to be a complete reference.

Another problem is that by looking at this map, I can't read a darn thing from it. I know that's the Oval. And I know the Weber building because I live in it. But the scale is so off, and the reproduction is so bad that they should have made the decision to either find a better original or not used it at all.

They should also include an arrow to Green Hall. The circle's not quite sufficient. The Oval isn't that different from the circle. Part of the problem is that the scale is wrong. I shouldn't have to look at a figure and guess what writers want me to see. It should be blatant.

In terms of the placement of this figure, I have several thoughts. The writers put their figures on separate pages within the body of the text. That's an acceptable style. I have no problem with that. It comes after its first reference in the text, which is important. The inappropriate thing is referring to it in the text as "figure 1," and referring it on the paper as figure "2.1."

Figures 3.1 and 3.2: These figures are labeled "Figures 3.1 and 3.2." Which one's which? They should not be put together. What I mean by this is they can be on the same page, but Figure 3.1 needs to be where Figure 3.1 is and Figure 3.2 need to be where Figure 3.2 is. The figure numbers should not both be up at the top. The reader shouldn't have to guess "is there a dividing line between the figures or does it divide some where else?" If they had captions associated with those figures' numbers, that would not have occurred. I actually like figure numbers underneath the figure, not above the figure.

With these figures I again wonder if they were taken from some source not referenced. And so, I'm not sure these are originally hand drawn by the students. Now if they are, they could have done a better job because the legends don't fully tell me what it means. The dark square means compressive force, and I don't know what that means. I understand "load" and I understand "supporting reactions," but I don't understand "Building diagram?" That's a building?

I'm not convinced these were meant to be two figures. I think they should be one. They're talking "cable stay" technology which would of been nice to have in the title. I think they're trying to draw an analogy between "here's how a bridge is done, and here's how it's also now being done in buildings." But it's not coming through.

This figure is placed at the right location. The key thing with placement in text is to put the figure as close as possible after it is first referenced. Never put it before you reference it and don't bury it deeply in the text. This is one of the clues that leads you decide whether you do an appendix or not. If you find you're having so many figures that when you try to put them in text they're turning out to be five pages straight of figures, that's a clue that you have so many figures, they're probably better handled in the back.

Figure 3.3: I know the writers didn't take this photograph! And I want to know who did take the photograph because that person needs to be credited. This figure's location in the text is fine. I'm happy with their style of one figure per page.

The quality of this reproduction is not very good. But that's always hard with photographs. It does make their point, which is the tall columns with the cables coming off. However, the fine details have been wiped away, so it's a bad photograph for their purposes.

This visual also works off the previous two visuals since it represents another way of looking at the particular structure. Whenever you can, especially when you're dealing with new technology, you've got to give people good visual images. And anyway you can do that is useful. Schematics allow you to do certain things like add arrows and show load paths. So this had a different function. The other two depicted load paths. This one was trying to give the viewer a big picture of what this looks like. After all, a bridge is difficult to imagine.

Table 4.1: This table accurately sites its source, "Table based on such and such." However, it gives too much information. All that is needed is the author's name, so readers could then look it up in the references.

Some suggestions are to put "Based on Byronic L 1966." all within the caption. Then the table would physically separate the title if I felt there was a title too, separate from the caption. It would then be clear, spatially, that there's a caption up here. And below is the title on the table.

Another alternative would be to "footnote" the table. Not a real footnote, but a footnote within the table. This can be done by using an identifier like a "star." So I might say, "Table," if it's the whole table, and put, "Table 4.1*" showing that there's a clue to come, down at the bottom. If there were particular pieces of information in here, a particular column or something, such as just the surface frequency or heavy fabric, or it was two of these, I could then put stars on there and indicate, "This was based on this person's work, as opposed to my original work.

Figure 4.1: When a figure like this needs to be drawn, you should follow normal conventions for drafting, including dimension lines with arrowheads. I'm assuming the "D" and "H" represent "depth" and "height."

A figure is for clarification, and this one raises many questions. I don't know what the point of this figure is. I'm assuming there's a value here. If this was to be a conceptual diagram representing, "We now can do a sensitivity D over H," then you might do that. But I think they were trying to show us how big is was. It's not a very good figure because it leaves too much to my imagination. This is not worth a thousand words.

Figure 5.1: A scale should be included here. Also, these should be numbered. Students should indicate how each one works (e.g. doors, etc.).

Figure 5.2: A scale should be included here. Also, is that the Performance Hall in the middle?

Figures 5.1, 5.2, & 5.3: These were done with AutoCAD, so it's hard to criticize the quality of them because this is what AutoCAD produces.

"M" and "W" should be explained; I am assuming these stand for a Mens' Room and a Women's Room. There are better visual ways of doing that more explicitly, as with international symbols, etc. Also, "E" for "exit" is a little short.

These are meant to be schematic floor plans. And they are. It'd be nice to have a "north arrow" here. Students will always think of a "north arrow" on a map, but they won't necessarily think of it on a building. It's important because it helps readers tie back to the orientation of the building on the site.

These serve very well as schematics. They do not serve well as details. They don't show doors; they don't show windows. But this design is more at the conceptual level, so I understand why they did it. The detail fits the purpose. The problem is, when readers look at this example, they don't necessarily know that whole context.

It really would have been nice to have put these visuals in the front. A neat way to have done that would have used this as a figure on the title page to introduce the concept right up front.

The captions on these are all right. If you put to much lettering on a figure, it gets busy. This is actually a pretty good balance. They're descriptive enough. I understand just about what everything is. I'm not sure what the basketball-like part is since it's not labeled. But overall, these are pretty good, typical, schematic drawings.

Using a different font is a stylistic mistake. If you have an area that you want to label and the font you're using doesn't fit in there, don't just use a real small font because it fits. Move the label out and put an arrow to it.

This is a fairly low number of references. Three is minor. Sometimes, you might not have references because much of your text is original work on your part, but then you should include appendices on calculations and such.

Appendices: When deciding to place information in an appendix, ask yourself, "Are there reams and reams of figures that are best put in an appendix or will using a small number of figures integrate better throughout the text?" and "Do I have a source document that’s very critical to the report I want to attach to it, a data report or letter that is secondary to the actual writing, but not secondary to the major issue of the report?" Much of this depends upon your interpretation. A likely source for appendices is computational results. I like to think you’re doing work, so it’s logical to do screen dumps or spreadsheet dumps of tables and calculations. The best place for these is in appendices.

Perspectives on Technical Reports

Dave alciatore, mechanical engineering.

Writing Technical Design Reports as a Group

"Often, technical design reports require that multiple experts help write them. This is called "concurrent engineering." This way, everyone involved with a project contributes. More ground gets covered this way. The report is also a good way to document a design. Then, if problems arise later, everyone can refer to the document. This helps determine where changes were made, etc."

Report Content

"Every company has different means of documentation. Typically, in industry, you won't have to provide as much history in a technical report. This is because in academia, we want you to document your thought processes and project evolution. In industry, you will concentrate more on the initial problem, requirements, and solutions. "

Neil Grigg, Civil Engineering

Multiple Reports for a Project

"Suppose your engineering task is to build a retaining wall. As the main engineer, you've got to consider many aspects: the load, the height, the structural design. You'll write a report where you state the goals and how they will be accomplished. This includes input parameters, the conditions in which you have to work, alternatives, recommendations. Next, soil engineers may actually test the soils at the location. They would then produce a report about what they found. Every project generates multiple reports. "

"Many designs begin with identifying the problem, determining the goals, and creating a list of alternatives. The next part is the evaluation. This includes the technical, legal, economic, financial, environmental, and social evaluations. Then you make recommendations based on these evaluations. Most reports, especially design reports include this information. "

Tom Siller, Civil Engineering

An Example Technical Report

"I once helped produce a report about rock fracturing for a whip site. In that report, we stated the situation, how we would analyze the situation, (because we wanted to be hired as the engineers for the project), the analytical tools we would develop, and our results based on those analytical tools. We did not present a shaft design. Overall, the report presented our way of understanding the issues that would help design a shaft."

Your Report's Purpose

"If your report's purpose is to create an artifact, then you have to present all the technical aspects of the design. This way, someone can read the report and build your artifact. You have to be aware of very fine details whenever you write a report. For instance, will your designs receive public approval? Are you in compliance with regulatory agencies? And so why you are writing the report helps you determine what details to include and exclude."

Kowalski, Dawn. (1994). Engineering Technical Reports. Writing@CSU . Colorado State University. https://writing.colostate.edu/guides/guide.cfm?guideid=88

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1 The Formal Technical Report

For technical reports, formal and informal, readers are generally most interested in process and results. Clear presentation of results is at least as important as the results themselves; therefore, writing a report is an exercise in effective communication of technical information. Results, such as numerical values, designed systems or graphs by themselves are not very useful. To be meaningful to others, results must be supported by a written explanation describing how results were obtained and what significance they hold, or how a designed system actually functions. Although the person reading the report may have a technical background, the author should assume unfamiliarity with related theory and procedures. The author must consider supplying details that may appear obvious or unnecessary. With practice, the technical report writer learns which details to include.

The formal technical report contains a complete, concise, and well-organized description of the work performed and the results obtained. Any given report may contain all of the sections described in these guidelines or a subset, depending upon the report requirements. These requirements are decided by the author and are based on the audience and expected use of the report. Audience and purpose are important considerations in deciding which sections to include and what content to provide. If the purpose is to chronicle work performed in lab, as is typical for an academic lab report, the audience is typically the professor who assigned the work and the contents usually include detailed lab procedure, clear presentation of results, and conclusions based on the evidence provided. For a technical report, the audience may be colleagues, customers, or decision makers. Knowing the audience and what they are expecting to get out of reading the report is of primary consideration when deciding on sections to include and their contents.

There are certain aspects to all reports that are common regardless of audience and expected usage. Rather than relegate these overarching report-writing considerations to a secondary position, these items are presented before detailing the typical organization and contents for technical reports.

Universal Report-Writing Considerations

The items listed in this section are often overlooked by those new to technical report writing. However, these items set the stage for how a technical report is received which can impact the author, positively or negatively. While in an academic setting, the author’s grade could be impacted.  While in a professional setting, it is the author’s career that could be affected. Effective communication can make the difference in career advancement, effective influence on enacting positive change, and propelling ideas from thought to action. The list that follows should become second nature to the technical report writer.

Details to consider that affect credibility:

  • Any information in the report that is directly derived or paraphrased from a source must be cited using the proper notation.
  • Any information in the report that is directly quoted or copied from a source must be cited using the proper notation.
  • Any reference material derived from the web or Internet must come from documentable and credible sources. To evaluate websites critically, begin by verifying the credibility of the author (e.g. – credentials, agency or professional affiliation). Note that peer reviewed materials are generally more dependable sources of information as compared to open source. Peer review involves a community of qualified experts from within a profession who validate the publication of the author. Open source information may be created by non-qualified individuals or agencies which is often not reviewed and/or validated by experts within the field or profession.
  • Wikipedia is NOT a credible reference because the information changes over time and authors are not necessarily people with verifiable expertise or credentials.
  • Provide an annotated bibliography of all references. Typically, annotations in technical reports indicate what the source was used for and establish the credibility of the source. This is particularly important for sources with credibility issues. However, an annotation can clarify why a source with questionable credibility was used.
  • With the increasing availability of Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) such as provided by ChatGPT, where GPT stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer, credibility will likely be challenged more frequently and will be more difficult to establish. Generative AI models may provide invalid responses and a knowledgeable reader will pick up on that quickly.
  • Make sure to know the consequences if you violate rules provided by your instructor in an academic setting or by your employer in a workplace setting for presenting work by another or by AI as if it were your own (without citation). Additionally, there may be rules on how much of your work can be AI-generated and what annotation you are required to provide when using generative AI. Know the rules and if you can’t find the rules, ASK.
  • See Appendix A for information about citing sources and AI-generated content.

Details to consider that affect the professional tone:

  • Passive voice: “The circuit resistance will be measured with a digital multimeter”.
  • Active voice: “Measure the circuit resistance with a digital multimeter”.
  • Avoid using personal pronouns such as “you”, “we”, “our”, “they”, “us” and “I”. Personal pronouns tend to personalize the technical information that is generally objective rather than subjective in nature. The exception is if the work as a whole is meant to instruct than to inform. For example, technical textbooks whose only purpose is to instruct employ personal pronouns.
  • Avoid using “it”. When “it” is used, the writing often leads to a lack of clarity for the reader as to what idea/concept “it” is referring to, thus negatively impacting overall clarity of the writing.
  • Use correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Pay attention to and address spell and grammar check cues from writing software such as Microsoft (MS) Word.  

Details to consider that affect the professional appearance:

  • All figures and tables must be neatly presented and should be computer generated. Use a computer software package, such as Paint, Multisim, AutoCAD, or SolidWorks, to draw figures. If inserting a full-page figure, insert it so can be read from the bottom or from the right side of the page . ALL figures and tables must fit within or very close to the page margins.
  • Generate ALL equations using an equation editor and provide each equation on its own line. Under normal circumstances, there is no reason to embed an equation within a paragraph.  Depending on presentation and how many equations are involved, number the equations for easy reference.
  • Refer to appendix B for information on how to automatically create a Table of Contents and properly number pages.
  • If the report includes an abstract, it should be on an unnumbered page after the title page and before the Table of Contents or it can be included on the title page.
  • For all hard copy reports, all pages of the report must be 8 ½“ X 11” in size. Any larger pages must be folded so as to fit these dimensions. HOWEVER, in this day and age, an electronic submission is most common. Keep in mind that with an electronic submission, it is easier to provide an appealing look with color since a color printer is not required.

Details to consider that affect readability:

  • Every section and sub-section of the report needs to start with an introductory paragraph that provides the context for the section or sub-section.
  • Every figure, graph, table, and equation needs to be introduced to the reader prior to being presented to the reader. This introduction provides the context.
  • Make sure that the verb used can actually operate on the noun. For example, stating “the goal for this report is to observe …” implies that the report can observe when it is likely that the goal of the work reported on is to make certain observations.
  • Check for spelling and grammar errors which are often highlighted with cues by the text editing software. Follow capitalization, punctuation, and indentation norms. Remember to capitalize the names of proprietary items such as licensed software.
  • Define acronyms and abbreviations prior to using them.

Finally, always consider carefully the context of information provided. Know your audience. Thoughtfully consider if a statement is clearly supported by the information provided without leaving your reader confused. Remember that by the time you are writing a report, you should know the information inside and out, but your audience is reading your report to learn.

Standard Components of a Formal Technical Report

Technical reports should be organized into sections and are typically in the order described in this section. While this is the recommended order, certain reports may lend themselves to either reordering sections and/or excluding sections.

The format for this page may vary, however, the following information is always included: report title, who the report was prepared for, who the report was prepared by, and the date of submission. This is not a numbered page of the report.

An abstract is a concise description of the report including its purpose and most important results . An abstract should not be longer than half a page, single-spaced, and must not contain figures or make reference to them. Technical authors are generally so focused on results that they neglect to clearly state the purpose for the work. That purpose is derived from the objectives or goals, most commonly provided by the person who assigned the work. In stating the purpose, it is critical to include key words that would be used in a database search since searches of abstracts are commonly used by professionals to find information they need to do their jobs and make important decisions. Results are summarized in the abstract but how much quantitative information is provided varies with report audience and purpose. It is common to include maximum percent error found in the experimental results as compared to theory. Do not use any specific technical jargon, abbreviations, or acronyms. This is not a numbered page of the report.

Table of Contents

Include all the report sections and appendices. Typically, sub-sections are also listed. This is not a numbered page of the report.

The Table of Contents is easy to include if you properly use the power of the software used to generate the report. The Table of Contents can be automatically generated and updated if the author uses built in report headings provided in the styles menu. It is worth the time and effort to learn these tools since their application are ultimately time-savers for report writers. Directions are provided in Appendix B on creating a Table of Contents in MS Word using section headings.


The length of the Introduction depends on the purpose but the author should strive for brevity, clarity, and interest. Provide the objective(s) of the work, a brief description of the problem, and how it is to be attacked. Provide the reader with an overview of why the work was performed, how the work was performed, and the most interesting results. This can usually be accomplished with ease if the work has clearly stated objectives.

Additionally, the introduction of a technical report concludes with a description of the sections that follow the Introduction. This is done to help the reader get some more detailed information about what might be found in each of the report sections included in the body of the report (this does not include appendices). This can feel awkward but providing that information is the accepted standard practice across industries.

Be careful not to use specific technical jargon or abbreviations such as using the term “oscope” instead of “oscilloscope”. Also, make sure to define any acronyms or abbreviations prior to using them. For example, in a surveying lab report a student might want to refer to the electronic distance measuring (EDM) device. The first time the device is referred to, spell out what the acronym stands for before using the acronym, as demonstrated in the previous sentence. Apply this practice throughout wherever an acronym or abbreviation is used but not yet defined within the report.

Background Theory

The purpose of this section is to include, if necessary, a discussion of relevant background theory. Include theory needed to understand subsequent sections that either the reading audience does not already comprehend or is tied to the purpose for the work and report. For example, a report on resistor-capacitor electric circuits that includes measurement of phase shift would likely include a theoretical description of phase shift. In deciding what should or should not be included as background theory, consider presenting any material specific to the work being reported on that you had to learn prior to performing the work including theoretical equations used to calculate theoretical values that are compared to measured values. This section may be divided into subsections if appropriate. Keep the discussion brief without compromising on content relevant to understanding and refer the reader to and cite outside sources of information where appropriate.

The purpose of this section is to provide detailed development of any design included in the report. Do not provide a design section if there is no design aspect to the work. Be sure to introduce and describe the design work within the context of the problem statement using sentences; a series of equations without description and context is insufficient. Use citations if you wish to refer the reader to reference material. Divide this section into subsections where appropriate. For example, a project may consist of designing several circuits that are subsequently interconnected; you may choose to treat each circuit design in its own subsection. The process followed to develop the design should be presented as generally as possible then applied using specific numbers for the work performed. Ultimately, the section must provide the actual design tested and include a clear presentation of how that design was developed.

Theoretical Analysis

Although a theoretical analysis might be part of a design, the author needs to decide if that analysis should be included as part of the design section or a separate section. Typically, any theoretical work performed to develop the design would be included in the design section but any theoretical analysis performed on the design would be included in a separate section. Do not provide a theoretical analysis section if the theoretical work is all described as part of background theory and design sections. However, in most cases, a theoretical analysis section is included to provide important details of all analyses performed. Be brief. It is not necessary to show every step; sentences can be used to describe the intermediate steps. Furthermore, if there are many steps, the reader should be directed to an appendix for complete details. Make sure to perform the analysis with the specific numbers for the work performed leading to the theoretical values reported on and compared to experimental values in the results section of the report. Worth repeating: perform the analyses resulting in the numbers that are included as the theoretical values in the results section of the report. Upon reading the results section, the reader should be familiar with the theoretical values presented there because the reader already saw them in this section.

This section varies depending on requirements of the one who assigned the work and the audience. At a minimum, the author discusses the procedure by describing the method used to test a theory, verify a design or conduct a process. Presentation of the procedure may vary significantly for different fields and different audiences, however, for all fields, the author should BE BRIEF and get to the point . Like with any written work, if it is unnecessarily wordy, the reader becomes bored and the author no longer has an audience. Also, the procedure section should never include specific measurements/results, discussion of results, or explanation of possible error sources. Make sure all diagrams provided are numbered, titled, and clearly labeled.

Depending on the situation, there are two likely types of procedure sections. In one case, a detailed procedure may have already been supplied or perhaps it is not desirable to provide a detailed description due to proprietary work. In another case, it might be the author’s job to develop and provide all the detail so work can be duplicated. The latter is more common in academic lab settings. Writing guidelines for these possible procedure sections are provided below.

Procedure Type 1

Use this procedure type if you have been supplied with a detailed procedure describing the steps required to complete the work or detailed procedure is not to be supplied to potential readers (procedure may be proprietary). Briefly describe the method employed to complete the work. This is meant to be a brief procedural description capturing the intention of the work, not the details. The reader may be referred to the appendix for detailed procedure steps. The following list provides considerations for this type of procedure section.

  • Example: For measurements made over a range of input settings, provide the actual range without including the details of the specific input settings or order data was taken (unless order affects results).
  • If required by the person who assigned the work, include the detailed procedure in the appendix.
  • MUST provide detailed diagram(s) of all applicable experimental set-ups (i.e. circuit diagram) that include specific information about the set-up, such as resistor values.
  • Provide diagrams and/or pictures that will further assist the reader in understanding the procedural description.
  • Provide a details of any work performed for which prescribed steps were not provided and that the author deems necessary for the reader’s comprehension.
  • To test the theory of superposition, the circuit shown in Figure 1 is employed. The circuit is constructed on the lab bench and using MultismTM, a circuit simulation software. In both settings, a multimeter is used to measure the output voltage, as shown in Figure 1, for the following three cases: (1) Source 1 on and Source 2 off, (2) Source 1 off and Source 2 on, and (3) both sources on. These measurements are compared to the output voltage derived using theory as described earlier. Refer to the appendix for further detail or procedure.
  • In order to test the theory of superposition, first each team member must calculate the output voltage for the circuit shown in Figure 1 for the following three cases: (1) Source 1 on and Source 2 off, (2) Source 1 off and Source 2 on, and (3) both sources on. Then one team member is assigned to build the circuit on the lab bench while the other team member constructs the circuit in Multisim. Once constructed, turn Source 1 on and Source 2 off then connect the positive lead of the meter to the positive end of the output voltage and the negative lead of the meter to the negative end of the output voltage. Record the meter reading. Next turn on Source 2 and turn off Source 1. Again, measure the output voltage using the meter ….

Procedure Type 2

Use this procedure type if you have not been supplied with a detailed description of the steps required to complete the work and/or you were required to develop and report procedure. The reader should be able to repeat the work based on the content supplied in this section.

  • Equipment use
  • Equipment maintenance
  • Define terms specific to the technology
  • Measurement techniques and/or calibration
  • The description should be sufficiently clear so that the reader could duplicate the work. Do not assume that the reader has prior knowledge or access to prior reports, textbooks, or handouts.
  • If part of the procedure was successfully described in a previous report, either repeat the procedure or include that report in the appendix and refer the reader to it.
  • Where appropriate, provide additional diagrams and/or pictures to assist the reader in understanding the procedure.

Results and Discussion

Present the results of the work performed, within the context of the problem statement, using neatly organized and completely labeled tables and/or graphs whenever possible. When comparative data is available, present the data in a way that facilitates the comparison. For example, if theoretical and experimental values are available, present the values alongside one another accompanied by percent error. If it would help the reader understand the results, include a few sample calculations but put lengthy calculations in an appendix.

ALWAYS accompany results with a meaningful discussion. The discussion explains what the results mean and points out trends. In some cases, the results speak mostly for themselves and the discussion may be brief, i.e., “Table 2 shows that the designed variable modulus counter works as expected” along with a sentence or two stating how a variable modulus counter works and referring to parts of the table that verify/justify the statement. In other cases, the meaning of the results may not be as clear requiring more detailed discussion. In most cases, the results include data from more than one source to be compared to establish validity. Meaningful discussion immediately follows presentation of results and include:

  • commenting on percent difference making sure it is clear to the reader which values are being compared and establishing comparative size of the difference in relation to expectations (negligible, small, large),
  • cause for the difference (error sources are discussed further in the next paragraph), and
  • how the results inform the reader as framed by the work’s objectives.

All three of the points are important to a meaningful discussion but the third one is most often overlooked. Discussion related to (3) may provide a statement about the theory used to predict the measured data. That statement often includes the theoretical assumptions made to predict the results and what the measured results indicate about the applicability of those theoretical assumptions to the experimental setting.

ALWAYS discuss the possible significant sources of error and how accurate the results need to be in order to be meaningful. Do not include a discussion of possible sources of error that would not add significantly to the observed error. What counts as significant depends on the situation. For example, if the components used have a tolerance of 5% and the accuracy of the equipment is within 0.5% of the measured value, then the equipment does not add significant error. However, if the components used have only a 1% tolerance then equipment with 0.5% accuracy is problematic. In general, it is impossible to obtain error-free results, therefore when there is 0% error there is still cause for discussion to comment on the situation that may result in error-free results or meaningful justification for expectation of error-free results. Expecting some error is not an excuse for lack of attention to detail when conducting procedures that minimize the error. Errors are different from mistakes. It is unacceptable to report mistakes. If a mistake was made, the work must be repeated until acceptable tolerances are achieved before submitting a report. Please find more on discussing percent error or percent difference in Appendix C.

When working in industry, it is imperative to know required level of accuracy for results. Your supervisor or client will expect results within specifications. If that means repetitive measurements to check for accuracy within tolerance, then do it. If it means performing a detailed analysis prior to making measurements, then do it. In an academic setting, the result of laziness or lack of effort may only be a bad grade. In a workplace, you may get fired!

Other information pertaining to writing Results and Discussion section can be found in Appendix C. This information includes

  • How to calculate percent difference/error.
  • Typical magnitudes of percent error for courses where circuits are constructed.
  • What to consider writing about based on questions posed by the person assigning you to write the report.
  • Guidelines for graphs provided in a report.

In this final section of the body of the report, the author should briefly bring everything together. It is similar to the abstract except that now specific results are concluded upon in a quantitative way. Therefore, the conclusion should be a concise description of the report including its purpose and most important results providing specific quantitative information. The conclusion should not contain figures or refer to them. As with the abstract, the reader should be able to read this section on its own which means that there should be no specific technical jargon, abbreviations, or acronyms used.

Anywhere within your writing that you have either copied or paraphrased another source, you must cite that source. This entails two steps. One is to provide a parenthetical citation at the location in the report where the material that is not your own resides and the other is to provide the complete bibliographic information in a References page following the Conclusion section of the report. If an annotated bibliography is required, include an annotation for ALL sources describing what the source was used for within the report and establishes the source’s credibility.

Using the APA style, the parenthetical citation at the location in the document where the copied or paraphrased material exists includes: author, publication date, and page number(s). For sources with no author, the name of the reference material is used. All this information is included within parentheses thus being referred to as a “parenthetical citation”.

The full bibliographic information for all reference material cited within your writing is collected on the References page. In technical papers, the referenced sources are usually listed in the order they are referred to in the body of the report and, in fact, many published engineering papers will simply number the references and then use that number in square brackets to replace the parenthetical citation within the body of the report. Those new to this form of technical writing, often ask about how and where to list references used but not explicitly cited in the body of the report. However, if the reference is important enough to list, that generally means that there is an appropriate place to cite it in the body of the report, perhaps in the introduction or background theory. In Appendix A you can find further information about creating citations using citation generators available on the internet that will create a properly formatted citation for you when provided with the relevant information. Although citation generators are readily available, the one I recommend is from Calvin College called KnightCite due to the minimum sponsored advertisements and can be found at http://www.calvin.edu/library/knightcite/ .

The References section begins on a new page; not on the same page with the conclusion. Refer to Appendix A for detailed information on preparing the References section. Also, there is a wealth of information about citation styles, including lengthy guides and short handouts, at https://sunydutchess.libguides.com/citations .

One final note on references and providing bibliographic information concerns use of sources that may appear to be questionable. There is no doubt that information from a wiki is questionable since, by definition, it can be changed by users including unqualified users. Although most wikis are reviewed and erroneous or misleading information corrected, at any given time there could be erroneous and misleading information. However, depending on report content, internet sources, including .com sites that have industry bias and .org sites that have policy bias, may have valuable information. Even .edu sites can be problematic if site is by an individual rather than an educational group within the institution since the former is likely not to have any editors and the latter is likely to be monitored and curated by the group. In order to establish credibility or usefulness of a source, especially a questionable one, provide an annotation to the bibliographic information that provides further information as to why the source was included and perspective on its application to the work reported. Information about annotated bibliographies is provided in Appendix A.

This section may not always be present. Materials included in an appendix may include lab sheets, parts list, diagrams, extensive calculations, error analyses, and lengthy computer programs.  Introduce numbered or lettered appendices rather than putting different items in one appendix.

Technical Report Writing Guidelines Copyright © by Leah M. Akins is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Probllama: Ollama Remote Code Execution Vulnerability (CVE-2024-37032) – Overview and Mitigations

Wiz Research discovered CVE-2024-37032, an easy-to-exploit Remote Code Execution vulnerability in the open-source AI Infrastructure project Ollama.

how to write a conclusion in a technical report

Introduction & Overview 

Ollama is one of the most popular open-source projects for running AI Models, with over 70k stars on GitHub and hundreds of thousands of monthly pulls on Docker Hub . Inspired by Docker, Ollama aims to simplify the process of packaging and deploying AI models. 

Wiz Research discovered an easy-to-exploit Remote Code Execution vulnerability in Ollama: CVE-2024-37032, dubbed “Probllama.” This security issue was responsibly disclosed to Ollama’s maintainers and has since been mitigated. Ollama users are encouraged to upgrade their Ollama installation to version 0.1.34 or newer. 

Our research indicates that, as of June 10, there are a large number of Ollama instances running a vulnerable version that are exposed to the internet. In this blog post, we will detail what we found and how we found it, as well as mitigation techniques and preventative measures organizations can take moving forward.  

AI Security Takeaways 

Taken as a whole – and in light of the Wiz Research team’s ongoing focus on the risk inherent to AI systems – our findings underscore the fact that AI security measure s have been largely sidelined in favor of focusing on the transformative power of this technology, and its potential to revolutionize the way business gets done.  

Organizations are rapidly adopting a variety of new AI tools and infrastructure in an attempt to hone their competitive edge. These tools are often at an early stage of development and lack standardized security features, such as authentication. Additionally, due to their young code base, it is relatively easier to find critical software vulnerabilities, making them perfect targets for potential threat actors. This is a recurring theme in our discoveries – see prior Wiz Research work on AI-as-a-service-providers Hugging Face and Replicate , as well as our State of AI in the Cloud report and last year’s discovery of 38TB of data that was accidentally leaked by AI researchers.  

Over the past year, multiple remote code execution (RCE) vulnerabilities were identified in inference servers, including TorchServe, Ray Anyscale, and Ollama. These vulnerabilities could allow attackers to take over self-hosted AI inference servers, steal or modify AI models, and compromise AI applications.  

The critical issue is not just the vulnerabilities themselves but the inherent lack of authentication support in these new tools. If exposed to the internet, any attacker can connect to them, steal or modify the AI models, or even execute remote code as a built-in feature (as seen with TorchServe and Ray Anyscale ). The lack of authentication support means these tools should never be exposed externally without protective middleware, such as a reverse proxy with authentication. Despite this, when scanning the internet for exposed Ollama servers, our scan revealed over 1,000 exposed instances hosting numerous AI models, including private models not listed in the Ollama public repository, highlighting a significant security gap. 

CROC Talks: RCE Vulnerability in Ollama explained

RCE Vulnerability in Ollama explained

how to write a conclusion in a technical report

Mitigation & detection 

To exploit this vulnerability, an attacker must send specially crafted HTTP requests to the Ollama API server. In the default Linux installation , the API server binds to localhost, which reduces remote exploitation risk significantly. However, in docker deployments ( ollama/ollama ), the API server is publicly exposed , and therefore could be exploited remotely. 

Wiz customers can use the pre-built query and advisory in the Wiz Threat Center to search for vulnerable instances in their environment. 

Explanation and Technical Description 

Why research ollama .

Our research team makes an active effort to contribute to the security of AI services, tooling, and infrastructure, and we also use AI in our research work. 

For a different project, we looked to leverage a large-context AI model. Luckily, around that time, Gradient released their Llama3 version which has a context of 1m tokens .  

Being one of the most popular open-source projects for running AI Models with over 70k stars on GitHub and hundreds of thousands of monthly pulls on Docker Hub , Ollama seemed to be the simplest way to self-host that model 😊. 

how to write a conclusion in a technical report

 Ollama Architecture 

Ollama consists of two main components: a client and a server. The server exposes multiple APIs to perform core functions, such as pulling a model from the registry, generating a prediction for a given prompt, etc. The client is what the user interacts with (i.e. the front-end), which could be, for example, a CLI (command-line interface). 

While experimenting with Ollama, our team found a critical security vulnerability in an Ollama server. Due to insufficient input validation, it is possible to exploit a Path Traversal vulnerability to arbitrarily overwrite files on the server. This can be further exploited into a full Remote Code Execution as we demonstrate below. 

This issue is extremely severe in Docker installations, as the server runs with root privileges and listens on by default – which enables remote exploitation of this vulnerability. 

how to write a conclusion in a technical report

It is important to mention that Ollama does not support authentication out-of-the-box. It is generally recommended to deploy Ollama behind a reverse-proxy to enforce authentication, if the user decides to expose its installation. In practice, our research indicates that there are a large number of installations exposed to the internet without any sort of authentication. 

The Vulnerability: Arbitrary File Write via Path Traversal 

Ollama’s HTTP server exposes multiple API endpoints that perform various actions.  

how to write a conclusion in a technical report

One of the endpoints, /api/pull , can be used to download a model from an Ollama registry. 

By default, models are downloaded from Ollama’s official registry ( registry.ollama.com ), however, it is also possible to fetch models from private registries.

how to write a conclusion in a technical report

While Ollama's official registry can be considered "trusted," anyone can set up their own registry and host models on it. As researchers, we were interested in this attack surface – are private registries being blindly trusted? What damage could a malicious private registry cause? 

What we found is that when pulling a model from a private registry (by querying the http://[victim]:11434/api/pull API endpoint), it is possible to supply a malicious manifest file that contains a path traversal payload in the digest field. 

The digest field of a given layer should be equal to the hash of the layer. Among other things, the digest of the layer is also used to store the model file on the disk:  


However, we found that the digest field was used without proper validation, resulting in path traversal when attempting to store it on the filesystem. This issue can be exploited to corrupt arbitrary files on the system. 

Achieving Arbitrary File Read 

By exploiting the previous issue, we can plant an additional malicious manifest file on the server (e.g /root/.ollama/models/manifests/%ATTACKER_IP%/library/manifest/latest ), which effectively registers a new model to the server. We found out that if our model’s manifest contains a traversal payload for the digest of one of its layers, when attempting to push this model to a remote registry via the http://[victim]:11434/api/push endpoint, the server will leak the content of the file specified in the digest field. 

how to write a conclusion in a technical report

Finally, Remote Code Execution 

As we mentioned previously, it is possible to exploit the Arbitrary File Write vulnerability to corrupt certain files in the system. In Docker installations, it is pretty straightforward to exploit it and achieve Remote Code Execution , as the server runs with root privileges. 

The simplest way we thought of achieving remote-code-execution would be to corrupt ld.so configuration files, specifically /etc/ld.so.preload . This file contains a whitespace - separated list of shared libraries that should be loaded whenever a new process starts. Using our Arbitrary File Write exploit-primitive, we plant our payload as a shared library on the filesystem ( /root/bad.so ) and then we corrupt etc/ld.so.preload to include it. Finally, we query the /api/chat endpoint on the Ollama API Server, which subsequently creates a new process and thus loads our payload! 

Regarding exploitation of instances which do not run with root privileges - we do have a strategy for exploitation that leverages our /Arbitrary File Read primitive. However, it will be left as an exercise for the reader 😊 


 CVE-2024-37032 is an easy-to-exploit remote code execution that affects modern AI infrastructure. Despite the codebase being relatively new and written in modern programming languages, classic vulnerabilities such as Path Traversal remain an issue. 

Security teams should update their Ollama instances to the latest version to mitigate this vulnerability. Furthermore, it is recommended not to expose Ollama to the internet unless it is protected by some sort of authentication mechanism, such a reverse-proxy. 

Responsible disclosure timeline 

We responsibly disclosed this vulnerability to Ollama’s development team in May 2024. Ollama promptly investigated and addressed the issue while keeping us updated. 

May 5, 2024 – Wiz Research reported the issue to Ollama.

May 5, 2024 – Ollama acknowledged the receipt of the report. 

May 5, 2024 – Ollama notified Wiz Research that they committed a fix to GitHub. 

May 8, 2024 – Ollama released a patched version. 

June 24, 2024 – Wiz Research published a blog about the issue. 

Ollama committed a fix in about 4 hours after receiving our initial report, demonstrating an impressive response time and commitment to their product security. 

Continue reading

how to write a conclusion in a technical report

GenAI risks to be aware of — and prepare for — according to Gartner®

how to write a conclusion in a technical report

The deployment of GenAI, LLMs, and chat interfaces expands potential attack surfaces and poses increased security threats.

how to write a conclusion in a technical report

Wiz for Gov is in process for DoD IL4 Authorization

how to write a conclusion in a technical report

We are excited to be ‘in-process’ for DoD IL4, continuing our commitment to helping public sector secure everything they build and run in the cloud

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  1. 10.8 Conclusions

    10.8 Conclusions. We normally use the word "conclusion" to refer to that last section or paragraph or a document. Actually, however, the word refers more to a specific type of final section. If we were going to be fussy about it, the current chapter should be called "Final Sections," which covers all possibilities.

  2. PDF A guide to technical report writing

    6. Conclusion. The report is checked, its appearance is pleasing, it is easy to handle, 'interesting' and 'readable', to quote the criteria suggested at the beginning of this Guide. If the technical content is as good as the organisation, writing, illustration and finishing, then the report should delight the reader.

  3. 10.8 Conclusions

    In the conclusion, the "true" conclusion, you would present your resolution of the conflicting theories, your choice of the best model or brand—your final conclusions. Figure 2: A "true"-conclusions final section. This type states conclusions based on the discussion contained in the body of the report. (From a report written in the ...

  4. PDF A guide to technical report writing

    left confused by the report or decides it's too difficult to work out what you are trying to say. A guide to technical report writing - What makes a good technical report? 03 10 laws of good report writing 1. produce the report for your reader(s) 2. keep the report as short as possible 3. organise information for the convenience of the reader

  5. Conclusion

    4. Conclusion. Technical Report Writing Guidelines provides a recipe for writing technical reports for a variety of disciplines and applications. If all of the information contained herein is studied and applied, the result will be a report worth reading. Considering that most technical jobs require accurate communication through written ...

  6. Guide to Technical Report Writing

    Guide to Technical Report Writing. Table of contents. 1 Introduction. 2 Structure. 3 Presentation. 4 Planning the report. 5 Writing the first draft. 6 Revising the first draft. 7 Diagrams, graphs, tables and mathematics. 8 The report layout. 9 Headings. 10 References to diagrams, graphs, tables and equations. 11 Originality and plagiarism

  7. PDF A Guide to Writing Formal Technical Reports

    The easiest way to write a coherent report for a technical communication course is to have a topic, then research and discuss a central issue about the topic. ... Offer an overview of the report's findings and the conclusions. This paragraph should cover the scope of work, main findings, and key conclusions. Add any important considerations ...

  8. 11.6 Conclusion

    11.6 Conclusion. Texts are forms of nonverbal (or not exclusively verbal) communication aimed at a particular audience. They are always expressions of some set of goals or purposes. They can contain visual elements, sound, textual elements, graphic elements, and even textures (think of a book of fabric samples).

  9. PDF Guide for Writing Technical Reports

    The process of writing a technical report begins with planning the work on which the report is based. Even at an early stage, tasks can be broken down into elements ... - Conclusions: usefulness and importance of results; how the results contribute to achieving the purpose of the report central chapters.

  10. PDF 1 Conclusions

    A Conclusion must at least accomplish the goal of summarizing your paper or project. There are a number of other elements that can be included, depending on the individual project. The following is. a list of possible elements to include in a Conclusion: • Summary of project. • Summary of main points or findings.

  11. Technical Report: What is it & How to Write it? (Steps & Structure

    Organizes the data. A technical report is a concise, factual piece of information that is aligned and designed in a standard manner. It is the one place where all the data of a project is written in a compact manner that is easily understandable by a reader. 4. Tool for evaluation of your work.

  12. 7.4 Technical Reports

    7.4 Technical Reports. Longer technical reports can take on many different forms (and names), but most, such as recommendation and evaluation reports, do essentially the same thing: they provide a careful study of a situation or problem, and often recommend what should be done to improve that situation or problem.

  13. A Student's Guide

    Describe what makes a conclusion meaningful, especially to a technical audience. Relate the idea of audience expectations to prior writing instruction. Write meaningful conclusions for an engineering lab report. Summarize the important contents of the laboratory report clearly, succinctly, and with sufficient specificity.

  14. 6 Writing the Discussion and Conclusion Sections

    6 Writing the Discussion and Conclusion Sections. 6.1 Discussion. This section discusses your results, presenting the "so what," or "why should the reader care" about your research. This is where you explain what you think the results show. Tell the reader the significance of your document by discussing how the results fit with what is ...

  15. Conclusions

    The problems then become: 1. Summary: Since the conclusion's job is to summarize the paper, some redundancy is necessary. However, you are summarizing the paper for a reader who had read the introduction and the body of the report already, and should already have a strong sense of key concepts. Your conclusion, then, is for a more informed ...

  16. PDF Technical Report Writing: How to write a technical report

    It should include a short background of the problem, the aim and your major results as well as conclusions. - Important that it can be read and understood on without reading the whole report. - The abstract is one continuous text without subheadings - App. ½ a page; usually with 200-500 words.

  17. Technical Report: Meaning, Example, Structure

    A technical report is just a collection of raw data from a scientific experiment without any analysis or conclusions drawn from that research. B. A technical report is a detailed and concise document that gives an overview of the process, progress, and results of technical or scientific research, including a detailed analysis and the ...

  18. How to Write Technical Report

    A technical report is a document that describes the progress, results, or process of scientific or technical research. A technical report may also include some conclusions and/or recommendations ...

  19. Simple Ways to Write a Technical Report (with Pictures)

    5. Round out the report with a conclusion that bookends your introduction. In a technical report, your introduction should raise the "big" questions and your conclusion should provide your answers. If, for instance, you listed several specific questions in your intro, answer them specifically in the conclusion.

  20. A step-by-step guide to writing a technical report

    3. Use a professional writing style. Ensure the style in which you write your report follows a professional tone. Use formal language and write your report in the third person, avoiding first-person pronouns throughout. Ensure that each sentence is grammatically complete and avoid using passive voice in your report.

  21. Guide: Engineering Technical Reports

    Many report types are classified as technical reports. You should always determine what information you need to convey and who your audience is before you start writing. Technical reports present facts and conclusions about your designs and other projects. Typically, a technical report includes research about technical concepts as well as ...

  22. How to Write a Technical Report (With Benefits and Steps)

    How to write technical reports. Writing a report can help you organize your research and share your results. Here are steps to follow for producing a report: 1. Assess your findings. Before you write your report, it's important to conclude your research and assess your results. The research process often involves collecting large amounts of ...

  23. The Formal Technical Report

    With practice, the technical report writer learns which details to include. The formal technical report contains a complete, concise, and well-organized description of the work performed and the results obtained. Any given report may contain all of the sections described in these guidelines or a subset, depending upon the report requirements.

  24. Probllama: Ollama Remote Code Execution Vulnerability (CVE-2024-37032

    Introduction & Overview Ollama is one of the most popular open-source projects for running AI Models, with over 70k stars on GitHub and hundreds of thousands of monthly pulls on Docker Hub.Inspired by Docker, Ollama aims to simplify the process of packaging and deploying AI models. Wiz Research discovered an easy-to-exploit Remote Code Execution vulnerability in Ollama: CVE-2024-37032, dubbed ...