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Chemical Engineering Department
Dr. Moustapha Salem Mansour First year Spring 2009
Table of contents
1. Introduction ............................................................................................. 1 1.1. Types of Technical Reports ............................................................... 2 1.1.1. Technical-background report ...................................................... 2 1.1.2. Instructions .................................................................................. 2 1.1.3. Feasibility, recommendation, and evaluation reports ................. 2 1.1.4. Primary research report ............................................................... 2 1.1.5. Technical specifications .............................................................. 3 1.1.6. Report-length proposal ................................................................ 3 1.1.7. Business proposed ....................................................................... 3 1.2. Audience and Situation in Technical Reports .................................... 3 1.3. Topics for Technical Reports ............................................................. 4 1.3.1. Editorializing ............................................................................... 4 1.3.2. Fuzzy topics................................................................................. 4 1.3.3. Tough technical topics ................................................................ 4 1.4. General Characteristics of Technical Reports.................................... 4 1.4.1. Graphics ...................................................................................... 4 1.4.2. Accurate detail............................................................................. 4 1.4.3. Information sources ..................................................................... 4 1.4.4. Documentation ............................................................................ 5 1.4.5. Realistic audience and situation .................................................. 5 1.4.6. Headings and lists ....................................................................... 5 1.4.7. Special format ............................................................................. 5 1.4.8. Production ................................................................................... 5 1.4.9. Length.......................................................................................... 5 1.4.10. Technical content ...................................................................... 5 2. Visual Elements ...................................................................................... 6 2.1. Making a visual aid truly visual ......................................................... 6 2.2. Deciding when to use a visual aid ...................................................... 7 2.3. Selecting the best type of visual aid in a given situation ................... 7 2.3.1. Conventions of Visual Perception............................................... 8 2.3.2. Some types of visual aids and their uses ..................................... 8 2.4. Designing the visual aid ................................................................... 14 2.4.1. Making a visual aid relevant ..................................................... 14
2.4.2. Making a visual aid clear .......................................................... 16 2.5. Integrating the Visual Aid into the Test ........................................... 18 2.5.1. Positioning ................................................................................. 18 2.5.2. Printing ...................................................................................... 19 2.6. Formatting Contentions that Make Reading Easier ......................... 19 3. The technical Report ............................................................................. 22 3.1. Types of Reports .............................................................................. 22 3.2. Organization of reports .................................................................... 24 3.2.1. Organization of a design report ................................................. 24 3.3. Preparing the report .......................................................................... 27 3.4. Presenting the results........................................................................ 27 3.4.1. Subheadings and Paragraphs ..................................................... 28 3.4.2. Tables ........................................................................................ 28 3.4.3. Graphs ....................................................................................... 28 3.4.4. Illustrations ................................................................................ 29 3.4.5. References to Literature ............................................................ 29 3.4.6. Sample Calculations .................................................................. 30 3.4.7. Mechanical Details .................................................................... 31 4. Oral Presentations ................................................................................. 32 4.1. Topic and Situation for the Oral Presentation.................................. 32 4.2. Contents and Requirements for the Oral Presentation ..................... 33 4.3. Preparing for the Oral Report........................................................... 34 4.4. Delivering an Oral Presentation ....................................................... 34 4.5. Planning and Preparing Visuals for Oral Presentations ................... 35 4.5.1. Tips for the preparation off the visuals ..................................... 36 5. Making Your Writing Readable............................................................ 37 5.1. Introduction ...................................................................................... 37 5.2. Information selection ....................................................................... 37 5.2.1. Establish your Topic and Purpose ............................................. 37 5.2.2. Use Keywords Prominently ...................................................... 38 5.2.3. Explain Important Concepts when Writing for Nonspecialist Readers ................................................................................................ 38 5.2.4. Use Standard Terminology when Writing for Specialist Readers ............................................................................................... 39 5.2.5. Structure your Text to Emphasize Important Information ........ 40
5.2.6. Construct Well Designed Paragraphs ....................................... 40 5.2.7. Field-Test Your Writing ............................................................ 41 5.3. Information ordering ........................................................................ 41 5.3.1. Optimal Ordering of Noun Phrases ........................................... 42 5.4. Editing For Emphasis ....................................................................... 45 5.4.1. Combine Closely Related Sentences......................................... 46 5.4.2. Be Concise................................................................................. 49 6. Project Proposal .................................................................................... 52 6.1. The contents of project proposal can be structured as follows: ....... 52 6.2. NATURE OF THE REPORTS: ....................................................... 52 6.3. Technical-industrial project proposals: ............................................ 53 7. Checklist for the Technical Report ....................................................... 54
The major focus of many technical writing courses is the technical report. Just about everything you study, everything you write is geared toward preparing you to write this final report. The early, short assignment involving instructions or descriptions and the like give you practice using headings, lists, notices, and graphics; in handling numbers and abbreviations; and of course in producing good, clear, well-organized writing. For many students, the technical report is the longest document they've ever written. It normally involves some research; often the information comes not only from published sources in the library, but also sources outside the library, including nonpublished things such as interviews, correspondence, and video tapes. It may also be the fanciest document: it uses binding and covers and has special elements such as a table contents, title page, and graphics. As you think about what you want to write about for this project, don't shy away from topics you are curious about or interested in, but don't know much about. You don't need to do exhaustive research; normally, you can pull together information for an excellent report from several books and a half-dozen articles. Your real focus is the writing: how well adapted to a specific audience it is, how clear and readable it is, how it flows, how it's organized, how much detail it provides. You are also focused on format: how well you use headings, lists, notices; how well you incorporate graphics; how well you handle the front- and back-matter elements; and how nice a job you do of turning out the final copy of the report. You don't need to be a trained graphic designer to produce a fine-looking report. Basic word-processing skills and a decent printer and access to nice (but inexpensive) binding are all you need. Plan on doing a first-rate job on the report; remember that past students have shown prospective employers their reports and have benefited by doing so. If you are planning a technical report, your job in this unit then is define the following: Report topic: Decide what subject you are going to write on; narrow it as much as possible. Report audience: Define a specific person or group of people for whom you are going to write the report. Define the circumstances in which this report is needed. Report purpose: Define what the report will accomplish—what needs of the audience it is going to fufill. Report type: Decide on the type of report—for example, technical background report, feasibility report, instructions, or some other. You can do these in any order: for some people, it helps to start by defining an audience or a report type first. For others, beginning by picking a topic is more stimulating. Once you have defined these elements, you can start testing your report-project ideas by asking yourself these questions: Is there hard, specific, factual data for this topic? Will there be at least one or two graphics? Is there some realistic need for this report?
Technical Reports Writing (HS x12)
First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009
1. you could report on the research that has been done on saccharine. A recommendation report compares two or more alternatives and recommends one (or.S. you not only present your data and draw conclusions about it. Types of Technical Reports In this course you can choose to write one of the following types of reports 1. Primary research report Primary research refers to the actual work someone does in a laboratory or in the field—in other words. or U. experiments and surveys. but also explain your methodology. it's hard to keep these two kinds of reports distinct.1. CDROM technology. This is a perfectly good possibility for the technical report as well. An evaluation or assessment report studies something in terms of its worth or value For example. equipment. a medical problem. 1. In this type of report. none). solar energy. For example. Technical-background report The background report is the hardest to define but the most commonly written. Elements of the feasibility and recommendation report intermingle in specific reports—but the main thing is to get the job done! 1. The engineers need to know general knowledge about renal disease and the technologies used to treat it. However. In practice. but they don't want to have to go digging in the library to find it. If there is too much to write about. recommendation. whether it is practical and technologically possible. they write about some smaller segment—for example.3. Others write short user manuals for an appliance. 1. if necessary.1. The same college might also seek recommendations on the best hardware and software to use (after the feasibility report had determined it was a good idea). describe the equipment and facilities you used. You can modify this type by summarizing other primary research reports. Students often write backup procedures for the jobs they do at their work. and give some background on the problem.1. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 2 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . recycling activity. Instructions These are probably the most familiar of all the types of reports.1. You may have written a "lab report. or program. Feasibility.2. imagine an engineering firm bidding on a portion of the work to build a hemodialysis clinic. What they need is a technical background report on the subject.4.1." as they are commonly called. however.1. and evaluation reports Another useful type of report is one that studies a problem or opportunity and then makes a recommendation. the information on the topic is not just for anybody who might be interested in the topic. For example. global warming. a college might investigate the feasibility of giving every student an e-mail address and putting many of the college functions online. but for some individual or group that has specific needs for it and is even willing to pay for that information. just a guide on writing macros in MS-Word. A feasibility report tells whether a project is "feasible"—that is. for one of your previous courses. This type of technical report provides background on a topic—for example. instead of instructions on using all of MS-Word.
and occupation or position. projects revenues. review of literature. come on!). you discuss some new product design in terms of its construction.one that might be read by marketing and planning executives. background. and qualifications. it describes the proposed business. if there is a type of technical document you want to write not listed here. explores the marketplace and the competition.1. 1. tables. Report-length proposal As you may be aware. you can write a business plan. Business proposed If you are ambitious to run your own business. specifications are not a good exercise of your writing abilities. and why they want or might need the information. Why does the audience need this information? How will readers get access to this information? You also have to define the audience in terms of who they are specifically: that means things like names.1.) Most of the elements are the same. Plus elements from other kinds of reports get imported—such as feasibility discussion." You have to define the audience in terms of its knowledge. materials. which is a plan or proposal to start a new business or to expand an existing one.7. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 3 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . However.5. what they know or don't know in relation to the topic. and need for the information. talk to your instructor. Several students have set up scenarios in which they proposed internally to write an external proposal. Therefore. 1. and describes the operation and output of the proposed business. (Please. operation. you define who the readers are. the audience cannot be this vague sort of "anybody who is considering purchasing a CD player. Don't feel constrained by this list. organization or company. Just as critical to the planning process is defining the situation. if you wanted to write about CD audio players.6. functions.1. and graphics replace regular sentences and paragraphs whenever possible. street address and phone numbers. Thus. these become much more elaborate.2.1. features. 1. True specifications are not much on writing the text is dense. and market potential. It is aimed primarily at potential investors. fragmented. Sometimes this leaves out a critical element: just what are the circumstances that bring about the need for the information. For example. lists. just bigger. Audience and Situation in Technical Reports A critical step in your early report planning is to define a specific audience and situation in which to write the report. not this semester. It may be that we are using different names for the same thing. Technical specifications In this report type. what experience or background they have in relation to the topic. in which they went after some contract or grant. proposals can be monster documents of hundreds or even thousands of pages. The problem with writing a proposal in our technical-writing class is coordinating it with the proposal you write at the beginning of the semester (a proposal to write a proposal. When you define audience. you can write a more high-level version .
it's common sense that we often write better about things we know about.3. Get in touch with your instructor. Topics for Technical Reports Just about any topic can be worked into a good technical-report project. as well as first-hand inspections. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 4 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . Fuzzy topics Some topics just don't work. interviews or correspondence with experts. good reports have been written on the apparatus used in dream research laboratories. But avoid editorializing—there are other courses where you can do this. If this is a concern for you. and the like.1.2. Remember that the word technical refers to anybody of specialized knowledge. General Characteristics of Technical Reports You're probably wondering what this technical report is supposed to look like. look around you in your work. For example. don't be concerned that your has to be about computers. or academic studies. 1. The point of the report is to go into details. however. You can. contact your instructor. So can UFOs. the kind of details your specific audience needs. Information sources Your report should make use of information sources. marijuana. dream analysis can be very fuzzy and nebulous. You want your report to have hard factual data in it. Graphics include all kinds of possibilities. If you can't think of any graphics for your report project. hobbies. 1. Tough technical topics As mentioned earlier. however. No one expects a doctoral thesis.1. 1. abortion.3. Some are a little more difficult than others.4.3. However. Of course. electronics.1.4. Ask your instructor to show you a few example reports. avoid editorial topics. that's where your instructor can help. 1. as a later chapter in this book will show. These may include not only books and articles that can be found in libraries but also technical brochures. 1. In addition to that. If you don't believe any information sources are necessary for your report project. These get into substantial technical areas. for some reason.3. you may not have a good topic.3. And. describe the chemical. that is why some technical writing course includes a proposal assignment: it gives your instructor a chance to see what you want to do and to guide you away from problems such as the following: 1. don't attempt to write a technical report on the pro's and con's of gun control. Accurate detail The report should be very detailed and accurate. For example.3. here is a brief review of some of the chief characteristics of the technical report: 1. At the same time. Graphics The report should have graphics. develop these topics: for example. The preceding topics are difficult to pin down this way. physiological aspects of marijuana or the medical techniques for abortion or the developmental stages of the fetus. or some other "technical" topic.4.4.2. who can help you brainstorm for graphics. Use the report project as a chance to learn something new. Editorializing For the report project. don't shy away from interesting topics that you don't feel you know enough about. Maybe somebody can even figure out a good way to handle UFOs.
binding. And the audience can't merely be something like "anybody who might be interested in global warming. a report of this length is rather skimpy. Realistic audience and situation The report must be defined for a real or realistic group of readers who exist in a real or realistic situation. Special format The technical report uses a rather involved format including covers. to be used to aid in long-range investment planning." Instead.4.7. realistic. and specific: for example. interested in reliable information on global warming.6. not a course in engineering. The style of citing your sources (also called "documenting" your sources). 1. 1.4.4. table of contents. These have to be prepared according to a set standard. But remember that sheer weight does not equal quality (or better grade). which will be presented in a later chapter. The report must be bound in some way.1. 1. as well as various kinds of lists as appropriate. or the like. at some point. transmittal letter.4. be sure to cite your sources. There is no real maximum length. other than what your time. One style commonly used in science and engineering is called the number system.4. Most students invent an audience and situation. Documentation When you use borrowed information in your technical report. but don't go overboard.8. counting from introduction to conclusion. If you get into a bind with a report project that would take too many pages. Length The report should be at least 8 1. list of figures. electronics. Make a goodfaith effort to get the facts right. contact your instructor—there are numerous tricks we can use to cut it down to size. Production The technical report should be typed or printed out neatly.4. "Texas Coastal Real Estate Developers Association.5 spaced typed or printed pages (using 3/4 -inch margins). Remember that this is a writing course. Also. If graphics are taped in. 1.in other words. energy." 1. Headings and lists The report should use the format for headings that is required for the course. science. title page.10. and the photocopy handed in (not the original with the taped-in graphics). the whole report must be photocopied. and stamina can handle. and appendixes. Technical content You must design your report project in such a way that your poor technical-writing instructor has a chance to understand it . it has to be real.5. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 5 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . nursing. 1. This is a minimum. you may get concerned about the technical accuracy of your information.4. you must write for the nonspecialist.4.9.
Now try to write . more subtle ones. These last two observations (points 2 and 3) are very hard to "see" in the format used in Table 2-1. Do not look at any of the following tables or discussions. When to use the visual aid 3. pie chart. How to integrate the visual aid into the text 2. How to select the best type of visual element in a given situation (e. (Have you ever heard the expression "a picture is worth a thousand words"?) Finally. Notice that Table 2-2 makes it visually quite clear that the job satisfaction ratings of the two groups overlap and that the skilled trade and factory workers as a group are less satisfied than the professionals. by repeating it in a different form.down the main points made by the table. How to make a visual aid effective 2. so much easier that the formatting becomes necessary given the limitations on the time and attention of an audience.1. most readers of Table 2-2 easily and quickly note all three observations. Very few readers of only Table 2-1 will notice (3) that the job satisfaction of skilled printers is higher than that of nonprofessional white-collar workers. formatting (the use of white space and indenting). which can quickly summarize an important point or present it in a different way. sometimes words need to be combined with visual aids. when a visual presentation is added to a verbal one. simply because of the format of the table. Visual Elements There are times when words alone are not the best way to transfer information or points of view. It is known that you can increase the strength and memorability of a message simply by repeating it or. appropriate formatting can make a technical report much easier to read.. or other visual elements. Given these advantages of visual aids. Making a visual aid truly visual Take about 2 to 5 seconds to look at Table 2-1 and then cover it up. These readers will sometimes notice (2) that there is a large difference in job satisfaction between the two groups-that is. Thus. Also. such as drawings. or graphs. a communicator ought to be able to use them effectively. people who read only Table 2-1 note (1) that job satisfaction declines in each of the two main groups of occupations. as well as a few other. When you have finished this. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 6 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . look at the presentation of the same information in Table 2-2 and see if you can quickly add any more main points to your list. Typically. bar graph. figures. the combination can produce a much stronger and more easily remembered message than either presentation alone. even better. that most of the first group is relatively satisfied (93 to 82 percent satisfied) whereas most of the second group is much less satisfied (only 52 to 16 percent satisfied). line graph) 4. In contrast. Do this before you continue. This involves knowing 1. The same can often be said of other visual elements. a visual aid can present a compact summary of the main points of a verbal text. Further. charts.g.2. For example. a visual element can often summarize in a more memorable form than words alone can.
bar chart. again. and photograph) is the best type to make your point and that the arrangement and highlighting of material on the page is. Where a visual aid is needed to underscore an important point. the best to make your point. Where words alone would be either impossible or quite inefficient for describing a concept or an object 2. you are consciously or unconsciously making certain decisions. Three suggested principles for deciding this are to use a visual aid 1. pie diagram. If you Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 7 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .3.2. You are deciding-that the particular type of aid yon choose (a line graph. Unfortunately. Where a visual element is conventionally or easily used to present data 2.Table 2-1 Proportion of occupational groups who would choose similar work again Professional occupation Ubran university professors Mathematicians Physicists Biologists Chemists Lawyers School superintendents Journalists White-collar workers percent 93 91 89 89 86 85 84 82 43 skilled trades occupations Skilled printers Paper workers Skilled auto workers Skilled steel workers Textile workers Unskilled steel workers Unskilled steel workers percent 52 42 41 40 31 31 21 Table 2-2 Alternate arrangement for proportion of occupational groups who would choose similar work again Professional occupation Ubran university professors Mathematicians Physicists Biologists Chemists Lawyers School superintendents Journalists White-collar workers skilled trades occupations Skilled printers Paper workers Skilled auto workers Skilled steel workers Textile workers Unskilled steel workers Unskilled steel workers percent 93 91 89 89 86 85 84 82 43 percent 52 42 41 40 31 31 21 2. Selecting the best type of visual aid in a given situation When you design a particular visual aid. Deciding when to use a visual aid Communicators often wonder when they should use a visual aid in a communication. there is little information available on which to base such decisions. especially a summary 3.
fifth. or an especially important word in a passage. (4) tables. Eighth. we expect things in the foreground to be more important than things in the background.3. location. we expect that things having the same size. a title. For instance. is larger. and sixth. we expect written things to proceed from left to right.2. we place the independent variable on the x-axis so that the more important variable moves from left to right. Lastly. Each of these types has particular strengths and weaknesses. we expect things in the center to be more important than things on the periphery. Conventions of Visual Perception There are a number of general statements we can make about our expectations of visual information. (2) bar graphs. you must decide what point you are trying to make and then select the type of visual aid which makes that kind of point well. you probably choose one type of visual aid over another simply because it is the first thing you think of using. Fourth. 2. large things to be more important than small things. and. or color are somehow related to each other. type face. Note that in scientific and technical graphs. (3) pie charts. shape. we see things as standing out if they contrast with their surroundings because of line thickness. and (6) line drawings. we expect things to proceed from top to bottom. The section will first identify some conventions of visual perception and then examine several common types of visual -aids to see what they do and do not show well. Figure 2-1 Preferred location of independent variable on a graph Figure 2-2 Unconventional location of independent variable on a graph Second. as illustrated in Figure 2-1.3. (5) photographs. First. thick things to be more important than thin things. Some types of visual aids and their uses There are six main types of visual aids with which a scientist or engineer should be familiar: (1) line graphs. 2. Note that writing that. The purpose of this section is to sketch out some better or more conscious reasons for choosing. thicker.1. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 8 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .are like most writers. we expect areas containing a lot of activity and information to contain the most important information. third. we plot time on the x-axis and frequency on the yaxis. or color. or bolder than the surrounding type is usually more important: a heading. Seventh. This pattern is so universal that Figure 2-2 looks at best odd and at worst disturbing. ninth. and to use any one appropriately.
Line graphs do not show well them importance of one particular point which falls of a node. volume as opposed to direction. the relationships among more than three or four items at a time. show well continuity and direction as opposed to individual or discrete points. the relationship of many lines. Figure 2-3 River flow before (1963) and Figure 2-4 Reference of families for girls after (1977) construction of Aswan High versus boys in six countries Dam on the Nile River BAR GRAPHS Bar graphs show relatively well the discreteness or separateness of points as opposed to their continuity. direction as opposed to volume. The bars are normally separated by spaces. and the similarities and differences between similar numbers. you should probably not put more than three or four on a single graph. Bar graphs can be arranged with either horizontal (Figure 2-5) or vertical bars (Figure 2-6). if there is one. or the inter section of three or more lines. especially if they intersect frequently. These characteristics are illustrated in Figure2-3. lf its important to be able to trace each line on a graph. depending on the type of information they represent. or you may produce a graph as hard to follow as the one in Figure 2-4. These characteristics are evident in the variant of the bar graph presented in Figure 2-5 and in Figure 2-6. Figure 2-5 Bar Chart Showing annual energy saving Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 9 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . and the importance of a nodal point.LINEGRAPHS Line graphs. the contrast between large and small numbers.
Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 10 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . as shown in Figure 2-7. Figure 2-6 Histogram for failure records SURFACE CAHRTS A surface chart is shown in Figure 2-8. It may look like a graph. it can serve a very useful purpose.Figure 2-6 Vertical bar chart HISTOGRAMS A histogram looks like a bar chart. but it is not. but functionally it is similar to a graph because it deals with two continuous variables (functions that can be shown on a scale' to be decreasing or increasing). It is usually plotted like a bar chart. The chief visible difference between a histogram and a bar chart is that there are no spaces between the bars of a histogram. Yet as a means for conveying Illustrative information to non technical readers. To a technical person its' construction may seem so awkward that he might wonder when he would ever need to use one.
000 MW. They also do not show well absolute values (unless you label the parts of the pie) or the relationship among more than five or six parts. using the first curve as a base (i. But unlike a graph.Figure 2-8 Surface chart adds thermal data to hydro data to show total energy resources Like a graph. This is the Hydro curve in Figure 2-8. the contrast between large and small percentages.000 MW. The uppermost curve is achieved as follows: 1. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 11 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . The curve containing the most import-ant or largest quantity of data is drawn first. Pie diagrams do not show well the small differences between two similar percentages (you can not usually see the differences between 27 and 29 percent).e. the lower curve for 1980 is plotted at 15.000 MW In Figure 2-8.000 MW Thermal 7. These strengths and weakness is illustrated in figure 2-9. zero) and adding the second set of data to it. PIE DIAGRAMS Pie diagrams show relatively well the relationship among three or four items which total 100 percent. individual curves cannot be read directly from the scales. the energy resources shown as being available in 1980 are: Hydro 15. For example. which is added to the first set of data so that the second curve indicates a total of 22. (If there is a third set of data. The next curve is drawn in above the first curve. with too many parts it is hard to see relationships of part to part and part to whole. in the normal way.000 MW. a surface chart has two continuous variables that form the scales against which the curves are plotted. The 1980 data for the next curve is 7. 2. it is added on in the same way). and the similarities between relatively similar percentage (they show that well that 27 percent and 29 percent are about equal).
schematic charts. They allow you to show things which you can't normally see in a photograph because of size.Figure 2-9 Distribution of fatalities in 181 fatal car-truck crashers TABLES Tables are convenient for presenting lots of data and for giving absolute values where precision is very important. the money. While there are many types of line drawings. Also included are flow charts. part. or relationship. the data. function. block diagrams. anatomical drawings. or excessive detail. architectural plans. when you are trying to produce immediate visual recognition of an item." maps (see Figure 210). as already described in the job satisfaction example at the beginning of this chapter. they emphasize the discrete rather than the continuous and make it very difficult to show trends or direction in. and when you are not concerned with eliminating the abundant detail a photograph provides. LINE DRAWINGS The term line drawing includes several types of drawings which focus on external appearance. tables should probably be a last choice as a visual aid and used only when it is important to provide a great deal of information with precision in a very small space. physical shape. or the expertise to produce a complicated line drawing. and blueprints. PHOTOGRAPHS Photographs are useful when you do not have the time. as seen in Figure 2-12. for maximum visual impact. or function. all of them share certain functions. when you are emphasizing the item's external appearance (as opposed to its internal structure or a cross section). Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 12 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . While photographs can be air-brushed to eliminate some undesired detail. organizational charts. and drawings of models (such as atomic or molecular models as seen in Figure 2-11) or objects from any field of science or engineering. They also allow you to easily highlight a particular shape. since they present items one at a time in columns. These include "simplified photos. Tables are not predominantly visual: the reader's mind must translate each number into a relationship with each other number. location. parts charts. However. Thus. they still are not preferred when you need to focus on some one aspect by eliminating a lot of detail and when you have the time and resources to produce a good line drawing.
Figure 2-10 map Showing UK Standard regions Figure 2-11 Model for polyethylene Figure 2-12 flow diagrams for programming sequence Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 13 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .
For instance. Designing the visual aid Once you have decided . On what basis do you choose? What are the differences among the five visual aids? Figure 2-13 Annual energy savings from solar energy. If you work for a company which has an art or illustration department you may be able to get a technical illustrator to produce the finished copy for you and to counsel you in the design stage. 2.9 1. This will usually be at least a two-stage process: designing a rough copy and then producing the finished COPY. Making a visual aid relevant Since you place a visual aid in a text to make a point.4 1995 1. you want to construct a visual aid to show the growth in savings and the relative contributions of each source.4 0. version I Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 14 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . You construct five possible versions of a visual aid.2 0.1.2.4. Table 2-3 Expected annual saving from solar energy Annual Savings (1015 Btu) Total energy Solar-based electric Year Residences systems power plants 1985 0. you must design it so that it is as relevant. you should be sure that it makes the point you intend. presented in Figures 2-13 through 2-17.9 53 Now that you have your data. total energy systems such as industrial parks and shopping centers. suppose that you are discussing expected energy saving from the use of solar energy in the future.92 1.24 1990 1. and truthful as possible. You have posed three possible sources of the savings-residences. even if you have such help. and solar-based electric power plantsand have broken down the specific savings as illustrated in Table 2-3. However.4.where a visual aid is needed and what type it should be. and now have to choose the one most appropriate to your point. clear. you should be the real designer of the visual aid: you have the best knowledge of the subject and best know the purpose of the aid and the context in which it is being used.
version 4 Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 15 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . version 2 Figure 2-15 Annual energy savings from solar energy.Figure 2-14 Annual energy savings from solar energy. version 3 Figure 2-16 Annual energy savings from solar energy.
(Notice that graph c lacks enough information even though it provides everything except the title and two critical labels. 2. graph (e) provides adequate information and enough white space to let it be seen. in comparison to the other charts. Finally. Figure 2-13 presents the most information in the smallest space and the clearest vision of total growth. To really see the benefit of proper labeling and sufficient white space.2. look at the series of graphs presented in Figure 2-18. version 5 First let us consider the bar graphs. a careful and hardworking reader can probably figure out the Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 16 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . If you are primarily interested in the increase in total savings. Technical clarity is a simpler matter and will be treated here. On the other hand. So how do you choose one (or two) from among the group? You pick the one which best matches the focus you wish to take in your report or talk. If you are not much concerned about total growth but want to focus on the contribution of each area for savings.4. appropriate headings and labels. Making a visual aid clear Making a visual aid clear involves two separate activities: making it conceptually clear and making it technically clear. Figure 2-15 clarifies the comparison between items in the same year but obscures comparisons between years. The line graphs in Figures 2-16 and2-17 have the same strengths and weaknesses as their respective bar graph counterparts. it obscures the comparisons between items in the same year and between the same item in different years. but the grid in the background is so obtrusive that a reader can hardly see the important lines and labels. Conceptual clarity is discussed above.) Graph (d) provides an adequate title and labels.Figure 2-17 Annual energy savings from solar energy. from these. you would probably choose Figure 2-16. It involves having an informative title. especially between the same item in different years. then you would probably choose Figure2-14. Graph (a) is an extremely bad example of a visual aid since it has none of the labeling information usually presented. If you are interested in the growth of the contribution of each area. Figure 2-14 obscures the total growth but makes the comparisons already mentioned much clearer. however. Making it conceptually clear means having a clearly defined and relevant point and a good form for the point. Among the bar graphs. you would probably choose Figure 2-13 or 2-17. Graphs (b) and (c) present more information. but still not enough to really get the message across. and enough white space so that an audience has the best possible chance of finding the "right" meaning for the visual aid. but in addition they also bring out more strongly the idea of direction and rate of change.
headings and titles in visual aids Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 17 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .message (you should note that version d is typical of most student reports. which are done quickly checked mainly for accuracy rather than readability). Figure 2-18 The necessity of labels.
The easiest way to integrate a visual aid with the text is to explain its main points and any special implications a reader should note. if the communicator does NOT EXPLAIN the importance of the visual aid (its main point. This technique is particularly suitable for circuit diagrams. or is going to be referred to frequently. Figure 2-19 Page-size horizontal drawings should be positioned so they can read from the right When an illustration is too large to fit on a normal page. and then point to it.5.5. for example do not put a figure in the text. above or below the words. assumptions and implications). and lien to make sure that they are correctly placed. the page can be left opened out for continual reference while the report is being read. plant layouts and flow charts. and the reason for including the illustrations will be defeated. You must not only refer to every illustration in a report. In addition. limitations.1. However. they will -at least sometimes. Note that all illustrations in the present notes are referred to first. do not put a visual aid in a spot within the text. This holds true whether they are placed on a left. When reports are typed on only one side of the paper. Try to limit the size of the illustrations so they can be placed beside. but a real effort must be made to keep the illustration on the same page as the description it supports.see points or implications rein those the communicator's wants them to see or perhaps even completely miss the communicator's point. see Figure 2-20. 2. full page illustrations can become an embarrassment. If the illustration is printed only on the extension panels of the foldout.or right-hand page. Before pointing out to it. Positioning Try to always put the visual aid after you have mentioned it and not are reverse: in other words. you should consider printing it on a foldout sheet and inserting it at the back of the report. but must always be positioned so that they are read from the right. when readers are put in the position. The visual aid needs to be tied to the text and explained since it appears in the text and make sense to readers. Horizontal full page illustrations may be inserted sideways on a page (landscape). see Figure 2-19. As a general rule.2. Integrating the Visual Aid into the Test Once you have decided to use a visual aid in a particular spot in the text. then they are inserted into the text. a reader who has to keep flipping back and forth between the text and illustrations will soon tire. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 18 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . you must incorporate it so that it seems to belong there. then the readers will have to provide these of information for themselves. This can become problem if the description is long.
2. Single-spacing 2. Certain reproduction equipment cannot handle some sizes. The numbering. Look for instance at Figure 2-21.2. even though it may be single-spaced. and the others make a text easier to read. Short paragraphs and white space make a report easy on the eye. Printing Always discuss printing methods with the person who will be making copies of your report before you start making reproduction copy. Lists 4.6. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 19 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .5. Formatting Contentions that Make Reading Easier There are many features of technical writing that make it look different from most writing we see in newspapers. heavy blacks and light blues may not reproduce well on some electrostatic copiers. light browns cannot be copied by other types of equipment. Headings (underlined titles) 5. the beginning of a typical engineering report. Headings clearly announce the contents of a section so that. Liberal use of white space All of these features occur frequently in scientific and technical writing because they are functional. For example. single-spacing saves space. indentation and lists provide clues to the organization of the report: they allow a reader to skip freely from section to section without reading everything. You will notice that its has some very interesting formatting features: 1. books and personal letters. especially for busy and inattentive readers.Figure 2-20 large illustrations can be placed on a fold out sheet at rear of report 2. Numbers to mark the various paragraphs 6. materials and colors. and photographs can be reproduced clearly by very few. Short paragraphs 3. busy readers can skip that section if they don't need details.
Figure 2-21 Formatted version of discussion of technical report Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 20 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .
look at the unformatted version of the Discussion section of the report. Do you agree that it is much more difficult to read? Do you agree that formatting makes the version in Figure 221 more functional.To get a good idea of how helpful these simple formatting considerations can be. that is. presented in Figure 2-22. easier to read and understand? Figure 2-22 Unformatted version of discussion of figure 2-21 Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 21 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .
A stereotyped form shows exactly what information is wanted. Figures 13-1 through 13-3 present examples of stereotyped forms that can be used for presenting the summarized results of economic evaluations. They present the results in considerable detail. Stereotyped forms are often used for informal reports. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 22 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . Formal reports are often encountered as research. development. The decision on the advisability of continuing the project may be made on the basis of the material presented in the reports. and the most satisfactory method of presentation. Many companies have standard outlines that must be followed for formal reports. Informal reports include memorandums. progress. calculations. survey-type results. Although many general rules can be applied to the preparation of reports. Here are some questions the writer should ask before starting. The value of the engineer‟s work is measured to a large extent by the results given in the written reports covering the study and the manner in which these results are presented.3. progress notes.” The abilities. or summarizing economic evaluations. periods may be required after all abbreviations. A good report writer never forgets the words “to others. certain arbitrary rules of rhetoric and form may be established by a particular concern.1. production. and after finishing a report: What is the purpose of this report? Who will read it? Why will they read it? What is their function? What technical level will they understand? What background information do they have now? The answers to these questions indicate the type of information that should be presented. For convenience. THE TECHNICAL REPORT A successful engineer must be able to apply theoretical and practical principles in the development of ideas and methods and also have the ability to express the results clearly and convincingly. and detailed instructions are often given for preparing other types of informal reports. and the writer is allowed much leeway in choosing the type of presentation. The essential purpose of any report is to pass on information to others. the engineer must prepare many written reports which explain what has been done and present conclusions and recommendations. the amount of detail required. analyses. or the use of a set system of units or nomenclature may be specified. the functions. 3. while writing. and similar items in which the major purpose is to present a result without including detailed information. it should be realized that each industrial concern has its own specifications and regulations. and the needs of the reader should be kept in mind constantly during the preparation of any type of report. or design reports. Types of Reports Reports can be designated as formal and irtfortrrul. During the course of a design project. such as those for sales. For example. letters. titles of articles may be required for all references.
Figure 3-1 Example of form for an informal summarizing report on factory manufacturing cost. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 23 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . Figure 3-2 Example of form for an informal summarizing report on capital investment.
The Body of the report is next and includes essential information. 3. sample calculations. Organization of a design report 1. the same type of sectioning is valuable for informal reports. and figures. A complete design report consists of several independent parts. A typical outline for a design report is as follows: 3. and other supplementary material are included in the Appendix. After this come the Title Page. gives detailed information which permits complete verification of the results shown in the body. no results are included Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 24 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . the same principles can be applied to the organization of any type of report. A covering Letter of Transmittal is usually the first item in any report. and an Abstract or Summary of the report. and all major sections 4. writer‟s name and organization. Summary Briefly presents essential results and conclusions in a clear and precise manner 5. but. Introduction Presents a brief discussion to explain what the report is about and the reason for the report. graphs.1. and date 3. by deleting or combining appropriate sections.2. Organization of reports The organization of a formal report requires careful sectioning and the use of subheadings in order to maintain a clear and effective presentation? To a lesser degree. tables. name of person to whom report is submitted. the Table of Contents. The Appendix. Letter of transmittal Indicates why report has been prepared Gives essential results that have been specifically requested 2.2. presented in the form of discussion. with each succeeding part giving greater detail on the design and its development. The following discussion applies to formal reports. at the end of the report. Table of contents Indicates location and title of figures. tables.Figure 3-3 Example of form for an informal summarizing report on income and return. Body of report A. Tables of data. Title page Includes title of report.
but it can call the reader‟s attention to certain pertinent sections of the report or give definite results which are particularly important. Conclusions and recommendations Presented in more detail than in Summary F. Derivation of equations essential to understanding the report but not presented in detail in the main body of the report iii. The writer should express any personal opinions in the letter of transmittal rather than in the report itself. References to literature (bibliography) Gives complete identification of literature sources referred to in the report I. the experimental data. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 25 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . Sample calculations One example should be presented and explained clearly for each type of calculation ii.B. Final recommended design with appropriate data Drawings of proposed design a. Combined-detail flow sheets Tables listing equipment and specifications Tables giving material and energy balances Process economics including costs. Quantitative flow sheets c. Discussion Outlines method of attack on project and gives design basis Includes graphs. The letter should be brief. Letter of Transmittal The purpose of a letter of transmittal is to refer to the original instructions or developments that have made the report necessary. 3. Table of nomenclature Sample units should be shown H. profits.2. tables.1. Previous work Discusses important results obtained from literature surveys and other previous work C. apparatus and procedure description. Tables of data employed with reference to source iv. Qualitative flow sheets b. Results of laboratory tests 1. If laboratory tests were used to obtain design data. and return on investment E. Acknowledgment Acknowledges important assistance of others who are not listed as preparing the report G. and figures that are essential for understanding the discussion Discusses technical matters of importance Indicates assumptions made and their justification Indicates possible sources of error Gives a general discussion of results and proposed design D. Personal pronouns and an informal business style of writing may be used.1. and interpretation of the results may be included as a special appendix to the design report. Appendix i.
4. figures. Its purpose is to give the reader the entire contents of the report in one or two pages. The aim of the summary is to present precise quantitative information and final conclusions with no unnecessary details. A list of tables. since it is referred to most frequently and is often the only part of the report that is read. Here the writer shows the reader the methods used in reaching the final conclusions. If the summary must be longer than two pages. Body of the Report The first section in the body of the report is the introduction.1. which merely indicates the subject matter. and recommendations An ideal summary can be completed on one typewritten page. All statements must be concise and give a minimum of general qualitative information.2. The relationship of the information presented in the report to other phases of the company‟s operations can be covered.2. a title page usually indicates other basic information. complete with figures and tables giving all necessary qualitative and quantitative data.3. what was done. A description of the methods used for developing the proposed design is presented in the next section under the heading of disczmion. References to previous work can be discussed in the introduction. or a separate section can be presented dealing with literature-survey results and other previous work.1. but the writer should not present an annoying or distracting amount of detail. it is a convenient guide for the reader and indicates the scope of the report. The validity of the methods must be made apparent. and the effects of future developments may be worthy of mention. The next section presents the recommended design. What was done and what the report covers 3. Any assumptions or limitations on the results should be discussed in this section. Summary The summary is probably the most important part of a report. The titles and subheadings in the written text should be shown. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 26 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .1. major conclusions. An analysis of the cost and profit potential of the proposed process should accompany the description of the recommended design. such as the name and organization of the person (or persons) submitting the report and the date of submittal. as well as the appropriate page numbers. It states the purpose and scope of the report and indicates why the design project originally appeared to be feasible or necessary. and graphs should be presented separately at the end of the table of contents. It covers all phases of the design project. it may be advisable to precede the summary by an abstract. How the final results were obtained 4. 3. The following outline shows what should be included in a summary: 1. and a brief statement of the major results. A table of contents may not be necessary for a short report of only six or eight pages.2. Indentations can be used to indicate the relationships of the various subheadings. but. The important results including quantitative information. 3.3. for longer reports. Title Page and Table of Contents In addition to the title of the report. A statement introducing the reader to the subject matter 2. but it does not go into detail on any particular phase.2.
For example. Presenting the results Accuracy and logic must be maintained throughout any report. Define the subject matter.The body of a design report often includes a section giving a detailed discussion of all conclusions and recommendations. be indicated. Although short sentences are preferred. On the other hand. but it must also be devoid of distracting and unnecessary details. sections covering acknowledgment. and intended audience 2. a preliminary plant design might show that the total investment for a proposed plant is $5. and similar items are often included as separate appendixes to the report. variation in the sentence length is necessary in order to avoid a disjointed staccato effect. Preparing the report The physical process of preparing a report can be divided into the following steps: 1. The presentation must be convincing. experimental data. The writer has a moral responsibility to present the facts accurately and not mislead the reader with incorrect or dubious statements.4. Many of the figures. Write the first draft 4. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 27 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . and tables. as well as some sections of the report. The style of writing in technical reports should be simple and straightforward. their effect on the accuracy of the results should. an elegant or forceful style is sometimes desirable. table of nomenclature. the details of calculation methods. and the reader knows at once that the writer did not use any type of logical reasoning in determining the accuracy of the results.2. Flowery expressions and technical jargon are often misused by technical writers in an attempt to make their writing more interesting. graphs.000. but the technical writer must never forget that the major purpose is to present information clearly and understandably.500. since only two significant figures are indicated. certain types of derivations. 3. scope. This information is thus available to anyone who wishes to make a complete check on the work. reference data. and proofread the final report In order to accomplish each of these steps successfully. If approximations or assumptions are made. When applicable.3. 3. Certainly.328 is ridiculous.1. Prepare a skeleton outline and then a detailed outline 3. Appendix In order to make the written part of a report more readable. the writer must make certain the initial work on the report is started soon enough to allow a thorough job and still meet any predetermined deadline date. 3.5. Check the written draft carefully. Polish and improve the first draft and prepare the final form 5. a proposed investment of $5554. and literature references may be added. have the report typed. can be prepared while the design work is in progress. This is not necessarily misleading as to the accuracy of the result. yet the descriptive part of the report is not made ineffective because of excess information.
however. Graphs In comparison with tables.3. A paragraph break. a log-log plot of temperature versus the vapor pressure of pure glycerol should not be entitled “Log-Log Plot of Temperature versus Vapor Pressure for Pure Glycerol. The ordinate and the abscissa must be labeled clearly. A table should never be presented on two pages unless the amount of data makes a break absolutely necessary. Any type of tabulated data that is not directly related to the discussion should be located in the appendix. Tables The effective use of tables can save many words. The title of the graph must be explicit but not obvious.1. although still somewhat obvious. If extrapolation or interpolation of the curve is doubtful. the uncertain region can be designated by a dotted or dashed line. but any thought worthy of a separate paragraph should require at least two sentences. and the headings for each column should be self-explanatory. the curve should not extend through the open symbols representing the data points. small circles.2. If numbers are used. the correct units must be shown in the column heading or with the first number in the column. the experimental or calculated points on which a curve is based should be shown on the plot.4. Paragraphs are used to cover one general thought. 3. The sections and subheadings follow the logical sequence of the report outline and permit the reader to become oriented and prepared for a new subject. or some other identifying symbol. and any nomenclature used should be defined on the graph or in the body of the report. 3. In any case. For example. squares. If possible. or a broken line connecting each point may be more appropriate. Tables are included in the body of the report only if they are essential to the understanding of the written text.” A much better title. Long paragraphs are a strain on the reader. is not nearly as definite as a subheading. The most probable smooth curve can be drawn on the basis of the plotted points. triangles. These points can be represented by large dots. Subheadings and Paragraphs The use of effective and well-placed subheadings can improve the readability of a report. especially if quantitative results are involved.4.3. which present definite numerical values. If numerical values are presented. would be “Effect of Temperature on Vapor Pressure of Pure Glycerol. the appropriate units are shown immediately after the labels on the ordinate and abscissa. Every table requires a title. Restrictions on the plotted information should be indicated on the graph itself or with the title. The length of paragraphs can vary over a wide range. graphs serve to show trends or comparisons.4. and the writer who consistently uses paragraphs longer than 10 to 12 typed lines will have difficulty in holding the reader‟s attention.” Some additional suggestions for the preparation of graphs follow: Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 28 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . The interpretation of results is often simplified for the reader if the tabulated information is presented in graphical form.
The bibliography should give the following information: 1. the label on the vertical axis should be placed in a horizontal position to permit easier reading. and other types of illustrations may be a necessary part of a report. Eng. Eng.4. 3. The independent or controlled variable should be plotted as the abscissa. For journal articles: (a) Authors‟ names. 6. McCormick.4. J. Chem. Issue number is omitted if paging is on a yearly basis. E.. and the variable that is being determined should be plotted as the ordinate. 2. An underlined number in parentheses may be used in place of the raised number. The curve should be drawn as the heaviest line on the plot. J. Use coordinate scales that give good proportionment of the curve over the entire plot. References to Literature The original sources of any literature referred to in the report should be listed at the end of the body of the report. Permit sufficient space between grid elements to prevent a cluttered appearance (ordinarily. The date is sometimes included with the year in place of the issue number. (e) page number. McCormick. and other large drawings are often folded and inserted in an envelope at the end of the report. photographs. and the coordinate axes should be heavier than the grid lines. Complete flow diagrams. abbreviated to conform to the “List of Periodicals” as established by Chemical Abstracts. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 29 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .1. 26. 3.. and (f) year (in parentheses). if necessary. 5.4. 4. two to four grid lines per inch are adequate). 3. If possible. When a literature reference is cited in the written text. The values assigned to the grids should permit easy and convenient interpolation.. The title of the article is usually omitted. E. (b) Journal.5. 9503175-76 (1988). (d) issue number. Illustrations Flow diagrams. 1988). line drawings of equipment. (c) volume number. They can be inserted in the body of the text or included in the appendix. it is advisable to limit the number of curves on any one plot to three or less. although the listing is occasionally based on the order of appearance in the report. 95:75-76 (Sept. 7. References are usually tabulated and numbered in alphabetical order on the basis of the first author‟s surname. prepared on oversize paper. Unless families of curves are involved. the last name of the author is mentioned and the bibliographical identification is shown by a raised number after the author‟s name or at the end of the sentence. but do not distort the apparent accuracy of the results. followed by initials.. Chem. if desired.
Titles of theses are often omitted. Morari. U. (f) place of publication. Peters. Sample Calculations The general method used in developing the proposed design is discussed in the body of the report. Boulder. (b) the use of “private communication” and “unpublished data” is not recommended unless absolutely necessary. and (g) year of publication. Thesis in Chem.. For patents: (a) patentees‟ names. New York. Instead. 1988. (b) country granting patent and number. in press (1988). 1986). sample calculations are given in the appendix. Eng. Edgar. The data on which the calculations are based should be listed in detail at the beginning of the section. as books. AKhE J. Progr.. and sufficient detail must be included to permit the reader to follow each step. 24753-781 (1978). D.6. (b) title (in quotation marks).4. CO. McGraw-Hill Book Company. Eng.. E. (e) publisher. and T. and (c) date issued (in parentheses). because the reader may find it impossible to locate the original material. Univ. 2. F. but detailed calculation methods are not presented in this section. Eng. 1984. 9. R. 4. M. W. For unknown or unnamed authors: (a) alphabetize by the journal or organization publishing the information. 280. One example should be shown for each type of calculation. of Colorado. theses.Gregg. (d) volume (if there is more than one).. 3. M.249. PhD.. For single publications. Chem. The particular conditions chosen for the sample calculations must be designated. Fenske. For unpublished information: (a) “in press” means formally accepted for publication by „the indicated journal or publisher. and assignee (if any) in parentheses.). followed by initials. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 30 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . S. Patent 3. p.” 2d ed..S. “Elementary Chemical Engineering. or pamphlets: (a) authors‟ names. 3. The chapter or page number is often listed just before the publisher‟s name.. followed by initials.. even though these same data may be available through reference to one of the tables presented with the report. (c) edition (if more than one has appeared). Heaney.5(13):26 (1988).650 (May 3. M.. (to Universal Oil Products Co. 5. Chem.
Written material on graphs and illustrations may be typed or lettered neatly in ink. If paper fasteners are used for binding in a folder. a table of nomenclature. If hand lettering is required. spelling errors. is double-spaced. and similar obvious mistakes. meanings. Explanation of the symbols used can be presented immediately following the equation. Subscripts. Formal reports are usually bound with a heavy cover. on all sides. equations are centered on the page and given a separate line.3. a reference to the table of nomenclature should be given with the first equation. Starting with the summary.and upper-case letters can be employed to give special meanings. Nomenclature If many different symbols are used repeatedly throughout a report. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 31 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . Each symbol can be defined when it first appears in the written text. Mechanical Details The final report should be submitted in a neat and businesslike form. Proofreading and Checking Before final submittal. If this is not done. and tables should be numbered in sequence. footnotes.7. showing the symbols.4. except the letter of transmittal. illustrations. and the information shown in title page is repeated on the cover. should be included in the report. and lower. the pages should be attached only to the back cover. only one side of the page is used and all material. superscripts. If excessive corrections or changes are necessary. the completed report should be read carefully and checked for typographical errors. grammatical errors. In general. and long quotations. however. the appearance of the report must be considered and some sections may need to be retyped. Short equations can sometimes be included directly in the written text if the equation is not numbered. consistency of data quoted in the text with those presented in tables and graphs. The report should be typed on a good grade paper with a margin of at least 1 in. Ordinarily. and sample units. the same symbol is used for a given physical quantity regardless of its units. all pages including graphs. The nomenclature should be consistent with common usage. Normally. best results are obtained with an instrument such as a LeRoy or Wrico guide. with the equation number appearing at the right-hand margin of the page.
You might wonder what an oral report is doing in a writing class. 4. you'd have a meeting with the officers in charge to formally deliver the guide. Once you had completed it. imagine that you are formally handing over your final written report to the people with whom you set up the hypothetical contract or agreement. imagine that you had contracted with the Govemorate of Alexandria to write a visitor's guide to the city of Alexandria. drip irrigation. to explain how to run a text editing program on a computer). microprocessors. Place or situation: You can find topics for oral reports or make more detailed plans for them by thinking about the place or the situation in which your oral report might naturally be 'given: at a neighborhood association? at the parent teachers' association meeting? at a religious meeting? at the gardening club? at a city council meeting? at a meeting of the board of directors or high-level executives of a company? Thinking about an oral report this way makes you focus on the audience. For your oral report. to persuade (to vote for or against a certain technically oriented bond issue). as a member of a committee involved in a project to relocate the plant. think of a subject you'd be interested in talking about. Employers look for course work and experience in preparing written documents. Topic and Situation for the Oral Presentation For the oral report.1. You'd spend some time orienting them to the guide. their reasons for listening to you. softball and baseball parks. You might appear before city council to persuade its members to reserve certain city-owned lands for park areas. • • Instructional purpose: An oral report can be primarily instructional. Your task might be to train new employees to use certain equipment or to perform certain routine tasks.4. you might be required to go before the city council and report on the success of the new city-sponsored recycling project. Informative purpose: An oral report can be primarily informative. Or. or simply to inform (to report on citizen participation in the new recycling program). ORAL PRESENTATIONS One of the assignments in this technical writing course is to prepare and deliver an oral presentation. but find a reason why an audience would want to hear your oral report. For example. Your goal is to get them acquainted with the guide and to prompt them for any concerns or questions. Purpose: Another way to find a topic is to think about the purpose of your talk. and discussing some of its highlights. solar panels. You might want to convince members of local civic organizations to support a city-wide recycling program. Persuasive purpose: An oral report can be primarily persuasive. for example. your job might be to give an oral report on the condition of the building and grounds at one of the sites proposed for purchase. showing them how it is organized and written. For example. but they also look for some experience in oral presentation as well. or laser surgery. Here are some brainstorming possibilities in case you want to present something: Topics: You can start by thinking of a technical subject. and their interests and background. 32 Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . or community gardens. Is it to instruct (for example.
technical stuff--slow down and explain it carefully so that we understand it. you've gotten used to using headings in your written work.4. well-planned manner When you give your oral presentation. And certainly. we'll all be listening for the same things.2. • As mentioned above. Use the following as a requirements list. who you are. give an overview of its contents. Remember that in conclusions. Overviews and verbal headings greatly contribute to this sense of organization. which part of the talk you are in. well-organized. • Never present large a large body of information orally without summarizing its main points (on a transparency. or some combination of these three.by now. that you don't speak too rapidly (nerves often cause that). Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 33 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . There is a analogy in oral reports with these. you give your audience a very clear signal you are moving from one topic or part of your talk to the next. understandable presentation. • Make sure your oral report lasts no longer than few minutes. and what's coming next. you'll want to prompt the audience for questions and concerns. provide some last thought (end with some final interesting point but general enough not to require elaboration). Flip charts and objects for display are okay Bui please avoid scribbling stuff on the chalkboard or relying strictly on handouts • Make sure you discuss key elements of your visuals Don't just throw them up there and ignore them. be sure your oral report is carefully timed to few minutes. and find some way to interest the audience • Use at least one visual. • Plan to explain any technical aspect of your topic very clearly and understandably Don't race through complex. for example) • Use "verbal heading". and who they should imagine they are Make sure that there is a clean break between this brief explanation and the beginning of your actual oral report.preferably a transparency for the overhead projector. conclude (state some logical conclusion based on what you have presented). Some ideas on how to do this are presented m the next section. organized. • Pay special attention to the introduction to your talk Indicate the purpose of your oral report. Point out things about them. well-timed discussion You don't need to be Mr. Contents and Requirements for the Oral Presentation The focus for your oral presentation is clear. wellplanned. as a way of focusing your Preparations • Plan to explain to the class what the situation of your oral report is. • Plan your report in advance and practice it so that it is organized. Make sure that listeners know what you are talking about and why.just present the essentials of what you have to say in a calm. you can summarize (go back over high points of what you've discussed). or Ms Slick -Operator . explain them to the audience • Make sure that your speaking style and gestures are okay Ensure that you are loud enough so that everybody can hear. • End with a real conclusion People sometimes forget to plan how to end an oral report and end by just trailing off into a mumble.
practice with them. 4. people tend to get nervous in this situation. the spontaneous or impromptu methods are also out there for the brave and the adventurous. It doesn't often work that way. In general. and informative. Of course the head-down style of reading your report directly from a script has its problems. bring it for reference. • Write m script and read from it Of course. • Gestures and posture-Watch out for nervous hands flying all over the place. supportive group. the more oral presenting you do. You don't have to be a slick entertainer—just be clear. be clear. organized. Here are the obvious possibilities for preparation and delivery: • Write a script. Anything under the limit is also a problem.4. If you see you are running short or long. try to adjust the speed of your presentation to compensate. • Set up an outline of your talk. speed— sometimes. • Volume-Obviously.4. Preparing for the Oral Report Pick the method of preparing for the talk that best suits your comfort level with public speaking and with your topic. • Posing. well-planned. understandable. Try to remember that your classmates and instructor are a very forgiving. There is little or no eye contact or interaction with the audience. keep it around for quick-reference during your talk.3. Slow down. understandable. and make sure that your gestures and Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 34 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . The delivery tends toward a dull monotone that either puts listeners off or is hard to understand. please bear in mind that many people will be listening to you—you owe them a good presentation. practice it. However. You might find some way to practice speaking a little louder in the days before the oral presentation.drawing a mental blank is the more common experience. That makes it hard for the audience to follow. it helps listeners to understand you better if you speak a bit more slowly and deliberately than you do in normal conversation. informal. • Set up cue cards. It doesn't matter which method you use to prepare for the talk. do some sort of preparation or rehearsal—some people assume that they can just jump up there and ad Mb for few minutes and be relaxed. you must be sure to speak loud enough so that all of your audience can hear you. speakers who are a bit nervous talk too fast. Delivering an Oral Presentation When you give an oral report. organized. • Make sure your watch is visible and check it occasionally to see how the time is running. This too can be distracting and a bit comical. informative. write a script. take it easy. focus on common problem areas such as these: • Timing-Make sure you keep within the time limit. one that is clear. It should take about two minutes to go through a single transparency in the talk. Plan to keep your hands clasped together or holding onto the podium and only occasionally making some gesture. For some reason. use them during your talk. Do some rehearsal. practice with it. However. The nerves will wear off someday. or find some other way to get the timing just right.
be aware of how much you say things like "uh. Planning and Preparing Visuals for Oral Presentations Prepare at least one visual for this report. there is nothing more deadly to an audience Make frequent eye contact with your audience throughout the talk Do not stare at your notes or at the screen. neat lettering or typing. Instead of saying "uh" or "you know" every three seconds.• • • posture are okay. you may need to bring in actual physical objects. exercise speaking without these verbal crutches. Whatever you can scribble on the chalkboard can be neatly prepared and made into a transparency or posterboard-size chart. Rehearse what you are going to do with these objects. the overhead projector is the best way to show things to the whole group. leaving the rest of the audience isolated Sound enthusiastic about your subject. If you have a choice. Please avoid just scribbling your visual on the chalkboard. good dark markers. Still. • Handouts.5. and avoid fidgeting with your hands. Do your best to ensure that they are legible to the entire audience." and "okay. in fact. then photocopy it. You may have access to equipment like this at your work. For example. business conference rooms. and then get a transparency of it. Do not direct your talk to one or two individuals. most copy shops can make transparencies for you. handouts are the only choice. The silence that replaces them is not a bad thing. don't slouch on the podium or against the wall.You can ran off copies of what you want your listeners to see and hand them out before or during your talk. This option is even less effective than the first two because you can't point to what you want your listeners to see and because handouts take listeners attention away from you. for example. • Transparencies for overhead projector for most college classrooms and. In the days before your oral presentation. just don't say anything at all. for certain visual needs. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 35 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . consider slowing your tempo a bit-a common tendency is to get nervous and talk too fast. Design your visual on a sheet of blank paper. or at least interested in it If you seem bored by your material."eehhh" and other lands of nervous verbal habits. Also. Here are some ideas for the medium" to use for your visuals.As for speaking style. • Pasteboard size charts-Another possibility is to get some posterboard and draw and letter what you want your audience to see." "you know.-it gives listeners time to process what you are saying Never read directly from prepared text. sometimes they can take up a lot more time than you expect. Take some time to make your visuals look sharp and professional-use a straightedge. you can be guaranteed your audience will follow the lead! 4. • Objects-If you need to demonstrate certain procedures. • A verbal crutches. consider transparencies~-it's hard to make charts look neat and professional.
red on yellow. • Key terms and definitions A good idea for visuals (especially when you can't think of any others) is to set up a two-column list of key terms you use during your oral presentation with their definitions in the second column. If you hand-write the transparency. Use large-type fonts on transparencies. legitimate ways of incorporating visuals into oral presentations when you can't think of any others. A bunch of unlabeled boxes and lines with arrows is worthless to the audience. have an outline of it that you can show at various points during your talk. Transparencies crowded with information are useless. use large Mock. Do not crowd your visuals with too many mixed font types/sizes • Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 36 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .) During your actual oral report. report. 4. present it in some form or table. make sure the units and streams are labeled. • Tables charts. or graph. try to always present your transparencies in the Landscape position rather that the Portrait position Do not present more than about eight lines on a single transparency. black on yellow. Many members of your audience may have trouble "hearing" such data as opposed to seeing it. Some of the best color combinations are: white on blue.5. chart. Ordinary size type does not look good. graphs—If you discuss statistical data. • Drawing or diagram of key objects-If you describe or refer to any objects during your talk. try to get visuals of them so that you can point to different components or features. or both If you are at a loss for visuals to use in your oral presentation. key terms. It's a big problem just to throw a visual up on the screen and never even refer to it. make sure to discuss your visuals. refer to them. guide your listeners through the key points in your visuals. Black on white . Do not over fill your transparency with mixed. lettering with horizontal guidelines to keep your lines straight If you show a process flowchart. be sure the axes are clearly labeled.As for the content of your visuals consider these ideas: • Outline of your talk. you can list your key points and show them in visuals. or if your presentation is complex. unmatched colors. (Outlines. yellow on blue.1. • Key concepts or points similarly. Tips for the preparation off the visuals • • • • • • • Lay-out. If you show data plots. and main points are all good.
specifically. that should be of some help. If you can make your writing readable. rather than reading word for word and cover to cover.. 5. summaries. you make it easier for the reader to determine right away how to process the document. Introduction Most readers of scientific or technical writing do not have as much time for reading as Hey would like to have and therefore. So.. however. who often skim-read for main points and ideas. Readers of scientific and technical writing are typically purpose-directed and pressed for time. executives. this is why it is important to create the right preconceptions in the reader's mind in the first place Scientific and technical writing genres customarily have various features signed to announce the topic and set up initial expectations. you will increase its effectiveness. these are discussed in what follows.2. and it is true for technicians. looking only for the information they need. for thorough understanding. worker or consumer may need to use operating instructions only as a checklist.e. However. it is also true for professionals who often need TC read more closely and slowly. the professional may be looking for the main thread of an argument: Ac technician. you will greatly increase its chances of being read an used: i. skim-read it. A clear statement of topic and purpose allows the reader to form certain expectations about the rest of the text.2. Then we suggest a number of things you can do to make it easier for the reader to absorb details. How can you make your writing readable? Unfortunately. whether to read it closely. This is especially true for managers. It is a well-known fact that we process information most quickly and efficiently when it accords with our preconceptions. supervisors. pass it on to someone else. This lakes considerable effort on the w riter's part. Information selection 5. they often prefer to merely "consult" a document. titles. or disregard it. MAKING YOUR WRITING READABLE 5. Then state your purpose explicitly. abstracts.1. For such readers. must read selectively. how the topic is likely to be developed. writing is readable to the extent that it provides the information they need. First we make suggestions for selecting appropriate information and for making this information accessible to the reader. there is no simple formula to follow. located where they can quickly find it. senior scientists and other busy decision makers. so that your readers can anticipate how you will be dealing with the topic. These different types of readers are selective in different ways: the skim-reading decision maker may be looking for bottom-line cost figures and performance data. There are steps that you can take. Use these to full advantage by loading them with keywords and main ideas instead of vague phrases if you are writing a report dealing with some problematic issue as is the case with most reports be sure to include a well written problem statement at the beginning Engineering and other applied sciences Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 37 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .1. Establish your Topic and Purpose Make it clear whet the main topic of the report of the section is. overviews etc. When you define your topic and state your purpose.5. workers and consumers who may need to read and follow operating instructions. in a form in which they can easily use it.
and so as discussed in chapter 6. or other forms of verbal or visual illustration.2.2. subheadings. topic statements and sentence subjects Once you have established a conceptual framework at the beginning of your text. the reader can quite easily zero in on desired levels of details . For example if you are describing the function of a refinery distillation column the terms "bubble cap trays" would be perfectly comprehensible to a chemical engineer. you can turn your attention by filling it in with appropriate details To make sure that your discussion is a coherent one. Explain Important Concepts when Writing for Nonspecialist Readers When writing for nonspecialists be sure to clarify the important technical concepts in your text by using examples. if the respective topics of these sections and subsections are made visually prominent through the use of headings and subheadings. 5. Use Keywords Prominently Build sections and paragraphs around keywords related to the main topic If possible. 5. Research by information theorists in the past few decades suggests that communication proceeds best when there is a fairly even balance between given information and new information.3. this new information is transformed into given information and can then be used to help interpret succeeding pieces of new information. it is interpreted in terms of this framework and integrated into it As such. a good problem statement usually has important orientation value. analogies. visual aids. Second. you should strive to link these details as directly as possible to the main topic the best way to do this is to establish a hierarch) of intermediate topics and subtopics for the various units and subunits of vour text with each being directly related to the immediately higher topic or subtopic These intermediate topics and subtopics should consist of appropriate keywords as discussed above A well-structured discussion is highly functional in at least two respects First it builds on the basic framework established at the beginning of the text. Since the sections and subsections are arranged in a general-to-specific order. to anyone else it would not. not necessarily with a formal definition but rather with some kind of illustration How is the concept used? What is t similar to? What does it look like'' If technical terminology is used.2.specially. allowing for easier interpretation and promoting greater coherence at the same time As new information is progressively added to the initial framework. This is what you should strive for in your own writing this means that you must have some idea of who your readers are and what sort of background knowledge they have. it frequently happens that the writer feels it necessary to introduce key concepts that may be unfamiliar to the reader In general it is important to define such concepts. Therefore. you would have to insert some background information more familiar to the reader to provide a proper framework for interpreting the new information In technical writing.are fundamentally problem-oriented. what is a nontechnical way of saying more or less the same thing Not only will answering such questions with the reader's needs in mind help the reader understand that particular concept but more important specially if the concept is a typical one it will enrich and sharpen the reader's interpretation of the Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 38 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . make these keywords visually prominent by using them in headings. a hierarchically structured text facilitates selective reading. if for some reason you had to communicate with such technical information to a nonspecialist reader.
Paraphrases have a distinct advantage over examples and analogies in that they usually take up less space: sometimes even a one-word paraphrase will accomplish the purpose. and Analogy consequently. The solvent evaporates during the course of the fall. simply refer to such concepts with the standard terminology of the field. Definitions. the particle fall in a helical (spiral) path. on the other hand. of course. specific examples of the concept are usually the most powerful means you can use to help the nonspecialist reader. Visual aids. Paraphrase 5. Technical terms permit efficient and precise communication between specialists who know the concepts that such terms refer to. Paraphrases. fail through the air in an unusual manner. or otherwise explain concepts the reader is likely to already be familiar with. where it is removed as a dry powder. When used among specialists. illustrate. There are several ways to illustrate and explain unfamiliar concepts for the nonspecialist reader. Often. are useful in precisely the opposite situation: where the concept is familiar to the reader but only if restated in more recognizable terms. In spray drying. of course are a familiar way of explicating new concepts. spray drying is the icchn que used to evaporate the solvent from the liquid reaction mixture and physically form the finished powder product. Analogies help explaining an unfamiliar concept b} showing that it is similar in certain ways to a familiar concept: they are useful in situations where the concept is so unfamiliar that you simply cannot think of any ordinary examples of it. even if they appear to be incomprehensive jargon to an outsider. The Definition coefficient. like that of a saddle (or a potato chip). That is. which is Paraphrase the ratio of the diameter of the helix to the height required for one passage of the particle around the perimeter of the helix. The shape of the helical path is described by the Remark coefficient. should be used whenever the concept is suited to visual presentation. standard Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 39 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .4. explaining what the technical term "Remark Coefficient" means: The Remark Coefficient In the production of powdered detergents. do not exemplify. do not overexplain. on the other hand. paraphrase. however.text as a whole It will provide some of the given information that a specialist reader would automatically and implicitly associate with that particular concept but which a nonspecialist reader would not. They should be used for that purpose. so that the length of flight of the panicle is made much greater than the actual height of the spray-drying tower. Use Standard Terminology when Writing for Specialist Readers When writing for specialists.2. the liquid is sprayed into the top of a tall tower and allowed to fall freely in the bottom of the tower. a concept is too abstract to be presented visually In such cases. is sought to be maximized. which is a function of drying conditions. Particles dried in this fashion have an unusual shape. Instead. Here is an example of an extended definition. and used freely. Rather than falling in a vertical path. define.
. should be presented within the first two sentences of the paragraph.2. of course.situation. as in a hierarchical structure the statements in a list are all on the same level and thus share equal prominence Perhaps the most obvious examples of this phenomenon are lists of instructions.5. you might divide and conquer" produce two separate pieces of writing. are often presented as lists 5. which are often cast in the form of a list-like sequence of cause-and-effect statements Chronological sequences. By definition a paragraph is a group of sentences focusing on one main idea If vou use a topic statement to capture the main idea and a clear pattern of organization to develop it. As found m descriptions of test procedures or in progress reports. use a hierarchical structure.technical terms are not only comprehensible. analogies. if you are writing to a mixed audience of specialists and nonspecialists? This is always a very challenging sometimes impossible'. you make it easy for die reader to either read the paragraph in detail or read it selectively. for details. if you are writing for that type of reader you should try to organize and present vour information in a highly hierarchical pattern. The topic statement. Construct Well Designed Paragraphs Make sure that each paragraph has a good topic statement and a clear pattern of organization the paragraph is a basic and highly functional unit of discourse in scientific and technical writing. Instead of one statement being subordinated to another. you might stick to a single text but briefly define the technical terms as you go along. but arc often "information-rich" in the sense that they may trigger a host of associated concepts in the reader's memory. so that each group of readers can be addressed with appropriate terminology. usually. and it should contain one or more keywords for readers to focus their attention on. or a single piece with two parts to it. is to insert a short familiar paraphrase immediately after each technical term: in the Remark coefficient example.6. The least objectionable way of doing this. etc.2. though. for instance. Structure your Text to Emphasize Important Information Structure the different parts of the text so as to give greatest prominence to the information you expect the reader to pay most attention to For mam ideas. too. if you are writing for a reader who will be focusing more on details try to use a more coordinate structure. 5. These associated concepts then become part of the "given information" in the message. What do you do. draws the reader's attention to all of the items making up the list. Adding more given information in the form of examples. how they arc linked together and what kind of detailed support they have many readers. specifically busy decision makers habitually read this way Thus.. but there are a few things you can do.e. which are expected to be read and followed step by step The same phenomenon can also be seen in carefully reasoned arguments and explanations. i. notice how the writer has inserted the paraphrase (spiral) after the less familiar term helical. The pattern of organization you select Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 40 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . would only produce a disproportionate and inefficient give/new ratio for that type of reader. with the details arranged in list A list-like structure whether it is formatted as a list or not. with main levels of subordination On the other hand. First. use a listing structure A hierarchical text structure allows the reader to move quickly through the text seeing what the mam ideas are. Alternatively.
Information ordering One of the most important parts of speech in scientific and technical writing is the noun phrase (NP). criticize it. ask them for their comments Docs it leave anything out? Does it mislead them'' Does it raise unanswered questions'' if they are using it for Reference purposes. The growing demand for asphalt is obvious. Field-Test Your Writing Field-test your manuscript with its intended users or with representative substitutes Up to tins point you have had to make guesses about whether or not you arc providing your readers with a proper mix of given information and new information for their purposes Your decisions about what kind of terminology to use. Water can be dangerous. and so on. It can be defined as any noun or noun-plus-modifier combination (or any pronoun) that can function as the subject or object of a sentence. Some examples are tables.2. such as table. y/e. this would be a good time to show it to other members of the team. as soon as you have finished writing a good first or second draft. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 41 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . If you arc writing a progress report for a group project. a potential buyer. you will greatly enhance the overall readability of your writing. 5. for example. By contrast. 5. a singular countable noun. when to use verbal or visual illustrations. This is so important that you should not put it off until the final stage. misrepresented someone else's research. water. If you adhere to these principles with all your paragraphs.3. is not a NP. We have an emergency. because it cannot function by itself as die subject or object of a sentence. Strict limitations on the size of plates that can be handled have been established. can they easily find what they need? If they are skimming it for main points. Have them read it as if it were the final draft submitted for actual use Tell them to mark it up raise questions about it. the growing demand for asphalt. try it out with few intended users. so as to guard against the possibility that you have overlooked something important. We cannot say: Table usually has four legs.7. can they easily locate and understand them? If you are writing a research proposal or article. you might want to show your draft to other researchers in that area. or to make sure that nothing you have written is substantively wrong. have been made on the basis of guesswork about the background knowledge of your readers and the reasons they will have for reading your writing This is why field-testing is an important part of making any manuscript maximally useful Field-testing allows you to see whether the assumptions you have made about your readers are accurate or not. A potential buyer has arrived. (2) be appropriate to the subject matter and the most important (3) be appropriate to die anticipated use of the paragraph by the reader. and strict limitations on the size of plates that can be handled.for the remaining sentences in die paragraph should (1) be consistent with expectations likely to be raised by the topic statement. Talk to them about it. Note that each of these NPs can serve as the subject of a sentence: Tables usually have four legs. What kind of structure to use.
Instead. The key NPs in both sentences are in italics By the time the first sentence has been read and understood.1. more than one NP in a sentence carries given information. the phrases the 5-vear plans and long-range environmental research have been mentioned and are part of the given information possessed by the reader Notice that the words "the given information" come at the beginning of the second sentence and that the new nour phrases "the new information". That is. Of these.call it "Topical Information" . it discusses the development of techniques rather than the identification of important Songrange issues. Such an ordering allows a reader to more easily fit the new information into a meaningful context and to see the connection between the two sentences. These will be discussed in order of importance. Optimal Ordering of Noun Phrases In English. B) Put Topical Information in Subject Position Often. Other NPs refer to concepts or objects that have not set been discussed and are not presumed to be understood from the context. 5. the NP that carries information most closely related to the paragraph topic . or Samir's table has four legs. or Treasury bills.3. The last sentence in this paragraph has three definite NPs which contain given information Alternate investments. this is given information. this is new information Let us consider a specific example of the optimal ordering of NPs. come at the end of the second sentence Tins ordering of given before new is desirable because the given information of the second sentence serves as a kind of glue between the information presented in the first sentence and the new information presented in the second sentence. NPs are expected to occur in certain orderings according to grammatical and functional criteria. Alternative investments would also yield better after-tax yieldsand no penalty if the certificate was redeemed within the one-) car maturity period. which of these NPs should be promoted to subject position? Ideally. English sentences typically contain a mixture of given information and new information. after-tax yields and the certificate. such as money market funds. the last seems to come closest to Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 42 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . The 5-year plan does not indicate a clearly defined commitment to long-range environmental research For instance. where the plan docs address long-range research. In that case.should go there Consider the following example: Not all investors will benefit from Saving Certificates of the Investment authority Investors exceeding a deposit of LE 26886 (LE 53768 joint return) would have an after-tax yield far lower than with alternative investments. we would have to say A table usually has four legs or The table usually has four legs. beginning with the most important A) Put Given Information Before New Information As will all languages. some NPs in a sentence refer to concepts or objects that have already been discussed or that are presumed to be understood from the context.
would order the NPs light. development and testing office in Alexandria a gas analyzer. consider the following passage: We have received and acted upon requests for equipment from several branch offices We have sent the research. too. such as money market funds. preciseness... does appear in the topic statement. that the word investors appears not only in the topic statement but in the subject position of the next sentence. Investors exceeding a deposit of LE 26886 (LE 53768 joint return) would have an after-tax yield far lower than with alternative investments. the word Certificate. Not all investors will benefit from Saving Certificates of the Investment Authority.. thus making it much clearer to the reader that we are talking about two different classes of investors: those who exceed a deposit of LE 26886 (LE 33768 joint return) and thos. Investors redeeming their certificates within the one-year maturity period would also have a lower aftertax yield and would pay a penalty besides. then. the preferred stylistic ordering is light NPs before heavy NPs For instance.. complexity.the research.it also establishes parallelism between the second and thud sentences. is heavy . The second sentence of this passage is awkward and difficult to read. Not only does this rewritten version keep the focus on the topic of the paragraph and thus contribute to paragraph unity. Light. development and testing office in Alexandria . we should try to insert the word investors in the subject position of the third sentence. if it is all possible Indeed it is..being thought of as topical information. A more readable version of the second sentence and thus a better version. But what is the real topic of this paragraph? Isn't it different kinds of investors! Notice for example.and a very light direct object -a gas analyzer. heavy as follows We have sent a gas analyzer (Direct Object) to the research. who redeem their certificate early C) Put "Light" NPs Before "Heavy" NPs As seen earlier. after all.. etc. or Treasury bills. It has a very heavy indirect object . development and testing office in Alexandria (Object of preposition) Notice that in moving the heavy NP to the end. Notice also that investors are referred to b\ implication as the delegated agent of the passive mam verb: was redeemed (by investors) ideally. as it stands. we have to insert the preposition The following represents a flowchart for editing sentences in paragraphs: Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 43 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . NPs vary considerably in length. Thus the ordering of NPs in this sentence. If we use the word heavy to describe NPs which are long and complex and the word light for NPs which are short and simple.
Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 44 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .
In general. They may not be in close touch with their audience as speakers are and so they may not have such immediate demands placed on them. In general readers are at the mercy of the writer. so to speak. Writers should do the same kinds of things as good conversationalists. concentrating on details. inverted sentence structure. no matter how hard they work at it. the listener not only absorbs those details but also sees just how they support the main point.4. are aware of such constraints and employ various techniques to make it clear to the listener that they are observing the rules. For one thing. most listeners are simply intolerant of irrelevant details and will either intervene or break the conversation off if the speaker strays too far from the topic of discussion. Conversely they use none of these devices for the less important words. If the speaker violates any of these rules. conversations are governed by certain unwritten rules.5. there is a danger of getting lost in the details. Many writers make little effort to organize details in a coherent. physical gestures. If the writer fails to do this. both by giving prominence to important words and by subordinating or omitting unimportant ones. This is somewhat similar. When the readers get bogged down in detail like this. intensifiers and other devices to signal important words. The reading process as a whole bogs down at this point. the conversation will begin to break down unless the listener rescues it with a corrective comment such as "I don't see what you are driving at" or "What's your point?" The possibility of such immediate feedback from the listener forces the speaker to make every detail relevant to the conversation. of overlooking main points and "not seeing the forest for the trees".those that cany given information or redundant information. Face-to-face conversation is an intensive form of communication in which the speaker is acutely aware of the listener and vice versa. of course. For these readers. Because of this close speaker-listener relationship. etc. topical words. unified way. Many readers lack the kind of background knowledge the writer has. words earning new information. But this invites the kind of failure just described Readers are often pressed for time or. be honest. actually. preferring instead to have the reader do all the work. It thus fells on the writer to mold the details of a text so that they reinforce the main points in unified fashion.key words. the reader cannot sec exactly how they fit into the larger picture and thus cannot evaluate their importance. to the demands made on a speaker engaged in a serious conversation. others have to read more closely and thoroughly. As a result. good conversationalists emphasize those aspects of a detailed discussion that link the discussion to the main point or purpose of the conversation. use intonation and gestures in their writing. they use emphatic intonation. don't beat around the bush. they depend on the writer to present details in such a way that the role of these details in support of main points is readily apparent. there is little the reader can do except try to figure things out. But writers Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 45 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . and the reader is forced to stop and start over. it is often the water's fault. tired or have other things on their mind. Good conversationalists. and they cannot. Consequently the details themselves begin to loose significance. say what you mean. Editing For Emphasis Although some readers may prefer to skim-read. get to the point. they are simply omitted. As for empty meaningless words that serve no communicative purpose at all. of course. Still others have poor reading techniques and arc unable to decipher poor writing.
you notice that there excessive overlap between them: sentence 2. that these problems can be solved in the future. how the details of a discussion are related to the main points. Furthermore. with research and development. and lack of acceleration are present. just as listeners do. writers have as many devices as speakers do for helping the reader sec how details support main points. On the other hand. unity. simple sentences. from two principal sources: (1) An overemphasis in many quarters on the need to avoid dangling modifiers. Combine Closely Related Sentences Combine closely related sentences unless there is a compelling reason not to (such as maintaining independent steps in a list of instructions or avoiding extreme sentence length): put main ideas in main clauses. Dangling modifiers. these choices can be made properly only within the context of an entire paragraph. and coherence. promoted by readability formulas. It is possible though. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 46 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . a simple sentence may be the best way to represent it. producing a very choppy style of writing which irritates the reader with its singsong rhythm and. worse fails to put emphasis on important ideas. taken in isolation. is grammatically correct and easy to read. Performance problems of lack of speed. an adverbial phrase.do have an audience. At the present time electric car utilization is not possible because of performance and cost problems. This tendency derives.but not at the expense of emphasis. For example consider the following paragraph from a student report: ORIGINAL VERSION At the present time electric car utilization is not possible. and devices used to eliminate unnecessary words and phrases 5. or some other complex modifier. comma splices. The problems holding it back are satisfactory performance and costs. In short the use of emphasis is as appropriate and indeed necessary to good writing as it is to good conversation. Many inexperienced writers have a tendency to use nothing but short. of course be avoided . if an idea is simple and straightforward. probably. the best way to qualify it may be with a relative clause.4. Each of the first two sentences. If an idea is complex enough to require qualification. and (2) Erroneous belief. comma splices. short sentences make reading easier. and other errors of sentence structure and punctuation should. the repeated use of short sentences may have just the opposite effect The best approach to take regarding sentence length is to let the form reflect the content. contains too much given information (The problems holding it back). and this audience needs to know. short mileage range. and other problems associated with complex sentence structures. Often. in other words. Cost problems are the price of battery replacement and the base price of the electric car. In what follows we will describe the most common and useful devices used by good writers to create emphasis within individual sentences. These fall into three categories: devices used to highlight important words and phrases. When you look at them together. devices used to subordinate relatively unimportant words and phrases. however. And although a short sentence by itself may be easier to read than a long sentence.1. This unnecessary redundancy can be eliminated by combining these sentences.
fuel system integrity. These standards are derived from an established crash test. would be to combine the two sentences in the middle with a semicolon These two sentences are closely related in function. short mileage range. It is possible. though not as compelling a one as thos just described. The performance problems are lack of speed. short mileage range. The data obtained from the crash test are analyzed for fuel spillage. In the crash test. and it introduces the key terms performance problems and cost problems.Not only does this move reduce the wordiness of the first two sentences. though. If we also change sentence 3 to satisfy given-new and light-heavy criteria. and lack of acceleration: the cost problems are the price of battery replacement and the base price of the car. ln general. windshield retention. It is possible. By making it easy for your readers to see the relatedness of ideas. (notice how these terms are the subjects of the next two sentences). but we have other options that might improve it even more. we can reduce the wordiness of the paragraph and increase its readability still further. suppose you wanted to combine the two sentences in italics in the following paragraph: NEGATIVE EXAMPLE Electric cars must be able to meet the same safety standards that gasoline cars must meet as set up by the Ministry of Environmental Affairs. The performance problems are lack of speed. electric CAN utilization is not possible at the present lime. now that we have converted the original sentence 2 into a prepositional phrase. The cost problems are the price of batten replacement and the base price of the car. This puts more focus on the key terms performance problems and cost problems and less focus on the less time important time adverbial. The overall result is this: FIRST REWRITE At the present time electric car utilization is not possible because of performance and cost problems. In combining the two italicized sentences. linking them formally would reflect this relatedness FINAL VERSION Because of performance and cost problems. combining sentences is often a good way to create emphasis in your writing. You can also show explicitly that one idea is logically subordinate to another by putting the more important idea in the main clause of the sentence and the less important idea in a subordinate clause. For example. you make it easier for them to absorb these ideas. though with research and development. we can shift it into presubject position in place of the time adverbial originally there: Because of performance and cost problems. and lack of acceleration. we could subordinate the more detailed sentence to the more general first one: Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 47 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . electric car utilization is not possible at the present time. that these problems can be solved in the future This is a significant improvement. and zone intrusion. with research and development that these problems can be solved in the future. Another change we could make. it also creates a better topic statement: it is more unified and emphatic. For example. the car is propelled against a solid wall at 30 mph.
as stated in the topic sentence. then tighten the union nuts. Tighten the union nuts. if you are giving a list of instructions and want to emphasize independent steps in accordance with how the user might carry out the instructions. Pull the line out 4. which is an established car test. we could maintain prominence on the details and subordinate instead the idea that the crash test is an established one: These standards are derived from propelling the car against a solid wall at 30 mph. By lumping together the remove and install steps like this (Unclip the line from the chassis. The data obtained from the crash test are analyzed for fuel spillage. Moisten the ends in brake fluid. as is done in tins excerpt from a repair manual To replace a brake line. and install the new line in the chassis clips. disconnect the union nuts at both ends Unclip the line from the chassis. Moisten the ends in brake fluid 6. we would be creating an imbalance in the Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 48 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . To combine sentences beyond this however. Install the new line in the chassis clips 5. For example. and install the new line in the chassis clips). REVISED VERSION Electric cars must be able to meet the same safety standards that gasoline cars must meet as set up by the Department of Transportation. Unclip the line from the chassis 3. you might want to state these steps in independent sentences. pull it out. this would be the result: NEGATIVE EXAMPLE To replace a brake line. These standards are derived from an established crash test in which the car is propelled against a solid wall at 30 mph. There are times when it is best not to combine sentences. Clearly the first option is the more appropriate one in this context: the fact that the crash test is an established one underscores the main idea of the paragraph. install the new line in the chassis clips Moisten the ends in brake fluid. would be a mistake because it would destroy the emphasis we want to maintain on certain individual steps.These standards are derived from an established car test in which the car is propelled against a solid wall at 30 mph. disconnect the union nuts at both ends. Alternatively. then tighten the union nuts. 5 with 6) to create more realistic four-step sequence of disconnect-remove-install-reconnect. and zone intrusion. pull it out. consider the following set of instructions for replacing a brake line an automobile: 1. Unclip the line from the chassis and pull it out. windshield retention. if we were to combine sentences 2 and 3 in the repair manual version. You could leave these set of instructions as is in the form of a formatted list Or you could combine some of the steps ( 2 with 3. Disconnect the union nuts at both ends 2. For example. To see how this might apply in a specific case. fuel system integrity.
this paragraph is a nicely written one. direct. and properly constructed sentences satisfying the givennew. The system will do that by removing the burden of data entry from the present system. with an adequate topic statement. the lesson to be learned from this example . The microcomputer has all of the graphics and software capabilities required to implement this concept. wordy language is less likely to promote one's credibility as an expert than is concise. But is it more readable? Absolutely not! In fact it is a perfect example of the kind of incomprehensive gobbiedygook that so many readers of technical writing complain about. light-heavy and topical criteria. Actually. 5. on the other hand. making it next to impossible for them to follow. bloated style of writing in order to create a certain professional image.sequence: no mechanic would consider this to be a single step. It is also best not to combine sentences when the result would be too long a sentence Suppose. CADDS. This is a more economical version. In' fact. as the form of the description implies. The proposed system is required to alleviate the increase in demand. Inexperienced writers sometimes think that they must use a wordy. they will enhance their image as experts in their field. no doubt. a clear general-to-specific pattern of development. you have been writuig a proposal for a computer-aided design system and have included this paragraph in your summary. If you were to combine the sentences into one. the less important ones should be subordinated . is this: do not combine sentences just for the sake of doing so. your main points and be persuaded to your point of view. what evidence there is suggests just the opposite: pretentious.4. much of this emphasis would be destroyed: NEGATIVE EXAMPLE The proposed system is required to alleviate the increase in demand by utilizing the microcomputer as a stand-alone entry system with all the necessary graphics and soft ware capabilities to remove the burden of data entry from the present system. A bloated. foggy language is more likely than not to rum readers against you. insofar as it contains 16 fewer words than tic original. The result is a highly readable paragraph with appropriate emphasis on the main ideas and key words. for example. For example. simple language. This is accomplished by utilizing the microcomputer as a stand-alone data entry system. consider the following two abstracts presented in a conference. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 49 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . signal words and identifiers. Be Concise While the more important words and phrases of a text should be highlighted.or perhaps even eliminated altogether Unnecessary words and phrases will only detract from the emphasis you have carefully tried to build up through the use of combined sentences. As it stands. one version (Version 1) being noticeably wordier than the other (Version 2). then. wordy style can submerge your readers in a sea of empty terms. They seem to believe that by using pretentious language. do it only when it serves a purpose. CADDS.2.
and its style is more appropriate therefore the more concise abstract of Version 2 (155 words versus 179 for Version 1) is definmtely preferred This style is not so "noun-heavy". Thus the reduction of aggressiveness after this operation might be due to the higher levels of ACTH which accompany it. it is possible that the effects of adrenalectomy on aggressiveness of intact mice. First the level of glucocorticoids rise. it was discovered that total removal of the adrenal glands effects reduction or aggressivenss and that aggressheness in adrenalectomised mice is restorable to the level of intact mice by treatment with corticosterone. high levels of ACTH. Moreover. since adrenalectomy is followed by an increase in the release of adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH). in addition to causing increases in glucocorticoids (which possibly accounts for the depression of aggression in intact mice by ACTH). Brain. when treated with corticosterone. Version 2 The experiment in our series with mice showed that the total removal of the adrenal glands reduces aggressiveness. For example. has the effect of reducing aggressiveness by producing an ACTHmediated condition of t decreased androgen levels. also result in decreased androgen levels. and since ACTH has been . Since animals with low levels of androgenare less aggressive it is possible that removal of the adrenals redues aggressiveness only drrectly by ratsing the levels of ACTH it cuases androgen levels to drop . it has higher percentage of verbs and adectives than Version 1. it has couses androgen levels to drop Second the Version 2 style has simpler sentence structure with fewer and shorter adverbial phrases before the sentence subject This means that the reader reaches the main verb of the sentence sooner. the Version 2 style avoids unnecessary Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 50 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . Brain's results. high levels of ACTH have tow effects. However. These results point to the indispensability of the adrenals for the full t expression of aggression. Nevertheless. making it easier to process the sentence as a whole Thirdly. Version 2 is easier to read. These findings suggest that the adrenals are necessary for animals to show full aggressiveness. reported (P. and P. it is possible that the effects of adrenalectomy on aggressiveness are a function of the concurrent increased levels of ACTH. rather than affecting aggression directly. instead of saying effects reduction of it simply says reduces lnstead of point to the indispensability of the adrenals . Obviously.Version 1 IN the experiment of the series using mice. 1972) to decrease the aggressiveness of intact mice. However. Brain found that ACTH lowers the aggressiveness of intact mice. the levels of androgen fall. But removal of the adrenals raises the levels of adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH). which might account for P. In view of the fact that animals with low androgen levels are characterized by decreased aggressiveness the possibility exists that adrenalectomy. it has suggests that the adrenals are necessary instead of producing a condition of decrease androgen levels . mice that had their adrenals taken out became as aggressive as intact animals again. Second.
this in sentences5 and it in the last part of sentence 9. This last point deserves some discussion before we end. perhaps. Finally. By contrast. the Technical Division needs to know the loads that will be placed upon the footings. where a single misinterpretation of a pronoun by a single reader has led to some accident or mishap. Consider this example NEGATIVE EXAMPLE In order to keep from delaying the construction phase of the Office Building. I have investigated the proposed use of the structure and various footing systems to determine the loads that will be placed upon the footings.provided. and indeed it should be used in appropriate circumstances (such as when writing operating instructions for a potentially hazardous macliine or when writing a legally binding contract). the Technical Division needs to know the loads that will be placed upon the footings. This strategy is certainly a safe one. the Version 1 style has only one demonstrative These. help make a text more cohesive . There are many circumstances. and the result will be more coherent and more concise text. Therefore. they tend to avoid pronouns and demonstratives altogether. engineers. you can usually use a shortened version of tins noun phrase and a demonstrative adjective or definite article without muck if any. REVISED VERSION In order to keep from delaying the construction phase of the Office Building. even when it requires more words to make the substitution In place of adrenalectmised mice. leading off sentence 2 Pronouns and demonstrative adjectives. This report gives the loads and explains how they were derived In general when you have to refer repeatedly to some object or concept that has first been introduced with a long noun phrase. the style of Version 2 uses more pronouns and demonstrative adjectives: their in sentence 2. and other technical people sometimes use full nouns phrases repeatedly to avoid being "imprecise". preferring instead to repeat full noun phrases over and over. however. risk of ambiguity Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 51 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . They have heard of cases. Version 2 has mice that had their adrenals taken out instead of are aunction of. 1 have investigated the proposed use of the structure and various footing systems to determine these loads. of course. and where in feet it simply disrupts the coherence of the text. Scientists. these in sentence 3. where such caution is uncalled for. This report gives the loads of the footings and explains how these loads were derived There is no reason to describe the loads every time they are referred to Pronouns and demonstratives can be used instead without any real risk of misinterpretation.technical terms in favor of more comrnooplace equivalents. that it is clear to the reader what they refer to. which in turn has led to the writer's company being sued for damages. there is are due to. in general. for example.
2. 6. NATURE OF THE REPORTS: They may be: 1) Technical (production and upgrading). CAD. information and analysis of a certain idea and in some cases embody the technical details and findings of a certain project. 3) Investment potential. b) An abstract of the documentary output or a list of KEYWORDS reflecting the principal subject fields of the project. computer services. 4) Different means and methods which could be utilized to achieve the goals of the project. its approaches and capabilities. in detailed support of the findings and the recommendations of the project. f) Annexes as appropriate.. F) SPECIAL SUPPORT PROJECTS. 4) Training activities. e) Substantive sections or chapters.etc. A) Institution building projects: They help in the institutional building up. information and analysis on different aspects of experimental research or pilot activities and the results thereof. d) A summary of findings and recommendations. c) An introduction providing information on: 1) Project activity or subacthity related to the project proposal. Which provide development support of communication. Project proposals usually serve the following purposes with respect to the different functional types of projects. C) DIRECT TRAINING PROJECTS. The contents of project proposal can be structured as follows: a) Title page.1. 2) Administrative.6. e.g. 5) Future expected results on implementation of the included study. 6. documentary services. PROJECT PROPOSAL A project proposal deals with work plans of a certain subject. 3) Specific purposes the project is intended to serve. D) Upgrading of the efficiency of certain institutions in industry. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 52 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . 2) Project staff responsible for the production.. B) Direct support projects: Provide data. E) Experimental and pilot projects: Provide data. administration and other activities. set standards of performance and help continuing staff development.
etc.3. 5. leather tanning factories. 2. g) Pre-feasibility study of poini f.A time schedule for implementation of the proposed project. a fertilizer plant.g.Recommendations for better production (technical and mechanical) and development of the required steps to achieve the required targets. c) Production line chemicals. study of foreign markets should be included. electricity. e) Cost of production.Critical discussion of the present situation and proposed steps required for upgrading the efficiency (not required in case of installation of new factories)..etc. oil.In case of new factory installation. machinery. d) Services. environmental conditions of the unit and its suitability. 4. e.. Technical-industrial project proposals: These proposals may deal mainly with.Different expenditure items required. Such project proposals should include the following MAIN POINTS: 1. 1) Erection of completely new production line for a certain commodity. 2) Upgrading the efficiency of already working industrial plants. wages.g.etc. exportimport prices. total budget of the project . water.Present situation of the unit or state-of-art including. man power. a) Description of the commodity. 3. additives . benefits.6. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 53 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .. 3) Implementation of new production technologies and application of new machinery (research and pilot plant projects) . e. pulp and paper. foreign and local currency required. f) Proposed capacity in case of installation of a completely new factory.etc.. b) Raw materials required or used in daily and annually consumed amounts. deficits.. 6.
7. does your informative abstract summarize the key facts and conclusions of your report rather than act as just another introduction or descriptive abstract? Does the introduction of your report include the elements necessary in good introductions. followed by title page. followed by figure list.) Do you address your report to a real or realistic audience that has a genuine need for your report? (See this chapter and the chapter on audience for details. for example. overview.) Do you identify in the introduction what background the audience needs to read and understand your report? Does your report contain specific. such as audience.) Does your report use the format for headings that is standard for this course? (See the chapter on headings for details.) Does the title page of your report include a descriptive abstract. and so on? (See the chapter on report format for details. is it positioned properly in relation to the other report components.) Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 54 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . transmittal letter. factual detail focused on the purpose of the report and the needs of the audience and aimed at their level of understanding? Does your report accomplish its purpose? Is that purpose clearly stated in the introduction? Does your report use information sources and do you properly document them? (See the chapter on finding information and the chapter on documenting borrowed information for details. are your figure titles (captions) to our class specifications? (See the chapter on graphics and tables for details. CHECKLIST FOR THE TECHNICAL REPORT Use the following questions to ensure that your technical report is structured properly according to common expectations: Do you include all the required components in the required order. and is it written according to the specifications in the chapter on abstracts? Specifically.) Does your report use graphics and tables? Does your report use the format for graphics and tables that is standard for this course? Specifically.) Is page 1 of your introduction designed according to the standard for this course? (See the chapter on report format for details.) Does every new section (which starts with a first-level heading) start on a new page? Have you check for widowed headings (headings that start at the very bottom of a page)? stacked headings (two or more consecutive headings without intervening text)? lone headings (a single heading within a section)? parallelism in the phrasing of headings? (See the chapter on headings for details. and is it written according to the specifications in the chapter on abstracts? Do you include an informative abstract in your report. purpose? Do you avoid the problem of having too much background in the introduction. or having an introduction that is all background? (See the chapter on introductions for details.) Does your report use the format for lists that is standard for this course? (See the chapter on lists for details.
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