Technical Report Writing

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

or program. The engineers need to know general knowledge about renal disease and the technologies used to treat it. Others write short user manuals for an appliance. none). An evaluation or assessment report studies something in terms of its worth or value For example. This is a perfectly good possibility for the technical report as well. CDROM technology. the information on the topic is not just for anybody who might be interested in the topic. For example. they write about some smaller segment—for example.1. imagine an engineering firm bidding on a portion of the work to build a hemodialysis clinic.3. You can modify this type by summarizing other primary research reports. experiments and surveys. 1. but also explain your methodology. and give some background on the problem. recycling activity. Students often write backup procedures for the jobs they do at their work. recommendation. but they don't want to have to go digging in the library to find it. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 2 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . 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).2.1. Technical-background report The background report is the hardest to define but the most commonly written. a medical problem.4. However. For example. you not only present your data and draw conclusions about it. Instructions These are probably the most familiar of all the types of reports. Feasibility. just a guide on writing macros in MS-Word. instead of instructions on using all of MS-Word. or U. for one of your previous courses. but for some individual or group that has specific needs for it and is even willing to pay for that information." as they are commonly called. Types of Technical Reports In this course you can choose to write one of the following types of reports 1. however. A recommendation report compares two or more alternatives and recommends one (or. In practice.1.S. solar energy. equipment. if necessary. You may have written a "lab report. a college might investigate the feasibility of giving every student an e-mail address and putting many of the college functions online. 1.1. Elements of the feasibility and recommendation report intermingle in specific reports—but the main thing is to get the job done! 1. and evaluation reports Another useful type of report is one that studies a problem or opportunity and then makes a recommendation. describe the equipment and facilities you used. This type of technical report provides background on a topic—for example. If there is too much to write about.1. it's hard to keep these two kinds of reports distinct. whether it is practical and technologically possible. global warming. A feasibility report tells whether a project is "feasible"—that is.1. Primary research report Primary research refers to the actual work someone does in a laboratory or in the field—in other words.1. What they need is a technical background report on the subject. you could report on the research that has been done on saccharine. In this type of report.

tables. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 3 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .  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. However. functions. and describes the operation and output of the proposed business. projects revenues. talk to your instructor. For example. these become much more elaborate. Thus. not this semester. and graphics replace regular sentences and paragraphs whenever possible.1. fragmented. specifications are not a good exercise of your writing abilities. you define who the readers are. True specifications are not much on writing the text is dense. It may be that we are using different names for the same thing. 1. you can write a more high-level version . 1. you discuss some new product design in terms of its construction. Plus elements from other kinds of reports get imported—such as feasibility discussion. the audience cannot be this vague sort of "anybody who is considering purchasing a CD player. which is a plan or proposal to start a new business or to expand an existing one. When you define audience. Business proposed If you are ambitious to run your own business. 1.2. in which they went after some contract or grant. Don't feel constrained by this list. Therefore. 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. features. proposals can be monster documents of hundreds or even thousands of pages." You have to define the audience in terms of its knowledge.7. (Please. operation.1. organization or that might be read by marketing and planning executives.) Most of the elements are the same. materials.1. explores the marketplace and the competition. Several students have set up scenarios in which they proposed internally to write an external proposal. just bigger. what they know or don't know in relation to the topic. you can write a business plan. it describes the proposed business. Technical specifications In this report type.1. and why they want or might need the information. street address and phone numbers. and qualifications. and need for the information.5. Just as critical to the planning process is defining the situation. come on!). It is aimed primarily at potential investors. what experience or background they have in relation to the topic. and occupation or position. Sometimes this leaves out a critical element: just what are the circumstances that bring about the need for the information.6. if there is a type of technical document you want to write not listed here. background. 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. Report-length proposal As you may be aware. review of literature. lists. and market potential. if you wanted to write about CD audio players.

that's where your instructor can help. Accurate detail The report should be very detailed and accurate. General Characteristics of Technical Reports You're probably wondering what this technical report is supposed to look like. In addition to that. 1. These may include not only books and articles that can be found in libraries but also technical brochures. Tough technical topics As mentioned earlier. 1. as well as first-hand inspections. look around you in your work. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 4 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . for some reason. as a later chapter in this book will show. Topics for Technical Reports Just about any topic can be worked into a good technical-report project. But avoid editorializing—there are other courses where you can do this.1. So can UFOs. and the like.1. it's common sense that we often write better about things we know about. Fuzzy topics Some topics just don't work. however.4. develop these topics: for example. 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: 1.3. Use the report project as a chance to learn something new. don't attempt to write a technical report on the pro's and con's of gun control. don't shy away from interesting topics that you don't feel you know enough about. Graphics include all kinds of possibilities. 1. marijuana. 1.4. electronics. don't be concerned that your has to be about computers.3. The preceding topics are difficult to pin down this way. Ask your instructor to show you a few example reports.4. good reports have been written on the apparatus used in dream research laboratories. Information sources Your report should make use of information sources. 1. contact your instructor. however. Some are a little more difficult than others. dream analysis can be very fuzzy and nebulous. or some other "technical" topic. If you can't think of any graphics for your report project. abortion. For example. You want your report to have hard factual data in it. Maybe somebody can even figure out a good way to handle UFOs. you may not have a good topic.2. However. And. Editorializing For the report project. Graphics The report should have graphics. You can. These get into substantial technical areas. the kind of details your specific audience needs. Get in touch with your instructor.3. Remember that the word technical refers to anybody of specialized knowledge. At the same time.3. If you don't believe any information sources are necessary for your report project. physiological aspects of marijuana or the medical techniques for abortion or the developmental stages of the fetus.3. Of course. who can help you brainstorm for graphics. avoid editorial topics. describe the chemical. hobbies. here is a brief review of some of the chief characteristics of the technical report: 1. If this is a concern for you. interviews or correspondence with experts. No one expects a doctoral thesis. For example. The point of the report is to go into details. or academic studies.

Production The technical report should be typed or printed out neatly. If you get into a bind with a report project that would take too many pages. 1. Most students invent an audience and situation. If graphics are taped in.4. and specific: for example. science.4. as well as various kinds of lists as appropriate. interested in reliable information on global warming. 1. These have to be prepared according to a set standard. a report of this length is rather skimpy. energy. to be used to aid in long-range investment planning. But remember that sheer weight does not equal quality (or better grade).4. 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.8. The style of citing your sources (also called "documenting" your sources). the whole report must be photocopied. title page. There is no real maximum length.4. One style commonly used in science and engineering is called the number system. list of figures. you must write for the nonspecialist.5 spaced typed or printed pages (using 3/4 -inch margins). electronics. counting from introduction to conclusion. Technical content You must design your report project in such a way that your poor technical-writing instructor has a chance to understand it .10.4.4. nursing. be sure to cite your sources. not a course in engineering. And the audience can't merely be something like "anybody who might be interested in global warming. contact your instructor—there are numerous tricks we can use to cut it down to size. which will be presented in a later chapter. at some point. you may get concerned about the technical accuracy of your information. binding. transmittal other words." 1. "Texas Coastal Real Estate Developers Association. This is a minimum. Length The report should be at least 8 1. or the like. table of contents. Headings and lists The report should use the format for headings that is required for the course.6. Documentation When you use borrowed information in your technical report.5. and appendixes. realistic. it has to be real.4. other than what your time.7. and stamina can handle.9. Special format The technical report uses a rather involved format including covers. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 5 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .1. and the photocopy handed in (not the original with the taped-in graphics). 1. Remember that this is a writing course. Make a goodfaith effort to get the facts right.4. The report must be bound in some way. 1. 1. Also. but don't go overboard." Instead.

when a visual presentation is added to a verbal one.. These readers will sometimes notice (2) that there is a large difference in job satisfaction between the two groups-that is.down the main points made by the table. as well as a few other. Do this before you continue. more subtle ones. Do not look at any of the following tables or discussions. line graph) 4. which can quickly summarize an important point or present it in a different way. or graphs. Also. It is known that you can increase the strength and memorability of a message simply by repeating it or. These last two observations (points 2 and 3) are very hard to "see" in the format used in Table 2-1. 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. How to integrate the visual aid into the text 2. by repeating it in a different form. most readers of Table 2-2 easily and quickly note all three observations. Now try to write . bar graph. (Have you ever heard the expression "a picture is worth a thousand words"?) Finally. Typically. sometimes words need to be combined with visual aids. Further. figures.2. This involves knowing 1. When to use the visual aid 3. formatting (the use of white space and indenting). Visual Elements There are times when words alone are not the best way to transfer information or points of view. charts. people who read only Table 2-1 note (1) that job satisfaction declines in each of the two main groups of occupations. The same can often be said of other visual elements. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 6 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . a communicator ought to be able to use them effectively. When you have finished this. 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). so much easier that the formatting becomes necessary given the limitations on the time and attention of an audience.g. a visual aid can present a compact summary of the main points of a verbal text. Thus. a visual element can often summarize in a more memorable form than words alone can. simply because of the format of the table. Given these advantages of visual aids. For example. How to make a visual aid effective 2.1. Making a visual aid truly visual Take about 2 to 5 seconds to look at Table 2-1 and then cover it up. appropriate formatting can make a technical report much easier to read. How to select the best type of visual element in a given situation (e. or other visual elements. pie chart. such as drawings. 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. even better. In contrast. the combination can produce a much stronger and more easily remembered message than either presentation alone. 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.

Deciding when to use a visual aid Communicators often wonder when they should use a visual aid in a communication. you are consciously or unconsciously making certain decisions. You are deciding-that the particular type of aid yon choose (a line graph. and photograph) is the best type to make your point and that the arrangement and highlighting of material on the page is. pie diagram. again.3. If you Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 7 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .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. Where words alone would be either impossible or quite inefficient for describing a concept or an object 2. Unfortunately. Three suggested principles for deciding this are to use a visual aid 1. especially a summary 3. there is little information available on which to base such decisions.2. bar chart. Where a visual element is conventionally or easily used to present data 2. the best to make your point. Selecting the best type of visual aid in a given situation When you design a particular visual aid. Where a visual aid is needed to underscore an important point.

and sixth. This pattern is so universal that Figure 2-2 looks at best odd and at worst disturbing. (3) pie charts. Each of these types has particular strengths and weaknesses. third. we expect areas containing a lot of activity and information to contain the most important information. we expect things in the center to be more important than things on the periphery. or an especially important word in a passage. For instance. thicker. ninth. and (6) line drawings. Note that in scientific and technical graphs. The purpose of this section is to sketch out some better or more conscious reasons for choosing. a title. large things to be more important than small things. we expect that things having the same size.2. Fourth. and to use any one appropriately.3. First. as illustrated in Figure 2-1. Seventh. 2. Conventions of Visual Perception There are a number of general statements we can make about our expectations of visual information. we expect things to proceed from top to bottom. and. you probably choose one type of visual aid over another simply because it is the first thing you think of using. Note that writing that. we see things as standing out if they contrast with their surroundings because of line thickness. is larger. (5) photographs. we expect written things to proceed from left to right.are like most writers. (2) bar graphs. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 8 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . or color. thick things to be more important than thin things. (4) tables. 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. we plot time on the x-axis and frequency on the yaxis. Eighth. 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. or bolder than the surrounding type is usually more important: a heading. we place the independent variable on the x-axis so that the more important variable moves from left to right.3. location. Lastly. 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. fifth. Figure 2-1 Preferred location of independent variable on a graph Figure 2-2 Unconventional location of independent variable on a graph Second. or color are somehow related to each other. shape. 2. type face.1. we expect things in the foreground to be more important than things in the background.

Line graphs do not show well them importance of one particular point which falls of a node. direction as opposed to volume. the relationships among more than three or four items at a time. These characteristics are illustrated in Figure2-3. volume as opposed to direction. These characteristics are evident in the variant of the bar graph presented in Figure 2-5 and in Figure 2-6. The bars are normally separated by spaces. depending on the type of information they represent. 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. and the similarities and differences between similar numbers. and the importance of a nodal point. the contrast between large and small numbers. if there is one. especially if they intersect frequently. Figure 2-5 Bar Chart Showing annual energy saving Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 9 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . you should probably not put more than three or four on a single graph.LINEGRAPHS Line graphs. or you may produce a graph as hard to follow as the one in Figure 2-4. or the inter section of three or more lines. lf its important to be able to trace each line on a graph. Bar graphs can be arranged with either horizontal (Figure 2-5) or vertical bars (Figure 2-6). show well continuity and direction as opposed to individual or discrete points. the relationship of many lines.

Figure 2-6 Vertical bar chart HISTOGRAMS A histogram looks like a bar chart. as shown in Figure 2-7. it can serve a very useful purpose. The chief visible difference between a histogram and a bar chart is that there are no spaces between the bars of a histogram. It may look like a graph. Yet as a means for conveying Illustrative information to non technical readers. 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). Figure 2-6 Histogram for failure records SURFACE CAHRTS A surface chart is shown in Figure 2-8. To a technical person its' construction may seem so awkward that he might wonder when he would ever need to use one. but it is not. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 10 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . It is usually plotted like a bar chart.

But unlike a graph. (If there is a third set of data. which is added to the first set of data so that the second curve indicates a total of 22. it is added on in the same way). using the first curve as a base (i. 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. in the normal way.000 MW.000 MW In Figure 2-8. The 1980 data for the next curve is 7.000 MW.Figure 2-8 Surface chart adds thermal data to hydro data to show total energy resources Like a graph. with too many parts it is hard to see relationships of part to part and part to whole. the contrast between large and small percentages.000 MW. individual curves cannot be read directly from the scales. The uppermost curve is achieved as follows: 1. 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). This is the Hydro curve in Figure 2-8. 2.000 MW Thermal 7. the energy resources shown as being available in 1980 are: Hydro 15. The curve containing the most import-ant or largest quantity of data is drawn first. These strengths and weakness is illustrated in figure 2-9. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 11 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . and the similarities between relatively similar percentage (they show that well that 27 percent and 29 percent are about equal). a surface chart has two continuous variables that form the scales against which the curves are plotted. For example. the lower curve for 1980 is plotted at 15. PIE DIAGRAMS Pie diagrams show relatively well the relationship among three or four items which total 100 percent. zero) and adding the second set of data to it.e. The next curve is drawn in above the first curve.

since they present items one at a time in columns. architectural plans. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 12 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . parts charts. schematic charts. While there are many types of line drawings. LINE DRAWINGS The term line drawing includes several types of drawings which focus on external appearance. and when you are not concerned with eliminating the abundant detail a photograph provides. They also allow you to easily highlight a particular shape. when you are trying to produce immediate visual recognition of an item. location. 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. for maximum visual impact. organizational charts. However. as seen in Figure 2-12. they emphasize the discrete rather than the continuous and make it very difficult to show trends or direction in. 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. or the expertise to produce a complicated line drawing. or excessive detail." maps (see Figure 210). the data. physical shape. Tables are not predominantly visual: the reader's mind must translate each number into a relationship with each other number. or function. anatomical drawings. or relationship. Thus. They allow you to show things which you can't normally see in a photograph because of size. and blueprints. the money. function. when you are emphasizing the item's external appearance (as opposed to its internal structure or a cross section). PHOTOGRAPHS Photographs are useful when you do not have the time. part. 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. These include "simplified photos. all of them share certain functions. as already described in the job satisfaction example at the beginning of this chapter. Also included are flow charts.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. block diagrams. While photographs can be air-brushed to eliminate some undesired detail.

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 [ .

Designing the visual aid Once you have decided . and now have to choose the one most appropriate to your point. 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.9 53 Now that you have your data. even if you have such help. 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. you want to construct a visual aid to show the growth in savings and the relative contributions of each source. 2.4.9 1. presented in Figures 2-13 through 2-17. you should be sure that it makes the point you intend. However. total energy systems such as industrial parks and shopping centers. you must design it so that it is as relevant. and solar-based electric power plantsand have broken down the specific savings as illustrated in Table 2-3. and truthful as possible.1. For instance. Making a visual aid relevant Since you place a visual aid in a text to make a point. On what basis do you choose? What are the differences among the five visual aids? Figure 2-13 Annual energy savings from solar energy.4 0.4. suppose that you are discussing expected energy saving from the use of solar energy in the future. version I Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 14 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .2 0.2. Table 2-3 Expected annual saving from solar energy Annual Savings (1015 Btu) Total energy Solar-based electric Year Residences systems power plants 1985 0.24 1990 1. clear.92 1.4 1995 1.where a visual aid is needed and what type it should be. This will usually be at least a two-stage process: designing a rough copy and then producing the finished COPY. You have posed three possible sources of the savings-residences. You construct five possible versions of a visual aid.

version 4 Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 15 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . version 3 Figure 2-16 Annual energy savings from solar energy. version 2 Figure 2-15 Annual energy savings from solar energy.Figure 2-14 Annual energy savings from solar energy.

Graph (a) is an extremely bad example of a visual aid since it has none of the labeling information usually presented.4. (Notice that graph c lacks enough information even though it provides everything except the title and two critical labels. Figure 2-13 presents the most information in the smallest space and the clearest vision of total growth. appropriate headings and labels. Figure 2-15 clarifies the comparison between items in the same year but obscures comparisons between years.) Graph (d) provides an adequate title and labels. especially between the same item in different years. in comparison to the other charts. It involves having an informative title. but still not enough to really get the message across. Technical clarity is a simpler matter and will be treated here. On the other hand. look at the series of graphs presented in Figure 2-18. version 5 First let us consider the bar graphs. however. 2. Making it conceptually clear means having a clearly defined and relevant point and a good form for the point. a careful and hardworking reader can probably figure out the Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 16 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . graph (e) provides adequate information and enough white space to let it be seen. and enough white space so that an audience has the best possible chance of finding the "right" meaning for the visual aid. it obscures the comparisons between items in the same year and between the same item in different years. Making a visual aid clear Making a visual aid clear involves two separate activities: making it conceptually clear and making it technically clear.2. but the grid in the background is so obtrusive that a reader can hardly see the important lines and labels. Among the bar graphs. but in addition they also bring out more strongly the idea of direction and rate of change. Finally. Figure 2-14 obscures the total growth but makes the comparisons already mentioned much clearer. from these. Conceptual clarity is discussed above. Graphs (b) and (c) present more information. you would probably choose Figure 2-13 or 2-17. If you are interested in the growth of the contribution of each area. 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. you would probably choose Figure 2-16. The line graphs in Figures 2-16 and2-17 have the same strengths and weaknesses as their respective bar graph counterparts. If you are not much concerned about total growth but want to focus on the contribution of each area for savings. If you are primarily interested in the increase in total savings.Figure 2-17 Annual energy savings from solar energy. To really see the benefit of proper labeling and sufficient white space. then you would probably choose Figure2-14.

Figure 2-18 The necessity of labels. headings and titles in visual aids Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 17 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . which are done quickly checked mainly for accuracy rather than readability).message (you should note that version d is typical of most student reports.

or right-hand page. do not put a visual aid in a spot within the text. In addition. they will -at least sometimes.2. above or below the words. assumptions and implications). Integrating the Visual Aid into the Test Once you have decided to use a visual aid in a particular spot in the text. see Figure 2-20. then the readers will have to provide these of information for themselves. when readers are put in the position. but must always be positioned so that they are read from the right. but a real effort must be made to keep the illustration on the same page as the description it supports. the page can be left opened out for continual reference while the report is being read. As a general rule.5. If the illustration is printed only on the extension panels of the foldout. You must not only refer to every illustration in a report. and the reason for including the illustrations will be defeated. or is going to be referred to frequently. Note that all illustrations in the present notes are referred to first. for example do not put a figure in the text. However.5. 2. Before pointing out to it. a reader who has to keep flipping back and forth between the text and illustrations will soon tire. This can become problem if the description is long. full page illustrations can become an embarrassment. Positioning Try to always put the visual aid after you have mentioned it and not are reverse: in other words. if the communicator does NOT EXPLAIN the importance of the visual aid (its main point. and then point to it.see points or implications rein those the communicator's wants them to see or perhaps even completely miss the communicator's point. plant layouts and flow charts. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 18 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . you should consider printing it on a foldout sheet and inserting it at the back of the report. The visual aid needs to be tied to the text and explained since it appears in the text and make sense to readers. you must incorporate it so that it seems to belong there. limitations. This holds true whether they are placed on a left. then they are inserted into the text. This technique is particularly suitable for circuit diagrams. Horizontal full page illustrations may be inserted sideways on a page (landscape).1. Try to limit the size of the illustrations so they can be placed beside. and lien to make sure that they are correctly placed. see Figure 2-19. 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. 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. When reports are typed on only one side of the paper.

6. Printing Always discuss printing methods with the person who will be making copies of your report before you start making reproduction copy. Lists 4. the beginning of a typical engineering report. You will notice that its has some very interesting formatting features: 1. heavy blacks and light blues may not reproduce well on some electrostatic copiers. Liberal use of white space All of these features occur frequently in scientific and technical writing because they are functional. light browns cannot be copied by other types of equipment. Look for instance at Figure 2-21. busy readers can skip that section if they don't need details. 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. Short paragraphs and white space make a report easy on the eye. Numbers to mark the various paragraphs 6. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 19 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . For example. 2.2. and photographs can be reproduced clearly by very few. Single-spacing 2. 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.5. Short paragraphs 3. single-spacing saves space. even though it may be single-spaced. books and personal letters. materials and colors. and the others make a text easier to read. Certain reproduction equipment cannot handle some sizes. Headings clearly announce the contents of a section so that. The numbering. Headings (underlined titles) 5. especially for busy and inattentive readers.Figure 2-20 large illustrations can be placed on a fold out sheet at rear of report 2.

Figure 2-21 Formatted version of discussion of technical report Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 20 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .

Do you agree that it is much more difficult to read? Do you agree that formatting makes the version in Figure 221 more functional. that is. look at the unformatted version of the Discussion section of the report. 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 [ . presented in Figure 2-22.To get a good idea of how helpful these simple formatting considerations can be.

A stereotyped form shows exactly what information is wanted. development. Figures 13-1 through 13-3 present examples of stereotyped forms that can be used for presenting the summarized results of economic evaluations. and similar items in which the major purpose is to present a result without including detailed information. Informal reports include memorandums. titles of articles may be required for all references. and the needs of the reader should be kept in mind constantly during the preparation of any type of report. For convenience. Types of Reports Reports can be designated as formal and irtfortrrul. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 22 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . A good report writer never forgets the words “to others. and the writer is allowed much leeway in choosing the type of presentation. the amount of detail required. progress. The essential purpose of any report is to pass on information to others. They present the results in considerable detail. Stereotyped forms are often used for informal reports.3. Here are some questions the writer should ask before starting. For example. or the use of a set system of units or nomenclature may be specified. or summarizing economic evaluations. 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. During the course of a design project. survey-type results. and the most satisfactory method of presentation. such as those for sales. periods may be required after all abbreviations. the engineer must prepare many written reports which explain what has been done and present conclusions and recommendations. 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. the functions. 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.” The abilities. Formal reports are often encountered as research. it should be realized that each industrial concern has its own specifications and regulations. The decision on the advisability of continuing the project may be made on the basis of the material presented in the reports. and detailed instructions are often given for preparing other types of informal reports. production. analyses. or design reports. certain arbitrary rules of rhetoric and form may be established by a particular concern. Although many general rules can be applied to the preparation of reports. letters. Many companies have standard outlines that must be followed for formal reports.1. calculations. progress notes. 3. while writing.

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.Figure 3-1 Example of form for an informal summarizing report on factory manufacturing cost.

Tables of data. and other supplementary material are included in the Appendix. 3. A typical outline for a design report is as follows: 3. Organization of a design report 1. After this come the Title Page. writer‟s name and organization. by deleting or combining appropriate sections. and an Abstract or Summary of the report. with each succeeding part giving greater detail on the design and its development. The Appendix. Table of contents  Indicates location and title of figures. The Body of the report is next and includes essential information. A complete design report consists of several independent parts. sample calculations. at the end of the report. the Table of Contents. tables. Summary  Briefly presents essential results and conclusions in a clear and precise manner 5.1.2. presented in the form of discussion. and all major sections 4. tables. 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. Letter of transmittal  Indicates why report has been prepared  Gives essential results that have been specifically requested 2. and date 3. graphs.Figure 3-3 Example of form for an informal summarizing report on income and return.2. and figures. 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 type of sectioning is valuable for informal reports. Title page  Includes title of report. Introduction  Presents a brief discussion to explain what the report is about and the reason for the report. name of person to whom report is submitted. the same principles can be applied to the organization of any type of report. Body of report A. A covering Letter of Transmittal is usually the first item in any report. The following discussion applies to formal reports. but.

Tables of data employed with reference to source iv. apparatus and procedure description. 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. Conclusions and recommendations  Presented in more detail than in Summary F. the experimental data. and return on investment E. Final recommended design with appropriate data  Drawings of proposed design a. tables. and interpretation of the results may be included as a special appendix to the design report.1. The letter should be brief. but it can call the reader‟s attention to certain pertinent sections of the report or give definite results which are particularly important.1. Derivation of equations essential to understanding the report but not presented in detail in the main body of the report iii.B. 3. Acknowledgment  Acknowledges important assistance of others who are not listed as preparing the report G. Personal pronouns and an informal business style of writing may be used. Quantitative flow sheets c. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 25 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . The writer should express any personal opinions in the letter of transmittal rather than in the report itself. Previous work  Discusses important results obtained from literature surveys and other previous work C. 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. Qualitative flow sheets b. Discussion  Outlines method of attack on project and gives design basis  Includes graphs.2. References to literature (bibliography)  Gives complete identification of literature sources referred to in the report I. Table of nomenclature  Sample units should be shown H. Appendix i. Results of laboratory tests 1. profits. Combined-detail flow sheets  Tables listing equipment and specifications  Tables giving material and energy balances  Process economics including costs. If laboratory tests were used to obtain design data. Sample calculations  One example should be presented and explained clearly for each type of calculation ii.

What was done and what the report covers 3. it is a convenient guide for the reader and indicates the scope of the report. The relationship of the information presented in the report to other phases of the company‟s operations can be covered. A list of tables. How the final results were obtained 4. The following outline shows what should be included in a summary: 1.4. major conclusions.1. A table of contents may not be necessary for a short report of only six or eight pages. All statements must be concise and give a minimum of general qualitative information. figures. it may be advisable to precede the summary by an abstract. An analysis of the cost and profit potential of the proposed process should accompany the description of the recommended design. Title Page and Table of Contents In addition to the title of the report. A statement introducing the reader to the subject matter 2. and recommendations An ideal summary can be completed on one typewritten page. Its purpose is to give the reader the entire contents of the report in one or two pages. and a brief statement of the major results. but the writer should not present an annoying or distracting amount of detail.2. It states the purpose and scope of the report and indicates why the design project originally appeared to be feasible or necessary. It covers all phases of the design project.2. If the summary must be longer than two pages. complete with figures and tables giving all necessary qualitative and quantitative data. Indentations can be used to indicate the relationships of the various subheadings. References to previous work can be discussed in the introduction. such as the name and organization of the person (or persons) submitting the report and the date of submittal. which merely indicates the subject matter. Body of the Report The first section in the body of the report is the introduction. but. The titles and subheadings in the written text should be shown. 3. The validity of the methods must be made apparent. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 26 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . what was done. as well as the appropriate page numbers. The next section presents the recommended design. Here the writer shows the reader the methods used in reaching the final conclusions. The aim of the summary is to present precise quantitative information and final conclusions with no unnecessary details. and graphs should be presented separately at the end of the table of contents.2. for longer reports. and the effects of future developments may be worthy of mention. since it is referred to most frequently and is often the only part of the report that is read. The important results including quantitative information. a title page usually indicates other basic information. but it does not go into detail on any particular phase.1. A description of the methods used for developing the proposed design is presented in the next section under the heading of disczmion. 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. or a separate section can be presented dealing with literature-survey results and other previous work.

Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 27 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .1. When applicable. and proofread the final report In order to accomplish each of these steps successfully. Write the first draft 4. The writer has a moral responsibility to present the facts accurately and not mislead the reader with incorrect or dubious statements. scope. certain types of derivations. The presentation must be convincing. but the technical writer must never forget that the major purpose is to present information clearly and understandably. 3. 3. 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. On the other hand. Presenting the results Accuracy and logic must be maintained throughout any report.4. and literature references may be added. as well as some sections of the report. can be prepared while the design work is in progress.3. Define the subject matter. a proposed investment of $5554. and tables. yet the descriptive part of the report is not made ineffective because of excess information. variation in the sentence length is necessary in order to avoid a disjointed staccato effect. sections covering acknowledgment.500. Certainly. Prepare a skeleton outline and then a detailed outline 3. be indicated. have the report typed. For example.000. This information is thus available to anyone who wishes to make a complete check on the work. reference data. table of nomenclature. but it must also be devoid of distracting and unnecessary details. 3. and the reader knows at once that the writer did not use any type of logical reasoning in determining the accuracy of the results. the details of calculation methods. Appendix In order to make the written part of a report more readable.5. Many of the figures. This is not necessarily misleading as to the accuracy of the result. Although short sentences are preferred.328 is ridiculous. Polish and improve the first draft and prepare the final form 5. since only two significant figures are indicated. Check the written draft carefully. their effect on the accuracy of the results should.The body of a design report often includes a section giving a detailed discussion of all conclusions and recommendations. graphs. a preliminary plant design might show that the total investment for a proposed plant is $5. Flowery expressions and technical jargon are often misused by technical writers in an attempt to make their writing more interesting.2. an elegant or forceful style is sometimes desirable. Preparing the report The physical process of preparing a report can be divided into the following steps: 1. and similar items are often included as separate appendixes to the report. If approximations or assumptions are made. The style of writing in technical reports should be simple and straightforward. and intended audience 2. experimental data.

which present definite numerical values.3. Paragraphs are used to cover one general thought. Tables The effective use of tables can save many words. and any nomenclature used should be defined on the graph or in the body of the report. For example. but any thought worthy of a separate paragraph should require at least two sentences.3. These points can be represented by large dots. A paragraph break. Subheadings and Paragraphs The use of effective and well-placed subheadings can improve the readability of a report.” A much better title. If numerical values are presented. A table should never be presented on two pages unless the amount of data makes a break absolutely necessary. Restrictions on the plotted information should be indicated on the graph itself or with the title. graphs serve to show trends or comparisons. is not nearly as definite as a subheading. squares.2. or some other identifying symbol.1. and the writer who consistently uses paragraphs longer than 10 to 12 typed lines will have difficulty in holding the reader‟s attention. Every table requires a title. In any case. small circles. the experimental or calculated points on which a curve is based should be shown on the plot. The ordinate and the abscissa must be labeled clearly. triangles. Tables are included in the body of the report only if they are essential to the understanding of the written text. If possible. and the headings for each column should be self-explanatory. the curve should not extend through the open symbols representing the data points. The length of paragraphs can vary over a wide range. If extrapolation or interpolation of the curve is doubtful.4. or a broken line connecting each point may be more appropriate. the uncertain region can be designated by a dotted or dashed line. the correct units must be shown in the column heading or with the first number in the column. however. The title of the graph must be explicit but not obvious. The most probable smooth curve can be drawn on the basis of the plotted points. especially if quantitative results are involved. the appropriate units are shown immediately after the labels on the ordinate and abscissa. If numbers are used. although still somewhat obvious. 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.4. 3. Any type of tabulated data that is not directly related to the discussion should be located in the appendix. 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. Graphs In comparison with tables. would be “Effect of Temperature on Vapor Pressure of Pure Glycerol.4. The interpretation of results is often simplified for the reader if the tabulated information is presented in graphical form. 3. Long paragraphs are a strain on the reader.” Some additional suggestions for the preparation of graphs follow: Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 28 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .

Eng. and (f) year (in parentheses). and other types of illustrations may be a necessary part of a report. Illustrations Flow diagrams. Permit sufficient space between grid elements to prevent a cluttered appearance (ordinarily. The values assigned to the grids should permit easy and convenient interpolation. McCormick. 5. Complete flow diagrams. (c) volume number. Eng. but do not distort the apparent accuracy of the results.1. 2. The curve should be drawn as the heaviest line on the plot. They can be inserted in the body of the text or included in the appendix. Chem. Chem. J. (d) issue number. followed by initials.4. 4. 3. For journal articles: (a) Authors‟ names. An underlined number in parentheses may be used in place of the raised number.. The bibliography should give the following information: 1. (e) page number. (b) Journal. If possible. McCormick. When a literature reference is cited in the written text. although the listing is occasionally based on the order of appearance in the report. 6. The independent or controlled variable should be plotted as the abscissa. 3. Use coordinate scales that give good proportionment of the curve over the entire plot. two to four grid lines per inch are adequate). prepared on oversize paper. E. and the coordinate axes should be heavier than the grid lines.5. 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. 7. 3. 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.4. J. if necessary. if desired.4. 9503175-76 (1988).. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 29 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . line drawings of equipment. abbreviated to conform to the “List of Periodicals” as established by Chemical Abstracts. Issue number is omitted if paging is on a yearly basis. and other large drawings are often folded and inserted in an envelope at the end of the report. and the variable that is being determined should be plotted as the ordinate. Unless families of curves are involved. 26. it is advisable to limit the number of curves on any one plot to three or less. 1988).. photographs. E. The date is sometimes included with the year in place of the issue number. the label on the vertical axis should be placed in a horizontal position to permit easier reading.. 95:75-76 (Sept. The title of the article is usually omitted. References are usually tabulated and numbered in alphabetical order on the basis of the first author‟s surname.

The chapter or page number is often listed just before the publisher‟s name. and sufficient detail must be included to permit the reader to follow each step. theses.Gregg. followed by initials. and (c) date issued (in parentheses). Eng. even though these same data may be available through reference to one of the tables presented with the report. 4. Eng. and assignee (if any) in parentheses. and (g) year of publication. or pamphlets: (a) authors‟ names. W..5(13):26 (1988). The particular conditions chosen for the sample calculations must be designated. Heaney. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 30 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . M. Chem. D. M... Boulder.249. (f) place of publication. New York. “Elementary Chemical Engineering. Sample Calculations The general method used in developing the proposed design is discussed in the body of the report. Fenske. Chem. followed by initials. For single publications. S. M.” 2d ed. The data on which the calculations are based should be listed in detail at the beginning of the section.4. in press (1988). Instead. 3. Thesis in Chem.. PhD. McGraw-Hill Book Company. Edgar. (b) the use of “private communication” and “unpublished data” is not recommended unless absolutely necessary. (b) title (in quotation marks). Eng. Peters. (d) volume (if there is more than one). For unknown or unnamed authors: (a) alphabetize by the journal or organization publishing the information. Morari. and T. of Colorado. One example should be shown for each type of calculation. 3. sample calculations are given in the appendix. 5.. because the reader may find it impossible to locate the original material. 1988.650 (May 3.. Univ. E. 280. AKhE J. (e) publisher. Patent 3. 2. as books. p. For unpublished information: (a) “in press” means formally accepted for publication by „the indicated journal or publisher. (c) edition (if more than one has appeared).S.. (to Universal Oil Products Co.. F. R.. 24753-781 (1978). Titles of theses are often omitted. U. but detailed calculation methods are not presented in this section.). For patents: (a) patentees‟ names. 9. (b) country granting patent and number.6. Progr. 1986). 1984. CO.

Proofreading and Checking Before final submittal. equations are centered on the page and given a separate line. Nomenclature If many different symbols are used repeatedly throughout a report. best results are obtained with an instrument such as a LeRoy or Wrico guide. The report should be typed on a good grade paper with a margin of at least 1 in. If this is not done. the same symbol is used for a given physical quantity regardless of its units. showing the symbols. Ordinarily. only one side of the page is used and all material. all pages including graphs. If excessive corrections or changes are necessary. however. The nomenclature should be consistent with common usage. Each symbol can be defined when it first appears in the written text. with the equation number appearing at the right-hand margin of the page. a reference to the table of nomenclature should be given with the first equation.3. Short equations can sometimes be included directly in the written text if the equation is not numbered. In general. grammatical errors. Mechanical Details The final report should be submitted in a neat and businesslike form. If hand lettering is required. superscripts. Normally. illustrations. should be included in the report. and lower.7. and the information shown in title page is repeated on the cover. Explanation of the symbols used can be presented immediately following the equation. the pages should be attached only to the back cover. a table of nomenclature. Formal reports are usually bound with a heavy cover. spelling errors.4. meanings. on all sides. consistency of data quoted in the text with those presented in tables and graphs. is double-spaced. footnotes. and similar obvious mistakes. Written material on graphs and illustrations may be typed or lettered neatly in ink. the completed report should be read carefully and checked for typographical errors. except the letter of transmittal. If paper fasteners are used for binding in a folder. Starting with the summary. Subscripts. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 31 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . and long quotations. and sample units.and upper-case letters can be employed to give special meanings. the appearance of the report must be considered and some sections may need to be retyped. and tables should be numbered in sequence.

or laser surgery. Purpose: Another way to find a topic is to think about the purpose of your talk. Is it to instruct (for example. Or. you might be required to go before the city council and report on the success of the new city-sponsored recycling project. Employers look for course work and experience in preparing written documents. 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. or simply to inform (to report on citizen participation in the new recycling program). Persuasive purpose: An oral report can be primarily persuasive. Your goal is to get them acquainted with the guide and to prompt them for any concerns or questions. You might appear before city council to persuade its members to reserve certain city-owned lands for park areas. and their interests and background. or community gardens. For example. You might wonder what an oral report is doing in a writing class. drip irrigation. their reasons for listening to you.4. Once you had completed it. to persuade (to vote for or against a certain technically oriented bond issue). softball and baseball parks. but find a reason why an audience would want to hear your oral report. and discussing some of its highlights. Here are some brainstorming possibilities in case you want to present something:  Topics: You can start by thinking of a technical subject. but they also look for some experience in oral presentation as well. as a member of a committee involved in a project to relocate the plant. to explain how to run a text editing program on a computer). for example. imagine that you had contracted with the Govemorate of Alexandria to write a visitor's guide to the city of Alexandria. microprocessors. For your oral report. 4. For example.    • • Instructional purpose: An oral report can be primarily instructional. you'd have a meeting with the officers in charge to formally deliver the guide. ORAL PRESENTATIONS One of the assignments in this technical writing course is to prepare and deliver an oral presentation. 32 Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .1. You might want to convince members of local civic organizations to support a city-wide recycling program. Your task might be to train new employees to use certain equipment or to perform certain routine tasks. Informative purpose: An oral report can be primarily informative. You'd spend some time orienting them to the guide. showing them how it is organized and written. 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. solar panels. imagine that you are formally handing over your final written report to the people with whom you set up the hypothetical contract or agreement. think of a subject you'd be interested in talking about. Topic and Situation for the Oral Presentation For the oral report.

Remember that in conclusions. or Ms Slick -Operator . well-planned manner When you give your oral presentation. • 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. be sure your oral report is carefully timed to few minutes. who you are. as a way of focusing your Preparations • Plan to explain to the class what the situation of your oral report is. And certainly. we'll all be listening for the same things.4. organized. 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. 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. Overviews and verbal headings greatly contribute to this sense of organization. technical stuff--slow down and explain it carefully so that we understand it. give an overview of its contents. 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. you've gotten used to using headings in your written work. conclude (state some logical conclusion based on what you have presented). • Pay special attention to the introduction to your talk Indicate the purpose of your oral report. • As mentioned above. provide some last thought (end with some final interesting point but general enough not to require elaboration). and find some way to interest the audience • Use at least one visual. Contents and Requirements for the Oral Presentation The focus for your oral presentation is clear. you give your audience a very clear signal you are moving from one topic or part of your talk to the next. understandable presentation. well-organized. • Plan to explain any technical aspect of your topic very clearly and understandably Don't race through now.just present the essentials of what you have to say in a calm. you'll want to prompt the audience for questions and concerns. for example) • Use "verbal heading". or some combination of these three. Some ideas on how to do this are presented m the next section. you can summarize (go back over high points of what you've discussed).preferably a transparency for the overhead projector. well-timed discussion You don't need to be Mr. Use the following as a requirements list. which part of the talk you are in.2. • Make sure your oral report lasts no longer than few minutes. Make sure that listeners know what you are talking about and why. • Never present large a large body of information orally without summarizing its main points (on a transparency. that you don't speak too rapidly (nerves often cause that). • Plan your report in advance and practice it so that it is organized. There is a analogy in oral reports with these. Point out things about them. and what's coming next. wellplanned. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 33 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .

The nerves will wear off someday. 4.4. try to adjust the speed of your presentation to compensate. It doesn't often work that way. organized. • Make sure your watch is visible and check it occasionally to see how the time is running. • Set up an outline of your talk. The delivery tends toward a dull monotone that either puts listeners off or is hard to understand. one that is clear. You might find some way to practice speaking a little louder in the days before the oral presentation. or find some other way to get the timing just right. You don't have to be a slick entertainer—just be clear. That makes it hard for the audience to follow. speed— sometimes.4. It doesn't matter which method you use to prepare for the talk. supportive group. This too can be distracting and a bit comical. bring it for reference. please bear in mind that many people will be listening to you—you owe them a good presentation. organized. • Posing. practice with it. However. Here are the obvious possibilities for preparation and delivery: • Write a script. be clear.3. the spontaneous or impromptu methods are also out there for the brave and the adventurous. • Write m script and read from it Of course. Of course the head-down style of reading your report directly from a script has its problems. • Gestures and posture-Watch out for nervous hands flying all over the place. Plan to keep your hands clasped together or holding onto the podium and only occasionally making some gesture. understandable. Do some rehearsal. focus on common problem areas such as these: • Timing-Make sure you keep within the time limit. • Set up cue cards. informative. you must be sure to speak loud enough so that all of your audience can hear you. well-planned. Try to remember that your classmates and instructor are a very forgiving. people tend to get nervous in this situation. practice it. For some reason. If you see you are running short or long. and make sure that your gestures and Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 34 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . In general. informal.drawing a mental blank is the more common experience. Anything under the limit is also a problem. Delivering an Oral Presentation When you give an oral report. it helps listeners to understand you better if you speak a bit more slowly and deliberately than you do in normal conversation. speakers who are a bit nervous talk too fast. write a script. take it easy. the more oral presenting you do. practice with them. Slow down. keep it around for quick-reference during your talk. There is little or no eye contact or interaction with the audience. However. It should take about two minutes to go through a single transparency in the talk. use them during your talk. understandable. and informative. 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. 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. • Volume-Obviously.

then photocopy it. good dark markers. most copy shops can make transparencies for you. sometimes they can take up a lot more time than you expect. Whatever you can scribble on the chalkboard can be neatly prepared and made into a transparency or posterboard-size chart.You can ran off copies of what you want your listeners to see and hand them out before or during your talk. don't slouch on the podium or against the wall. Please avoid just scribbling your visual on the chalkboard. and avoid fidgeting with your hands. Rehearse what you are going to do with these objects. Planning and Preparing Visuals for Oral Presentations Prepare at least one visual for this report. consider transparencies~-it's hard to make charts look neat and professional. Still. leaving the rest of the audience isolated Sound enthusiastic about your subject. The silence that replaces them is not a bad thing. Also.As for speaking style." "you know. Take some time to make your visuals look sharp and professional-use a straightedge. Instead of saying "uh" or "you know" every three seconds. In the days before your oral presentation. exercise speaking without these verbal crutches. • Objects-If you need to demonstrate certain procedures. You may have access to equipment like this at your work. Here are some ideas for the medium" to use for your visuals. Do your best to ensure that they are legible to the entire audience. Design your visual on a sheet of blank paper. • Transparencies for overhead projector for most college classrooms and." and "okay. business conference rooms. in fact. 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. the overhead projector is the best way to show things to the whole group. • Pasteboard size charts-Another possibility is to get some posterboard and draw and letter what you want your audience to see.• • • posture are okay. handouts are the only choice.-it gives listeners time to process what you are saying Never read directly from prepared text. 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. neat lettering or typing.5. If you have a choice. you may need to bring in actual physical objects. or at least interested in it If you seem bored by your material. • Handouts. you can be guaranteed your audience will follow the lead! 4. for example. and then get a transparency of it. • A verbal crutches. be aware of how much you say things like "uh. For example. for certain visual needs."eehhh" and other lands of nervous verbal habits. consider slowing your tempo a bit-a common tendency is to get nervous and talk too fast. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 35 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . just don't say anything at all. Do not direct your talk to one or two individuals.

make sure to discuss your visuals. Ordinary size type does not look good. A bunch of unlabeled boxes and lines with arrows is worthless to the audience. 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. key terms. unmatched colors. Many members of your audience may have trouble "hearing" such data as opposed to seeing it. legitimate ways of incorporating visuals into oral presentations when you can't think of any others. graphs—If you discuss statistical data. make sure the units and streams are labeled. • Key concepts or points similarly. try to get visuals of them so that you can point to different components or features. guide your listeners through the key points in your visuals. and main points are all good. • Tables charts. If you show data plots. present it in some form or table. use large Mock.) During your actual oral report.1. lettering with horizontal guidelines to keep your lines straight If you show a process flowchart. Some of the best color combinations are: white on blue. • 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. refer to them. you can list your key points and show them in visuals. or both If you are at a loss for visuals to use in your oral presentation. or graph. • Drawing or diagram of key objects-If you describe or refer to any objects during your talk. Use large-type fonts on transparencies. black on yellow. Tips for the preparation off the visuals • • • • • • • Lay-out. red on yellow. Do not over fill your transparency with mixed. 4. If you hand-write the transparency. Transparencies crowded with information are useless. report. 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 [ .As for the content of your visuals consider these ideas: • Outline of your talk. be sure the axes are clearly labeled. Black on white . or if your presentation is complex. chart. (Outlines. It's a big problem just to throw a visual up on the screen and never even refer to it. yellow on blue. have an outline of it that you can show at various points during your talk.5.

2. senior scientists and other busy decision makers. Readers of scientific and technical writing are typically purpose-directed and pressed for time. these are discussed in what follows. must read selectively. 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. they often prefer to merely "consult" a document. abstracts. whether to read it closely. there is no simple formula to follow. you will increase its effectiveness.1. It is a well-known fact that we process information most quickly and efficiently when it accords with our preconceptions. so that your readers can anticipate how you will be dealing with the topic. However. writing is readable to the extent that it provides the information they need. Then we suggest a number of things you can do to make it easier for the reader to absorb details. supervisors. looking only for the information they need. you will greatly increase its chances of being read an used: i. however. 5. in a form in which they can easily use it. If you can make your writing readable.1. and it is true for technicians. or disregard it. workers and consumers who may need to read and follow operating instructions. worker or consumer may need to use operating instructions only as a checklist. Establish your Topic and Purpose Make it clear whet the main topic of the report of the section is. who often skim-read for main points and ideas. When you define your topic and state your purpose.. For such readers. So. summaries.2. Information selection 5. how the topic is likely to be developed. 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 [ . There are steps that you can take. This lakes considerable effort on the w riter's part. Introduction Most readers of scientific or technical writing do not have as much time for reading as Hey would like to have and therefore. that should be of some help. for thorough understanding. located where they can quickly find it. 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. How can you make your writing readable? Unfortunately.5. executives. pass it on to someone else. skim-read it. MAKING YOUR WRITING READABLE 5. This is especially true for managers. First we make suggestions for selecting appropriate information and for making this information accessible to the reader. titles.e.. Then state your purpose explicitly. specifically. 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. you make it easier for the reader to determine right away how to process the document. A clear statement of topic and purpose allows the reader to form certain expectations about the rest of the text. overviews etc. rather than reading word for word and cover to cover.

analogies. and so as discussed in chapter 6. to anyone else it would not. Use Keywords Prominently Build sections and paragraphs around keywords related to the main topic If possible. 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. make these keywords visually prominent by using them in headings.3. 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. it is interpreted in terms of this framework and integrated into it As such. topic statements and sentence subjects Once you have established a conceptual framework at the beginning of your text.2. Second.2. the reader can quite easily zero in on desired levels of details .specially. subheadings. 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. 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. 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. a good problem statement usually has important orientation value. visual aids. if the respective topics of these sections and subsections are made visually prominent through the use of headings and subheadings. Therefore. 5. a hierarchically structured text facilitates selective reading. 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 [ . 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. 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. this new information is transformed into given information and can then be used to help interpret succeeding pieces of new information. allowing for easier interpretation and promoting greater coherence at the same time As new information is progressively added to the initial framework. or other forms of verbal or visual illustration. 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.2. you can turn your attention by filling it in with appropriate details To make sure that your discussion is a coherent one. if for some reason you had to communicate with such technical information to a nonspecialist reader.are fundamentally problem-oriented. 5. Since the sections and subsections are arranged in a general-to-specific order.

Paraphrase 5. 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. Rather than falling in a vertical path.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. which is a function of drying conditions. should be used whenever the concept is suited to visual presentation. When used among specialists. even if they appear to be incomprehensive jargon to an outsider. In spray drying. The solvent evaporates during the course of the fall. do not exemplify.4. illustrate. The shape of the helical path is described by the Remark coefficient.2. Instead. of course. Particles dried in this fashion have an unusual shape. spray drying is the icchn que used to evaporate the solvent from the liquid reaction mixture and physically form the finished powder product. That is. Definitions. and Analogy consequently. like that of a saddle (or a potato chip). a concept is too abstract to be presented visually In such cases. define. simply refer to such concepts with the standard terminology of the field. do not overexplain. paraphrase. Here is an example of an extended definition. on the other hand. 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. however. or otherwise explain concepts the reader is likely to already be familiar with. where it is removed as a dry powder. specific examples of the concept are usually the most powerful means you can use to help the nonspecialist reader. standard Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 39 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . They should be used for that purpose. The Definition coefficient. explaining what the technical term "Remark Coefficient" means: The Remark Coefficient In the production of powdered detergents. Technical terms permit efficient and precise communication between specialists who know the concepts that such terms refer to. of course are a familiar way of explicating new concepts. Paraphrases. are useful in precisely the opposite situation: where the concept is familiar to the reader but only if restated in more recognizable terms. Visual aids. Often. Use Standard Terminology when Writing for Specialist Readers When writing for specialists. so that the length of flight of the panicle is made much greater than the actual height of the spray-drying tower. 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. the particle fall in a helical (spiral) path. and used freely. fail through the air in an unusual manner. is sought to be maximized. There are several ways to illustrate and explain unfamiliar concepts for the nonspecialist reader. on the other hand. the liquid is sprayed into the top of a tall tower and allowed to fall freely in the bottom of the tower.

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. use a listing structure A hierarchical text structure allows the reader to move quickly through the text seeing what the mam ideas are.5. 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. but there are a few things you can do. you might stick to a single text but briefly define the technical terms as you go along. which are often cast in the form of a list-like sequence of cause-and-effect statements Chronological sequences. which are expected to be read and followed step by step The same phenomenon can also be seen in carefully reasoned arguments and explanations. These associated concepts then become part of the "given information" in the message. and it should contain one or more keywords for readers to focus their attention on. The topic statement. First. draws the reader's attention to all of the items making up the list.technical terms are not only comprehensible.. As found m descriptions of test procedures or in progress reports. with the details arranged in list A list-like structure whether it is formatted as a list or not. are often presented as lists 5. with main levels of subordination On the other hand. is to insert a short familiar paraphrase immediately after each technical term: in the Remark coefficient example. 5. 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. analogies. Instead of one statement being subordinated to another. notice how the writer has inserted the paraphrase (spiral) after the less familiar term helical. or a single piece with two parts to it. Adding more given information in the form of examples.e. of course. if you are writing for a reader who will be focusing more on details try to use a more coordinate structure. What do you do. use a hierarchical structure. if you are writing to a mixed audience of specialists and nonspecialists? This is always a very challenging sometimes impossible'. The pattern of organization you select Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 40 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . though. i.2. 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.. you make it easy for die reader to either read the paragraph in detail or read it selectively. but arc often "information-rich" in the sense that they may trigger a host of associated concepts in the reader's memory.2. so that each group of readers can be addressed with appropriate terminology. you might divide and conquer" produce two separate pieces of writing. for details. etc. usually.6. if you are writing for that type of reader you should try to organize and present vour information in a highly hierarchical pattern. how they arc linked together and what kind of detailed support they have many readers. too. The least objectionable way of doing this. should be presented within the first two sentences of the paragraph.situation. would only produce a disproportionate and inefficient give/new ratio for that type of reader. specifically busy decision makers habitually read this way Thus. for instance. Alternatively.

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. 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. when to use verbal or visual illustrations. If you arc writing a progress report for a group project. is not a NP. The growing demand for asphalt is obvious.3. water. Note that each of these NPs can serve as the subject of a sentence: Tables usually have four legs. (2) be appropriate to the subject matter and the most important (3) be appropriate to die anticipated use of the paragraph by the reader. you might want to show your draft to other researchers in that area. try it out with few intended users. misrepresented someone else's research. 5. 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. you will greatly enhance the overall readability of your writing.2. 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.7. a potential buyer. can they easily locate and understand them? If you are writing a research proposal or article. 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 [ . a singular countable noun. What kind of structure to use. Information ordering One of the most important parts of speech in scientific and technical writing is the noun phrase (NP). Strict limitations on the size of plates that can be handled have been established. Water can be dangerous. By contrast. the growing demand for asphalt. and strict limitations on the size of plates that can be handled. 5. or to make sure that nothing you have written is substantively wrong. This is so important that you should not put it off until the final stage. We have an emergency. this would be a good time to show it to other members of the team. If you adhere to these principles with all your paragraphs. Talk to them about it. 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. y/e. Some examples are tables. can they easily find what they need? If they are skimming it for main points. We cannot say: Table usually has four legs. A potential buyer has arrived.for the remaining sentences in die paragraph should (1) be consistent with expectations likely to be raised by the topic statement. so as to guard against the possibility that you have overlooked something important. because it cannot function by itself as die subject or object of a sentence. such as table. criticize it. for example. and so on.

Instead. Of these. These will be discussed in order of importance. Other NPs refer to concepts or objects that have not set been discussed and are not presumed to be understood from the context. 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. the NP that carries information most closely related to the paragraph topic . beginning with the most important A) Put Given Information Before New Information As will all languages.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. after-tax yields and the certificate. which of these NPs should be promoted to subject position? Ideally. more than one NP in a sentence carries given information. where the plan docs address long-range research. The key NPs in both sentences are in italics By the time the first sentence has been read and understood. 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. this is given information. 5. That is. NPs are expected to occur in certain orderings according to grammatical and functional criteria. The 5-year plan does not indicate a clearly defined commitment to long-range environmental research For instance. or Treasury bills. In that case.3. this is new information Let us consider a specific example of the optimal ordering of NPs. The last sentence in this paragraph has three definite NPs which contain given information Alternate investments. or Samir's table has four legs. such as money market funds.1. 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. 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". English sentences typically contain a mixture of given information and new information. Alternative investments would also yield better after-tax yieldsand no penalty if the certificate was redeemed within the one-) car maturity period. Optimal Ordering of Noun Phrases In it "Topical Information" . it discusses the development of techniques rather than the identification of important Songrange issues. B) Put Topical Information in Subject Position Often. the last seems to come closest to Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 42 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . we would have to say A table usually has four legs or The table usually has four legs.

. if it is all possible Indeed it is. But what is the real topic of this paragraph? Isn't it different kinds of investors! Notice for example. would order the NPs light. then. It has a very heavy indirect object . 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. who redeem their certificate early C) Put "Light" NPs Before "Heavy" NPs As seen earlier. Investors exceeding a deposit of LE 26886 (LE 53768 joint return) would have an after-tax yield far lower than with alternative investments.being thought of as topical information. Thus the ordering of NPs in this sentence. such as money market funds. development and testing office in Alexandria ... we should try to insert the word investors in the subject position of the third sentence. does appear in the topic statement. the preferred stylistic ordering is light NPs before heavy NPs For instance. 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 [ . too. A more readable version of the second sentence and thus a better also establishes parallelism between the second and thud sentences. that the word investors appears not only in the topic statement but in the subject position of the next sentence. Investors redeeming their certificates within the one-year maturity period would also have a lower aftertax yield and would pay a penalty besides.. Not all investors will benefit from Saving Certificates of the Investment Authority. The second sentence of this passage is awkward and difficult to read.. NPs vary considerably in length. development and testing office in Alexandria (Object of preposition) Notice that in moving the heavy NP to the end. heavy as follows We have sent a gas analyzer (Direct Object) to the research.and a very light direct object -a gas analyzer. the word Certificate. complexity. Light.the research. is heavy . as it stands. preciseness. after all. 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. Not only does this rewritten version keep the focus on the topic of the paragraph and thus contribute to paragraph unity. or Treasury bills. Notice also that investors are referred to b\ implication as the delegated agent of the passive mam verb: was redeemed (by investors) ideally. 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. etc.

Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 44 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .

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. actually. others have to read more closely and thoroughly. concentrating on details. so to speak. In general. be honest. they are simply omitted. As a result. Because of this close speaker-listener relationship.4. etc. topical words. preferring instead to have the reader do all the work. For these readers. physical gestures. Many writers make little effort to organize details in a coherent. For one thing. good conversationalists emphasize those aspects of a detailed discussion that link the discussion to the main point or purpose of the conversation. Editing For Emphasis Although some readers may prefer to skim-read. If the speaker violates any of these rules. don't beat around the bush. 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. The reading process as a whole bogs down at this point. there is little the reader can do except try to figure things out. say what you mean. are aware of such constraints and employ various techniques to make it clear to the listener that they are observing the rules. Writers should do the same kinds of things as good conversationalists. In general readers are at the mercy of the writer. the listener not only absorbs those details but also sees just how they support the main point. words earning new information. and they cannot. it is often the water's fault. Still others have poor reading techniques and arc unable to decipher poor writing. of course. inverted sentence structure. there is a danger of getting lost in the details. Conversely they use none of these devices for the less important words. of overlooking main points and "not seeing the forest for the trees". This is somewhat similar. If the writer fails to do this. get to the point. tired or have other things on their mind. to the demands made on a speaker engaged in a serious conversation. But writers Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 45 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . As for empty meaningless words that serve no communicative purpose at all. no matter how hard they work at it. unified way. use intonation and gestures in their writing.5. Face-to-face conversation is an intensive form of communication in which the speaker is acutely aware of the listener and vice versa. But this invites the kind of failure just described Readers are often pressed for time or. 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. conversations are governed by certain unwritten rules. 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. When the readers get bogged down in detail like this.key words. It thus fells on the writer to mold the details of a text so that they reinforce the main points in unified fashion. both by giving prominence to important words and by subordinating or omitting unimportant ones. Consequently the details themselves begin to loose significance. the reader cannot sec exactly how they fit into the larger picture and thus cannot evaluate their importance. they use emphatic intonation. intensifiers and other devices to signal important words. Many readers lack the kind of background knowledge the writer has.those that cany given information or redundant information. Good conversationalists. of course. and the reader is forced to stop and start over.

These fall into three categories: devices used to highlight important words and phrases. In what follows we will describe the most common and useful devices used by good writers to create emphasis within individual sentences. This tendency derives. and lack of acceleration are present. these choices can be made properly only within the context of an entire paragraph. contains too much given information (The problems holding it back). short sentences make reading easier. and (2) Erroneous belief. Dangling modifiers. Furthermore. and other errors of sentence structure and punctuation should. worse fails to put emphasis on important ideas. with research and development. If an idea is complex enough to require qualification.4. and devices used to eliminate unnecessary words and phrases 5. from two principal sources: (1) An overemphasis in many quarters on the need to avoid dangling modifiers. Cost problems are the price of battery replacement and the base price of the electric car. a simple sentence may be the best way to represent it. or some other complex modifier. short mileage range. you notice that there excessive overlap between them: sentence 2. the best way to qualify it may be with a relative clause. Each of the first two sentences. that these problems can be solved in the future. At the present time electric car utilization is not possible because of performance and cost problems. an adverbial phrase. 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. how the details of a discussion are related to the main points. In short the use of emphasis is as appropriate and indeed necessary to good writing as it is to good conversation. of course be avoided . writers have as many devices as speakers do for helping the reader sec how details support main points. comma splices. Many inexperienced writers have a tendency to use nothing but short. if an idea is simple and straightforward. just as listeners do. Often. unity.but not at the expense of emphasis. This unnecessary redundancy can be eliminated by combining these sentences. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 46 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . simple sentences. is grammatically correct and easy to read. however. and other problems associated with complex sentence structures. comma splices. producing a very choppy style of writing which irritates the reader with its singsong rhythm and. Performance problems of lack of speed. 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. promoted by readability have an audience. devices used to subordinate relatively unimportant words and phrases. and this audience needs to know. For example consider the following paragraph from a student report: ORIGINAL VERSION At the present time electric car utilization is not possible. and coherence. probably. taken in isolation. in other words. And although a short sentence by itself may be easier to read than a long sentence. On the other hand. The problems holding it back are satisfactory performance and costs. When you look at them together. It is possible though.1.

that these problems can be solved in the future This is a significant improvement. The data obtained from the crash test are analyzed for fuel spillage. In the crash test. you make it easier for them to absorb these ideas. windshield retention. For example. and zone intrusion. 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. 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. 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 [ . and lack of acceleration. The cost problems are the price of batten replacement and the base price of the car. now that we have converted the original sentence 2 into a prepositional phrase. electric car utilization is not possible at the present time. the car is propelled against a solid wall at 30 mph. fuel system integrity. we can shift it into presubject position in place of the time adverbial originally there: Because of performance and cost problems. short mileage range. Another change we could make. combining sentences is often a good way to create emphasis in your writing. This puts more focus on the key terms performance problems and cost problems and less focus on the less time important time adverbial. linking them formally would reflect this relatedness FINAL VERSION Because of performance and cost problems. would be to combine the two sentences in the middle with a semicolon These two sentences are closely related in function. though with research and development. The overall result is this: FIRST REWRITE At the present time electric car utilization is not possible because of performance and cost problems. The performance problems are lack of speed. These standards are derived from an established crash test. though not as compelling a one as thos just described. It is possible. though. short mileage range. ln general. By making it easy for your readers to see the relatedness of ideas. It is possible. but we have other options that might improve it even more. and it introduces the key terms performance problems and cost problems. it also creates a better topic statement: it is more unified and emphatic. (notice how these terms are the subjects of the next two sentences). The performance problems are lack of speed.Not only does this move reduce the wordiness of the first two sentences. In combining the two italicized sentences. For example. If we also change sentence 3 to satisfy given-new and light-heavy criteria. with research and development that these problems can be solved in the future. electric CAN utilization is not possible at the present lime. and lack of acceleration: the cost problems are the price of battery replacement and the base price of the car.

consider the following set of instructions for replacing a brake line an automobile: 1. fuel system integrity. 5 with 6) to create more realistic four-step sequence of disconnect-remove-install-reconnect. 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. as stated in the topic sentence. you might want to state these steps in independent sentences. 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. 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. To combine sentences beyond this however. Unclip the line from the chassis 3. Moisten the ends in brake fluid. Unclip the line from the chassis and pull it out. as is done in tins excerpt from a repair manual To replace a brake line. and install the new line in the chassis clips). this would be the result: NEGATIVE EXAMPLE To replace a brake line. 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. which is an established car test. pull it out. The data obtained from the crash test are analyzed for fuel spillage. Pull the line out 4. pull it out. For example. then tighten the union nuts. For example. Disconnect the union nuts at both ends 2. and zone intrusion. 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. Moisten the ends in brake fluid 6. windshield retention. Install the new line in the chassis clips 5. we would be creating an imbalance in the Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 48 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . There are times when it is best not to combine sentences. To see how this might apply in a specific case. would be a mistake because it would destroy the emphasis we want to maintain on certain individual steps. Tighten the union nuts. Alternatively. These standards are derived from an established crash test in which the car is propelled against a solid wall at 30 mph. and install the new line in the chassis clips.These standards are derived from an established car test in which the car is propelled against a solid wall at 30 mph. By lumping together the remove and install steps like this (Unclip the line from the chassis. install the new line in the chassis clips Moisten the ends in brake fluid. if we were to combine sentences 2 and 3 in the repair manual version. disconnect the union nuts at both ends Unclip the line from the chassis. disconnect the union nuts at both ends. then tighten the union nuts.

signal words and identifiers. what evidence there is suggests just the opposite: pretentious. wordy style can submerge your readers in a sea of empty terms. It is also best not to combine sentences when the result would be too long a sentence Suppose. 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. and properly constructed sentences satisfying the givennew. The system will do that by removing the burden of data entry from the present system. CADDS. If you were to combine the sentences into one. do it only when it serves a purpose.sequence: no mechanic would consider this to be a single step. This is accomplished by utilizing the microcomputer as a stand-alone data entry system. then. on the other hand. Inexperienced writers sometimes think that they must use a wordy. is this: do not combine sentences just for the sake of doing so. The result is a highly readable paragraph with appropriate emphasis on the main ideas and key words. your main points and be persuaded to your point of view. a clear general-to-specific pattern of development. A bloated. In' fact. The proposed system is required to alleviate the increase in demand. the lesson to be learned from this example .2. they will enhance their image as experts in their field. with an adequate topic statement. 5. one version (Version 1) being noticeably wordier than the other (Version 2). you have been writuig a proposal for a computer-aided design system and have included this paragraph in your summary. Be Concise While the more important words and phrases of a text should be highlighted. wordy language is less likely to promote one's credibility as an expert than is concise.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. Actually. simple language. direct. as the form of the description implies. bloated style of writing in order to create a certain professional image. consider the following two abstracts presented in a conference. light-heavy and topical criteria. For example. for example. As it stands. CADDS. making it next to impossible for them to follow. insofar as it contains 16 fewer words than tic original. this paragraph is a nicely written one.4. This is a more economical version. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 49 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . 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. They seem to believe that by using pretentious language. The microcomputer has all of the graphics and software capabilities required to implement this concept. no doubt. the less important ones should be subordinated . foggy language is more likely than not to rum readers against you.

high levels of ACTH. For example. high levels of ACTH have tow effects. However. has the effect of reducing aggressiveness by producing an ACTHmediated condition of t decreased androgen levels. Second. However. 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 . and P. rather than affecting aggression directly.Version 1 IN the experiment of the series using mice. it is possible that the effects of adrenalectomy on aggressiveness of intact mice. it has suggests that the adrenals are necessary instead of producing a condition of decrease androgen levels . the Version 2 style avoids unnecessary Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 50 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . it has higher percentage of verbs and adectives than Version 1. Brain. Moreover. and since ACTH has been . it is possible that the effects of adrenalectomy on aggressiveness are a function of the concurrent increased levels of ACTH. Brain's results. making it easier to process the sentence as a whole Thirdly. In view of the fact that animals with low androgen levels are characterized by decreased aggressiveness the possibility exists that adrenalectomy. reported (P. the levels of androgen fall. since adrenalectomy is followed by an increase in the release of adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH). First the level of glucocorticoids rise. Version 2 is easier to read. 1972) to decrease the aggressiveness of intact mice. when treated with corticosterone. Thus the reduction of aggressiveness after this operation might be due to the higher levels of ACTH which accompany it. Nevertheless. mice that had their adrenals taken out became as aggressive as intact animals again. in addition to causing increases in glucocorticoids (which possibly accounts for the depression of aggression in intact mice by ACTH). 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. Obviously. instead of saying effects reduction of it simply says reduces lnstead of point to the indispensability of the adrenals . which might account for P. also result in decreased androgen levels. But removal of the adrenals raises the levels of adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH). These findings suggest that the adrenals are necessary for animals to show full aggressiveness. These results point to the indispensability of the adrenals for the full t expression of aggression. 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. 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". Brain found that ACTH lowers the aggressiveness of intact mice. Version 2 The experiment in our series with mice showed that the total removal of the adrenal glands reduces aggressiveness.

the style of Version 2 uses more pronouns and demonstrative adjectives: their in sentence 2. This last point deserves some discussion before we end. and other technical people sometimes use full nouns phrases repeatedly to avoid being "imprecise". By contrast. they tend to avoid pronouns and demonstratives altogether. and the result will be more coherent and more concise text. 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. which in turn has led to the writer's company being sued for damages. that it is clear to the reader what they refer to. Consider this example NEGATIVE EXAMPLE In order to keep from delaying the construction phase of the Office Building. preferring instead to repeat full noun phrases over and over. where such caution is uncalled for. perhaps. Scientists. risk of ambiguity Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 51 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . 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.technical terms in favor of more comrnooplace equivalents. the Version 1 style has only one demonstrative These. Finally. in general. these in sentence 3. of course. 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). this in sentences5 and it in the last part of sentence 9. Therefore. engineers. leading off sentence 2 Pronouns and demonstrative adjectives. There are many circumstances. however. They have heard of cases. and where in feet it simply disrupts the coherence of the text. for example. help make a text more cohesive . 1 have investigated the proposed use of the structure and various footing systems to determine these loads. you can usually use a shortened version of tins noun phrase and a demonstrative adjective or definite article without muck if any. This strategy is certainly a safe one.provided. 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. Version 2 has mice that had their adrenals taken out instead of are aunction of. 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. I have investigated the proposed use of the structure and various footing systems to determine the loads that will be placed upon the footings. the Technical Division needs to know the loads that will be placed upon the footings. there is are due to.

D) Upgrading of the efficiency of certain institutions in industry. administration and other activities. 6. f) Annexes as appropriate. documentary services. C) DIRECT TRAINING PROJECTS. 2) Project staff responsible for the production. E) Experimental and pilot projects: Provide data. information and analysis of a certain idea and in some cases embody the technical details and findings of a certain project. CAD. The contents of project proposal can be structured as follows: a) Title page...1. e) Substantive sections or chapters. d) A summary of findings and recommendations. c) An introduction providing information on: 1) Project activity or subacthity related to the project proposal. 4) Training activities. information and analysis on different aspects of experimental research or pilot activities and the results thereof. 4) Different means and methods which could be utilized to achieve the goals of the project. 5) Future expected results on implementation of the included study.2.6. e. 6.g. B) Direct support projects: Provide data. 3) Investment potential. PROJECT PROPOSAL A project proposal deals with work plans of a certain subject. Project proposals usually serve the following purposes with respect to the different functional types of projects. 3) Specific purposes the project is intended to serve. in detailed support of the findings and the recommendations of the project. its approaches and capabilities. set standards of performance and help continuing staff development. b) An abstract of the documentary output or a list of KEYWORDS reflecting the principal subject fields of the project. Which provide development support of communication. F) SPECIAL SUPPORT PROJECTS.etc. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 52 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . 2) Administrative. NATURE OF THE REPORTS: They may be: 1) Technical (production and upgrading). computer services. A) Institution building projects: They help in the institutional building up.

a) Description of the commodity. c) Production line chemicals. b) Raw materials required or used in daily and annually consumed amounts. 2. 3) Implementation of new production technologies and application of new machinery (research and pilot plant projects) .. foreign and local currency required.. 3.. g) Pre-feasibility study of poini f.A time schedule for implementation of the proposed project.etc. e..Recommendations for better production (technical and mechanical) and development of the required steps to achieve the required targets. e. machinery. water..Different expenditure items required. 1) Erection of completely new production line for a certain commodity. additives . e) Cost of production. study of foreign markets should be included.g. leather tanning factories. electricity. 5.6. 4. man power. wages. Technical-industrial project proposals: These proposals may deal mainly with.etc. environmental conditions of the unit and its suitability.g. 2) Upgrading the efficiency of already working industrial plants. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 53 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . 6.3.Present situation of the unit or state-of-art including. d) Services. Such project proposals should include the following MAIN POINTS: 1. benefits. deficits.etc.Critical discussion of the present situation and proposed steps required for upgrading the efficiency (not required in case of installation of new factories). exportimport prices. oil. pulp and paper.etc. a fertilizer plant.In case of new factory installation. f) Proposed capacity in case of installation of a completely new factory. total budget of the project .

overview.7.)  Does your report use the format for headings that is standard for this course? (See the chapter on headings for details. followed by title page. such as audience.)  Does your report use the format for lists that is standard for this course? (See the chapter on lists for details. and so on? (See the chapter on report format 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.) Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 54 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . purpose? Do you avoid the problem of having too much background in the introduction. transmittal letter. 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.)  Does your report use graphics and tables? Does your report use the format for graphics and tables that is standard for this course? Specifically. are your figure titles (captions) to our class specifications? (See the chapter on graphics and tables for details. and is it written according to the specifications in the chapter on abstracts? Specifically.)  Does the title page of your report include a descriptive abstract. is it positioned properly in relation to the other report components. 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. for example.)  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.)  Is page 1 of your introduction designed according to the standard for this course? (See the chapter on report format for details. or having an introduction that is all background? (See the chapter on introductions for details. and is it written according to the specifications in the chapter on abstracts?  Do you include an informative abstract in your report. 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.) Do you identify in the introduction what background the audience needs to read and understand your report?  Does your report contain specific.

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