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University of Ilorin, Mechanical Engineering Department, Technical report 2008-06

Aweda, J.O and Lasode O.A

A GUIDE TO REPORT WRITING IN ENGINEERING

J. O. Aweda and O. A. Lasode
Mechanical Engineering Department,
University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria
1.0 INTRODUCTION

Report writing is one of the primary professional responsibilities of the practicing

engineer. The presentation of final report of any project is not just a formality but also a

primary product of the effort of the reporter's professional abilities. Report is often the

basis for the evaluation of the work done by the engineer. Report also serves a secondary

function of giving information to those in need of such information. The format required of

a report depends on the type of report being presented. Oni [1] in his work presented an

overview of how agricultural engineering research project report should be presented.

There are different types of engineering reports. These include project report, commission

project report etc. Whichever type of report being presented, it must speak on its own.

Report should be subjected to review by a number of readers before the final submission is

made. During review, it is subject to critical analysis. Before starting to write a

report, make sure that the goal and scope are well defined. This is to make sure that the

report adequately addresses the main points of the report. The report should be as short,

concise and straight to the point as possible. The value of a report does not depend on its

length but on its accuracy and clarity of its content. Each section of the report has a

specific function and the writer must meet minimum requirements. If each section is

written so that it performs its intended function, the final report will be a clearly and

efficiently written report.

2.0 CONTENT OF PROJECT REPORT
A typical report format should follow the pattern below:

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University of Ilorin, Mechanical Engineering Department, Technical report 2008-06

Aweda, J.O and Lasode O.A

1. Title page

2. Approval page

3. Dedication

4. Acknowledgement

5. Abstract

6. Table of Contents

7. List of Tables

8. List of Figures

9. Nomenclature

10. Main body of the Report

11. References

12. Appendices (optional, depending on the nature of the project)

3.0 GUIDELINES FOR WRITING THE COMPONENTS OF THE REPORT

3.1 Title Page

The name of the institution is written first followed by the title of the report, name of the

author and the purpose for which the report is submitted. The title of the report should be

brief (not more than 20 words) and it should accurately reflect the content of the report.

Example of title page is shown in figure 3.1.

3.2 Approval Page

The name of the Institution, the Department and a statement by the writer is written. A

statement by the writer stating his name and the topic is required here. The names of the

project supervisor, the Head of Department and possibly the External Examiner to sign the

report with dates also appear here. An example of approval page is shown in figure 3.2.

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5 Abstract The abstract is as an overview.4.4 Acknowledgements This is the page in which the writer expresses appreciation for the assistance and encouragement received from various individuals and organizations while working on the project. synopsis or summary of the report. and * The abstract should not exceed 200 words in a single paragraph. Dedication can also be towards bringing awareness to certain events or situations around the world. Dedication is however optional. * Applications of the findings. as presented by Olorunmaiye [2] should contain the following elements: * A statement of the engineering problem attempted to solve.3 Dedication The project report may be dedicated to anyone who has endeared himself or herself to the writer. as its purpose is to provide a summary of the report’s essential information. 3. This is often written last after the main body of the report is completed. * An explanation of the approach or methodology to solving the problem. An example of dedication is shown in figure 3. 3 . 3. Technical report 2008-06 Aweda. Mechanical Engineering Department. Abstract. * The main conclusion.O and Lasode O. Acknowledgement of institutions and individuals who made facilities available at any stage of the project gives the report some credibility.A 3. An example of acknowledgements is shown in figure 3. J. or loved one whether living or deceased who possibly has made an impact to the person in the process of writing the report. They include those who made technical and financial contributions or helped to influence the work positively.3. family member.e. * The main finding i.University of Ilorin. Results. This could be to a friend.

1 Example of title page 4 . It allows researchers to quickly review literature and significant findings on a particular topic. An example of abstract is shown in figure 3. KOLAWOLE ALIYU A PROJECT REPORT SUBMITTED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERING IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE AWARD OF BACHELOR OF ENGINEERING DEGREE IN MECHANICAL ENGINEERING ILORIN.A Abstract is used to decide whether or not the content of the report is relevant and for academic purposes.5. Technical report 2008-06 Aweda. UNIVERSITY OF ILORIN SAND CASTING OF AN IMPELLER BLADE BY BABA.University of Ilorin. J.O and Lasode O. Mechanical Engineering Department. NIGERIA OCTOBER 2008 Figure 3.

A UNIVERSITY OF ILORIN DEPARTMENT OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERING The undersigned certify that this project report prepared by BABA. Mechanical Engineering Department. No---) Titled: SAND CASTING OF AN IMPELLER BLADE meets the requirements of the Department of Mechanical Engineering for the Award of Bachelor of Engineering (B. -------------------- Dr. -------------------- EXTERNAL EXAMINER DATE Figure 3. O.ENG) Degree in Mechanical Engineering.University of Ilorin. I. J. Technical report 2008-06 Aweda. -------------------- Dr.O and Lasode O.2 Example of approval page 5 . AWEDA DATE (Supervisor) ------------------------. Head of Department) ----------------------------. KOLAWOLE ALIYU (MATRIC. ADEGUN DATE (Ag. J. K. -----------------------.

Mechanical Engineering Department. who taught me how to be obedient and hardworking. Technical report 2008-06 Aweda.University of Ilorin. J.O and Lasode O.3 Example of dedication 6 .A DEDICATION This project is dedicated to the memory of Pa JJ. Figure 3.

Table 3. The table number and table title should be written bold at the top of the table. 5. An example of table of content is shown in figure 3.3 etc. 7 .University of Ilorin. Table 2. A table should be self-explanatory so that it can be read and understood without referring to the text of the report. J. Tables according to Olorunmaiye [2] must be according to the following points: 1.7 List of Tables The use of tables enables the writer to present the data in a logical and concise manner. Note that each chapter. i. 3. Mechanical Engineering Department. If a table is too big and the title has to be typed along the length of the page.7. Table should be arranged to come close to where it is being referred to in the text. Tables may be numbered according to the chapter and sequence in which they appear. 2.1. Table should be on a separate page and it must be referred to in the text. The title must reflect the content of the table. 3.A 3. Technical report 2008-06 Aweda. An example of list of tables is shown in figure 3. 6. section and subsection must have a heading and such a heading must be written in the Table of Contents exactly as it appears in the main body of the report. be sure to arrange the page in such a way that the top of the table is near the bound end of the page (landscape orientation).e. 4.O and Lasode O.1 means Chapter 2 Table 1). (Table 2. the main headings and sub-headings and the page numbers in which they begin are listed.6 Table of Contents In the Table of Contents.6.

A ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I am highly appreciative of the effort of my supervisor Dr.O and Lasode O. J. Figure 3.University of Ilorin. Mechanical Engineering Department. Technical report 2008-06 Aweda.O. Sincere acknowledgement is given to my father for his effort and concern while this course lasts. Aweda for taking time to read through this report and his positive criticism of the project. My deep appreciation to the Mr KJ the University Technologist for the assistance rendered towards the successful implementation of this project.4 Example of acknowledgements 8 . J.

A ABSTRACT Commercially pure aluminium metal was used to sand cast impeller blade used in water pumps. The results show that increase in superheat temperature increases the quality of cast impeller blade. numerical and/or with the literature. The time of pouring has no significant influence on the quality of cast metal. it is worth mentioning in the abstract.University of Ilorin.O and Lasode O. The molten aluminium metal was poured at superheat temperature of between 60 and 800C. Technical report 2008-06 Aweda. The time of pouring of molten metal into the sand cavity was also varied and was within 5 to 10 seconds. J. The pattern was made of hard wood. Figure 3. Mechanical Engineering Department. Please note that if there is any comparison with the experimental.5 Example of abstract 9 .

A TABLE OF CONTENTS Title page i Approval/Certification page ii Dedication iii Acknowledgement iv Abstract v Table of Contents vi List of Tables vii List of Figures viii Nomenclature ix CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION 1 Sub-Topics CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY CHAPTER FOUR: MATHEMATICAL FORMULATIONS CHAPTER FIVE: MATERIALS AND EQUIPMENT CHAPTER SIX: RESULTS AND DISCUSSION CHAPTER SEVEN: CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION REFERENCES APPENDIX I: CORNER EFFECTS Figure 3. Technical report 2008-06 Aweda. Mechanical Engineering Department.O and Lasode O. J.6 Example of table of contents 10 .University of Ilorin.

University of Ilorin.86MPa. J. Technical report 2008-06 Aweda.7 Example of list of tables 11 .O and Lasode O.1 Maximum temperatures obtained with corresponding delay times while applying pressure on the solidifying metal with die heating (P = 85. TM=3000C) 8 Figure 3. Mechanical Engineering Department.A LIST OF TABLES TABLES TITLES OF TABLES PAGE 3.

graphs. Take note of the following points on figures: 1. 7. figure 3. Each figure should appear as soon as possible after it is referred to in the text.1 means chapter 2 figure 1). 4.2 etc. drawings. Example of a figure is shown in figure 3. 5. photographs and schematic diagrams. The title must reflect accurately what is presented in the figure. Graphs should be neatly and carefully drawn on graph paper or plotted with a computer.A 3. Avoid handwritten labels. and axes must be properly labelled and scaled. If the figure is a graph.5. However. but the figure should not be clumsy. Number the figures according to the chapter in which they appear and the sequence in each chapter i. figure 2. Mechanical Engineering Department. 12 .e. The title of a figure and figure number should be written at the bottom of the figure. the diagram may be traced and the source acknowledged where the title is written. The figure could be drawn clearly and neatly using a pen.University of Ilorin. (figure 2. The use of figures makes the write-up clearer. Placing photocopy of diagram is not allowed.8 List of Figures The figures in the report may include charts.1.O and Lasode O. 6. Technical report 2008-06 Aweda. More than one figure could be on a page. make sure that the axes are well labelled. 2. 3. Figures are to be numbered using Arabic numerals. J.

O and Lasode O.6 Example of table of contents 10 3.2 Example of approval page 5 3.A LIST OF FIGURES FIGURES TITLES OF FIGURES PAGE 3.4 Example of acknowledgements 8 3.University of Ilorin.9 Calibration graphs for digital voltmeter and chart recorder using thermocouple (Type K) as sensor 14 3. Mechanical Engineering Department.8 Example of list of figures 13 3.7 Example of list of tables 11 3. J.5 Example of abstract 9 3.3 Example of dedication 6 3. Technical report 2008-06 Aweda.8 Example of list of figures 13 .10 Example of nomenclature 15 Figure 3.1 Example of title page 4 3.

(0C) (sec.9 Nomenclature Nomenclature or notation is the list of all the symbols used in the report and their meaning presented in a tabular form. Mechanical Engineering Department. Roman letters used as symbols may be listed first.06 45. J.32 1400 Furnance temperature.76 33. followed by Greek letters.University of Ilorin. 14 .86MPa.) 1 709.26 57.25 10 696.73 5 700.) pressure temperature maximum ( C) 0 application attained. Technical report 2008-06 Aweda.97 20 674.24 30 657.57 24.77 720.51 50.A Table 3.01 733. the subscripts. C 1200 0 1000 800 600 400 Voltmeter temperature reading 200 Chart ploter temperature reading 0 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 0 Temperature reading. superscripts. TM=3000C) Delay time.85 28.9 Calibration graphs for digital voltmeter and chart recorder using thermocouple (Type K) as sensor 3.25 721.22 68. operators and abbreviations.8.O and Lasode O.01 75.89 86. Solidifying Maximum Time of Temperature temperature on solidifying reaching rise (sec.1 Maximum temperatures obtained with corresponding delay times while applying pressure on the solidifying metal with die heating (P = 85.27 56. An example of nomenclature is shown in figure 3.57 707. C Figure 3. after temperature retention time ( C) 0 of 55sec.54 738.

Greek Symbols ε                -strain rate. ρ        D  = ρ/ρ0      ‐Density η -friction factor. Mechanical Engineering Department.10 Example of nomenclature 15 . J.A NOMENCLATURE Symbol Non-dimensional Form Meaning a A = a/a0 Speed of sound E Activation energy C -Electrical conductivity. Superscripts t -time Subscripts s -solid state Abbreviations CPU -Central processing unit Figure 3. Technical report 2008-06 Aweda.O and Lasode O.University of Ilorin. h -Mould thickness R -Radius of metal mould. T -Temperature.

Technical report 2008-06 Aweda. The body of the report should be tied to the information given in the introduction.1 Introduction Introduction is the first part of the main body of the report. the reader is first introduced to the overall topic.0 MAIN BODY OF THE REPORT 4.O and Lasode O. It states how literature has contributed to the area of research and gives appraisal of the strengths and weaknesses of previous studies. It is expected that work done by others in the past that are relevant to the present work be discussed briefly. A length of about 1 to 2 pages of introduction should be sufficient except in few special situations. They are: i. there are five types of notes that can be taken.University of Ilorin. J. Quotation (use author’s exact words).2 Literature review This may form part of the chapter on introduction or it may be a separate chapter. The background to the project is presented with sufficient details to enable the reader understand why the study was undertaken. the methodology of approach to solving the problem and then to the specific areas addressed in the report. The function of the introduction is to describe the purpose and scope of the project. Introduction should be closed with a section on the objectives of the project. The review of the literature summarizes and evaluates the previous authors’ contribution to the present study. 4. This constitutes the foundation on which the intended report is built on. the constraints and limitations to the project clearly stated. Teitelbaum [3] noted that while reviewing the work done by others. It also informs the writer’s understanding of the research problem. Generally. Mechanical Engineering Department. 16 .A 4.

Mechanical Engineering Department. Copying (use author’s figures. he reads the portion of the text to be paraphrased. the ideas are stated in the writer’s own words. Teitelbaum [3] has suggested that to ensure that the writer uses his own words. Do not copy the exact words from some source and then use them as your own. Technical report 2008-06 Aweda.” Give credit to the source of an idea by writing the number associated with that source in the list of references in a square bracket or writing the author’s name and year. tables or charts). Direct quotation should be used sparingly in the write-up and it should be brief. research and information not original.O and Lasode O. “Give credit for all ideas.University of Ilorin. 4. starting and ending with inverted commas (quotation marks). Personal reactions or comments on the work. the advice of Tarpley [4] quoted below is worthy of note. When paraphrasing. A summary is the gist of the work being reviewed stated in the writer’s own words.3 Methodology Methodology explains how data was gathered or generated and how it was analysed. This is an alternative to direct quotation. J. Paraphrasing (use the authors’ idea in another words). Summarising (use author’s main points). In writing the project report. If credit is not assigned. Personal reactions or comments may be an appraisal or otherwise of the results or the methodology of obtaining the results. The language 17 . iii. this is known as plagiarism and it is unethical. and v. close the book and then write down the idea in his own words. iv. The method of analysis should be fully justified in the write up while considering other methods of analysis that are previously been adopted or may be adopted.A ii.

The serial numbers. e. Equations should be typed with Microsoft equation editor available in all Microsoft words.5 Materials and Equipment Materials. 4.A used is in the past tense. name and place of manufacturer should also be mentioned.4 Mathematical Formulations The symbols used should be defined immediately after the equation and also in the nomenclature. Technical report 2008-06 Aweda. Any precaution taken and difficulties encountered should be mentioned. The research carried out is what to be discussed in details and not the activities of the researcher leading to the research work. Equation should be written as.O and Lasode O.g. instruments and pieces of equipment used should be mentioned in the write-up. inserting equations (1) and (2) into equation (3).University of Ilorin. Equations should begin on a new line and be referred to in the text in the same manner. All equations should be numbered consecutively using Arabic numerals written in brackets ( ) on the right margin. J. A photograph of the experimental rig or prototype of the machine produced must be included in the write-up. I= P (1) V and not as I= P (1) V 4. Proper description of 18 . Mechanical Engineering Department. in order to distinguish them from any reference numbers which may appear in square brackets.6 Experimental Procedure The procedure used in gathering the experimental data should be given in detail. 4.

the results are presented by giving clear explanations on the results obtained.1 References References must be provided in the report if someone else’s opinions. Suggestions for further work are important to those who must act on the report. The purpose of the discussion of results is to communicate what was learned and how the results lead to the conclusions. Mechanical Engineering Department. data or research findings were used. tables.A any equipment constructed for the purpose of the project work should be made in the write-up. It is to guide future workers working on similar topics who want to extend the study. J. 4. Explanation of results should include comments on unexpected results and offering reasons or hypothesis for such behaviour. The results are to be compared with what has been in previous literatures highlighting conformity or deviation. And finally a statement on how the result findings can be applied in engineering or daily life is discussed. 4.7 Results and Discussion With diagrams.. 5.9 Suggestions for further work Suggestions for further work could be in areas that the writer wished could have extended the work to if time permits.8 Conclusions On the basis of the results obtained the conclusions are drawn. Technical report 2008-06 Aweda. charts etc. graphs. The results are discussed in terms of what they show about the results and what they mean in the context of the goal of the report.0 REFERENCES AND APPENDICES 5.O and Lasode O. theories. The discussion forms the bridge between the original observations and what they will ultimately mean to the reader. Failure to indicate the sources of the ideas may 19 . Conclusion is a concise statement(s) of the results and their significance to the topic or knowledge. 4.University of Ilorin.

This is known as plagiarism an offence punishable in academic circle. Nigeria. I. pp64-72.A. There are two different types of reference lists used in engineering: • Alphabetical reference list according to author – used with the author-date (Harvard) system. Referencing of sources is also encouraged because it strengthens a writer’s argument and adds credibility to the write up. Examples of how to reference are listed below from different publications.O. Mechanical Engineering Department. pp29-36.. Whichever format is adopted there must be consistency.24. Referencing shows wide knowledge in the subject matter and identifies the critical aspects of other research in a similar area. J. Technical report 2008-06 Aweda. Vol 4(1). M. 20 . Books 3.A suggest that the writer is wrongfully claiming another person’s ideas or words to be his own. Faseyi. Nigeria. 2. Nigerian Journal of Technological Development. Adedayo. Oyeleke. the numbered reference system is adopted for project write-up. S.F. Olaoye... J. vol. 1989.F. Use of correlation and regional statistics methods to construct streamflow record. • Numbered reference list in order of their appearance in the text – used with the numerical system. 2000.O and Lasode O. Journals 1..University of Ilorin.. INDEMAC (Nigeria Publishers) Limited. Sule. Capacity utilization of wetland (fadama) infrastructure in Kwara State. S. No2. Ilorin. Graphics for Engineers. 2004. B. However. December. The Nigerian Engineer.

Mechanical Engineering Department. In most cases appendix contains: 21 .University of Ilorin. 2001. 1971. M.. Maximum propellant utilization in an electron bombardment thruster.. Oct. 1999. Heat Transfer. H. should be properly referenced. TATA McGraw-Hill. which is not the author’s work. Applied Mechanics. 5. Appendix I. Calculation of the flow on a cone at a high angle of Attack. Technical report 2008-06 Aweda. 9. Kaufman. i. 5.. “R & D Associates. Ilorin. 2007. University of Ilorin. and Helliwell. Santa Monica. Appendix with large figures should be reduced to A3 size where possible to avoid multiple folding.e.. All documents in the appendix. pp205-217.J. Managing Nigeria’s energy sector for sustainable national development. B. M.R.. Project Report. J.D.P.J.. Proceedings 8. Brookhaven National Laboratory. edited by T. pp61-68. Nigeria. O. and Cohen. Holman. Mechanical Engineering Department.J. Calif. Hannah.C. Nigeria. Terebo. Ukaegbu. W. 1999. Reports 7.” Proceedings of the Symposium on Ion Sources and Formation of Ion Beams. New Delhi.2 Appendix Appendices contain standard derivations. RDA TR 150. Feb.M. Lubard.S. UK. Ilorin. Thesis 6. Sluyters. and Hillier. Proceedings of the National Engineering Conference and AGM. J. S. 1973.Eng. J. which would interfere with the continuity of the main body of the report. A. Longman. maps and lists of parameters..O and Lasode O. Appendix II etc. Appendix should be numbered consequentially. Investigation of the foundry properties of some natural sand deposits: A case study of Ilesha and Ilorin moulding sand.A 4.

O and Lasode O. vocabulary and punctuations.0 ADDITIONAL COMMENTS 6. Times New Roman in 12-point font size normal size for the body of the report. and two spaces between the end of a section and the next heading is required. and 3.2 Technical Language Effective use of technical language is a critical part of report writing. printing on one side only is preferred for project report while each chapter of the report begins on a new page. grammar. Mechanical Engineering Department.A • All the figures corresponding to the report. Reports should maintain the same internal style and structure throughout.0cmm at the top and bottom of the paper. The title page should not be numbered while all other preliminary pages are in Roman numerals. A quality engineering report exhibits the following characteristics: i. Technical report 2008-06 Aweda. 2. Important aspects of technical language to be considered are structure. • Photocopies of documents.0cm on the left. 6. White A4 paper. Concise and precise presentation of detail. one space between paragraphs.University of Ilorin. ii. Use double spacing. The recommended margins are 3. cuttings and all traced drawings. The supervisor can provide some help regarding the technical accuracy of the report. Clear statement of aim or purpose. One space between heading and subheading. J. 22 .1 Report Formatting Appropriate formatting of reports improves the readability accessibility of information. The Department outlines the essential formatting guidelines required of the report. • Other material which may be crucial to the report 6.5 on the right sides. Reports are processed on the computer. All other pages from introduction page to the end of the appendices are numbered in the middle bottom page (footer) in Arabic numerals.

It can be given to somebody who is knowledgeable in the area of the project to proofread. units is required. Avoid the use of capital letters for emphasis. 23 . J. and visual design. and v. Have a colleague read the report for clarity. bold or italics may be used where such emphasis is required. whose name is recorded and acknowledged. Categorised layout of well-spaced headings. 6. Scaling of graphs should be done in such a manner that the graph is not crowded in a corner or on the side but covers a major part of the sheet. They should be able to stand as separate entities. 6. The use of S. paragraph 6. layout etc of the write up.A iii.4 Proofreading This is the checking of every aspect of the written work. because of familiarity with ones job where mistakes may not be found.O and Lasode O. Clear and simple English should be used with simple sentences without slang while avoiding repetition of particular words in a report. iv. Technical report 2008-06 Aweda. if a diameter is determined as 6. grammar and neatness are important components of report writing. Remember there is normally a penalty for late submission. grammar. It may not be possible for the writer to proofread accurately. the content. Tables and graphs should be well organized and clearly labelled. organization.3 Appearance Spelling. Do not submit any work or report without first proofreading it.45mm except in few cases of iteration.e. Mechanical Engineering Department. Work to some significant figures i.I. Considered objective separation of fact and opinion.University of Ilorin. Cohesive and logical development of data and ideas.5 Deadline Be aware of the deadline for the completion of the report and try to meet it.453545mm in the calculations then it is better written to two significant figures as 6.

Olorunmaiye. December. 3.O and Lasode O. Tarpley. 1995.. How to write thesis.0 REFERENCES 1. 1999.A 7. Department of Agricultural Engineering. Baptist Press (Nig. H. Technical report 2008-06 Aweda.O. J.. Research reporting: A guide to thesis preparation for Agricultural Engineers. Paper Writing Guide. Nigeria. Ilorin. M. March. A guide for writing final year project report. Oni. Mechanical Engineering Department. Ilorin.University of Ilorin. 1975. Teitelbaum.) Limited. University of Ilorin. New York. Ibadan. J. Monarch Press. 1978. Nigeria. Department of Mechanical Engineering. 2. 24 .. pp33-39 4.. K. University of Ilorin.C.