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How to Write a

Project Report & Technical Paper
By Dr.V.V.Sreenarayanan Dean-Research MCET

Need for a Good Project Report
• Good work not reported well will result in getting poor grade. • Examiners are not mind-readers and they will judge the quality of your project solely from the quality of the report. • Most visible and permanent record of the work.

• It is important to demonstrate your ability to write clearly and coherently about your subject.
• Your Juniors will need your report to find out informations.

• Preserve it for future use.

A Generic Structure of Project Report
1.Title page 2. Bonafied Certificate 3. Abstract 4. Acknowledgements 5. Table of contents 6.List of Tables 7.List of Figures 8. List of Symbols & Abbreviations 9. Main Chapters - Introduction - Review of Literature - Methods & Materials / Methodology - Results and Discussion - Summary and Conclusions 10. Appendices 11. References

• This should convey the area and scope of the project • Should not be too short or too long. The Abstract • Abstract is to provide a brief summary of the report - Brief statements of the problem addressed - methodology used - Findings and conclusions - Abstract must be self-contained - Typically the Abstract should be < 600words - Many researchers who will not read any other part of the report will read an abstract.

The acknowledgements
• You may thank all the people who have helped you, including your supervisor.
• You may acknowledge the contribution of others.

• You may thank any grants received to support the research, any special technical assistance etc. • Should not exceed one page (double spacing).

Table of Contents
• • Should list all materials following it, as well as any materials which precedes it. One and a half spacing.

• List of Tables
• Exactly the same captions as they appear above the tables in the text - one and a half spacing.

List of Figures.
Exactly the same captions as they appear below the figures in the text. - One and a half spacing.

List of symbols and Abbreviations

Standard symbols, Abbreviations etc to be used. One-and-a half spacing.

• What is the topic and why is it important ? • • • • • • • State the problem Outline the underlying concepts of the report Start off with some general principles and go to the specifics. Don’t overestimate the reader’s familiarity with your topic. Your examiner need not be a specialist in your particular topic Introduction should be interesting to read the subsequent chapters. Lead the readers gently “from the known to the unknown”.

Review of Literature
• Provides information on the work done on the topic by previous researchers

• • • • •

The state-of-the-art relevant to your work.
What is already known about this problem What other methods have been tried to solve it?

• Review should be up-to-date
May be presented in chronologically section-wise. Don’t omit the work of the potential examiners or employers. Most examiners scan your references looking for important works in the field.

Materials and Methods / Methodology
• The procedure followed in carrying out the work. • Vary from report to report

Explanation should be clear & comprehensive.

• Methodology section is an Instruction Manual as to how to proceed. • Results of the report is judged on the quality of the methodology. • Covers the issues like:  Procedures of expt  Data collection procedures,  Description of experiment  Sample survey ,  Data analysis statistical methods adopted etc.

Results and Discussion
- Results and Discussion are often combined.

• Reports the data collected following the procedures in the Methodology section • • Describe the conditions which obtained for each set of results Use appropriate statistical analyses.

• •

Show the graphs / tables containing the results.
What do they mean? How do they fit into the existing body of knowledge?

How the observation/ measurement made can relate to the aims?.
Are they consistent with current theories? Do they give new insights?

• Do they suggest new theories or mechanisms?

Summary and Conclusions
- Bring the main outcomes of the Report into a sharp focus. - The findings should be clear, concise and easy for the reader- to extract. - After the abstract, conclusion is the most-read section of your Project Report. - Helpful to put your conclusion in point form. - What are the practical implementations of your work. - Ideas and recommendations for future research.

• Not to cluster the main chapters with illustrations • To give supplementary information • In the main body, these tend to break the readers concentration, and cloud the central theme - user manual - Specification of instruments used - Computer programs - Questionnaire - Experimental observations / raw data. - sample calculations - statistics , maps - database tables Numbers using Arabic numerals e.g.: Appendix 1, Appendix 2

References and Bibliography

These are not the same
• References are works directly referred to or quoted from in the text of the report.
• Bibliography is the list of works consulted or used for the project work. • Standard scheme for printing to the reference list

numbering scheme
name and year scheme.

• References need to be cited in two different places: (i) In the text of the Project Report. (ii) At the end of the Report- Chapter on “References”

Citation in the Text
All statements, opinions, conclusions etc. taken from another authors work should be cited, whether the work is directly quoted, or summarized. • If the author’s name occurs naturally in the sentence, the year is given in parenthesis:

e.g. In a study on finite element analysis Rajendran (2004) argued that……….

Citation in the Text

• If the name does not occur naturally in the sentence, both the name and year are in parenthesis:e.g. More recent studies (Ram Kumar 2006; Chandrasekar 2005) show that…..

• When an author has published more than one cited document in the same year, these are distinguished by adding lower case letters (a, b, c) after the year and with in parenthesis:e.g. Calvin (2001a)discussed the energy utilization…..

Citation in the Text

• If there are two authors, the names of both should be given:e.g. Ayyappan and Suresh (2005) have developed………

• If there are more than two authors, the name of the first author only be given, followed by et al:e.g. Senthil Kumar et al. (2003) concluded that……

• If there is no originator, then “Anon “ should be used:e.g. A recent report (Anon 2006) stated that……

Citation in the Text

• Reference to Newspapers, where no author is given, the name of the paper can be used in place of author or Anon which ever seems most helpful.
e.g. The Hindu (2008) reported that……

• If you refer to a source quoted in another work you
cite both in the text:e.g. A study on lean manufacturing by Boopathi(1980

cited Shanmugham 2007 ) showed that……

( you need to list the work you have used , i.e. Shanmugham 2007 ) in the reference section)

Citation in the Text Quotations:

• A quotation may be included in the body of the text in quotation marks.
e.g.…….so" good practices must be taught" (Smith 1996)

• Personal Communication:e.g. “Many designers do not understand the needs of disabled people” according to M.K Singh (Personal Communication, April 10, 2004)

- They don’t provide recoverable data, hence not included in the reference list

Formatting of References
1. Reference to a Book:
• Elements to cite: Author’s name, INITIALS., Year of Publication. Title. Edition. (if not first). Place of publication: Publisher. e.g. Mercer, P.A. and Smith, G.,1993. Private View data in the U.K. 2nd ed. London: Longman.

Formatting of References 2. Reference to a contribution in a book
• Elements to cite:

Contributing author’s name, INITIALS., Year of publication. Title of contribution . Followed by In: INITIALS, name, of author or editor of publication followed by ed. or ed. if relevant. Title of book: Place of Publication: Publisher, Page number (s) of contribution. e.g. Robert, S. R, 1995. Social dimensions of software development. In: J.A .Anderson, ed . Annual review of software management and development, New bury Park, CA: Sage, 502-510.

Formatting of References
3. Reference to an article in a journal • Elements to cite: Author’s name , INITIALS.,

Year of publication. Title of article. Title of journals, Volume number and (part number), Page numbers of contribution. e.g. Evans, W.A., 1994. Approaches to intelligent information retrieval. Information processing and management, 7(2), 147-168.

Formatting of References
4. Reference to a Conference Paper • Elements to cite: Contributing author’s name , INITIALS., Year of Publication. Title of Contribution. Followed by In: Initials, Name of editors of Conference proceedings( if applicable) followed by ed.or eds. Title of conference proceedings including date and place of conference Place of Publication: Publisher, Page numbers of contribution. e.g. Silver, k., 1991. Electronic mail: the new way to communicate. In: D.I.Raitt, ed. 9th International online information meeting, London 3-5 December 1990. Oxford: Learned Information, 323-330

Formatting of References
5.Reference to a publication from a corporate body (e.g. Govt Department or other organization)

Elements to cite: Name of issuing body, Year of publication. Title of publication Place of publication: Publisher, Report number (where relevant) e.g. UNESCO, 1993. General Information Programme and UNISIST. Paris: Unesco, (PGI-93/ WS/22).

Formatting of References 6. Reference to a thesis
• Element to cite: Author’s name INITIALS., Year of publication. Title of thesis. Designation, (and type) Name of institution to which submitted. e.g. Samual, D.V.K. 1978. Development of a rice bran stabilizer. Unpublished M.Tech. thesis. IIT, Kharagpur:

Formatting of References 7. Reference to a patent
• Elements to cite: Originator, Date of publication. Title of patent. Series of designation. e.g. Philip Morris Inc., 1981. Optical Perforating Apparatus and system. European patent application 0021165 A1.

Formatting of References
8.Reference to E-Journals. Author.(year): Title Journal Title [online], volume (issue), location within host. Available from : URL [Accessed Date] e.g. Korb, K.B(1995). Persons and things: book review of Bringsjord on Robot-Consciousness. Psycoloquy [online], 6 (15), Available from: Gopher:// Univie 70/00/archives/Psycoloquy/ 95.V6/ 0166 [Accessed 17 Jun 2006]

Formatting of References 9.Reference to CD-Rom
• Author/ editor. (year). title [Type of medium CD-Rom] (edition)-place of publication , publisher (if ascertainable). Available from: Suppliers/ Database identifier or number. (optional)[ Accessed date] (optional) [Accessed Date] (optional) e.g. Hawking, S.E.(1994). A brief history of time: an interactive adventure [CD-Rom]. Crunch Media.

Font and layout

• It is best to choose one font for the entire report - Times Roman, Palatino, Bookman old style - Font size 12 for the main body of the text , larger for headings and chapter titles. Page margins:
Top Edge Bottom Edge Left side Right side : 30 to 35m : 25 to 30 mm : 35 to 40 mm : 20 to 25mm

• Size of the project Report: about 60 pages

Font and layout • Appendices should have page numbers in sequence with main body of the report. Spacing : one-and–a–half line

References / Bibliography: single-spaced.


All pages must be numbered consecutively as follows: Lower- case Roman numerals (i.e. i, ii, iii , iv, v, etc.) are used for preliminary pages. The numerals appear centered at the bottom of the page. Arabic numerals (i.e.1,2,3,4, etc) are used for the body of the Project Report.

• All Tables, Figures and Equations should be numbered serially.

Pitfalls and Some Tips Excellent project is ruined by a poor write –up
The problems to be avoided include:

• Writing in a tone which is too personal
e.g. “ I stayed up all night doing the experiment….”

- The word” I” may be avoided to the maximum possible - Adopt an impartial stance and write in an objective tone.

• Writing in the past tense:
Write in the present tense. You are writing about some thing that exists

Failure to acknowledge sources
- Writing , printed or published materials - Software used

- the algorithms, models, hypothesis that you use..

Pitfalls and Some Tips
• Re-writing the manual
- you can assume your reader is knowledgeable about certain things. - Explain fully anything that might be novel to the reader.

• Bad spelling:
- Poor spelling gives a bad impression of carelessness and sometimes causes confusion.

- Always spell out numbers < 10 in text, i.e. Write “two” not “2”

• Corrections Strike-overs, excessively visible corrections not acceptable. Bold type to be used sparingly Italic to be used for appropriate purposes, i.e. for foreign words or phrases, botanical names etc.

Overcoming Procrastination
• Combination of fear and perfectionist tendencies • Low frustration tolerance • Perceiving it as an overwhelming task • Lack of motivation. • Break down the Project Report into series of steps, rather than one big task. • Make consistent progress writing everyday, even if only for a short period.

• Use incentive to assist you in overcoming procrastination.
• Recognize and accept the fact that writing is a time consuming process.

Wish you a Happy Project Report Writing

Thank you