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Technology Report Guideline: Writing a Formal Report

Report Structure

Writing a formal report is the important, final step of completing a major project.

The report needs to follow the Technology Report Guideline of Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists (OACETT, 2017).

The purpose of the Technology Report is to demonstrate the candidate’s technical problem solving abilities; specifically, students must demonstrate their abilities to:

•    Identify and define a technical problem

•    Describe the problem accurately and in detail

•    Logically apply a technical methodology to attempt to solve the problem

•    Describe the results through the use of technology fundamentals, designs, data analysis and other appropriate techniques

•    Draw conclusions about the results

•    Make recommendations, if applicable

The final report must demonstrate a level of engineering technology or applied science knowledge and application equal to that required of an Engineering Technologist.

The candidate must also demonstrate the ability to present information and ideas in an integrated, cohesive document.

The Technology Report will be evaluated in three areas:

A. Report Structure

B. Content Quality

C. Format

The Technology Report must communicate information in a standard, comprehensible way following acceptable structure, style, and format. The following components should be included in the Technology Report:

1. Title Page

The title should be descriptive of the work completed, but also concise (typically less than 10 words). In some cases, the technical report may include an appropriate title for the project.

The title page should also include the date, the names of the team members who contributed to the report (if applicable), the class/project section, student identification number and the name of the Professor to whom the report is being submitted.

2. Declaration of Authorship 

The candidate must clearly indicate which parts of the overall Technology Report he or she completed and which were completed by other members of the group, the college and program name for which the report was completed and the date of submission to the college.

The Declaration of Sole Authorship, worded as follows:

All sources of information must be acknowledged in the Technology Report. Plagiarism is unethical and will result in a grade of zero. Suspected cases of plagiarism will be addressed as described in the Centennial College Academic Honesty and Plagiarism policy.

3. Abstract (or Executive Summary)

The abstract should provide a synopsis (approximately 75 to 100 words ) of what is contained in the report. This should include a description of the project design (why and how), the data presented, and the main conclusions drawn from the data.

Title Page

When you write a technical report or paper, the abstract is an invaluable tool to those who might subsequently be interested in its contents (i.e. professors, instructors, managers, senior vice-presidents, colleagues, etc.).

The abstract allows someone to quickly assess whether or not it is critical to read your entire report, (i.e. is it important that they read the report, and if so, should they read it immediately?). 

4. Table of Contents

5. List of Illustrations 

6. Introduction

The introduction should explain the importance and objectives of the design, and provide a rationale for the method used. For a design project, explain (in introductory terms) the intended application and the engineering principles applied to the design.

For experiments, explain (in introductory terms) the physical or other principles that the experiment will illuminate or demonstrate. Follow this with a simple description of the experiment chosen (or assigned in most cases).

The introduction should also place the design in context. You can provide this context by researching secondary sources on related theories and/or engineering principles, and paraphrasing the information in your own words with citations.

You can provide further context by briefly describing any experimental methods that others have used to illuminate or test the same physical principles.

7. Design Section (if applicable)

Some projects have a significant design component. For example, a design lab might ask you to design and build a circuit to perform analog to digital conversion on an audio signal.

For these types of design projects, a separate section can be used to outline the design methodology. This includes a description of the design constraints and the goals of the design.

What are the inputs you have to work with (input signals, equipment, resources, etc.)? What are the desired outputs (output signals, tasks the design should perform, etc.)? Make sure to both describe and justify the chosen design.

8. Results/Data/Analysis

The results section is a record of key observations. Depending on the design, it may be appropriate to present results as pictures, graphical data, tabular data, and/or written description.

Each graph, figure, or table should be described in detail and complete sentences. The data presented must be so that your purpose for including the data is clear. If a lot of raw data is generated in a design (i.e., a table or graph that exceeds one page) it is better placed as an appendix.

9. Conclusion(s)

In the conclusion, concisely summarize what you learned as a result of conducting the design.

This can include both expected and unexpected observations and conclusions about the design method itself (e.g. “we concluded that the chosen design method cannot provide a reliable estimate of the speed of sound in water, because….”).

You can also use this section to briefly describe suggestions for future work, including ideas for improving the design.

10. Recommendation(s) 

In the recommendations, suggest a course of action to the reader. This may include revisions to a design, alternative steps/process for an experiment, or additional areas for others to study.

11. References

List any literature sources (books, papers, articles, websites, etc.) that you used in researching your topic and writing the report.

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