Technical Report: Requirements and Planning Guide
This guide contains requirements for this assignment and a planning process for thinking about key details of this assignment:
- Planning process
The following describes the requirements for the technical report (the one that is due toward the end of this course).
Caution: I will not accept this final report unless you have done the proposal project, which proposes to write this report. (And I will not accept the proposal unless you have written an acceptable report memo earlier in the semester.)
Your final report must contain the following:
- Transmittal letter or memo, depending on the situation of your report
- Title page, with descriptive abstract at bottom (Remember that the two abstracts contained in your report count as a separate grade.)
- Table of contents (TOC nicely formatted like the examples; use the TOC tutorials for help.)
- List of tables, figures, etc.
- Informational abstract that follows guidelines stated in the textbook
- Introduction properly formatted (particularly at the top) with just enough background, audience and context indicators, and overview of the contents of the report
Note: The preceding components occur on their own page (or pages). For easier formatting, they can be separate files. Page numbers go center bottom of the pages and appear on only the pages as shown in the examples in the textbook.
- Body text in which the top-level heading starts a new page and the text contains at least second-level headings
- Figures (illustations, charts, graphs) with titles at the bottom and source identified; preceding text briefly introducing the figure
- Headings and lists that follow the guidelines in the textbook
- Body text using the same font and font size, singlespaced
- Tables (optional) with titles at the top and source identified; preceding text briefly introducing the main point of the table
- Body text indicating sources of borrowed information using APA or IEEE documentation system
- Information sources section using APA or IEEE documentation system
- Appendixes (optional) each starting a new page, identified with capital letters, and listed in the TOC
Note: All references to the "textbook" refer to the online textbook. Use it for guidelines and requirements for things like headings, lists, notices, highlighting, tables, figures, and the types of documents covered in this course.
As you plan and write your technical report, use the following as a list of requirements:
- Remember that your report must (except for minor variations) match the one you describe in your planning notes and in your proposal. Discuss report-project changes with your instructor.
- The final draft of the report assignment will be reviewed on the following criteria:
- Substantial, technical topic (main text a minimum of 8 pages)
- Effective handling of the report type you've chosen
- Specific detailed researched information in the report
- Appropriate inclusion and formatting of elements common to the report type you are writing
- Realistic audience for the report
- Accomplishment of the report's purpose
- Realistic situation, need for the report
- Clear, readable, understandable discussion; no grammar, spelling, usage, punctuation problems
- Accommodation of readers' interests, needs, background
- Effective, useful graphic aids that are neatly incorporated
- Well-designed, effective headings and lists (and special-format notices if needed)
- Effective use of library and nonlibrary sources of information
- Effective special-format features for unusual aspects of the report
- Overall neat, professional-looking final packaging of the report
Naming and Sending Your Report
If your report consists of more than one file, compress those files into a single file. If you've not used compression software to "zip" file, see compressing files. To work effectively as a technical writer, you must be comfortable with this technique. If you use Windows, select files, right-click on them, click Send to then Compressed (zipped) folder. For Macs, see How to Zip and Unzip Files and Folders on a Mac.
Name your file with your handle and _final, for example, davidmc_final.docx. If it's a compressed (zipped) files, _final, for example, davidmc_final.zip, or whatever extension your compression software uses.
Note: To be safe, keep a safe copy of this and all other assignments. Expect to receive confirmation from your instructor that your e-mail attachments have been received. If you don't receive e-mail confirmation in 3 or 4 days, get in touch with your instructor.
Use this planner to define the key details for your technical report. When you have done this planning work, don't forget to do the report-memo project, in which you describe your topic, audience, purpose, and report type. Your report memo will be posted on a web page with everybody else's; you'll be able to see what the rest of the class is working on.
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