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:

  1. Requirements
  2. 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:

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:

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,, 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.

Planning Guide

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.

  1. To get started on this project, skim the following report sections in the textbook:

  2. Also take a look at these planning guides:

  3. Also, be sure and take a look at these technical reports.
  4. See the special projects involving technologies for under-developed areas.
  5. See the career project involving a challenge, issue, or problem in your career field.
  6. Consider surveying recent advances in some area of technology or science. Some specific possibilities:

  7. Consider local topics.
  8. Here is a bunch of crazy, fascinating science and technology items from that I have been collecting. For the adventuresome!
  9. Take a look at report titles from past report projects.
  10. Consider doing a report that involves service learning. In particular, take a look at the volunteer opportunities.

    Here is a big list of area nonprofits: You might be able to find a nonprofit needing written work, which you could use as your final report project.
  11. Describe the topic of your report. (Try using the topic list for ideas. Also, try browsing at Yahoo! Everything.
  12. Describe the intended audience for your report—who are these readers? Remember not to define your audience as something like "anybody who might be interested in virtual reality" but as some specific audience with a specific need for information on that topic. (Try using the audience planner for this.)

  13. Most technical-report projects start out with topics that are much too general. If you're having that problem, try using the topic-narrowing planner, and explain below how you've narrowed or can narrow your topic.
  14. Describe the purpose of your report; what do you intend it to accomplish.
  15. Explain the context, the scenario, the real-world situation in which your report project is needed. Is some individual or some organization out there requesting this project be done? Have they sent out an RFP? Have they approached you privately about doing this project? How will this individual or organization use the report you produce? (For example, it's no good to say you are writing a report on Internet security for anybody who might be interested in it. However, writing a guidebook for employees at such-and-such state agency on Internet security does work. You can imagine the state agency sending out a request for proposals and yourself responding with a proposal)
  16. Describe the type of report you are planning to write. The sections of the textbook, cited above, give your an overview of report types. Also try using the report-type planner.
  17. Explain how the audience of your report will use the document you plan to write. Why do they need it? How will they get access to it?
  18. Explain the benefits or advantages of doing the planned report. What will the audience gain from the report?
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E-mail this planning info to me:
E-mail this planning info to my instructor (optional):

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