Technical-Report Planner

Use this planner to define the key details for your technical report. When you have done this planning work, send your instructor an e-mail in which you describe your topic, audience, purpose, and report type.

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

  2. Also take a look at these "outtakes" from Power Tools:

  3. Also, be sure and take a look at these technical reports and excerpts of technical reports:

    Example technical report 1: DVD Technology and Applications Frames Nonframes Plain
    Example technical report 2: Cerebral Palsy and Its Treatments Frames Nonframes Plain
    Example technical report 3: Feasibility of Implementing a Departmental Intranet Frames Nonframes Plain
    Example technical report 4: Photolithography: Its Importance in the Wafer Fab Frames Nonframes Plain
    Example technical report 5: Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Frames Nonframes Plain
    Example technical report 6: Video Alert and Control Dashboard System Frames Nonframes Plain
    Example technical report 7: Report on Light Water Nuclear Reactors Frames Nonframes Plain

  4. Next, read the technical-report project, which gives you a general idea about the content, format, length, and other such details for this project.

  5. Describe the topic of your report. (Try using the topic planner for this; also see the topic list for ideas. One other good place to brainstorm is the New, Interesting, and Alternate Technologies website.)

  6. 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.)

  7. 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.

  8. Describe the purpose of your report; what do you intend it to accomplish.

  9. 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)

  10. 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.

  11. 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?

  12. Explain the benefits or advantages of doing the planned report. What will the audience gain from the report?

  13. If you've done all the preceding planning work, it's time to send this information to yourself, and your teacher if you want. Give it a few days, and then send that e-mail to your instructor (see above).

Your name:
E-mail this planning info to me:
E-mail this planning info to my instructor (optional):

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