FAQ on Technical Writing
In this article, I will tell you what a technical report is, why companies need it and how to write it.
What is a technical report?
Technical report is a document that describes the progress, process, or results of scientific or technical research. It also can include some recommendations and conclusions. Technical reports may be considered as grey literature because they rarely undergo comprehensive independent peer review before publication.
Technical reports are a great source of technical or scientific information. They can be written both for wider or internal distribution. In order to establish novelty, technical reports can be considered as a primary form of scientific paper when researchers don?t want to wait when academic journals publish their work.
So, as you see, a technical report is key part of the research that also should be written according to established rules. Below, you will find some tips on how to write it.
Technical Report Elements
A typical technical report consists of the following elements:
- The title page
- The introduction
- The summary
- Experimental details
- Results and discussions
- The body
The conclusion may include:
Tips on how to write a technical report
A technical report doesn?t differ much from other types of technical documents. First steps are the same ? learn your audience, goals of the technical report, what recourses (articles, blogs) can help you write a good report, and so on.
Then list all your ideas of topics as they come to your mind, sort them into groups ? it will be a rough outline of your future technical report. Now, you?re ready for a first draft. I want to provide you with some tips on how to write a good technical report in order to help you create a great first draft and save your time:
- When you?re searching for information on the Internet, keep in mind, that not all the information is reliable, so check it twice. The best way is to read relevant books, journals, and articles.
- Speaking of formatting, stick to one format ? don?t use different fonts in your work. If you want to highlight an idea, use bold or italic.
- Heading and subheadings should be clear in order to ease the searching for necessary information. They also help readers get the main idea quickly. In my recent post called ?Using Humor in Technical Documentation? I showed an example of using humor in the table of contents, and it?s not a good idea ? nothing is clear.
- It?s ok to use the information of other people but use citation ? plagiarism is not a good idea of writing content. Check out Top 10 Free Plagiarism Detection Tools in order to be sure that you cite all sources.
- Proofread your content using these tips or a free grammar checker.
How best to present your report?
A presentation is important part of the final outlook of your work. So, what do you need to do:
- Write a script. Your report should be printed on an A4 paper on one side. It should not be hand-written because it?s not accepted.
- You should number those pages that contain the content, so, a title page and a summary are exceptions.
- Staple your report at the top left; if a report is too long, you should bind it.
- Formatting: usually the font size is 12, style is Times New Roman, the spacing is 1.5 or 2.
As you see, a technical report is not something difficult. You can write it easily sticking these tips, and also it?s a good idea to read technical reports of other authors. You will get the experience and build your style. However, my main recommendation is to write concisely. Concise was the word of 2017, but I think, it?s still relevant 😉
How did I become a technical writer? What skills do you need? Read FAQ on Technical Writing.