A technical report is an integral part of scientific writing. A technical report is a document, which contains the information on the process, progress, and results of a research. In general, a technical report is a reliable source of scientific information. Usually, technical reports are prepared for sponsors of experiments. Furthermore, a technical report is produced for academic papers that are to be published in peer-reviewed journals. Thus, a report should be concise and well-structured.
Prior to writing a technical report, a student or researcher should choose a topic and clearly understand the task. Then, it is crucial to determine the audience which will read the report because it is the main factor that determines the purpose of a technical report, its structure, and length. For instance, if the target audience consists of elementary, middle, or high school students, the report should not be too long. If the report is going to be published in a journal, it should have a more complicated structure. Likewise, some assignments require informing, while other — persuading the audience.
Planning is an integral part of writing a good technical report. As soon as one knows exactly what he/she is going to write about, he/she has to collect information from a laboratory, University library, journals, and reference books. Then follows a creative phase of planning: one should develop the topic and ideas from the gathered material. As soon as the information is gathered and structured, one has to write the first draft following the outline. It is crucial to revise the first draft for any logical, grammatical, or spelling mistakes. When the first draft is revised, it is a high time to write the final version of the report. Furthermore, it would be better to write introduction and conclusions after the main body is done since a researcher would already have a better understanding of what is more important.
Any technical report should be prepared according to a certain structure that includes several sections. As any research paper, a technical report should have a title page. If a report is prepared for assessment, its title page should contain the summary and the main text word count. A summary of the report is usually written on the next separate page. This is one of the most important sections, which contains the methods, main findings, and conclusions. After the summary page, the researcher should compile the contents page, which should contain the list of all headings and subheadings with the correspondent page numbers.
The next subsection is introduction. In the introduction, a researcher states the objectives of the report and provides his/her commentaries on the topic. The introduction should contain the information, which leads to the report itself. The body of any technical report should be subdivided into headings and subheadings. It is important that all sections have different main ideas and are arranged in a logical order. Equally important is a conclusion section, which should be a summary of the main ideas presented in the report. The last part of a technical report, references, should be written on a separate page.
Any technical report should be well presented so that the researcher could make a good impression on the target audience. First, a technical report should be printed on white A4 paper with margins at least 2.5. Secondly, one should not number the title, summary, and content pages. Finally, a technical report should look neat: one uses up to three staples on the left margin if a report is short, and binders if a report is long (more than ten pages).