Joe B. Student and Dan Simon* Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Cleveland State University Cleveland, Ohio 44115 December 6, 2010
Every report should have an abstract. The abstract summarizes the report using between 100 and 200 words in a single paragraph. The purpose of an abstract is so that a reader can quickly get an idea of the main points and contributions of the paper. The author often writes the abstract last. This is because it is only after the body of the report is written that the writer gains a good perspective of the contents and results of the report. All reports submitted to me should follow the format shown in this template. Also, if you use this template for reports in your courses, you will be in good shape. However, be aware that CSU has a separate template for theses and dissertations. Note that the purpose of the abstract is not to provide an introduction to the problem, or a motivation for solving the problem, or a discussion of related work. Those discussions belong in the abstract. The purpose of the abstract is to summarize the report and the results.
All reports should have an introduction. One purpose of the introduction is to introduce the problem. For instance, consider the background of this report template. I receive a lot of reports from students; a lot of them have common errors in writing, grammar, and organization; and all of them are in different formats. It looks more professional if all the reports that I collect are in the same format. This is especially true if the reports are distributed to other people, or if they are posted on the Internet. Another purpose of the introduction is to provide a motivation for the work presented in the report. For instance, consider the motivation of this report template. If all of my students follow this template, then I won’t have to provide individual guidance to hundreds of students. However, it is not only for selfish reasons that I provide this template. Students who follow this template can be sure that their reports will be more correct and more professional than they would be otherwise. Another purpose of the introduction is to provide an overview of related work. The introduction should include at least five references to related papers and books. Internet *
Email addresses firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com. This work was supported in part by ASQL Grant # 123-AB-65789-TGL-458923.
J. Student and D. Simon
references are strongly discouraged because they are not reliable. I could discuss many papers and books that are closely related to the topic of this report template. I use Markel’s book  in my technical writing class. Strunk and White’s book  is a classic that should be owned and used frequently by all writers. Many other excellent books have also been written to provide guidance for engineering communications [10–13]. There are also many papers that give more focused writing advice. One that I have found to be particularly helpful is Li . Also, some papers that provide general research advice include sections that include writing advice . The final purpose of the introduction is to summarize the paper one section at a time. In this report template, Section 2 discusses section headings, and Section 3 discusses fonts. Section 4 covers spelling and punctuation, and Section 5 discusses equations, which are often represented in a sloppy and inconsistent way in student reports. Section 6 shows how tables and figures should be properly presented. Section 7 discusses the importance and correct use of references and appendices. Finally, Section 8 contains some concluding remarks. Most reports will not have this many sections. A total of between four and six sections is more typical.
2. Section headings and report titles
The section headings are begun with numbers. The section headings begin with a capital letter, but all...