Report Guideline

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Formal Report Writing Guidelines

FORMAL REPORT WRITING GUIDELINES
Introduction
Writing is one of the most important tools available to an engineer. The final report of any project is not just a formality. It is a primary product of the effort and is often the basis for the evaluation of the reporter 's professional abilities. The report is also a service to those in need of the information. Requirements for style, purpose and organisation can differ greatly; the format required for one report may not be appropriate for another. They have, however, certain characteristics in common.
Once submitted, it should stand on its own. It tends to be circulated, reviewed and filed. During this process it is subject to critical analysis by a variety of readers.
Report writing is one of the primary professional responsibilities of the practicing engineer. Spelling, grammar and neatness are important components of report writing. Word processing or typing is required. Each page (except the Front cover) should be numbered, and each heading and subheading should also be accompanied by a section number. Tables and graphs should be well organised and clearly labelled.
They should be able to stand as separate entities. Scaling of graphs should be done in such a manner that the graph is not crowded in a corner or on the side but covers a major part of the page. The divisions on the graph paper should coincide with whole numbers of the units plotted along the axis. The use of S.I. units is encouraged.
The style of writing should be objective but at the same time clear, concise and convincing. One way of conveying objectivity is to consistently use the passive past tense. For example, instead of typing
“I developed a resistive circuit so that I could investigate…” INCORRECT
It would be grammatically correct to use
“A resistive circuit was developed to investigate …”

CORRECT

The line spacing should be at least 1.5, and size 12 Times Roman or Ariel fonts are preferable. Be aware of the



References: section. The Reference list should include only those books and articles from the technical literature which are used for your report. This has to be done to a specific format, and in alphabetical order according the authors’ surnames: L.H. van Vlack, Elements of Materials Science and Engineering, 6th Ed., Addison-Wesely Publ. Comp.,Reading, Mass., (1989), pp100-105. Dr. Daniel Nankoo, September 2009 3 of 3

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