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How to write a technical report?



1.      Report Sections. 

1.1.       Title. 

1.2.       Table of Content. 

1.3.       Introduction. 

1.4.       Technical Background. 

1.5.       Analysis. 

1.6.       Design / Modeling. 

1.7.       Simulation Results. 

1.8.       Fabrication/Measurement Results. 

1.9.       Comments/Comparison/Discussion. 

1.10.          Conclusion. 

1.11.          Acknowledgement. 

1.12.          Appendixes. 

1.13.          References. 

2.      Other Issues. 

2.1.       Equations. 

2.2.       Figures. 

2.3.       Tables. 

2.4.       Schematics and Block Diagrams. 

2.5.       Plagiarism.


1.     Report Sections

A technical report written engineering (particularly in electrical engineering) should contain the following sections. The expected contents of the sections are also described below.

1.1.          Title

The title section of a report should be short and descriptive. It should inform the reader what he/she should expect. It should include your name, title (if any) and affiliation (if any).

1.2.          Table of Content

The title of the subsections should be listed in the table of content. Appropriate links should also be added so that it is possible to navigate easily within the document.

1.3.          Introduction

The introduction section gives information about the problem at hand. The problem definition is given in this section. The problem definition is a formal and simple description of the problem that is tried to solve.        It should also contain the motivation. Motivation is about why it is important to solve this particular problem. Possible application areas can be given. It is also important to discuss the implication of the solution to the real world application.

Example: Problem Definition: Design of a DC-DC converter with high efficiency for battery operated systems. Motivation: DC-DC converters are used within every battery power systems. High efficiency translates to longer battery life. Potential impact is enormous. Of course introduction section cannot be just two sentences.

1.4.          Technical Background

Technical background section gives an overview of the related literature. Within the survey the methods/techniques employed to solve the problem should be given. Generally speaking, particular implementation is related to a particular application. Therefore, the application areas and their requirements should be mentioned. The state-of-the-art performance levels and the short comings should be included. Target should be reevaluated under the consideration if the available literature.

1.5.          Analysis

The analysis section contains the analytical analysis of the problem. The equations defining the performance levels or critical variable determining the performance should be given or derived. If possible, the limitations should also be shown analytically. If possible, design equations to achieve desired performance level should be provided. If a derivation is too long, move the whole section to a appendix and give only the result within this section.

1.6.          Design / Modeling

This section contains the design details of the report. It can be transistor level or system level or Matlab Simulink model level or code level or synthesis level etc... Design details related why a particular option is chosen over what other option for what particular reason. Design equations derived within the analysis sections are generally employed within this section. Typically tables containing device size or sub-block performance list are given.

1.7.          Simulation Results

Simulation section should show the simulated performance of the designed block. The results (figures) should clearly show what is achieved. The simulation netlist or Simulink model or code should be included as an appendix (for web report it should be a link) so that what has been done can be verified and checked. Most of the time, the simulation setups are relevant for proper extraction of a performance parameters. Therefore, the simulation schematics should be included. The accuracy of a simulation is closely related to the simulator options. Include the simulator option values when relevant.

1.8.          Fabrication/Measurement Results

If the design is fabricated, the fabrication details, test setup and measurement results should be given in this section.

1.9.          Comments/Comparison/Discussion

This is probably, the single most important section. The results are analyzed and compared with respect to what is expected and to the literature. If the results are in agreement with the expectation then this is notified. If there are discrepancies, it should be discussed, speculated or if possible explained. A comparison table comparing what is achieved with respect to the existing literature should be included to this section.

1.10.     Conclusion

The conclusion section is a short couple of paragraphs that are summarized what is achieved.

1.11.     Acknowledgement

This section is employed to thank to the person(s) contributed to the work.

1.12.     Appendixes

The appendixes contain extra information not essential for the material or long enough to be excluded from the report body but necessary for formal proof of what is claimed.

1.13.     References

Follow IEEE reference system to give a reference. You can check IEEE JSSC red journal for reference. Proper reference system should include a Author name, Work Title, Information about publication media. Technical papers, books, datasheet, dissertations, web pages with a date can be proper references

2.     Other Issues

2.1.          Equations

Each equation should be numbered. Each variable within the equation should be either self evident or defined.

2.2.          Figures

Each figure should be numbered and captioned. The axis scale and magnitudes should be appropriately chosen. The figures should clearly show what it intends to show. It is possible to use multiple y axes or zooming using loop figures etc… Follow common conventions for plotting standard figures, such as AC gain (logarithmic frequency axis, linear dB axis or logarithmic gain axis), phase margin etc…

2.3.          Tables

Each table should be numbered and captioned. Typically, device size lists, performance lists, comparison lists are given in table format.

2.4.          Schematics and Block Diagrams

The schematic should be clearly drawn. Utilize Microsoft Visio templates.

2.5.          Plagiarism

When writing a report, whenever you utilize a figure, drawing, conclusion, equation, etc that do not belong to you, it is necessary to refer. You do not have to refer everything. For example you do not have to refer ohm’s law or an inverter. The criterion is that if a moderately skilled engineer would believe that the information belongs to you although in reality it is not, then this is plagiarism. The readers should clearly indentify who the information belongs to.




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