American Univesity of Beirut

 3. The Style and Structure of Technical Writing



 

Structure and organization: Overall sections and subsections in technical reports

 

Typical Report Structure

Section Description

 

Abstract/ Summary

 

  • Identifies the problem/questions that the project addresses
  • States the objectives of the project
  • Describes the general procedures
  • Includes key results (quantitative results and key trends)
  • Evaluates results in light of the problem/ questions
  • Lists the main conclusions
  • Suggests future work or implementation

Introduction

(and Theoretical Background)

 

  • Identifies the problem/ questions that the project addresses
  • Describes related work done on the topic (previous work, theoretical background, key parameters, equations, etc.)
  • States the (specific and measurable) objectives of the current project
  • Lists the general procedures (including the measurements and calculations) that will be used to achieve the objectives  
Methods/ Procedures

 

  • Describes the scientific method/ approach used to collect data
  • Describes the materials and equipment used to collect data
  • Describes the detailed procedures followed to collect data in a way that would allow someone else to reproduce such procedures
  • Describes the process by which measurements were recorded, preserved, and analyzed
Results/ Data/ Findings (and Analysis)

 

  • Reports key results and explains their meaning
  • Explains data derivations and transformations obtained from the measured data
  • Presents key results visually (tables, figures, graphs)
  • Reports discrepancies and anomalies in the results
Discussion

 

  • Compares measured results to predicted values
  • Explains the discrepancies and anomalies in the results
Conclusions and Recommendations

 

  • Summarizes the most important results reported in the report
  • Assesses the success of the project
  • Suggests possible future improvements (e.g. address error sources, safety issues, alternative approaches)
  • Ends with a bottom line statement (why should the reader care about the results?)
Additional sections

 

  • References (lists the external sources cited in the report)
  • Appendices (includes raw data, sample calculations, error analysis, etc.)​

Structure and organization: Overall sections and subsections in research papers

 

Typical Research Paper Structure

Section Description

 

Abstract/ Summary

 

  • Provides an overview of the paper: background, purpose, methods, findings, conclusions, value/implications

 

Introduction

and Literature Review

 

  • Establishes the topic (narrows down the topic from general explanations to a specific angle/scope/problem)
  • Reviews the literature (reviews aspects of the problem that have been previously studied and organizes them thematically)
  • States the gap (identifies the need for further investigation/research with respect to a particular aspect of the problem)
  • States the purpose (explicitly states the purpose/ objective/ hypotheses of the study)

 

Methods

 

  • Details the methods, materials, and procedures used in the study

 

Results/ Findings

 

  • Presents the findings by theme
  • Reports the data and interprets their meaning in light of the purpose of the paper
Discussion

 

  • Expands on the major interpretations
  • Compares findings to the literature

 

Conclusions

 

  • Presents the importance of the findings and how they may be applied in broader contexts (other contexts, disciplines, real-life scenarios, etc.)
  • Includes limitations and suggestions for future work

 

Acknowledgements

 

  • Gives thanks and credit to contributors other than the listed authors
References

 

  • Documents the sources using an acceptable style

​​

Contact Us

For various questions, please try contacting us via social media first!
read more

Privacy Statement

We take data privacy seriously and adhere to all applicable data privacy laws and regulations.
read more

Copyright and Disclaimer

Written permission is needed to copy or disseminate all or part of the materials on the AUB website.
read more

Title IX, Non-Discrimination, and Anti-Discriminatory Harassment

AUB is committed to providing a safe, respectful, and inclusive environment to all members of its community.
read more