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.)​​

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