Many of you will seek either temporary or permanent jobs where you will ask by your potential employer for examples of your achievements. The ability to produce a neat, concise, accurate report to show the employer is a powerful statement. If your plans for the future include attending graduate schools, the value of these reports is immense in illustrating your research and graduate work potential.

Report writing skills for an engineer is a must. The practicing engineer is struck with a never-ending stream of reports to sponsoring agencies, division heads, customers, etc. Your presence in this class implies that you may have taken few other courses that required report writing. However, in this class you need to post some of your reports on the Web as well as regular submission. Please note that it is the quality of the report and not the quality of the web page that determines the grade for that report. I have posted easy-to-follow guidelines for you to set up and maintain your Web pages for this class.

In general, the report should address itself to the following question:

  • What was to be done?
    This should be a brief outline of the problem and any additional information such as special techniques and goals. In writing this section, give a brief overview of the problem, but most importantly, point out the important issues it is dealing with. This should be brief but not just a repetition of what is in the text.

  • How was it done?
    This section should have a general statement of your design philosophy, how did you go about solving the problem. Basically, this section would describe how you planned to carry out the experiment and why would it work. This does not mean that you should include step by step calculations, but instead requires the description of ideas and methods used to meet the goal. The discussion in this section should include a printout of the computer model and explanation of the parameters used for each node.

  • What were the results?
    This section should include the output of the simulation runs with proper sections high-lighted and associated variables identified with their proper names.

  • What was learned from the results?
    In this section you should analyze the results and summarize your report. Results should be analyzed in view of whether or not they point out the important aspects of the model. A part of this discussion is related to whether the results make sense or not and how well they demonstrate the behavior of the system. When results do not match the expected outcome, the problem could be in one of many areas:
    1. Incorrect input values: Check to make sure all numbers, and values were entered correctly with proper decimals when they are values, and names when they are variables.
    2. Incorrect assumptions: Check to make sure that the model accurately reflect the assumptions given in the problem.
    3. Incorrect model: If the above two checks can not detect the source of the error, the problem might be in the logic and the method that you used to build your model. This requires that you rethink your solution approach and modify the model appropriately.
  • What are your recommendations?
    In this section you should state what you set out to do, what you did and conclusions that can be drawn from what you did. You should highlight the main points of the problem and its solution and make recommendations based on that solution. This section is usually brief but it is extremely important to the reader in that it is the clincher, the last thing that they read. It is important to leave the reader with a good feeling about your report.

Keep in mind that your report must be concise and clear. You should not assume that you are writing the report only for the instructor, but rather for the world. So, if you are stating a fact that your instructor discussed it during a class or lab session, make sure to explain it properly. Make sure that your report comes in logical order and the material smoothly flows from section to section. You should also be keenly aware of the copyright issues. Make absolutely sure that all statements from other resources are given credits to the original source(s) and author(s).

One final word about report writing, it is extremely important that your report be professionally done. All reports should be neat, precise and concise and must show clearly what and how was done. All figures, diagrams, graphs and tables should be properly labeled. You have access to a digital camera and a scanner. You can take pictures or scan them from books, journals, etc. to include in your report if necessary. All pictures used in your report must be saved in the appropriate format on your digital media with their names mentioned in the report. If you need help with image processing see Mr. Mahmud or myself. Please do not hesitate to ask questions, and consult this page often to make sure that your reports are in appropriate format. Again, do not forget that it is not the style of your web pages (for this class) that makes-up your grade, but their contents alone. You can always improve your pages later during the semester.