When writing a technical report, there are some sections that are absolutely necessary regardless of the
research thesis. These include an executive summary, introduction, conclusion, and appendix. The
executive summary, introduction, conclusion sections should be clear and strong because they are
typically the first sections to be read. The Appendix is necessary because the reader may periodically
refer to it for technical clarification of the material.
There are also some fundamental writing guidelines that are important to follow to meet the
professional standards of your audience, be it senior management or university professors.
to David R. Caprette of Rice University, all sections of your paper should follow these guidelines:
Use normal prose including articles ("a", "the," etc.).
Stay focused on the research topic of the paper.
Present your points in logical order.
Use present tense to report well accepted facts - for example, 'the grass is green'.
Use past tense to describe specific results - for example, 'When weed killer was applied, the
grass was brown'.
Avoid informal wording, don't address the reader directly, and don't use jargon, slang terms, or
Avoid use of superfluous pictures - include only those figures necessary in presenting results.
Never include raw data or intermediate calculations in a research paper (use the appendix).
Do not present the same data more than once.
Proofread your report.
Professor Caprette also addresses how to properly use and notate figures and tables throughout the
report and in the appendix. they are as follows:
Please do not confuse figures with tables - there is a difference.
Text should complement any figures or tables, not repeat the same information.
Either place figures and tables within the text of a section, or include them in the back of the
report (Appendix) - do one or the other.
If you place figures and tables at the end of the report, make sure they are clearly distinguished
from any raw data.
Regardless of placement, each figure must be numbered consecutively and complete with
caption (caption goes under the figure).
Regardless of placement, each table must be titled, numbered consecutively and complete with
heading (title with description goes above the table).
Each figure and table must be sufficiently complete that it could stand on its own, separate from