Materials Engineering 153
LabNotes Rev S07
Report Formats for MatE 153 Laboratory
Writing Assignments for the Course
At this point in your academic career, you have probably written lab reports for your
instructors in physics, chemistry, or engineering classes. In this class, you will have an
opportunity to write in an engineering context.
Throughout the semester, you will complete four different writing assignments. These
assignments all have the same general format, that of an engineering report written in
response to a real-world engineering problem. The assignments are designed to start out short
and straightforward. Then, as you gain more experience and the laboratory experiments
become more sophisticated, the assignments become longer and more complex.
What is an Engineering Report?
The sections required in an engineering report are generally the same as those in a laboratory
report: Introduction, Experimental Procedure, Results, Discussion, and Conclusions.
Executive Summary or a cover letter may also be required.
The process for writing an
engineering report is similar to writing a laboratory report, in that you must extract relevant
information from the experiment and communicate that information in writing. The main
differences are in:
Instead of writing to your instructor, you are writing to a colleague, manager, or
The purpose for writing
Instead of demonstrating your understanding of the laboratory experiment, you are
writing to describe the work you have done, the results, and their relevance to a
particular question or problem.
What content is appropriate
For a laboratory report, you may get cues about what information is important to
include from your lab manual, instructor, or old lab reports. For an engineering
report, you are the expert, and are responsible for deciding, based on your experience,
your audience and your purpose for writing, what information is relevant, and how
much detail should be included.
The assignments will identify your target audience, your purpose for writing, and give some
guidelines as to what content is appropriate.