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TECHNICAL REPORT WRITING GUIDELINES

Prepared by LEAH M. AKINS and JEFFERSON H. AKINS for TECHNICAL/ENGINEERING STUDENTS


ABSTRACT This document specifies the recommended format to be used when submitting a formal technical report in a variety of disciplines and purposes. Also, this manual can be used as a guide to compose less formal reports, such as lab reports, that may consist of a subset of the items presented here. It is a useful general guide from which faculty can specify the particular requirements for reports in their courses.

Original Work: January 13, 2001 Current Revision: January 2009

DUTCHESS COMMUNITY COLLEGE POUGHKEEPSIE,NEWYORK

TableofContents
INTRODUCTION......................................................................................................................................1 THEFORMALTECHNICALREPORT.......................................................................................................... 1 UNIVERSALASPECTSOFALLREPORTS............................................................................................... 1 REPORTFORMAT................................................................................................................................2 TITLEPAGE......................................................................................................................................2 ABSTRACT.......................................................................................................................................2 TABLEOFCONTENTS...................................................................................................................... 2 INTRODUCTION.............................................................................................................................. 2 BACKGROUNDTHEORY.................................................................................................................. 3 DESIGN/THEORETICALANALYSIS.................................................................................................. 3 PROCEDURE....................................................................................................................................3 RESULTSANDDISCUSSION............................................................................................................. 5 CONCLUSION..................................................................................................................................5 WORKSCITED.................................................................................................................................6 APPENDIX.......................................................................................................................................6 HOWAREADERININDUSTRYPERUSESATECHNICALREPORTANDWHYYOUSHOULDKNOW ..........6 CONCLUSION..........................................................................................................................................6 WORKSCITED.........................................................................................................................................7 AppendixACreatingWorksCitedPageandCitationswithinReport.................................................8 CitinganArticleinaPeriodical[1]..................................................................................................... 8 CitingaBook[1].................................................................................................................................8 CitingFullTextDatabasesUsingAPAFormat[2]............................................................................... 8 CitingWorldWideWebDocuments[2]............................................................................................. 9 CreatingParentheticalCitationsUsingAPAFormat[3]..................................................................... 9 AppendixBWritingTipsforResultsandDiscussionSection............................................................10 PercentDifference/Error.................................................................................................................. 10 MagnitudeofError........................................................................................................................... 10 WritingDiscussionBasedonLabQuestions..................................................................................... 10 GuidelinesforGraphs....................................................................................................................... 11 APPENDIXCGUIDELINESFORANSWERINGTECHNICALQUESTIONS...............................................12

INTRODUCTION
Thepurposeofatechnicalreportistocompletelyandclearlydescribetechnicalwork,whyitwasdone, resultsobtainedandimplicationsofthoseresults.Thetechnicalreportservesasameansof communicatingtheworktoothersandpossiblyprovidingusefulinformationaboutthatworkatsome laterdate.Awellwrittenreportallowsthereadertoquicklyunderstandwhathasbeenaccomplished. Thereportalsoprovidessufficientdetailtoallowthereadertorecreatetheresultsalthoughthelevelof detailprovideddependsheavilyonthereportsaudienceandanyproprietarynatureofthework. Clearpresentationofresultsisatleastasimportantastheresultsthemselves;therefore,writinga reportisanexerciseineffectivecommunicationoftechnicalinformation.Results,suchasnumerical values,designedsystemsorgraphsbythemselvesarenotveryuseful.Tobemeaningfultoothers, resultsmustbesupportedbyawrittenexplanationdescribinghowresultswereobtainedandwhat significancetheyhold,orhowadesignedsystemactuallyfunctions.Althoughthepersonreadingthe reportmayhaveatechnicalbackground,theauthorshouldassumeunfamiliaritywithrelatedtheory andprocedures.Theauthormustthereforesupplydetailsthatmayappearobviousorunnecessary. Withpractice,thetechnicalreportwriterlearnswhichdetailstoinclude. Thekeytoawellwrittenreportisorganization.Areportthatisdividedintoseveralsections,occurring inalogicalsequence,makesiteasyforthereadertoquicklyobtainanoverviewofthecontentsaswell aslocatespecificinformation.Thisdocumentprovidesguidelinesforproducingawellwrittentechnical report.

THEFORMALTECHNICALREPORT
Theformaltechnicalreportcontainsacomplete,concise,andwellorganizeddescriptionofthework performedandtheresultsobtained.Anygivenreportmaycontainallofthesectionsdescribedherein orasubset,dependinguponthereportrequirements.Theserequirementsaredecidedbytheauthor andarebasedontheaudienceandexpecteduseofthereport. Allreportshavecertainaspectsincommonregardlessofexpectedusage.Commonreportsectionsare presentedfirst,andallpossiblesectionspotentiallyincludedinareportarediscussedafterwards.

UNIVERSALASPECTSOFALLREPORTS
Thereportshouldbewritteninanactivevoiceusingthethirdpersoninmostinstances.Avoidusing personalpronouns.Personalpronounstendtopersonalizethetechnicalinformationthatis generallyobjectiveratherthansubjectiveinnature.Usecorrectgrammar,punctuation,andspelling. Attentiontothesedetailsresultsinaprofessionaltonetothereport. Alldiagramsmustbeneatlypresentedandshouldbecomputergenerated.Useacomputer softwarepackage,suchasPaint,MultisimorAutoCAD,todrawdiagrams.Leaveatleastaoneinch marginonallsidesofafullpagediagramandalwaysnumberandtitleallfigures.Alwaysinserta fullpagediagramorgraphsoitcanbereadfromthebottomorfromtherightsideofthepage. AllpagesofthereportaftertheTableofContentsmustincludethepagenumber. Anyinformationinthereportthatisdirectlyquotedorcopiedfromasourcemustbecitedusingthe propernotation[1,2,3]. 1

Anyinformationinthereportthatisdirectlyderivedorparaphrasedfromasourcemustbecited usingthepropernotation[1,2,3]. Anyreferencematerialderivedfromthewebmustcomefromcredibleanddocumentablesources. Studentsneedtoevaluatewebsitescritically.Thefirststepistoverifyacredibleauthor. WikipediaisNOTacrediblereferencebecausetheinformationchangesovertimeandauthorsare notnecessarilypeoplewithverifiableexpertiseorcredentials. Forallpaperreports,allpagesofthereportmustbe8X11insize.Anylargerpagesmustbe foldedsoastofitthesedimensions.

REPORTFORMAT
Thepagesofthereportaretobeassembledinthefollowingorder.Thisistherecommendedorder, however,certainreportsmaylendthemselvestoeitherreorderingsectionsand/orexcludingsections.

TITLEPAGE
Theformatforthispagemayvary,however,thefollowinginformationisalwaysincluded:reporttitle, whothereportwaspreparedfor,whothereportwaspreparedby,andthedateofsubmission.Thisis notanumberedpageofthereport.

ABSTRACT
Anabstractisaconcisedescriptionofthereportincludingitspurposeandmostimportantresults.An abstractmustnotbelongerthanhalfapageandmustnotcontainfiguresormakereferencetothem. Theresultsmaybesummarizedintheabstractbutqualitatively,notquantitatively.Nospecifictechnical jargon,abbreviations,oracronymsshouldbeused.Thisisnotanumberedpageofthereport.

TABLEOFCONTENTS
Includeallthereportsections,subsections,andappendices.Thisisnotanumberedpageofthereport.

INTRODUCTION
Givetheobjectiveofthework,abriefdescriptionoftheproblem,andhowitistobeattacked.This sectionshouldprovidethereaderwithanoverviewofwhytheworkwasperformed,howtheworkwas performed,andthemostinterestingresults.Thiscanusuallybeaccomplishedwitheaseiftheworkhas clearlystatedobjectives.Afterintroducingtheproblem,indicatehowthoseobjectivesaremet.The lengthofthissectiondependsonthepurposebuttheauthorshouldstriveforbrevity,clarity,and interest. Becarefulnottousespecifictechnicaljargonorabbreviationssuchasusingthetermoscopeinstead ofoscilloscope.Also,makesuretodefineanyacronymsorabbreviationspriortousingthem.For example,inasurveyinglabreportastudentmightwanttorefertotheelectronicdistancemeasuring (EDM)device.Thefirsttimethedeviceisreferredto,thestudentmustspelloutwhattheacronym standsforbeforeusingtheacronymasdemonstratedintheprevioussentence.Thispracticeshouldbe appliedthroughoutthereportwhentheauthorwantstouseanacronymthathasnotyetbeendefined withinthereport.Donotassumethatthereaderisfamiliarwithalltheacronymsthatarefamiliarto theauthor.

BACKGROUNDTHEORY
Include,ifnecessary,adiscussionofrelevantbackgroundtheory.Forexample,ifthephaseshiftofanRC circuitistobemeasured,givethederivationofthetheoreticalphaseshift.Includeanypreparation specifiedinthelabmanual.Indecidingwhatshouldornotshouldbeincludedasbackgroundtheory, considerpresentinganymaterialspecifictothelabthatyouhadtolearnpriortoperformingthelab. Thissectionmaybedividedintosubsectionsifappropriate.Keepthediscussionbriefandreferthe readertooutsidesourcesofinformationwhereappropriate.Thepropermethodofproviding referencesandmakingcitationswithinthereportisprovidedinAppendixA.

DESIGN/THEORETICALANALYSIS
Givethedetailsofyourdesignprocedure.Besuretointroduceanddescribeyourdesignworkusing sentences,equationsalonearenotsufficient.Usecitationsifyouwishtoreferthereadertoreference material.Dividethissectionintosubsectionswhereappropriate.Forexample,alabdesignmayconsist ofdesigningseveralcircuitsthataresubsequentlyinterconnected;youmaychoosetotreateachcircuit designinitsownsubsection.Keepthissectionasgeneralaspossible,onlyapplyingspecificnumbers afterthedesignisexplained. Ifthereisnodesignbutstrictlyanalysis,thenprovidetheimportantdetailsofalltheanalysisperformed. Bebrief.Itisnotnecessarytoshoweverystep;sentencescanbeusedtodescribetheintermediate steps.Furthermore,iftherearemanystepstotheanalysis,thereadershouldbedirectedtothe appendixforcompletedetails.

PROCEDURE
Thissectionvariesdependingonrequirementsoftheonewhoassignedtheworkandtheaudience.At aminimum,theauthordiscussestheprocedurebydescribingthemethodusedtotestatheory,verifya designorconductaprocess.Presentationoftheproceduremayvarysignificantlyfordifferentfields anddifferentaudiences,however,forallfields,theauthorshouldBEBRIEFandgettothepoint.Like withanywrittenwork,ifitisunnecessarilywordy,thereaderbecomesboredandtheauthornolonger hasanaudience.Also,theproceduresectionshouldneverincludespecificmeasurements/results, discussionofresults,orexplanationofpossibleerrorsources.Makesurealldiagramsprovidedare numbered,titled,andclearlylabeled. Dependingonthesituation,therearetwolikelytypesofproceduresections.Inonecase,adetailed proceduremayhavealreadybeensuppliedorperhapsitisnotdesirabletoprovideadetailed descriptionduetoproprietarywork.Inanothercase,itmightbetheauthorsjobtoprovideallthe detailsotheworkcanbeduplicated.Thelatterismorecommoninacademiclabsettings.Thewriting guidelinesforeachofthesepossibleproceduresectionsareprovidedbelow.

ProcedureType1
Usethisproceduretypeifyouhavebeensuppliedwithadetailedproceduredescribingthesteps requiredtocompletethework. Ifrequiredbythepersonwhoassignedthework,includethedetailedprocedureinthe appendix. Brieflydescribethemethodemployedtocompletethework.Thisismeanttobeabrief descriptioncapturingtheintentionofthework,notthedetails.Thereadermustbereferredto theappendixforthedetails.DONOTrefertoproceduresteps. 3

Iftheworkrequiredalabsetup,provideadiagramofthatsetup(i.e.circuitdiagram). Provideadditionaldiagramsand/orpicturesifitwillassistthereaderinunderstandingthe description. Provideadetailedprocedureofanyworkperformedforwhichdetailedstepswerenot provided. Examples: o Acceptablewriting: Inordertotestthetheoryofsuperposition,thecircuitshowninFigure1is employed.ThecircuitisconstructedonthelabbenchandusingMultismTM,a circuitsimulationsoftware.Inbothsettings,amultimeterisusedtomeasure theoutputvoltage,asshowninFigure1,forthefollowingthreecases:(1) Source1onandSource2off,(2)Source1offandSource2on,and(3)both sourceson.Thesemeasurementsarecomparedtotheoutputvoltagederived usingtheoryasdescribedearlier.Refertotheappendixfordetailedstepsto completethiswork. o Unacceptablewriting: Inordertotestthetheoryofsuperposition,firsteachteammembermust calculatetheoutputvoltageforthecircuitshowninFigure1forthefollowing threecases:(1)Source1onandSource2off,(2)Source1offandSource2on, and(3)bothsourceson.Thenoneteammemberisassignedtobuildthecircuit onthelabbenchwhiletheotherteammemberconstructsthecircuitin Multisim.Onceconstructed,turnSource1onandSource2offthenconnect thepositiveleadofthemetertothepositiveendoftheoutputvoltageandthe negativeleadofthemetertothenegativeendoftheoutputvoltage.Record themeterreading.NextturnonSource2andturnoffSource1.Againmeasure theoutputvoltageusingthemeter.

ProcedureType2
Usethisproceduretypeifyouhavenotbeensuppliedwithadetaileddescriptionofthestepsrequired tocompletethework. Describeindetailallnecessarystepsorprocessesrequiredtocompletethework.Thismay include,butisnotlimitedto,thefollowing: o Equipmentuse o Equipmentmaintenance o Definetermsspecifictothetechnology o Measurementtechniquesand/orcalibration Thedescription,asdetailedabove,shouldbesufficientlyclearsothatthereadercouldduplicate thework. Donotassumethatthereaderhaspriorknowledgeoraccesstopriorreports,textbooks,or handouts. Ifpartoftheprocedurewassuccessfullydescribedinapreviousreport,eitherrepeatthe procedureorincludethatreportintheappendixandreferthereadertoit. Whereappropriate,providediagramsand/orpicturestoassistthereaderinunderstandingthe procedure.

RESULTSANDDISCUSSION
Presenttheresultsoftheworkperformedusingneatlyorganizedandcompletelylabeledtablesand/or graphswheneverpossible.Whencomparativedataisavailable,presentthedatainawaythatfacilitates thecomparison.Forexample,iftheoreticalandexperimentalvaluesareavailable,presentthevalues alongsideoneanotheraccompaniedbypercenterror.Ifitwouldhelpthereaderunderstandthe results,includeafewsamplecalculationsbutputlengthycalculationsinanappendix. ALWAYSaccompanyresultswithameaningfuldiscussion.Thediscussionexplainswhattheresultsmean andpointsouttrends.Insomecases,theresultsspeakmostlyforthemselvesandthediscussionmaybe brief,i.e.,Table2showsthatthedesignedvariablemoduluscounterworksasexpected.Inother cases,themeaningoftheresultsmaynotbeasclearrequiringmoredetaileddiscussion. ALWAYSdiscussthepossiblesourcesoferrorandhowaccuratetheresultsneedtobeinordertobe meaningful.Donotincludeadiscussionofpossiblesourcesoferrorthatwouldnotaddsignificantlyto theobservederror.Whatcountsassignificantdependsonthesituation.Forexample,ifthe componentsusedhaveatoleranceof5%andtheaccuracyoftheequipmentiswithin0.1%ofthe measuredvalue,thentheequipmentdoesnotaddanysignificanterror.Ingeneral,itisimpossibleto obtainerrorfreeresults,however,attentiontodetailwhenconductingproceduresshouldminimizethe error.Errorsaredifferentfrommistakes.Itisunacceptabletoreportmistakes.Ifamistakewasmade inthework,theworkmustberepeateduntilacceptabletolerancesareachievedbeforesubmittinga report. Whenworkingintheindustry,itisimperativetoknowhowaccuratetheresultsneedtobe.Itisworth yourtimeandeffort(andinthebestinterestofyourbossorclient)toprovidetheappropriatelevelof accuracy.Ifthatmeansrepetitivemeasurementstocheckforaccuracywithintolerance,thendoit.Ifit meansperformingadetailedanalysispriortomakingmeasurements,thendoit.Intheacademic setting,theresultoflazinessorlackofeffortmayonlybeabadgrade.Intheworkplace,youmayget fired! OtherinformationpertainingtowritingtheResultsandDiscussionsectioncanbefoundinAppendixB. Thisinformationincludes Howtocalculatepercentdifference/error. Typicalmagnitudesofpercenterrorforcourseswherecircuitsareconstructed. Whattoconsiderwritingaboutbasedonlabquestions. Guidelinesforgraphsprovidedinareport.

CONCLUSION
Inthisfinalsectionofthebodyofthereport,theauthorshouldbrieflybringeverythingtogether.Itis similartotheabstractexceptthatnowtheresultsareconcludeduponinaquantitativeway.Therefore, theconclusionshouldbeaconcisedescriptionofthereportincludingitspurposeandmostimportant resultsprovidingspecificquantitativeinformation.Theconclusionshouldnotcontainfiguresormake referencetothem.Aswiththeabstract,thereadershouldbeabletoreadthissectiononitsownwhich meansthatthereshouldbenospecifictechnicaljargon,abbreviations,oracronymsused.

WORKSCITED
Listallworkscitedinthereport,includealltheimportantbibliographicalinformation.TheWorksCited shouldbeginonanewpage,notonthesamepagewiththeconclusion.RefertoAppendixAfor informationonpreparingtheWorksCitedsection.

APPENDIX
Thissectionmaynotalwaysbepresent.Materialsincludedinanappendixmayincludelabsheets,parts list,diagrams,extensivecalculations,erroranalyses,andlengthycomputerprograms.Introduce numberedappendicesratherthanputtingdifferentitemsinoneappendix.

HOWAREADERININDUSTRYPERUSESATECHNICALREPORTANDWHYYOU SHOULDKNOW
Forobviousreasons,thereaderwillfirstreadthetitlepageandabstract.Therefore,itisimperativethat theabstractbeclearandwellwritten.Itshouldteasethereaderintolookingfurtherintothepaper.The conclusionisoftenthenextsectiontoberead.Allvaluablereaders,politicallyspeaking,willjump directlytotheconclusionmakingitimportanttoprovideatableofcontentstoeasedocument navigation.Iftheconclusion,relativetothetitlepage,soundsinterestingandconclusivetheywillread theothersectionstolearnmore. Theintroductionisreadnext.Itshouldprovidethereaderwithenoughinformationabouthowthe reportprogressessothatthereadercanpickandchoosewhichsectionsaremostapplicabletotheir interests.Basedonthis,someorallofthesubsequentsectionsmayberead. Inlightofunderstandinghowatechnicalreportisread,thereareseveralgeneralguidelinestoconsider: Aprofessionallookingandwellorganizeddocumentsetsthetoneforthereader. Ifyouuseacronyms,describethemfirstthenincludetheacronyminparenthesis,i.e.Digital Multimeter(DMM).Donotuseacronymsintheabstractandconclusionsections. DONOTbejudgmentalinyourwriting;Ifeltthat,theresultsweregreat,etc.Present theworkclearlyandvalidatetheworkwithdataaccompaniedbymeaningfuldiscussion. Giveyourreporttosomeonetoproofread.Notewheretheyhadquestionsorcouldnt understandyourdiscussion.Thenseeifyoucanimprovehowthatinformationispresented. Rememberthatthereadercantunderstandwhatyouarethinking.Writeyourreportfora technicalpeerbutdonotassumetheyarecomfortablewiththecurrentcoursematerial. Writeyourreportsindependentofotherreports.ReferringtoaLab3Part1doesnotmean anythingtoageneralaudience.

CONCLUSION
TechnicalReportWritingGuidelinesprovidesarecipeforwritingtechnicalreportsforavarietyof disciplinesandapplications.Ifalloftheinformationcontainedhereinisstudiedandapplied,theresult willbeareportworthreading.Consideringthatmosttechnicaljobsrequireaccuratecommunication throughwrittenmaterial,developinggoodtechnicalwritingskillscanonlyimproveyourcareerstatus. Beawarethatmostjobsinatechnicalfieldrequireasignificantamountoftechnicalwriting,from informalmemostoformalproposalsforpresentationtocustomers.Itisworthyourtimetoreadthis materialcarefullyandpracticeyourwritingskills. 6

WORKSCITED
[1] CitingFullTextandWorldWideWebDocumentsUsingAPAFormat.(n.d.).RetrievedDecember21, 2008fromhttp://libraryreference.sunydutchess.edu/citations.htm. [2] CitingPrintedResourcesUsingAPAFormat.(n.d.).RetrievedDecember21,2008from http://libraryreference.sunydutchess.edu/citations.htm. [3] CreatingParentheticalCitationsandReferenceListPagesUsingAPAFormat.(n.d.).Retrieved December21,2008fromhttp://libraryreference.sunydutchess.edu/citations.htm.

AppendixACreatingWorksCitedPageandCitationswithinReport
Atremendousamountofinformationonpropercitingofreferencesinreportsaswellashowtocitethe referencewithinthebodyofareportisprovidedbytheCollegesLibrary(seewebsiteat http://libraryreference.sunydutchess.edu/citations.htm).Fortechnicalreports,theAmerican PsychologicalAssociation(APA)methodoramodifiedversionasexplainedbelowismostoftenused. Foryourconvenience,thisinformationisprovidedhere,however,itisworthreviewingthewebsite becauseothervaluableresourcesareprovidedthatfacilitatebibliographycreation. Fortechnicalreports,amodifiedAPAmethodisoftenused.UsingtheAPAmethod,areferenceiscited inthebodyofthereportusingaparentheticalcitation.Withintheparenthesis,alotofinformationis suppliedincludingtheauthor,thepublicationdate,andthepagenumber.Ifnoauthorisprovided,then thetitleofthereferencedworkisincluded.Withthistechnique,aparentheticalcitationreferencingthe informationcitedherewouldbe(CreatingParentheticalCitationsandReferenceListPagesUsingAPA Format,2008).Intechnicalreports,anabbreviatedmethodisoftenusedwherethereferenceis identifiedbythenumberedlistintheWorksCitedsection.Usingthisabbreviatednotation,the referencewouldbejust[3].Squarebracketsmustbeused. Aftertheconclusionofareport,ifoutsidesourcesofinformationwereusedanumberedlistofthe referencesisprovidedintheordercitedwithinthepaper.Examplesofbibliographicinformationfor periodicalsandbookscanbefoundin[1]andforfulltextelectronicdatabasesandwebsitesin[2].The detailsofhowacitationshouldbewrittenarecopiedfrom[1]and[2]hereforyourconvenience.Also providedhereistheclassicmethodofprovidingaparentheticalcitationusingtheAPAmethod[3]in caseyouoptforthattechniqueratherthanthemodifiedmethoddescribedabove.

CitinganArticleinaPeriodical[1]
Whencitinganarticleinaperiodical,youmustinclude: Theauthor(s)lastname(s),followedbyacomma,andfirstinitial(s),followedbyaperiod. Theyearofpublicationanddate,inparentheses,followedbyaperiod. Thearticletitlefollowedbyaperiod.Capitalizeonlythefirstwordandanypropernouns(names, places,etc). Thetitleofjournal,initalics,followedbyacomma. Thevolumenumberinitalics. Theissuenumber(ifavailable)inparenthesis,followedbycomma. Thepagesfollowedbyaperiod.

CitingaBook[1]
Whencitingabook,youmustinclude: Theauthor(s)lastname(s),followedbyacommaandfirstinitial(s),followedbyaperiod. Theyearthebookwascopyrightedinparentheses,followedbyaperiod. Thetitleofthebook,initalicsandfollowedbyaperiod.Capitalizeonlythefirstwordandany propernouns(names,places,etc). Theplaceofpublication,followedbyacolon. Thepublisherfollowedbyaperiod.

CitingFullTextDatabasesUsingAPAFormat[2]
Whencitinganarticlefromafulltextdatabase,youmustinclude: Theauthor(s)lastname(s)first,followedbyacomma,andfirstinitial,followedbyaperiod. 8

Theyearofpublicationinparenthesesanddate,followedbyaperiod. Thearticletitlefollowedbyaperiod.Capitalizeonlythefirstwordandanypropernouns(names, places,etc). Titleofthejournal,initalics,followedbyacomma. Thevolumenumber(ifavailable)initalics. Theissuenumber(ifavailable)inparenthesis,followedbyacomma. Thepagesfollowedbyaperiod. ThephraseRetrievedfollowedbythedateyouaccessedthearticlefollowedbyacomma. Thewordfromandthenameofthedatabasefollowedbyaperiod.

CitingWorldWideWebDocuments[2]
Whencitinginformationthatwasretrievedfromawebsite,youmustinclude: Theauthor(s)lastname(s)(ifavailable)followedacommaandfirstinitial. Theyearofpublication(ifavailable)inparentheses.Ifnodateisavailable,use(n.d.) Thetitleofthedocumentinitalicsfollowedbyaperiod.Capitalizeonlythefirstwordandany propernouns(names,places,etc). ThephraseRetrievedfollowedbythedateyoufoundthedocumentontheWebfollowedby thewordfromandacomma. Ifagovernmentoracademicsite,thenameofthehostorganizationfollowedbyacolon. TheWebaddress(URL),followedbyaperiod.

CreatingParentheticalCitationsUsingAPAFormat[3]
Parentheticalcitationsareusedtoidentifythesourcesyouusedinwritingyourpaper.Thesecitations appearinanabbreviatedformwithinthetextofyourpaperandleadareadertothefullcitationsin yourWorksCitedPage.Thestandardruleforparentheticaltextcitationsistoinclude: Anopenparenthesis( Theauthorslastname,ifavailableandnotnamedinthetext,followedbyacomma Ifnoauthor,thetitle,inquotationmarks Thedatethesourcewaspublished,ifavailable,followedbyacomma Thepagenumber(s),fordirectquotesorifneededtouniquelyidentifythesource,proceededby p.orpp.Forelectronicsources,useparatoidentifyaquotefromaspecificparagraph Acloseparenthesis)

AppendixBWritingTipsforResultsandDiscussionSection
Thisinformationincludes: Howtocalculatepercentdifference/error. Typicalmagnitudesofpercenterrorforcourseswherecircuitsareconstructed. Whattoconsiderwritingaboutbasedonlabquestions. Guidelinesforgraphsprovidedinareport.

PercentDifference/Error
Alwayscalculatemeaningfulpercentdifferencewherepercentdifferenceiscommonlyunderstoodto be: %difference= {(measuredvaluetheoreticalvalue)/ (theoreticalvalue)}X100% Themeasuredvalueisthesameastheexperimentalvalue.Thisvalueisdeterminedthrough experimentation.Thetheoreticalvalueisdeterminedfromananalysisanddoesnotdependonany measuredvalue.

MagnitudeofError
Youmustprovidereasoneddiscussionwheneverasignificantpercenterrorexists.Whatisconsidered significantdependsontheworkundertakenandtheassociatedaccuracyrequirements.Thedegreeof accuracyisgenerallylimitedbyafactor(s)likelybeyondcontroloftheexperimenter. Forexample,standardresistorshaveatoleranceof5%.Therefore,apercentdifferencelessthan5% canbeattributedtotheresistortolerance.Othererrorsourcesarelikelyinsignificantlysmall comparatively.Capacitorsmayhaveatoleranceof10%.Incircuitswithcapacitors,errorupto10% maybeattributedtocomponenttolerance. Ifthepercentdifferencedeterminedisgreaterthanthecomponenttolerance,thenoneofthree possiblereasonsshouldbeconsidered.First,thepercentdifferencecouldbeanindicationthatthe theoryisnotpredictingtheresultsasgenerallyexpected.Inthiscase,theremustbeareasontosuspect flawedtheoryanditisimportanttodetermineanytheoreticalassumption(s)atfault.Second,another errorsourcemayexistthatcannotbemitigatedisatfault.Inthiscase,theerrorsourcemustbe identifiedandexplained.Third,asignificant(andunacceptable)humanerrorwasmadeduring experimentationinwhichcasetheexperimentneedstoberedone.Generally,apercentdifference greaterthan15%indicatesagrosserrorinthelabwhichmustbeidentifiedWHILEinlab.Recognizing thatlabpreparationalwaysincludesperformingtheoreticalpredictionsfirstandmayalsoinclude computersimulation,theexperimenterMUSTbeinapositiontojudgethedataasitisbeingrecorded. Ifalargepercentdifferenceisnotedduringlab,donotproceeduntiltheproblemisresolved.Thismay includeseekingassistancefromtheinstructorandobtainingpermissiontoproceed.

WritingDiscussionBasedonLabQuestions
Whenwritingtheresultsanddiscussionsection,paycloseattentiontoallquestionsposedbythe instructor.Generally,labquestionsindicateaspectsofthelabconsideredmostimportantandmustbe discussedalongwiththepresentationofresults.

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GuidelinesforGraphs
Alwaysrefertographsandtableswhendiscussingresults.Constructgraphsusingthefollowing guidelines: 1. CreatethegraphusingacomputersoftwarepackagesuchasMicrosoftExcel.Ifcomputer accessisnotavailable,usegridpaper. 2. Provideoneinchmarginsonallsides;donotwriteinthemargins. 3. Clearlylabelaxes,includingquantityplottedanditsunits. 4. Useasmoothedlinetoproducethebestfitcurve. 5. Clearlyindicatedatapointsusingacircle,triangle,orsquare.Usedifferentshapesfordifferent curvesplottedonthesameaxes. 6. Labeldifferentcurvesplottedonthesameaxes. 7. Numberandtitleeverygraph.Figure1:Vvs.RisNOTanacceptabletitlewhereasFigure1: MeasurementofVoltage(V)asaFunctionofVaryingResistance(R)is. 8. Placeallgraphsinthereportsothatthebottomofthegraphiseitheralongthebottomofthe paperortherightsideofthepaper.

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APPENDIXCGUIDELINESFORANSWERINGTECHNICALQUESTIONS
Thelistprovidedbelowsuppliesguidelinesforansweringtechnicalquestionsasopposedtowritinga formaltechnicalreport. Inconsiderationoftheaccessibilitytowordprocessors,thisassignmentshouldbesubmittedin typedform. Firsttypethequestion,thentypetheanswer. Iftheresponsibilityofansweringthequestionsisateamresponsibility,itisexpectedthatALL teammemberscontributetothediscussionandwritingoftheanswers. Usefullsentencesandmakesureallpartsofthequestionareanswered.Ifaskedtoexplain, makesuretoprovideadequateexplanation. Makesurethelabsobjectivesareunderstoodastheyaretheindicationofwhattofocusonin answeringquestionsandwritingreports. Whencomparingdata,makesurethetypeofdataisclearlyindicated.Datathatisobtained completelyfromtheorywithnouseofdatacollectedinthelabistheoreticaldata.Data obtainedfromexperimentalmeasurementsisexperimentaldata.Iftheorywasusedtoderive data,suchasusingcurrenttocalculatevoltageusingOhmsLaw,theresultisstillexperimental innaturesinceitisbasedonexperimentalinformation.Finally,datacanbecomputergenerated orsimulateddata. Tablesorgraphsshouldallowforeasycomparisonbetweennumbers.Indicatethetypeofdata anditsunits,andsupplyapercentdifferencewhereappropriate.Alltypesofdatashouldbe included. Itisimportanttobeinvolvedinansweringlabquestions,evenifitisateamresponsibility.The recommendedmethodofansweringlabquestionsasateamistoorganizeateammeetingat whichtheteamwilldiscussandworktogethertowritetheanswers.Ifameetingisnotpossible, theteamshouldengageinanelectronicdiscussion(possiblyusingemail)toworktogetherto writetheresponses.Individualscouldbeassignedtorespondtoparticularquestionsandthen severaldaysbeforetheteamreportisdue,eachindividualsharestheirworkwiththerestofthe team.Thisallowstimebeforetheduedateforeveryonetoreviewandrevisethesupplied responses. Whencomparingtwosetsofdata,supplythedataANDthepercentdifference.Thereislittle meaningtohaveonewithouttheother. Makesuretoreadoverwhatyouhavewrittentoseeifitactuallyanswersthequestionathand. Youmaynotbegettingstraighttothepointoryoumaynotbebackingupyouranswerwith meaningfulinformation.Forexample,sayingthatthevoltagedifferenceisonly0.02Vis meaninglesswithoutexplainingthepercentdifference.Ifthevoltagewascalculatedtobe 0.085Vandyoumeasured0.065Vthenthepercentdifferencewouldbe31%!Whereasifyou measured0.58Vandyouexpected0.6V,thenthepercentdifferenceisonly3.4%.Bothcasesare fora0.02VdifferencedoYOUseethedifference?

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