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The engineering library at The Diamond in Sheffield

Putting it all together

At the start of the course, we discussed how a report is made up of standard sections. As we’ve made our way through the course, we’ve learned the purpose of each section, as well as what goes in and just as importantly, what doesn’t go into each one. In our final week, we’ll learn how to put these sections together so that the document feels like a complete piece of work.

Writing an abstract

We’ll start with the important task of writing an abstract. This is a summary of the whole report which tells the reader the main points about the project.

Writing an abstract can be a difficult task. As educators, we often find that students struggle with this skill. We’ll share our tips for writing concisely and give you an opportunity to practice writing an abstract for yourself.

Optional sections at the start and end of your report

We’ll then look at the optional sections which are added to the beginning or end of a report. This includes preparatory material for the reader at the start, which we call front matter and supplementary material at the end which provides additional details for the reader.

Global formatting

We’ll also discuss how to ensure the document has a consistent appearance and how the structure can be clearly understood by the reader by considering the global formatting.

Our final tips

To end the week, and the course, we’ll provide a selection of strategies for becoming more effective at writing reports, such as the best ways to get started and how to check for errors.

We’ll also share our Report Writing Checklist - a tool which you can use to write effective reports in the future.

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This article is from the free online course:

Technical Report Writing for Engineers

The University of Sheffield