Tech Rep1 Notes


As a reminder, these reports are meant to be the start of a conversation.  Therefore, you will be allowed to revise and resubmit.

With student permission, outstanding reports will be uploaded to the ASU Digital Repository, where they will be accessible to the public.

You can view the reports previously published in the Tiktaalik Collection in the ASU repository for inspiration for your own reports. Here are a couple excellent tech transition reports from the collection:

Energy Star


Some common and/or unique problems from tech report 1 submissions are as follows:

Incomplete executive summary. The executive summary should be a 1-2 page summary of your paper, including intro, problem, hypothesis, methods, results, discussion and conclusion. Too frequently what I receive is an introduction and problem statement, but nothing more.

Missing references or citations and unsupported statements. If you make a claim that is not axiomatic or your original insight or contribution, it should be cited in text and a reference should be provided at the end of the paper in a bibliography. For example, if you say “Nuclear power is the greenest power” this is not self-evident, and you have not provided a reference to support it. Find an article or other reference describing why nuclear power is green, and add that to show support for your claim. Also, make sure to format your references properly. There is no required standardized format, but choose one and keep consistent. Make sure that it includes enough information so that a reader could find the reference on their own.

Redundancy. Aside from ideas introduced in the executive summary, nowhere in the body of your paper should you repeat yourself.

Lack of attunement. Some papers seem confused regarding the audience. Using a hypothetical audience and even identifying who the paper is intended for in the text can help with this problem. Figure out what would be important to them, and incorporate that into your analysis.

Convoluted paragraphs. Typically, paragraphs should have one main idea and some supporting sentences. Multiple ideas per paragraph can make them confusing and disrupt the flow of reading.

Graphs – labeling and scaling. ALWAYS label both axes in a graph with the numbers and units. Also, if part of your graph has a much higher value than the rest, consider using an axis break to make the graph easier to interpret.

Make the report look professional. It’s OK to be creative, but use fonts and backgrounds that are aesthetically pleasing and not overly bold. If it’s not something you would expect a professional to deliver to you, then don’t deliver it to me.

Spelling and grammar errors. There is no excuse for spelling or grammar errors that should be caught by running a simple spell check before submitting. This is automated feature of most word processors that can help catch errors and improve the professionalism of your report. Some errors are harder to catch using the automated system, but should still be avoided. Have multiple group members proofread the final document. Consider having a writing tutor review the document if you are having significant difficulties.

Organization of the report. The structure and flow of the report matter – not just the content. There should be a logical flow to the report where one section naturally leads into the next, and the reader can follow the line of argument. For example, don’t present results before describing the methods used to get them.

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