WRIT 220 Putting It All Together: The Complete Technical Research Report

WRIT 220

Putting It All Together: The Complete Technical Research Report


Due: Mon 18 Apr at the end of the day

Value: 10%

Length: 11 pages minimum

Format: Formal research report format

Submission: Upload a doc, docx, pdf, or rtf file to the appropriate link in “Assignments”


Congratulations on completing your solution explanation! Now that you’ve developed the problem and solution sections and received feedback on these sections, it’s time to “package” your work.

Be sure to leave yourself multiple days to put your report together. Because it’s long and dense, and because format and style are so important, you ’ll need time to ensure that it’s coherent, consistent, and professional. Remember that all design and language choices should be made with reader comprehension in mind.


Before attempting this assignment, you should consult the materials attached with this assignment and review the following resources in Learning Materials on Blackboard:

•   Module 3: Document Design

•   Module 5: Evaluate and Cite Sources

•   Module 9: Technical Research Reports

•   Module 10: Report Supplements

Also, for assistance with formatting, consider viewing these MS Word “how to” videos:

•    Heading structures

•    Multilevel numbering for headings

•    Section breaks

•    Start, stop, and change page numbering

•    Automatic table of contents

•    Insert figure captions (labels)

•    Automatic list of figures

Self-Plagiarism: What is it? How to Avoid it

Submitting previously submitted course work for credit—in part or in full—is a form of plagiarism and is treated in the same manner as other forms of academic misconduct by Humber College. When an author self-plagiarizes, they are drawing on ideas or words that they have submitted for credit or publication elsewhere, without acknowledgment or proper citation. Here is a  short and helpful article that describes what self-plagiarism is, why it qualifies as academic misconduct, and how to avoid it in the future.

Format & Structure

As a report longer than 10 pages, your report will follow this formal research report structure

(front matter, main body sections, back matter):

•   Cover page

•   Executive summary

•   Table of contents

•   List of figures

•   Glossary (if necessary)

•   Introduction

•   Problem section (with several subsections)

•   Solution section (with several subsections)

•   Conclusions

•   APA-style references list

•   Appendix (if necessary)

Front matter refers to components that come at the beginning of the report and precede the body sections. Overall, these sections help readers understand the organization of the report and find the material they need.

The first few components will map out the report to the reader and clarify how the information can be effectively navigated. The last components acknowledge sources and may provide a bit of extra information.

While some repetition of information in your report is inevitable and helpful, you should paraphrase yourself and avoid cutting and pasting your own wording multiple times in the same document.

Here are guidelines for each component:

Cover page

The cover page provides the contextual information for the report and adds professionalism to the report design. For WRIT 220 formal technical research reports, cover pages may include graphics, but usually include the following information:

•   Full Title

•   Course Code

•   Submitted to

•   Submitted by

•   Date of Submission

The cover page isn’t numbered.

Executive summary

The executive summary provides a concise overview of the key information. The summary allows readers to immediately grasp the high -level material and to determine how much of the report they should read in depth. Because it is particularly useful for executives (managers, directors, vice-presidents, etc.) who may not need all the technical detail in the report, this component is sometimes called an “executive summary”. Effective summaries follow these general principles:

•    Cover all the key focuses (if readers read only this sect ion, they should still have a general understanding of the full report)

•   Indicate the purpose of the report and the context of its creation

•   Explain the problem and the potential consequences

•   Explain the solution and the benefits

•   Provide some conclusions

Generally, summaries shrink the introduction, problem, solution, and conclusion sections down to around 10-15% of the body word count.

Table of contents

The table of contents should be created last because it lists every component and heading featured in the report and indicates the page it appears on. It should include sections, subsections, and sub-subsections. For this table to be used effectively, ensure that you have added page numbers to your report.

Your report body should also feature a decimal hierarchy for the headings that are displayed here. For a full explanation of decimal hierarchy, see the document design module.

Effective tables of contents follow these guidelines:

•   Include a title for the table

•   List sections/headings in order of appearance

•   Indent each level of decimal hierarchy

•   Align page numbers on the right margin

The pages that come after the cover page and before the introduction are numbered with roman numerals and may not appear in the table of contents . One of the “how-to” videos will explain how to insert section breaks so you can change page numbering.

List of figures

The list of figures is like a table of contents, but it lists graphics and images instead of headings.

The list of figures can appear below the table of contents or on its own page; consult your professor for their preferences. Effective tables of contents follow these guide lines:

•   Include a title for the list

•   List every graphic in order of appearance

•   Include a figure number and name for each graphic

•   Align page numbers on the right margin

Glossary (if necessary)

The glossary is a context-specific dictionary for the report. It features technical terms or complex

vocabulary accompanied by definitions. Terms featured in the glossary can appear in bold the first time they are used in the report; this signifies to the reader that the term is included in the glossary.

Because your WRIT 220 report is written for non -experts, you must define any highly specialized language or acronyms that readers may not be familiar with. Remember these general guidelines for glossaries:

•   Order terms alphabetically

•   Cite any definitions copied word for word

This section is optional and only appears if the report features at least 3 terms that require defining. If you have less than 3 terms to define, simply define them in the report body.


The introduction will map out the report’s content:

•   What is the purpose of the report?

•   What is the problem?

•   What is the solution?

•   How is the report structured (problem/solution, glossary, appendix)?

•   What are the research methods (secondary; scholarly, trade, and popular articles)?

•   What are the most useful sources (be specific)?

•   What does the reader need to know to understand the technical information?

Problem and solution sections

The fundamental structure governing your report is the problem-solution structure. These two sections anchor the report and contain the most detailed specifications, descriptions, explanations, and analyses. In order to make the dense and comprehensive technical material accessible, each part of the problem-solution structure needs to be divided further into clear subsections and sub-subsections.

The exact structure and headings of your document will be unique to your report. Other students in your class have likely chosen other topics, and even students with similar topics will locate different sources, collect different information, and organize their reports differently.  There is

no rigid template to follow. The division of your problem and solution sections should order and group material in a way that enhances clarity and flow.


The conclusion will reiterate key information and look to the future :

•   What problem needs to be solved?

•   What are the benefits of the solution?

•    What is its potential for implementation?  In 2 years, how well developed will it be (i.e., prototype, scaling up, full-scale manufacturing)? 5 years? 10 years? How will it be used in the future? Where? How?

Back matter refers to the components that follow the body sections and appear at the very end of the report. Specifically, your research report may feature two final components:

APA-style references list

The APA-style references list presents full references (not just URLs) of all the sources that you

consulted, paraphrased, summarized, quoted or used for images. If you read a source thoroughly but are unsure whether to include it in the list or not, you should likely include it; the source may have affected your thinking, even if you didn’t quote it directly.

Overall, follow these guidelines for your references list:

•   List the sources in alphabetical order

•   Use reverse or hanging indent for each entry

•   Follow APA format

The APA-style references list should include at least SIX secondary sources (THREE for the problem explanation and THREE for the solution explanation) that are authoritative and reliable. For example, commercial Internet sites and Wikipedia entries are not acceptable.

Appendix (if necessary)

The appendix is optional and is only present if the writer wants to include material in the report

that would disrupt the flow of the body sections. In that case, the information is added to the very end of the report and is labelled an appendix. For example, some useful information that may not fit comfortably in the body of the report includes these cases:

•   Long charts

•   Data sets used to create graphics

•   Complex calculations

•   Background information that many readers may be familiar with

•   Interesting information that falls outside the scope of the report purpose