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A Guided Approach to Technical Report Writing for Undergraduate Engineering Students

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

First Year Programs Division Poster Session: The Best Place to Really Talk about First-Year Education

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.51.1 - 26.51.8



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Paper Authors


Lindsay Corneal Grand Valley State University

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Lindsay Corneal is an Assistant Professor in the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing at Grand Valley State University. She received her B.A.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Windsor, her M.B.A. from Lawrence Technological University, and her Ph.D. from Michigan State University in Materials Science and Engineering.

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A Guided Approach to Technical Report Writing for Undergraduate Engineering StudentsLearning how to write technical reports can be difficult for undergraduate engineering students thathave had very little, if any, experience with technical report writing in their high school classes. Thelaboratory course “Engineering Measurement and Data Analysis” is required for all undergraduateengineering students at ________ University, with a major focus of this course being technical reportwriting.In order to guide the students in preparing technical reports, templates have been designed to guide thestudents through the expectations of the technical reports and slowly transition them into writing thereports on their own, without the use of a template. This is done by providing a full template for the firstlaboratory activity, where they simply have to fill in the fields of the template with information fromtheir own laboratory activity. For the second laboratory activity, the students are provided a partialtemplate where they have to focus on only writing certain sections of the report and the other sectionsare provided as a template with fields for the students to complete. The final template provided is forthe third laboratory activity, where the partial template that is provided requires the students to focuson writing the sections of the report that were not the focus of the earlier partial template, and the restof the report is provided as a template with fields for the students to complete. For the fourth and laterlaboratory activities, the students prepare full technical reports without the use of any template.This guided approach using writing templates has been incorporated into the Engineering Measurementand Data Analysis class in addition to technical report writing guidelines and examples that have beenused previously. Feedback from the students has indicated that the templates help them understandhow to apply the guidelines for technical report writing. One area of concern is that the students canbecome confused with the clarity of what is to be inserted into the fields of the templates. Updates tothe templates themselves will be completed for use in future classes.This paper presents an overview of the guided approach as well as the outcomes and feedback from thestudents that participated in the class. The plans for further modifications and improvements to thisapproach will also be presented.

Corneal, L. (2015, June), A Guided Approach to Technical Report Writing for Undergraduate Engineering Students Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23392

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