GUIDELINES FOR PREPARATION, CONTENT & EVALUATION OF TECHNICAL REPORTS

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1 GUIDELINES FOR PREPARATION, CONTENT & EVALUATION OF TECHNICAL REPORTS OBJECTIVE This document is intended to aid in the preparation and review of Technical reports prepared by applicants to CTTAM as required for certification. It provides information for preparation and review of a Technical report including the synopsis, format and content. In order for applicants to prepare a technical report it is essential they be familiar with this document and understand the concepts presented within. Although it is not required, applicants should have mentor/advisor that is familiar with this document and who is able to provide advice and guidance on both the format and technical content required. INTRODUCTION What is a Technical Report? The Technical Report is the final academic requirement for applicants seeking registration as a Technologist with CTTAM. A Technical Report is also referred to as an applied science research project. The subject of the Report may be the development of a design, a test, a process, or a significant piece of equipment. The Report should show an attempt to solve an engineering problem in a practical manner. It should utilize engineering technologist level mathematics and engineering/applied science fundamentals appropriate to the subject matter to show a clear indication that the writer understands the subject and can analyze at the technologist level. A Technical Report has no fewer than 3,000 words but normally has 4,000 6,000 words in the main body. The subject must relate directly to the individual s discipline of study. The Purpose of a Technical Report All engineering or applied science technology programs that are nationally accredited by the Canadian Technology Accreditation Board (CTAB) must show that graduates have demonstrated the ability to satisfy outcomes, of which one of the mandatory outcomes for all technology disciplines is the completion of an acceptable Technical Report. As a result, all applicants for membership/certification who have been assessed at having Technologist equivalent academics from a non-accredited technology program must complete a Technical Report to achieve a Technologist academic classification with CTTAM. The purpose of a Technical Report is to assess the candidate's ability to effectively state and solve an engineering or applied science problem, utilizing the breadth and depth of knowledge acquired at the Technologist level. The Technical Report demonstrates the candidate s ability to define a problem; examine and describe it logically and accurately through the use of technical fundamentals, design, experiments, processes, data analysis or other appropriate means; and to draw conclusions or make recommendations from the study. The Technical Report is expected to provide appropriate discussion and supporting analysis utilizing the candidate academic background and experience gained in the workplace. The Technical Report must reflect a level of engineering knowledge required by an Engineering Technologist. The Report itself need not show originality of ideas, but the candidate must demonstrate an ability to appreciate, present, discriminate between and draw conclusions from observations and ideas in an integrated fashion. The Technical Report & the National Technology Benchmarks (NTB) The National Technology Benchmarks (NTB) are outcome-based statements that were developed by the Canadian Council of Technicians & Technologists (CCTT) for program accreditation. CCTT s Constituent Members, such as CTTAM, use the NTB for the evaluation of candidates for certification as an applied Science or Engineering Technologist. The Panel of Examiners must determine that Technical Reports satisfy all of the elements contained in the following National Technology Benchmark outcome-based statement for the Technical Report requirement: Research, critically analyze, prepare, document, submit and defend a Technology Report, with analysis results relating to a significant technology-related issue, using suitable tools and appropriate professional format guidelines. Page 1 of 8

2 THE STEPS FOR SUBMITTING A TECHNICAL REPORT The successful completion of a Technical Report is a three step process. 1. Candidates must submit a synopsis or a proposal for the Technical Report for approval by the Panel of Examiners. This proposal must be received and approved by the Panel of Examiners before proceeding to the second step. 2. Upon receiving approval of the synopsis, candidates may complete and submit the actual Technical Report. The Report must be submitted to the Registrar within twelve months of the approval of the Synopsis. 3. The submitted Technical Report will be evaluated by the Panel of Examiners and the results will be communicated by mail. For more detail on evaluation, refer to the section on Evaluating the Technical Report. Alternatives to Writing an Original Technical Report The Panel of Examiners may accept an undergraduate, final year Technical Report, prepared as a requirement of an engineering technology program of studies. However, reports resulting from group projects may not be acceptable. In addition, a report resulting from a project from the candidate s work experience may meet the requirements of a Technical Report. Applicants should discuss these options with the Registrar prior to proceeding. THE SYNOPSIS What is the Synopsis? A synopsis is a brief summary of a subject and is often referred to as an abstract or proposal for the Technical Report. The Purpose of the Synopsis The synopsis provides a tool for the CTTAM Panel of Examiners to determine if the proposed subject matter meets the requirement for sufficient breadth and depth to potentially result in an acceptable Technical Report. The Format of a Synopsis Normally, the synopsis will be a total of 500 words divided into several paragraphs. The following are the requirements for the format of the synopsis: 1 2 pages, less than 500 words 12 point font, Times New Roman or Arial, double-spaced 1 margin on all sides Student name, designation, if applicable, and CTTAM number, in header, right justified Title: Synopsis, centered, and the proposed title of the report, date of submission The Content of a Synopsis The synopsis should be brief, often only four to five paragraphs. The paragraphs should be short and specific, quickly summarizing the points and allow the reader to be fully informed in as short a time as possible. It is expected that the writer will break down the synopsis into the following paragraphs: Paragraph #1 - What Problem is being Solved The initial paragraph should briefly state the main topic of the technical report and the writer s purpose. Paragraph #2 - Why the Topic has been Chosen The second paragraph is used to quickly explain why the topic has been chosen and its relationship to the writer s interests and technology. This paragraph should also indicate if the writer has an advisor/mentor, their relationship to the writer and how to contact them. Page 2 of 8

3 Paragraph #3 - How the Problem will be Solved The third paragraph, and possibly a fourth paragraph, will indicate how to solve the problem and should briefly outline the required step by step procedure to solve the problem. The steps are the major topics that the writer anticipates are required to solve the problem. It is entirely possible that the outlined steps are incomplete or not all are required and that the procedure will need to be revised when the report is being researched. This part of the synopsis defines the technical scope and it is briefly outlined by indicating the following points: What data will be used What the data will be compared against How the analysis will be done and what will be used to analyze the data, such, as codes and standards, design manuals and mathematics. To keep the synopsis as short as possible, it is not required to have detailed information at this point. For example, if part of the report involves designing a beam and will contain higher mathematics such as calculus, indicate that the Successive Integration Method will be used to calculate beam deflections. Or if an analysis is being performed to building codes or its referenced standards, only stat e name of the codes and/or standards that will be used in the analysis. Final Paragraph - What are the Expected Conclusions or Recommendations? The final paragraph will contain the expected conclusions or the answers to the problem of the report s subject matter. It may also contain expected recommendations. The Evaluation of the Synopsis The synopsis is not graded. It is used by the Panel of Examiners to determine if the subject matter will have the necessary technical content and / or scope. If the synopsis is considered inadequate, the candidate will receive suggestions for improvement and will be asked to re-submit a new synopsis. The candidate should not proceed with the Technical Report until approval is granted. Submitting a Report without a Synopsis It is important to remember that without submitting a synopsis prior to submitting a technical report it is possible that the report may not meet the requirements or depth expected by the CTTAM Panel of Examiners. Where a report is submitted without a synopsis, the report summary or abstract will be reviewed first. If the summary is considered inadequate, the Report will not be reviewed by the Panel. TECHNICAL REPORT FORMATTING What is the Format of the Technical Report The information outlined below is not necessarily that of a conventional formal report, it is a guide to what is expected in a report submitted to CTTAM. It is suggested that all applicants use a technical writing textbook or take a technical writing course to help prepare their report. It is expected that a formal report will be submitted and will be arranged as follows: Front and Back Cover Acknowledgements Summary or Abstract Table of Contents List of Appendices List of Tables List of Figures Introduction Discussion or Body of the Report Conclusions Recommendations Bibliography References Appendices Page 3 of 8

4 A Technical Report should follow acceptable style and language usage including: Typed, double-spaced using Arial or Times New Roman, 12 point font Justified left with pages numbered in the footer, one inch margins Correct spelling, punctuation and grammar Consistent voice with no use of the first person, subject verb agreement, tense No use of jargon Acronyms explained The Front Cover and Binding The front cover states: the report s title, the author s name, designation (if applicable), CTTAM number, date of completion and who the report was prepared for. The back cover will be a simple solid color cardboard sheet. CTTAM TECHNICAL REPORT GUIDELINES The binding needs to allow the reader to easily handle the report and should not easily allow pages to be removed. Binding should allow pages to sit flat on a reading surface. For reports submitted to CTTAM, a continuous spiral binding is preferred. Acknowledgements This section provides an opportunity for the author to acknowledge the individuals who provided any aid or assistance to the project. The Summary or Abstract The summary, also referred to as an Abstract, is considered to be one of the most important parts of a report and will be similar to the synopsis written prior to the report. In order to produce a well written summary, it should be the last part of the report that is written. By reading the abstract, a reader will know whether or not the material contained in the report is relevant to reader s needs. The Table of Contents Any standard table of contents is generally acceptable for a report. The table of contents should indicate page numbers of titles, headings, sub-headings, references, bibliography, list of figures, list of tables and appendices. The Introduction Introductions will provide the reader with a general understanding of the report s topic using non- to semi-technical language. An effectively written introduction will provide a clear picture in the reader s mind of the topic, but it will not impinge on the material covered in the remainder of the report. A background, purpose, and scope will be included in the introduction. The background contains information critical to the development and understanding of the reports main topic. The information will include any necessary facts outlining the events which lead to the writing of the report. The purpose explains why the report is being written and can include new ideas, concepts, and recommendations the author may have. The scope will indicate the depth of the report and will outline how the information for the report was acquired. If external or internal factors affected how the report was written or why only specific items were investigated, they will be outlined here. The Discussion The discussion is the main body of the report where all the data, research, facts, and opinions will be presented by the author. Where possible, it is preferred that reports be developed by concept, but may be developed by subject or chronologically. In general, development by concept offers the most flexibility and helps the reader understand your approach, thoughts, and methods. Concept development shows the thoughts and opinions of the writer and the organization of facts which have solved or concluded the problem. Subject development group information into a logical order and presents it as such. Chronological development will show and present the order in which the facts were gathered. Page 4 of 8

5 The Conclusion A conclusion will briefly provide answers to the report s problem that the author has derived from the research which was presented in the discussion. The conclusion will not infer a recommendation and should not introduce new information. Often a report will have multiple conclusions and should be presented in order of importance. The conclusion is reasoned judgement and not personal opinion. The Recommendation The recommendation is strongly written and will provide actions or solutions that are called for on the basis of the author s interpretations. References A numbered list of references is to be used. A reference can be cited by inserting its number in superscripted form or in square brackets into the report at the appropriate point. The list of references is limited to materials that are definitely cited, and the entries are arranged in the order in which they are first cited. Bibliography (optional) The bibliography is optional as it will include an alphabetical list of books, articles and works reviewed in the preparation of the report. It should not contain those sources included in the References. Appendices Appendices are sets of data which was gathered to write the report including drawings, specifications, manufacturers data, sketches, costing, etc. Most report will have more than one appendix forming appendices. Each appendix will be individually labelled and is generally done by a lettering scheme. Glossary of Terms (optional) An alphabetical list of terms and words used in the report that the author feels should be further defined. Abbreviations or Acronyms (optional) An alphabetical list of abbreviated terms that are used frequently throughout the report. TECHNICAL REPORT CONTENT What does CTTAM Expect? CTTAM expects an individual applying for certification will be able to determine what depth of technical content is required to write a report. CTTAM will not provide applicants with technical content. What does CTTAM Look For? CTTAM looks for subject matter, technical presentation and technical scope, below are guides to each category. Subject Matter Subject matter is reviewed to ensure that the report actually concurs with the synopsis and/or summary written by the author. Technical Presentation Technical presentation includes many factors such as the accuracy of data, organization, readability, mathematical analysis, and use of equations. Data, equations, and mathematical analyses presented within the report should be precise, accurate, organized, and readable. Technical Scope Technical scope includes comprehension, development, and understanding of engineering fundamentals relevant to the subject of the report and includes items such as validity of conclusions and recommendations. Reports need to show and demonstrate the author s ability to utilize engineering concepts, knowledge, and basic fundamentals to determine a conclusion, recommendation, and/or resolution to an engineering based problem. Page 5 of 8

6 EVALUATING THE TECHNICAL REPORT How is the Report Evaluated? Technical reports evaluated by CTTAM will not be given a letter or numerical grade, only a pass or fail. Technical reports are evaluated by a weighted evaluation system. There are two major sections being evaluated, one on technical content; the other on formatting. Each section is evaluated on a scale of one to five with a one being the lowest and a five being the highest. If each major section is evaluated as a three or higher, the report is a pass, if either section is below a three, the report is a failure. The Panel will make one of the following outlined decisions: 1. The Technical Report is found acceptable, as it stands, and given a grade of Pass. Successful candidates will be granted the academic classification of Technologist. To become certified as a C.E.T., an application for reclassification must be submitted. 2. One or both of the major sections, Technical Content and Formatting, are evaluated as a Fail and the report will be returned to author with a letter indicating which sections require attention. The author is allowed to revise and resubmit for a subsequent review. If a third review results, there will be a charge of $ The Technical Report may not be acceptable and a revision will not be allowed. 4. The Panel of Examiners may wish to have the author present at an oral defense of the report. Plagiarism Plagiarism is a misrepresentation of another person s ideas or writing as one s own. The most obvious forms of this are presentation of all or part of another person s work or paraphrasing another s writing without proper acknowledgement. Plagiarism will result in a failing grade and /or referral to the CTTAM Discipline Committee for further sanctions. Ownership of the Technical Report The technical report will remain the property of CTTAM and may be used to assist others in the preparation of their reports. Arrangements can be made for members to view Technical Reports in the CTTAM office by contacting the Registrar. Confidentiality A candidate may wish to submit a Technical Report prepared on behalf of an employer which is proprietary to that employer. Special arrangements may be made with the Registrar for confidential or proprietary reports, provided a written request is made in advance. All copies will be returned to the author on completion of the evaluation. Candidates must obtain their employer s written permission prior to submitting the report to CTTAM. The ownership statement above does not apply in these cases. Page 6 of 8

7 Certified Portage Ave. Tel: (204) Technicians and Winnipeg, Manitoba Fax: (204) Technologists Canada R3J 3T7 Association of Manitoba Inc. (CTTAM) Technical Report Evaluation Guide Date Report Received: Discipline: Report Title: Member No.: CTTAM Reviewer: Section 1 Technical Content Sub-Topic Evaluation Sub- Section Average 1.1 Subject Matter Concurrence with synopsis Sub-Section 1.1 Average Section Average 1.2 Technical Presentation Accuracy of data and information Completeness of data and information Organization Readability Sub-Section Average Technical Scope Technical comprehension Mathematical comprehension Use and understanding of engineering fundamentals Development of subject matter Validity of conclusions Validity of Recommendations Support of data presented Creativity Accuracy and completeness of drawings/illustrations Sub-Section 1.3 Average Section 1 Final Average Page 7 of 8

8 Certified Portage Ave. Tel: (204) Technicians and Winnipeg, Manitoba Fax: (204) Technologists Canada R3J 3T7 Association of Manitoba Inc. (CTTAM) Section 2 Formatting Sub-Topic Evaluation Sub- Section Average Format Follows formal report outline Sub-Section 2.1 Average Section Average 2.2 Writing Style Grammar Spelling Readability Acknowledges work/research by others Creativity Sub-Section Average Appearance Page layout Binding Title page Illustrations Neatness Sub-Section 2.3 Average Section 2 Final Average *A minimum evaluation of three (3) is required in each sub-section to pass. Final Evaluation: PASS FAIL Examiners Signature: Date: Comments: Page 8 of 8

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