Chapter 9-3: The Technical Report

Writing > Expository Essays > Technical Report


Technical reports are formal reports that inform and describe technical or scientific information. They can be used by professionals in any field.


The format for a technical report can vary depending on the detail, but here is a general outline on what should be included when writing one. It is important to be organized and concise with your information.

  • Abstract / Summary

      • An overview of the main idea of the report without giving specific evidence or findings.

  • Introduction

      • Outline or highlights of the report and the importance of the information given.

  • The Body

      • This is the most important part of the report since this is where all the evidence and information that supports the thesis will be.

      • Separate the information into different paragraphs and provide different headings for each paragraph.

  • Conclusion

      • A summary of the main ideas of the report.

Technical Report Outline

This outline of a technical report should help you with the content of your report.

Title: Choose a title that gives the reader the main idea of the report


Abstract: If you have enough word count available, give an overview of the main idea of the report so readers will know what to expect. Avoid details. Make this about 2-3 sentences. Do this paragraph last.

Introduction: Explain the objective of the report, the topic or background information. Can include methods of approach, statement of problem, why the survey was done, identification of surveyors & respondents, initial hypothesis, and when / where / how the information was collected. Add a thesis at the end of your introduction.

Body 1 Heading:

Address the first idea of your report. Support all ideas with examples and evidence.

Body 2 Heading:

Address the second idea of your report. Support all ideas with examples and evidence.

Body 3 Heading:

Address the third idea of your report. Support all ideas with examples and evidence. This is just a suggestion on how many paragraphs to use. Feel free to add more if necessary.

Problems with information collecting method: State any problems that arose when collecting information. (if applicable)

Conclusion: Summarize the information given in the body paragraphs.

Address any questions, offer solutions to any problems or a plan of action. Optionally, offer a brief personal opinion on the subject (this is the only location permitted to do this).

Sample Report

The following report offers a sample miniature technical report designed to fit on one page of a workbook. Text length, level of language, documentation, and formatting style requirements for your course are probably different than those in the sample report. See your assignment instructions for further details.

The objective of this sample report is to offer you an opportunity to analyze the structure of a technical report. Structure remains the same regardless of text length, level of language, documentation, and formatting style.

NOTES: this is a sample report designed to fit on one page. As such, it may be missing things that you must do in your report. Consult your assignment instructions for this information.

1. The number of words that you are required to write, the number of ideas that you are required to express, and the formatting rules you are required to follow may be different for your own assignment.

2. This sample report did not offer a synthesis. You may be required to synthesize your results with external information.

Sample Outline

An wise author prepares an outline before writing. Here is what the outline for the above sample technical report may have looked like:

1. Abstract

2. Introduction: Description of social media

• Two types of groups surveyed, quantities (r)

• Survey length and topics

• Method survey was distributed (absent from example report)

Thesis: We hypothesized that women would use social media more than men and that most people would know how to keep themselves safe from online threats by using online security features.

3. Results - social media use

Most people know about and use social media (paragraph topic)

• Most popular service

• Women use social media more than men

• Women enjoy using social media more than men

4. Results - online security knowledge

Most people don't fully understand online security (paragraph topic)

• Few respondents enforce strict security settings on their accounts

• Most people feel they don't know enough about online security

5. Problems with the survey

There were issues with the sample focus, the sample profile, and questions that were confusing

• Too many groups were polled

• Topic was less applicable to one group (older people)

• Some questions confused respondents

6. Conclusion: Overall, women do indeed use and enjoy social media more than men, and most people do not have a comprehensive understanding of the security features available on social media.

• Security features should be conspicuous to people when they use social media.

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