Technical Paper Outline


      Appendix A - Technical Paper Outline


      Grand Valley State University

      School of Engineering


      Technical Paper




      Your Name Here

      November 8, 1998




      {Keep in mind that your audience consists of undergraduate engineering students studying engineering at your level of study and that the technical level of your paper should be targeted for this audience. State the motivation for and purpose of your technical paper. Provide background information relevant to your work. Orient your readers to the substance of your work and the context in which it was executed. Introduce the material contained in the rest of your paper by noting what will be presented in the analysis, procedure, etc., sections.}

      {References should be indicated in the paper by number in square brackets [1].}

      {Bookmarks have been added to all the title, major sections, figures, and equations in this template document. Bookmarks allow you to quickly move around within a document. There are several ways to use bookmarks: Press F5 and type the name of the bookmark, Press F5 again and select from the list, or choose Go To... from the Edit menu.

      {Note: Recognize that the technical paper which you will prepare is to be written as if you were a bona fide engineer in an engineering organization and that you are writing this document for both immediate use by your supervisor and for permanent retention as a part of the organization's engineering knowledge base. It is not to be a paper indicating "what you learned" in an educational sense. A little "role playing" on your part is needed in writing student papers.}

      {This is an example of Block Text format. This paragraph format includes one blank line before the paragraph, 1.5 line spacing, and flush left margins. Right margins are not justified. The character format uses a 12 point Times New Roman font. Use the Block Text format listed in the format box for the body text of your paper.}




      {The above heading is an example of a major section heading (heading 1 in the format box). The paragraph format for a major section heading includes two blank lines before the heading and a flush left margin. The character format is 14 point bold Times New Roman.}

      {Change the above major section title to convey information to your reader. For the analytical model section use titles such as "THE WHEATSTONE BRIDGE", "MESH ANALYSIS", "THE INVERTING OPERATIONAL AMPLIFIER, etc. rather than the less descriptive title "ANALYTICAL MODEL".}

      {In this section present the analytical model and considerations on which your paper is based. Describe how your device or process can be mathematically modeled. Proceed from the general (and well-known) fundamental relationships and evolve the specific formulae to be used in your model. Explain which parameters are critical and why. You may wish to divide the section into two or more subsections, depending upon the complexity of the analysis for your model.}

      {Clearly define all mathematical and component symbols as you introduce them in your narrative. It is usually appropriate to make use of a defining figure, such as a drawing, block diagram or circuit diagram, at this point in your presentation.}






      Figure 1. This is an example figure caption.

      {Your paper will usually include at least one figure. Commonly used figures are circuit diagrams, block diagrams, and data plots. You can use MS Draw (the toolbar button with the triangle-circle-square icon or the menu command sequence Insert Object... Microsoft Drawing) to create and insert figures into your paper. Figure 1 can be used as a starter circuit diagram for papers that require basic circuit components; to save yourself time, use the symbols in it to create new circuit diagrams. It is also possible to use another application to create a figure and paste it into your paper using the clip board.}

      {Equations should be written using the format illustrated in your textbook. The symbol font provides the symbols you'll need for writing in-line expressions. The Equation Editor (Insert Object... Equation) provides an extensive set of tools for creating mathematical expressions. Always display complicated expressions as separate paragraphs. Simple expressions can be displayed as in-line text to improve readability.

      Number all displayed equations in numerical sequence from the first equation to the last equation in the paper. Enclose equation numbers in parenthesis () and place them near the right-hand margin of the text by using tab characters. Displayed equations in appendices should be numbered in separate sequences, (A1), A2), etc.) Use the example equation format below (Equation in the format box) as a template.


      To refer to a numbered equation in the body of your paper, use the form "equation (1)", i.e., give the equation number enclosed in parenthesis.}


      2.1 Subsection 2.1 for Theoretical Model Description


      {The above is an example of a subsection heading (heading 2 in the format box). The paragraph format for a subsection heading includes 1.5 blank lines before the heading and a flush left margin. The character format is 12 point bold Times New Roman.}


      2.2 Subsection 2.2 for Theoretical Model Description


      {The above is another example of a subsection heading (heading 2). If you have one subsection, then you must have at least a second subsection for logical consistency. An object divides into at least two pieces.}




      {Change the above major section title to convey information to your reader. For this experimental section use titles such as "MEASUREMENT OF RESISTANCE WITH THE WHEATSTONE BRIDGE", "MEASUREMENT OF MESH CURRENTS" "INVERTING OPERATIONAL AMPLIFIER PERFORMANCE MEASUREMENTS", etc.}


      3.1 Description of Apparatus


      {Briefly describe the apparatus used. Illustrations and diagrams can be used to advantage in this description. In this course, a circuit diagram is usually the only apparatus drawing necessary because the instrumentation used is commonly available and well understood. Circuit diagrams can be made either with MS Draw or the Schematic Editor included with PSpice. Be sure that your paper includes a caption for each figure and that each figure is referred to in numerical sequence in the body of your paper.}

      {Other than circuit diagrams, illustrations and apparatus drawings can be made with MS Draw or CAD software. Don't make elaborate, three-dimensional illustrations of the apparatus; simple two-dimensional line or block diagrams of the apparatus will normally do.}


      3.2 Experimental Procedure


      {Describe how the experiment was performed in the past tense. Give a summary of the methods used, not a step by step enumeration of the procedure used. Don't include superfluous statements such as "the data was recorded", or "the knob was turned so that the voltage was read in steps of 0.5 volts", or other such trivia. It will be obvious from your data tables that the data was recorded (and in steps of 0.5 volts!). Put down only what is necessary for your reader to follow the course of your work. Usually only a few sentences are required. The experimental part of your paper should be a description of what was done and therefore should be written in the past tense. This section should not be a set of instructions for others to follow. That is, do not use phrases such as "set the voltage to 5 V and the ammeter to 2 A full scale", etc.}

      {Once you have described your experimental work in general terms, explain what was important in determining the accuracy and precision of your measurements. Also describe whatever precautions you took (if any) to minimize their contribution to the error in your results.}




      4.1 Presentation of Results


      {Start by describing how you analyzed your raw data. Data analysis consists of reducing raw data into some meaningful form that can be compared with a mathematical model. For example, you may have to correct the raw data for temperature or pressure variations, calculate calibration curves, or calculate some quantity from your data to compare with your model. Often you can get away with just saying that you made the obvious corrections or calculations. However, if the analysis is important in determining the outcome of your experiment work or is not obvious and straight-forward, then a detailed description, perhaps with sample calculations, is warranted. You may want to include a sample of your raw data so that your readers can judge for themselves the quality of your data and if it is worthy of the analysis that you give it. This is a good approach in student papers.}

      {This section will usually contain the preponderance of your paper's tables and figures. Figures that contain graphs of data are particularly helpful in organizing and presenting data trends. Graphs can be easily created with the Excel spreadsheet or Mathcad. Be sure to point out any significant features contained in the figures to your readers.}

      {Tables and figures should be inserted within the body of your paper near, but after, where they are first refer to by the text. Tables and figures should be numbered with Arabic numerals (Table 1, Table 2, Table 3, Figure 1, Figure 2, Figure 3, etc.). Each table or figure should be accompanied by a separate caption that gives an adequate description of its content without requiring the reader to refer to the text. Thus, the tables, figures and their captions, when taken together, should form a rough outline of the contents of your paper. This also points out the way to write your paper. Start by creating your tables and the figures for your data, apparatus and analysis and their captions and inserting them in this template where they belong. Then, using your material as an outline, add details and write your narrative for Sections 1, 2 and 3.}


      4.2 Discussion of Results


      {Compare the contents of Section 1 with that of Section 3 to formulate some kind of result. Write in the present tense. For the usual undergraduate experiment, the comparison of theory and data is fairly straightforward. One generally has the result that the data agrees more or less with the theory (depending on the quality of the experiment). The only subtle part comes in expressing the level of confidence one has in the agreement between theory and experiment. Nothing is ever measured with absolute certainty. You must assess all the factors which have contributed error to your data and use these estimated errors to assign an error to your result. Failing to intelligently assign an error to their results is the biggest single failure students make in writing laboratory papers. Do not let this be your failure too. Describe relevant and realistic sources of error and the effect they may have on the comparison. A list of possibilities without a quantitative assessment of their effects is not acceptable error analysis.}

      {Note Well: The errors in your results are not the differences between the values you measured and those of the theoretical model. If you like, you can call these differences the discrepancies between your measurements and the model. The errors in your results can only be determined by combining the estimated errors of your measurements.}




      {The combination of your results and your error analysis leads to your conclusions. Write in the present tense. In the end you make a statement such as "It is concluded that Kirchhoff's voltage law holds within 2% with a confidence level of 95% for the conditions of this experiment. (Please Note: You can only make such a statement if you understand basic statistics. If you don't now understand the theory, be patient, we'll get to it later the curriculum. In the meantime, just don't include the "confidence level" phrase.) You may wish to end you paper with comments and suggestions for improving the experiment. The School of Engineering welcomes constructive criticism.}




      {Only include this section if references other than the course text book or laboratory manual were used. List the references in the order of their appearance in the body of the paper. References should be numbered starting from 1 and give the following information in the order: Author, Title, Publisher, Year, Pages. For example:

      1. Holman, J. P., An Introduction to Heat Transfer, McGraw-Hill, 1973, pp. 271-75.}




      {Only include if you deem necessary. Side issues that are not really in the main theme of the paper, such as sample or lengthy calculations, should be relegated to an appendix. A criterion for deciding whether or not to put something in an appendix is to ask the question "Does its inclusion in the main body of the paper detract from the orderly and efficient description of the investigation?" If the answer is "yes", the item should either be left out or put in an appendix. Thus, appendices should be used to avoid interrupting your presentation so that the description of your flows smoothly. Readers who don't want to know everything about your work can read your paper without digression. What is in an appendix completes the story by showing more detail. However, an appendix should not contain information that is absolutely essential to the reader's understanding of the paper.}