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Engineering: Technical Reports & Standards

What is a Technical Report?

What is a Technical Report?

Technical reports describe the process, progress, or results of technical or scientific research. They include in-depth experimental details, data, and results.

Reasons to Use

Technical reports are usually produced to report on a specific research need. They can serve as a report of accountability to the organization funding the research. They provide access to the information before it is published elsewhere.

How to Write a Technical Report

Here are some resources that help explain what is usually included in a technical report and how to write them!

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Technical Report Resources

What is a Standard?

What is a Standard?

Standards and their development frame, guide, and normalize almost all areas of our lives.  For example, standards in IT govern interoperability between a variety of digital devices and platforms, standardized production of various machine parts allows uniform repair and reproduction. Standardization in fields like accounting, health care, or agriculture promotes best industry practices that emphasize safety and quality control.

Standards reflect the shared values, aspirations, and responsibilities we as a society project upon each other and our world.   Keeping informed about the most current standards can drive innovation and increase the market value of an engineer’s research and design efforts as well as promoting international trade and commerce, which then fuels more innovation.

  • Watch: International Standards Organization's What Standards Do For You
  • Explore: American National Standards Institute's An Introduction to Standards
    • This course is designed as a basic introduction to standards for management and technical personnel in business, industry association management, government, and public policy; university faculty and students; engineers, quality control and purchasing staff; consumers; and those new to organizations that develop standards.

Types of Standards: 

  • Product-/Design-Based Standards
    • Examples: ISO film speed code; banking and telephone cards
  • Performance-Based Standards
    • Examples: Safety of wire ropes; safety of toys
  • Management System Standards
    • Examples: ISO 9000 Quality and Environmental Management Systems
  • Personnel Certification Standards
    • Examples: Financial planners

Reasons to Use Standards

Standards allow technology to work seamlessly and establish trust so that markets can operate smoothly. They:

  • provide a common language to measure and evaluate performance
  • make interoperability of components made by different companies possible
  • protect consumers by ensuring safety, durability, and market equity

(From NIST)