Written Project Report


Introduction to Engineering students participate in a team design project and prepare a report on that project. This section is designed to help students prepare a high‑quality, professional report. It contains a general outline of the report, a description of the contents of each section of the report, and some tips on writing style and presentation of the material that will give the report a more professional appearance.


Report Outline


1)      Cover Page

2)      Table of Contents

3)      List of Figures

4)      Introduction

a)      Statement of the problem

b)      Why solving the problem is important

c)      Organization of the report

5)      Requirements, Constraints, and Information Needs

a)      Introduction to the section

b)      Requirements

c)      Constraints

d)      Information needs

e)      Cost Analysis

6)      Preliminary Concepts

a)      Introduction to the section

b)      Concept One ‑ description and illustration

c)      Concept Two ‑ description and illustration

d)      Concept Three ‑ description and illustration

7)      Analysis

a)      Introduction to the section

b)      Advantages and disadvantages of each preliminary concept in light of the requirements and constraints

c)      Data gathered to satisfy the information needs

d)      Selection of the final design

e)      Justification of the selection based on requirements and constraints

f)        Refinements made and reasons for them

8)      Final Design

a)      Introduction to the section

b)      Description of the final design

c)      Working drawings

9)      Summary and Conclusions

a)      Introductory paragraph

b)      Description of the final competition

c)      Description of the team's system's performance in the final competition

d)      Reasons for the system's performance, and if appropriate, what could be changed to improve the performance

e)      What the team learned from this design project; things team members want to remember to do in the future, and things they want to do differently.


Description of Section Contents

This section provides some information on what should be included in each part of the team's report, along with some hints or examples that might be helpful in preparing that part of the report. Each part of the report is covered in a separate subsection.


Cover Page




Table of Contents



List of Figures (Drawings)


·        Figure number

·        Figure title (as it appears in the caption on the figure)

·        Page on which the figure is found


·        Assuming that the Table of Contents is only one page long, the List of Figures is on page "ii".

·        Look in published reports or books for examples.



This part of the report has three main purposes. First, it tells the reader exactly what problem is being solved or what piece (or pieces) of equipment will be designed. Next, it explains to the reader why this work is important. Finally, the last paragraph of the introduction gives the reader a "road map" to the report by describing the organization of the report. For example, the last paragraph might contain sentences such as, "Chapter 2 contains the requirements and constraints the design must meet." or "Descriptions and illustrations of three preliminary designs are presented in Chapter 3."


NOTE: Very few people read a report from cover to cover. They scan the introduction to see whether the project being described is of interest to them. If it is of interest, they might check the "Organization of the Report" to see which section will provide the information they are seeking.


Requirements, Constraints, and Information Needs

How does the sponsor, i.e., the person who paid for the project, decide whether the design is acceptable? He or she makes that decision by determining whether the product meets all of the requirements and can be produced within the constraints.  This section describes the requirements and constraints that will be used to judge the design.  In it­ team members also identify any additional information they will need to gather in order to design an acceptable product. Examples of a requirement, a constraint, and information need follow.

Requirements: specific features that the design must have

Constraints:  factors that limit design options

Information needs:  data that must be collected to evaluate proposed designs



Suppose a team is to design a child's car seat that converts into a stroller. A requirement might be that the seat be light enough for one person to lift easily. However, a constraint, at least here in Ohio, is the law that any child weighing 45 pounds or less must be in a car seat while traveling in an automobile. The car seat must, therefore, be strong enough to support a 45‑pound child, and that certainly could affect the weight of the car seat. As a result, two information needs might be the density and strength of a variety of materials that could be used in a car seat.


You are required to keep a running total of the cost of your product including the cost of original materials, any additional materials, and any supplemental material in order to produce a final cost for your project.  Include this information here.
Preliminary Concepts


The reader will turn to this part of the report to learn about the team's preliminary ideas. Some readers will learn more by reading a written description of each concept, some will prefer an illustration, and still others will use both. Thus the team must provide a clear written description of each concept, an illustration of each concept, and a link between the text and the illustration.






In this part, the team reports on its evaluation of the three preliminary concepts, in light of the requirements and constraints, and on its selection of a final design. The reader should be able to follow the team's reasoning as it accepts or rejects all or parts of each concept and selects a final design. In addition, the team will describe any refinements to the design and the reasons for them.


Final Design


If the reader turns to this chapter first, he or she should find a written description of the final design that provides a clear "mental picture" of the design. That description should be followed by a set of drawings detailed enough to allow another team in this class to reproduce this team's product.  At the end of the description, be sure to tell the reader that the working drawings follow.


Summary and Conclusions


This is the chapter for the reader who simply wants to know the "bottom line" ‑ what happened in the competition, why it happened, and what the team learned from the design project experience.



Finally, in a paragraph or two summarize what the team learned from the design project. The "lessons learned" could be related to technical components of the system, communications skills, teamwork, or any other aspect of the course. Include things you will want to remember to do in the future as well as things you want to avoid




More General Tips

Some tips on report preparation could apply to more than one part of the report. Those tips are presented in this section of the handbook.  A special subsection contains tips on figures.



Tips on Figures


Few students have experience putting figures in reports. But in technical reports, figures are often very important. The reader must be able to locate the figure and quickly understand how it is related to the text. Here are some tips on figures.