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Part 1:  Overview

(from the course webpage –

This Final Report for ENPH 259  is a full write-up of your final project lab. From this report, a reader should be able to build the project, understand how it works, have an idea of how long it takes to complete the project, and have some reference plots (of both experimental data and theoretical predications) to compare with. The report should be approximately 15 pages (12pt, 1.5 spacing), though this can vary depending on the size of diagrams and scope traces included.

The report should include (but not limited to):

  • Short description of the project
  • Diagrams of all circuits used and an explanation of how they work including calculations of operating parameters (such as resonant frequencies, filter phase shifts, etc.)
  • Projects with several subsections should have each subsection explained along with how these integrate together to form the final project
  • Properly labeled plots of data (just like what you have been doing in your lab notebooks)
  • Fits to data should be included as needed, along with an indication of uncertainities of the fitting parameters and quality of the fit (again just like the analysis you have been doing previously)


Part 2:  General Writing Tips

(section material written with a lot of help from Wikipedia)

  • Focus on your Executive Summary Statements
    • An Executive Summary, is a short document or section of a document that summarizes a longer report or proposal or a group of related reports, in such a way that readers can rapidly become acquainted with a large body of material without having to read it all. It will usually contain a brief statement of the problem or proposal covered in the major document(s), background information, concise analysis and main conclusions
    • An Executive Summary differs from an Abstract, in that an Abstract will usually be shorter and is intended to provide a neutral overview or orientation rather than being a condensed version of the full document.
    • “An Abstract is a brief summarizing statement … read by parties who are trying to decide whether or not to read the main document”, while “an Executive Summary, unlike an Abstract, is a document in miniature which may be read in place of the longer document”
    • An Executive Summary is also not an Introduction.  (an Introduction is used to lay out the background to your document.)
  • A weasel word is an informal term for equivocating words and phrases aimed at creating an impression that something specific and meaningful has been said, when in fact only a vague or ambiguous claim, or even a refutation has been communicated. Every claim should have a reason and evidence used to justify the claim.
    • “It has been claimed that…” (By whom, where, when?)
    • “Clearly…” (As if the premise is undeniably true)
    • “It stands to reason that…” (Again, as if the premise is undeniably true—see “Clearly” above)
    • “Questions have been raised…” (Implies a fatal flaw has been discovered)
    • “There is evidence that…” (What evidence? Is the source reliable?)
    • “It is known that…” (By whom and by what method is it known?)
    • “Studies show…” (what studies?)
    • “(The phenomenon) came to be seen as…” (by whom?)
    • “Up to sixty percent…” (so, 59%? 50%? 10%?)
    • “More than seventy percent…” (How many more? 70.01%? 80%? 90%?)
  • Adjectives, adverbsNever use unless use adds meaning to the sentence.
    • “the equipment has been fully designed” What does “fully” mean?
    • “the project has been very successful” What does “very” mean?
    • This is not a creative writing course.
  • Don’t declare success
    • …unless you have met specific, preferably numerical, targets as stated at the outset.



Part 3:   Elements of the Final Report


Below is the recommended structure for ENPH 259 Final Reports.   This structure is in place to streamline the review process and provide a bridge to the report structure for senior Engineering Physics courses.   Depending on the nature of the final project, groups should make changes to the structure of their Final Reports to accommodate their specific findings.


Suggested Size for Document

Suggested maximum length for text including calculations
(does not include figures, charts, tables)

Title Page

Executive Summary 1 pg

Table of Contents, List of Figures and Tables

Background and Motivation 2 pg

Project Objectives 1 pg
Method 4 pg

Observations 4 pg

Conclusion 1 pg




Suggested Max:  ~15 pages (excluding Summary, Figures/Charts/Tables and Appendices)



Title Page

Below is a sample of the title page used for your documents.   Feel free to include one representative image/photo of your project on the title page.


Executive Summary

The Executive Summary should be a clear summary of the entire document, and should give a clear indication to the reader of the scale and scope of the report.


The Executive Summary:

  • Is self-contained and should require no specific background in order to understand the project.  The Executive Summary is NOT an introduction to the rest of the document.
  • Should contain quantitative information  (e.g. target performance values, sizes, results) to give the reader a clear indication of the scale and scope of the project.
  • Is normally 1 page in length, may contain several paragraphs, and should not normally exceed one page.



Table of Contents, List of Figures and Tables

For the List of Figures and Tables:

  • All figures and tables should be given a descriptive title which can be used as a stand-alone description of the image or information.
  • It is useful to generate a list of all figures and tables BEFORE any body text is generated.   Generating this list is useful for prioritizing what information should be included and in what order, and in planning the level of testing and analysis to gather during the experimental and data analysis phase.

Background and Motivation

The section should answer the following questions:

  • What is the rationale for doing the work described in the report?
  • Why are existing solutions inappropriate?
  • What are the key issues to be addressed?


The Background and Motivation section is likely to contain a number of subsections, including:

  • Technical background for individuals that are not experts in the field.
  • Theoretical work developed to help define the proposed solution
  • Results from previous experimental work.
  • Discussions of alternative strategies which were considered but not pursued.
  • Exact requirements, technical specifications, codes or standards that you must satisfy for the project.


Any technical information which may be useful as reference material for the reader but not necessary for justifying the project can be moved to an Appendix.


Project Objectives

Project Objectives are the intended goals of the project, and should not change as a result of circumstances that happen during the project.


Project Objectives ideally take the form of quantitative statements of project goals.  As much as possible, include quantitative information and target values for the desired performance of the system – this makes it possible to objectively examine each part of proposed solutions, and for all parties to understand the understand the true goals of the project.



The Discussion section is the body of the report, where evidence and arguments on the subject material are developed in an organized and logical manner.  Each major heading requires a separate section in the body of the report.

Since every project will have a different focus, not every project will contain all of the following sections in the Discussion section. Use these as a general guideline to see how your project work can be grouped together in written form to provide a logical description of the project, methods, and results.


  • Theory – Identify any theoretical aspects of your project. This can include published papers, or relevant discussions from textbooks. Any theoretical descriptions which might be useful to the reader as a reference but would not be considered a core section of the report can be included as an Appendix.
  • Methods / Testing Protocol – Describe the methods, techniques and technologies used which were used in the project. Give enough detail so that the reader can be aware of the general approaches taken during the project, and consider including non-essential technical details in an Appendix.
  • Experimental Equipment / Algorithms – This section should include figures and photos of the experimental apparatus and team-fabricated elements, but should not show detailed drawings of the components.  Technical details and drawings can be included in an appendix.
  • Results
    • Any results from the technical work completed in the project should be included here. There should be a focus on quantitative aspects of the project – any metrics which can be used to measure the performance of the technical solution should be documented in relatively good detail.
    • When possible, use graphs rather than tables of data in the report body. It is hard to see relationships between variables from tabulated data.
  • Discussion of Results – It is useful to not only discuss the results from testing, but also the interpretation, implications and limitations of the collected data. This may include:
    • describing alternative tests which might give further insight to the process.
    • discussions on sources of error
    • deriving upper or lower limits of performance or measurement


The Conclusions section is a concise statement of the relationships or inferences that you draw from the results and how these inferences satisfy the objectives.
The body of the report is concerned primarily with presenting results of project work, while the Conclusions present the interpretation of the results bringing everything together for the reader.   The Conclusions should provide precise information such as important numerical values from tests including the accuracy and repeatability of the measurements.
The Conclusions section should answer the following questions:

  • What are the most important results?
  • What inferences can be drawn from the analysis of the results?
  • Note that no new information about the project work is introduced in the Conclusions section.

The Conclusions section is normally written in paragraph form with only one theme or conclusion in each paragraph.



The Appendices and References for the proposal should include all details that support the technical content to support the proposal. In order to keep the Proposal concise, the Appendix may contain a great deal of the technical information that is not necessarily appropriate in the body of the proposal.

A rule of thumb: If the reader must refer to material in the Appendix to directly support any arguments made in the body of the text, then consider moving the appendix material back into the main text.

This can include:

  • A list of all web links with useful and potentially useful information
  • Photographs of the current state of the project.
  • Calculations and theory required to pursue the project
  • Software and algorithms that you will be using during your project.
  • Data sheets for key components of the system.
  • Journal articles, publications, patents, etc.



The References section should include information support the technical content to support the Report. Please include direct references to all material used during the research, design, fabrication and analysis stages of the project.

Please refer to your Technical Communications references for appropriate formatting and reference styles.




Revision History

  • 2013 Aug 29 – first draft, based on previous guides for ENPH 459/479.



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