Simple Academic Technical Report

An Exemplar for Writing a
Simple Academic Technical Report
Michael Lloyd Turnbull BAppSc(Distinctions) QUT, MAppSc CQU, JP(CDec)
School of Information Technology
Faculty of Informatics and Communication
Central Queensland University
Copyright © Central Queensland University, August 2005, all rights reserved.
Edition 1.01

Copyright © Central Queensland University, August 2005
This work is copyright. You may download, display, print and reproduce this material in
unaltered form only (retaining this notice) for your personal, non-commercial use or use
within your organisation. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968,
all other rights are reserved. Requests for further authorisation should be directed to the
author by email to
[email protected].
This edition (Edition 1.01) supersedes the following previous editions:
Edition 1.0 (Beta)

An Exemplar for Writing a Simple Academic Technical Report, Edition 1.01
Michael Lloyd Turnbull BAppSc(Distinctions) QUT, MAppSc CQU, JP(CDec)
Copyright © Central Queensland University, August 2005, all rights reserved.
i
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments……………………………………………………………………………………………….. iii
Executive Summary……………………………………………………………………………………………… 1
Top 10 Report Writing Tips……………………………………………………………………………….. 1
Introduction…………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 2
Disclaimer…………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2
Neat and Professional Presentation…………………………………………………………………………. 3
Fonts and General Layout………………………………………………………………………………….. 3
Heading, Subheadings and Captions……………………………………………………………………. 3
Ad Hoc Formatting …………………………………………………………………………………………… 4
Pasting from Other Documents…………………………………………………………………………… 4
Page Numbering and Section Breaks…………………………………………………………………… 4
Headers …………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 5
Principle Presentation Sections………………………………………………………………………………. 5
Title Page ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 5
Table of Contents, Tables and Figures ………………………………………………………………… 6
Executive Summary………………………………………………………………………………………….. 6
Chapters or Body ……………………………………………………………………………………………… 6
Appendices………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 6
Reference List ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 7
Bibliography ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 7
Glossary ………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 7
Index ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 8
Plagiarism and Referencing …………………………………………………………………………………… 8
Acknowledging the Work of Others……………………………………………………………………. 8
Quoting the Work of Others Correctly ………………………………………………………………… 9
Excessive use of Verbatim Quotes ……………………………………………………………………… 9
Paraphrasing…………………………………………………………………………………………………… 10
Use an Appendix if Appropriate……………………………………………………………………….. 11
Using Figures from a Reference Source …………………………………………………………….. 12
Using Unmodified Figures……………………………………………………………………………. 12
Using Modified Figures. ………………………………………………………………………………. 12
Redrawing Figures Based on a Borrowed Idea………………………………………………… 12
Composite Figures. ……………………………………………………………………………………… 13
The Harvard Referencing Style ……………………………………………………………………………. 13
Be Critical of Your Reference Sources………………………………………………………………….. 15
Using World Wide Web Sites………………………………………………………………………………. 15
Unbelievable Web Sites…………………………………………………………………………………… 15
Unbelievable Anonymous Web Sites. ……………………………………………………………….. 16
Credible Anonymous WWW Resources ……………………………………………………………. 16
Use of Acronyms, Initials, Abbreviations, and Contractions. …………………………………… 17
Acronyms………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 17
Initials …………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 17
Abbreviations…………………………………………………………………………………………………. 18
Contractions …………………………………………………………………………………………………… 18

An Exemplar for Writing a Simple Academic Technical Report, Edition 1.01
Michael Lloyd Turnbull BAppSc(Distinctions) QUT, MAppSc CQU, JP(CDec)
Copyright © Central Queensland University, August 2005, all rights reserved.
ii
Use of First Person Pronouns……………………………………………………………………………….. 18
Word Count……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 19
Distillation of Content……………………………………………………………………………………… 19
Minimising Redundant Speech…………………………………………………………………………. 20
Using Short Alternative Language Forms ………………………………………………………….. 20
Summary and Conclusion ……………………………………………………………………………………. 20
Glossary ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 21
References…………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 24
Bibliography ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 26
Appendix A – Technical Usage Instructions ………………………………………………………….. 27

An Exemplar for Writing a Simple Academic Technical Report, Edition 1.01
Michael Lloyd Turnbull BAppSc(Distinctions) QUT, MAppSc CQU, JP(CDec)
Copyright © Central Queensland University, August 2005, all rights reserved.
iii
Acknowledgments
The author gratefully acknowledges the contributions to the development of this
document, made by the following people.
Dr. Elizabeth Tansley DipInterp(English/Auslan), B.Comp.(Hons), PhD, MACS, who as
the Associate Dean of Teaching & Learning in the CQU Faculty of Informatics and
Communication, supported the development of the document. She funded
accommodation and transportation to allow the author to test its benefit to students.
Prof. Ross Lehman Ed.D (Utah State) M.Ed. (Sydney) B.A (Sydney) Teach. Cert.
(Armidale)
Director, Centre for Intercultural Pedagogy & Learning
Teaching & Learning Coordinator
Australian International Campuses
Central Queensland University
Sydney International Campus,
for his assistance in getting academics from the CQU international campuses to review
the document.
Dr. Roderick Jewell BE(Hons), PhD UNSW, DipBldgSc Sydney,
Faculty of Informatics and Communication
Central Queensland University
Mackay Campus
Mr Andrew Chiou B.App.Sc.(Comp)(Distinction), B. Computing (Hons.), MACS(PCP),
MIEEE, MACM,
Mr. Graham Ivers BBus, Grad Dip Mgt., MInfSys, FCPA, JP(CDec),
Mr Damien Clarke BComp CQU, MComp USQ,
Mr. Scott Lawton Dip. Teach, B.Ed, Grad. Dip. ISM, MIS,
Mr. Kieren Jamieson B.Comp. (Hons) CQU, MACS,
Mr. Lance MacDonald BMmSt,
Ms. Amanda Murphy BBus/BProfComm CQU
Ms. Kerrie Bloxsom
Faculty of Informatics and Communication
Central Queensland University
Rockhampton Campus
Ms. Kylie Huff
Manager Learning Skills Unit
Central Queensland University
Gold Coast International Campus
Ms. Kathleen Taito
Learning Skills Unit
Central Queensland University
Fiji International Campus
for their suggestions and guidance.

An Exemplar for Writing a Simple Academic Technical Report, Edition 1.01
Michael Lloyd Turnbull BAppSc(Distinctions) QUT, MAppSc CQU, JP(CDec)
Copyright © Central Queensland University, August 2005, all rights reserved.
iv
Dr. Rob McDougall BAppSc QIT, BAppSc(Maths)(Hons) CQU, PhD CQU,
GradDipTeach Kelvin Grove, MAustMS,
Faculty of Informatics and Communication
Central Queensland University
Mackay Campus
for observing that, “‘Report Exemplar’ is an anagram for ’premolar expert’ which gives
an insight into the similarities between trying to improve assignment quality and the art
of pulling teeth!”

An Exemplar for Writing a Simple Academic Technical Report, Edition 1.01
Michael Lloyd Turnbull BAppSc(Distinctions) QUT, MAppSc CQU, JP(CDec)
Copyright © Central Queensland University, August 2005, all rights reserved.
1
Executive Summary
This document provides a practical demonstration of acceptable academic technical report
writing. It does so by example. Every part of the document, including this executive
summary, is a practical example of good technical report writing style.
It is only the reader who can judge the success or failure of this attempt. The author does not
regard it as an example of a
perfect report style – merely as a goal to aim for.
The document is intended to be used by undergraduate students seeking to learn the skill of
technical report writing, and also by postgraduate students as a remedial reference. It should
be used in combination with other writing guides to obtain a balanced knowledge of the
writing skill.
Top 10 Report Writing Tips
1. All formal academic reports are required to be written to produce a neat and
professional document
2. Creating a consistent and professional looking document is not difficult.
3. Plagiarism is considered to be a serious breach of academic protocol.
4. Plagiarism occurs whenever an academic or student presents the intellectual
property of others in a way that:
a. does not acknowledge the original author as the source,
b. implies either directly or by omission that the work is that of the borrowing
author, or
c. uses the work of the original author to excess.
5. Avoiding plagiarism is not difficult.
6. Be critical of reference sources.
7. Be especially critical of WWW resources.
8. Know how to use initials, acronyms, abbreviations and contractions correctly.
9. As the author, always refer to yourself in the third person.
10. Learn how to distil content.

An Exemplar for Writing a Simple Academic Technical Report, Edition 1.01
Michael Lloyd Turnbull BAppSc(Distinctions) QUT, MAppSc CQU, JP(CDec)
Copyright © Central Queensland University, August 2005, all rights reserved.
2
Introduction
One of the most basic skills that a tertiary student should possess, no matter what discipline of
study is being undertaken, is that of assignment report writing. This skill is usually learnt over
the duration of undergraduate study, either directly by means of a specialist course or courses,
or indirectly by means of report style assignment submissions used as assessment in the
students’ discipline courses. By the time that a student progresses to a postgraduate study
program it is generally expected that the student can demonstrate advanced report writing
skills; and yet it is the author’s experience that many postgraduate students are badly lacking
in this essential academic area.
In the current Australian tertiary educational environment, where a large proportion of
students have English as a second (or third) language, the need for guidance in good report
writing is especially evident. Such students often enter the Australian postgraduate study
environment from other than formal university undergraduate backgrounds. They are often
undertaking a postgraduate study program by coursework, rather than by research and thesis.
The English language skills of these students often lack working knowledge of grammar and
idiomatic expression. As a consequence many students from non-English-speaking
backgrounds find it difficult to create written reports of acceptable academic quality.
This document you are currently reading is intended to demonstrate basic tertiary education
assignment report writing in a simple technical style. This document is intended to contain
practical examples of good academic report writing that students can emulate. Each section in
this document will target a particular aspect of report writing.
Disclaimer
The report writing style and the recommendations made in this document are those of the
author.
This document is a writing exemplar, not a prescriptive writing guide.
This document is not a prescriptive referencing style guide.
The author expects that readers, especially students, may use the style and recommendations
presented in this document for their own academic reports and assignment submissions. By
doing so the reader accepts all responsibility for that decision. The author will accept no
responsibility for any failures or successes, real, perceived, claimed or imagined, that may
result from any person using the material contained in this document.
This document should not be used as a prescriptive guide to writing a report for all situations.
Students are advised to adhere to all assessment requirements that their study institution
imposes, including any requirements for specific report writing styles and layouts.
This document was written using a Microsoft® Word® word processor application. The
recommendations to report writers contained in this document assume the use of Microsoft®
Word®. This document is not an instruction in Microsoft® Word® usage – it is a
demonstration of suitable academic report writing. It is assumed that the reader is familiar
with basic to intermediate Microsoft® Word® usage.

An Exemplar for Writing a Simple Academic Technical Report, Edition 1.01
Michael Lloyd Turnbull BAppSc(Distinctions) QUT, MAppSc CQU, JP(CDec)
Copyright © Central Queensland University, August 2005, all rights reserved.
3
Neat and Professional Presentation
All formal academic reports are required to be written to produce a neat and professional
document. The most important thing that will help to achieve that aim is to maintain a
consistent layout throughout the document. The writer should decide on what style and layout
is going to be used
before starting to write, not after it is finished. Once that decision has been
made it should not be deviated from.
Word processing applications such as Microsoft® Word® provide the user with a large
variety of document styles and layout
templates. Most of these templates are unsuitable for
use as academic reports. A suitably neat and professionally presented document can easily be
achieved without resorting to complicated document templates. No template was used to
produce this document you are currently reading.
Fonts and General Layout
As a general rule, unless instructed otherwise, the following document settings are
suitable for most academic reports.

Font type Use a simple serifed font such as Times New Roman.
Font size Use 12 point as the base size.
Margins Use 25 mm (1 inch) for all margins.
Line spacing Use single line spacing unless told otherwise.
Printing Print single sided pages unless told otherwise.

Table 1 : Recommended font and general layout.
The writing style and layout should be consistent throughout the document. Main
editorial divisions should start on new pages. New pages should be forced, if
necessary, to ensure that the content flows from page to page in a neat and readable
manner.
Creating a consistent and professional looking document is not difficult. Failure to do
so is an indication that the writer is either careless, or places no importance on the
work being undertaken.
Heading, Subheadings and Captions
The content of the report’s main body should be formatted into logical sections by
topic. It may be appropriate to format into sections according to major topics and then
outline logical sub-topics with sub-sections. The sub-sections may or may not be
indented to make them easily identified, depending on the writer’s preference. Each
section should be preceded by a
heading, and each sub-section should have a
subheading.
Microsoft® Word® provides a range of standard heading styles that are suitable for
general report writing. These heading styles are compatible with the font and general
layout recommended in the previous section. For instance, the subheading associated
with this paragraph is the standard Microsoft® Word®
Heading 2 style, with an
indentation applied to the left edge of the paragraph. The main section headings
associated with this document are
Heading 1 style, with no indentation applied. In
some report styles, particularly in legal reports or instruction manuals, each heading

An Exemplar for Writing a Simple Academic Technical Report, Edition 1.01
Michael Lloyd Turnbull BAppSc(Distinctions) QUT, MAppSc CQU, JP(CDec)
Copyright © Central Queensland University, August 2005, all rights reserved.
4
and subheading has a sequential numbering scheme associated with it. Whilst some
technical reports use this
legal outlining, it is not an absolute requirement, and most do
not.
All figures (diagrams, pictures, drawings, charts, and so forth), and tables, should be
labelled and numbered. These labels are called
captions. Microsoft® Word® provides
a means of associating captions with figures and tables in such a way that the order of
numbering is updated as more figures and tables are added to the document. The
caption under Table 1 was inserted using this feature. In some report writing styles the
caption may be placed at the top of the table or figure, with any associated reference
citation placed below it.
Using the standard heading and caption styles makes insertion of tables of contents,
lists of tables, and lists of figures, an easy task. This will be explained later.
Ad Hoc Formatting
Throughout a document it is often useful to highlight or emphasise individual words or
paragraphs. For individual words or small phrases that need to be highlighted to catch
the reader’s eye simply select the text and apply a bold attribute
without changing the
other style attributes
. Where you are using a word or phrase for the first time and
wish to bring it to the attention of the reader,
italicise it.
Pasting from Other Documents
When pasting material into a target document from another source document
Microsoft® Word® uses a default paste method that preserves the style of formatting
used in the source document. This is undesirable because the source style may not be
the same as the target document’s settings. The result could be that the neat
presentation of the target document may be disturbed.
To prevent any imported text from changing the layout settings of a target document it
is important to use the
Edit…Paste Special…Unformatted text menu option. This
ensures that the imported text is pasted with the same style attributes as are used in the
target document.
Page Numbering and Section Breaks
For reports consisting of several pages, it is normal to number the pages. Microsoft®
Word® provides a feature that allows the document to be divided into different
sections. This is done by inserting section breaks. Each section can have its own
individual headers and footers, or they can
inherit the headers and footers from the
previous section. By doing this a particular section can have its own page numbering,
independent of other sections. The Table of Contents section page numbering in this
document was created in this fashion, by making it a different section from the main
body of the document. The Table of Contents section has a lower case Roman numeral
page numbering style applied to it. The main body section (the section you are
currently reading) has Arabic numeral page numbering applied to it.

An Exemplar for Writing a Simple Academic Technical Report, Edition 1.01
Michael Lloyd Turnbull BAppSc(Distinctions) QUT, MAppSc CQU, JP(CDec)
Copyright © Central Queensland University, August 2005, all rights reserved.
5
Headers
Each page of the main body of the document should have a header added to the top of
it. The header may display the title of the document and author identification
information. Each section may have a different header. For instance, the Reference
section, Bibliography section, and Appendices may have different header content.
Principle Presentation Sections
Depending on specific academic requirements, a report may need to be structured into several
principle
presentation sections. These principle sections are not selected along topic lines.
They are used to separate the report into
editorial divisions. Typical editorial divisions
include, but are not limited to:
Title Page.
Tables of Contents, Tables and Figures.
Executive Summary.
Chapters (or single Body if it is a short report).
Appendices.
Reference list.
Bibliography.
Glossary.
Index.
Each editorial division should be separated from others by inserting sectional breaks between
them.
Not all reports will contain all of the editorial divisions listed above. If the report is an
assignment submission, the assignment specification may stipulate what editorial sections are
to be used. In the absence of specific instructions a suitable choice of editorial divisions is left
to the discretion of the writer. However, at a minimum, all academic reports should consist of
at least:
Title Page.
Table of Contents.
Body.
Reference list.
A description of typical editorial divisions follows.
Title Page
The title page should contain the title of the report, the purpose of the report, as well as
author identification, institutional affiliations, and contact information. It may also
contain a copyright claim and an institution logo. If the report is an academic
assessment submission, the title page should also contain information such as course
name, lecturer or tutor, assignment identification, and word count if it is requested.
The word count of the title page does not normally contribute towards the word count
of the report.

An Exemplar for Writing a Simple Academic Technical Report, Edition 1.01
Michael Lloyd Turnbull BAppSc(Distinctions) QUT, MAppSc CQU, JP(CDec)
Copyright © Central Queensland University, August 2005, all rights reserved.
6
Table of Contents, Tables and Figures
Microsoft® Word® provides a feature to automatically generate a table of contents
using the headings and subheadings. Providing the standard Microsoft® Word®
heading styles have been used the table of contents will list all of the headings and
subheadings, along with the page they appear on. The Table of Contents for this
document was created in this manner.
As the document is developed the table of contents can be periodically produced as
desired. When the document is complete, the final table of contents is generated. Once
created it can be edited just like any other text in the document.
Lists of tables and figures are created in the same way.
The word count of the tables of contents etcetera does not normally contribute towards
the word count of the report.
Executive Summary
The executive summary editorial division is used to provide a précis (a summary or
abstract) of the body of the report. It is used by intending readers (typically corporate
executives (hence the name) or busy researchers) to determine if they should read the
complete report – or to simply familiarise themselves with the content.
Not all reports contain an executive summary.
The word count of the executive summary does not normally contribute towards the
word count of the report.
Chapters or Body
If the report is overly large it may be appropriate to divide it into chapters. Each
chapter should be separated from others by inserting sectional breaks between them.
Each chapter should have a chapter heading, and be subdivided into topic headings
and subheadings.
If the report is short, where a single chapter is used, it should not be given a chapter
heading. Just present it as a report
body. The body should be subdivided into topic
headings and subheadings – but the body division, as a whole, does not get a heading
as a chapter would.
The word count of the chapter or body content
does contribute towards the word count
of the report.
Appendices
An appendix is a section containing large amounts of data or information pertaining to
a specific topic that has been collected from an external source. It may have been
collected from a reference source during preparation of the report, or have been
generated from experiments or from field work. It may, for instance, be the technical
description of a piece of equipment, or the calibration data of a measurement
instrument.

An Exemplar for Writing a Simple Academic Technical Report, Edition 1.01
Michael Lloyd Turnbull BAppSc(Distinctions) QUT, MAppSc CQU, JP(CDec)
Copyright © Central Queensland University, August 2005, all rights reserved.
7
There may be only one
appendix or several appendices. They are usually entitled
Appendix A, Appendix B, Appendix C, etcetera, using an appropriate standard
Microsoft® Word® heading style so that it appears in the table of Contents.
The word count of appendices does not normally contribute towards the word count of
the report.
Reference List
A Reference List is a listing of all external resources that were consulted during
research for the report,
and information from which is directly referred to in the
body of the report
. There are a number of different styles of referencing used in
academic literature. The common feature of all referencing styles is the inclusion of a
reference list at the end of the document, and the practice of
citing each reference
source within the body of the report, wherever information from that source is directly
used.
A common style used in technical reports is the Harvard referencing style. Brief
details of the Harvard referencing style will be presented later in this document.
The word count of the Reference List does not normally contribute towards the word
count of the report.
Bibliography
A Bibliography is a listing of all external resources that were consulted during
research for the report, or which are known to provide additional reading relevant to
the topics in the report,
but information from which is not directly referred to in
the body of the report
.
The Bibliography, if it is used, is presented in the same format as the Reference List,
and immediately after it.
The word count of the Bibliography does not normally contribute towards the word
count of the report.
Glossary
A Glossary is a listing of unusual words, phrases, technical jargon, or acronyms used
in the report, that the reader may not be familiar with. The list is presented in
numerical and then alphabetical order similar to a dictionary. Each item in the list has
accompanying text to define or describe the item.
If there is more than one chapter, then each may have its own glossary at the end of
the chapter. If there is only a body to the report, the glossary is usually placed after the
Bibliography, and before the Index.
The word count of the Glossary or Glossaries does not normally contribute towards
the word count of the report.

An Exemplar for Writing a Simple Academic Technical Report, Edition 1.01
Michael Lloyd Turnbull BAppSc(Distinctions) QUT, MAppSc CQU, JP(CDec)
Copyright © Central Queensland University, August 2005, all rights reserved.
8
Index
An Index is a listing of words, phrases, or acronyms used in the report, that are
particularly relevant to the topic of the report. The list is presented in numerical and
then alphabetical order similar to a dictionary. Each item in the list is annotated with
the number of the page or pages on which it is used within the report. This enables the
reader to locate those pages in the report where particular words, phrases, or acronyms
were used.
There is usually only one index in any report. It is generally the last editorial division
in the document.
The word count of the Index does not normally contribute towards the word count of
the report.
Plagiarism and Referencing
Plagiarism has been defined in one dictionary as, “The act of taking and using another
person’s thoughts, writings or inventions, as one’s own.” (
The Reader’s Digest Great
Encyclopaedic Dictionary
1972)
Plagiarism is considered to be a serious breach of academic protocol. Broadly speaking,
academic plagiarism occurs whenever an academic or student presents the intellectual
property of others in a way that:
1. does not acknowledge the original author as the source,
2. implies either directly or by omission that the work is that of the borrowing author, or
3. uses the work of the original author to excess.
It is imperative that authors take care not to commit the acts listed above. Avoiding plagiarism
is not difficult. Since plagiarism often occurs due to ignorance on the part of the offender, the
following subsections explain how to avoid different forms of plagiarism.
Acknowledging the Work of Others
The first paragraph under the above heading of Plagiarism provides a demonstration of
the correct way to
cite a reference source using the Harvard referencing style. In this
case, a direct reference has been made to the definition of the word
plagiarism given
in the 1972 third edition of the Reader’s Digest Great Encyclopaedic Dictionary. In
order to acknowledge the work of the Reader’s Digest, a
citation of the reference has
been provided in parenthesis at a convenient place within the sentence. The citation
directs the reader to the bibliographic information provided in the report’s Reference
List.
An alternative form of citation could have been chosen, as follows.
The Reader’s Digest Great Encyclopaedic Dictionary (1972) defines the word
plagiarism as, “The act of taking and using another person’s thoughts, writings or
inventions, as one’s own.”
Whichever form of citation is chosen, it is important that academic authors
acknowledge the work of others by citing that work, and providing the reader with

An Exemplar for Writing a Simple Academic Technical Report, Edition 1.01
Michael Lloyd Turnbull BAppSc(Distinctions) QUT, MAppSc CQU, JP(CDec)
Copyright © Central Queensland University, August 2005, all rights reserved.
9
sufficient bibliographic information so that they can locate and refer to the original
source independently.
Quoting the Work of Others Correctly
The first paragraph under the above heading of Plagiarism also provides a
demonstration of the correct way to quote a short sentence or section from a reference
source. In such a case it is appropriate to imbed the quoted section within the report
text. This is called an
in-text quotation.
If the quotation is lengthy, comprising a complete paragraph or more than a couple of
short sentences, in-text quotation should not be used. In those cases the quote should
be placed as separate, indented and italicised paragraphs. Erik Simpson provides an
excellent coverage of citation and quoting, and has the following to say.
The best critical writing establishes a strong critical voice of its own
but also helps the reader hear other voices through quotation. Such
writing can create the effect of a stimulating conversation. The same
principles often apply to other kinds of writing as well; most
branches of professional writing require careful quotation and
documentation, for instance, and journalistic writing gains much of
its force from quoted material.
(Simpson 2005, p5.5.1)
The reader should note how Erik Simpson’s work has been cited in parenthesis,
immediately after the quote, at the same indentation level, and providing the page
number on which the quote may be found. It is important when citing direct quotes
that would otherwise be difficult to locate within the source, to provide the page
numbers to which the reader should refer.
Providing a citation of a reference not only avoids any suggestion of plagiarism, it also
provides the reader with access to important resources that they may use in their own
research.
The word count of verbatim quotes should
not be counted towards the word count of
the report.
Excessive use of Verbatim Quotes
Inexperienced writers often use excessive amounts of borrowed material in the
mistaken belief that they are justified in doing so as long as they cite the reference
source. Even if the writer provides a correct citation and reference to the source,
excessive use of someone else’s work is regarded as a form of academic plagiarism.
While it is acceptable to judiciously use minor extracts from a reference source, it is a
blatant breach of academic protocol to use massive verbatim extracts – even if they are
cited correctly.
It is expected that academics and students will study the work of others. However, if
they need to pass the information they have acquired on to others through a report,
they should either refer their reader to the original source, or completely rewrite the
information in their own words. It is simply unacceptable to merely present an exact

An Exemplar for Writing a Simple Academic Technical Report, Edition 1.01
Michael Lloyd Turnbull BAppSc(Distinctions) QUT, MAppSc CQU, JP(CDec)
Copyright © Central Queensland University, August 2005, all rights reserved.
10
copy of large sections of an original author’s work within the body of a report written
by someone else.
In most cases this can be avoided by rewriting the information in
paraphrased form;
but note that this will still need to be referenced correctly. The author of the
information source still needs to be acknowledged.
If an author considers it necessary to include the large extractions of the original
author’s material verbatim, then it should be done by putting the material in an
appendix.
Paraphrasing
The Readers Digest (The Reader’s Digest Great Encyclopaedic Dictionary 1972)
defines
paraphrase as, “Free rendering or amplification of a passage, expression of its
sense in other words.” In other words, when someone paraphrases another person’s
written work, they rewrite the information in their own, different words. They do not
use the original words. They do not even simply use the original words and jumble
them up to appear as if they are paraphrasing it. They completely rewrite the
information providing amplification (that is, clarification and explanation) and in their
own personal writing style.
Consider the following verbatim extract.
The Unified Modeling[sic] Language (UML) is the successor to the
wave of object-oriented analysis and design (OOA&D) methods that
appeared in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. It most directly unifies the
methods of Booch, Rumbaugh (OMT), and Jacobson, but its reach
will be wider than that.
(Fowler & Scott 1997, p1)
Note that Fowler & Scott have used the spelling of “Modeling” in the manner
preferred in the United States of America. The spelling preferred in Australia is
“Modelling”. Therefore the qualification “[sic]” has been inserted in the quote to
indicate that this author is aware of the fact that the spelling is different, but has left it
in place to preserve the original text. The OED (Oxford English Dictionary) Online
(Oxford University Press 2005) defines the use of “sic” in this context as, “A
parenthetical insertion used in printing quotations or reported utterances to call
attention to something anomalous or erroneous in the original, or to guard against the
supposition of misquotation.”
The information contained in the above direct quote may be paraphrased and
expanded on with the inclusion of information gained from other sources as follows.
Object-oriented analysis and design (OOA&D) methodology work
performed separately by Grady Booch, James Rumbaugh and Ivar
Jacobson, and a number of other investigators, during the last two
decades of the 20
th century, was succeeded by the development of
the Unified Modelling Language (UML).

An Exemplar for Writing a Simple Academic Technical Report, Edition 1.01
Michael Lloyd Turnbull BAppSc(Distinctions) QUT, MAppSc CQU, JP(CDec)
Copyright © Central Queensland University, August 2005, all rights reserved.
11
In the above paraphrased version clarification is provided as to the relationship
between the three mentioned investigators and the work they contributed to the field of
investigation. This additional information may have come from the writer’s own
personal knowledge, or from some other unidentified source the writer may have
perused during general reading. The main point to note is that the principles of
paraphrasing, as typified in the Reader’s Digest Dictionary definition, have been
adhered to.
Another important aspect of paraphrasing is to ensure that the author from whom the
information was sourced is acknowledged somewhere within the section of the report
where the work is used. This could be done by adding to the paraphrased section as
follows.
Object-oriented analysis and design (OOA&D) methodology work
performed separately by Grady Booch, James Rumbaugh and Ivar
Jacobson, and a number of other investigators, during the last two
decades of the 20
th century, was succeeded by the development of
the Unified Modelling Language (UML). Martin Fowler (Fowler &
Scott 1997, p1) attributes the principle push in the development of
the UML to those three people.
Use an Appendix if Appropriate
In cases where it is essential to include large parts, or all of the sourced information
verbatim, it may be inserted into the report as an appendix. Also, the report writer
needs to be careful not to infringe the copyright of the original owner of the material.
Appendix A of this document demonstrates the insertion of a simulated technical data
sheet into a report. The data sheet may have been provided by the owner as an
electronic picture file. It is not possible to paraphrase the information, nor would it be
desirable to do so.
In order to obtain the correct permission to use the data sheet in this document it
would be necessary to contact the owner, possibly by email, and request permission to
use the data sheet as an appendix in an the report. Upon receiving written permission
from the owner, the picture could then be placed in the report as an appendix.
However, it is still necessary to place a citation in the appendix, stating where the
material came from, and that the owner’s permission has been obtained to use the
material. If permission cannot be obtained, then it may be a breach of the law to use
the data sheet; in which case an alternative reference source may need to be obtained.
Using the sourced material in this way, there is no need to place any reference in the
Reference List. The information provided on the appendix citation includes all of the
information any reader may need to locate the original source of the material.
The word count of appendices does not normally count towards the word count of the
report.

An Exemplar for Writing a Simple Academic Technical Report, Edition 1.01
Michael Lloyd Turnbull BAppSc(Distinctions) QUT, MAppSc CQU, JP(CDec)
Copyright © Central Queensland University, August 2005, all rights reserved.
12
Using Figures from a Reference Source
Figures from a reference source may be used in one of four ways.
The figure may simply be used as-is, without modification.
The figure may be slightly modified for presentation.
A similar figure may be redrawn based on the idea obtained from the reference
source.
Borrowed figures may be used with or without original contribution from the
author, into a composite figure.
Using Unmodified Figures
When an unmodified figure is borrowed
from a reference source it should be
cited in exactly the same way as other
borrowed material in the document.
Figure 1 is the Radio Prague logo, as
used on one of their web sites, and
presented here unmodified.
Using Modified Figures.
Figure 2 Shows the logo presented with
a modification added by the author. In
this case the qualifying word “after” is
prefixed to the citation, to indicate that
the author has added something after
borrowing it.
Redrawing Figures Based on a
Borrowed Idea.
Instead of presenting an unmodified or
modified form of the original logo, it
may have been decided to present a
stylised representation of the logo, as
shown in Figure 3. The fact that the
author has personally redrawn the logo
in a stylised form does not release the
author from the obligation of
acknowledging the original source of the
idea. Therefore it is correctly cited, using
the “after” prefix to indicate that the
author has used the idea after borrowing
it from the reference source.
Figure 2 : The Radio Prague Logo with
Modification (After Radio Prague
1997)
Figure 1 : The Radio Prague Logo (Radio
Prague 1997)
Figure 3 : The Stylised Radio Prague Logo
(After Radio Prague 1997)

An Exemplar for Writing a Simple Academic Technical Report, Edition 1.01
Michael Lloyd Turnbull BAppSc(Distinctions) QUT, MAppSc CQU, JP(CDec)
Copyright © Central Queensland University, August 2005, all rights reserved.
13
Composite Figures.
This practice should be avoided.
All borrowed figures need to be
referenced. Borrowing figures
from different sources increases
the author’s responsibility to
acknowledge the borrowed work,
and clutters up the citation.
Figure 4 is an example of this
rather offensive practice.
The Harvard Referencing Style
There are several acceptable academic referencing styles. The Central Queensland University
(CQU 2003) has a referencing policy for undergraduate programs. By default, unless a
particular postgraduate program states otherwise, the CQU undergraduate policy also
encompasses CQU postgraduate programs.
The majority of CQU academic schools base their referencing styles on the 6
th edition of the
Commonwealth of Australia,
Style manual for authors, editors and printers. (Commonwealth
of Australia 2002). Two schools in the Faculty of Arts Health and Science, and all schools in
the Faculty of Education and Creative Arts, base their referencing styles on the 5
th edition of
the American Psychological Association
Publication Manual (American Psychological
Association 2001).
All CQU courses except for law courses in the Faculty of Business and Law, and History
courses in the School of Humanities in Arts, in the Faculty of Health and Sciences, use the
Author-Date Referencing System. The Author-Date system is often called the Harvard
Referencing System
. The two names Author-Date Referencing System and Harvard
Referencing System
are synonymous – both names refer to the same referencing system.
It should be noted that there is no one, standard, definitive way of implementing the Harvard
referencing style. Different guides will present slightly different document layout; for
instance, the layout of the reference list. The Curtin guide to the Harvard referencing style
(Curtin University of Technology 2005) suggests that the reference list be structured as in the
following example, with the second and subsequent lines indented. This is called a
hanging
indentation
.
Turnbull, M.L. 2002, The Practical Use of Email Lists as Class Discussion Forums in an Advanced
Course
, Proceedings of the 2002 International Conference on Computers in Education,
Auckland, New Zealand, Paper 152, ISBN 0-7695-1509-6.
Figure 4 : Example of composite figure (After Sandman
2005, Stritof 2004, Triant 2005)

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Michael Lloyd Turnbull BAppSc(Distinctions) QUT, MAppSc CQU, JP(CDec)
Copyright © Central Queensland University, August 2005, all rights reserved.
14
Other guides may not use the hanging indentation. Indeed, they may suggest no indent at all;
or they may suggest a first line indentation as follows.
Turnbull, M.L. 2002, The Practical Use of Email Lists as Class Discussion Forums in an
Advanced Course
, Proceedings of the 2002 International Conference on Computers in Education,
Auckland, New Zealand, Paper 152, ISBN 0-7695-1509-6.
The 6th edition of the Commonwealth of Australia, Style manual for authors, editors and
printers
. (Commonwealth of Australia 2002) recommends that no indentation be used for the
reference list. It also makes other recommendations in relation to the formatting of the items
in the reference list. The following is an example of the format it recommends.
Turnbull ML 2002, ‘The Practical Use of Email Lists as Class Discussion Forums in an Advanced
Course’,
Proceedings of the 2002 International Conference on Computers in Education, Auckland,
New Zealand, Paper 152, ISBN 0-7695-1509-6.
The important thing is, once you have settled on a style that you are comfortable with, or have
been required to use,
that you use the same style consistently throughout the document.
Further details of the Harvard referencing style will not be provided here. The reader is
referred to the 6
th edition of the Commonwealth of Australia, Style manual for authors,
editors and printers
. (Commonwealth of Australia 2002). However, it is important to note
that, no matter what referencing style is used,
every item present in the reference list must be cited at least once within the body of
the document; and,
in general, every citation within the body of the document must have an associated
presence in the reference list. (Note: there are some special exceptions relating to
secondary references and personal communications).
A citation with a missing reference is useless. In general a citation must be linked to an item
in the reference list so that the reader can obtain a copy of the reference material if they need
to.
A reference with no citation should be placed in the Bibliography, not in the Reference List.

An Exemplar for Writing a Simple Academic Technical Report, Edition 1.01
Michael Lloyd Turnbull BAppSc(Distinctions) QUT, MAppSc CQU, JP(CDec)
Copyright © Central Queensland University, August 2005, all rights reserved.
15
Be Critical of Your Reference Sources
No matter whether your reference source is an article from a respected journal or from a
suspect magazine, an academic writer should not accept the veracity of the information it
contains until after critical scrutiny. Basic credibility checks should be carried out. These
should include, but not be limited to, the following.
Is the author a recognised expert in the topic?
Does the author have standing in his or her peer community?
Has the author’s current and past work been regularly cited in work by other authors?
Is the work current (i.e. not out of date)?
Do the ideas and information the author presents have current standing (i.e. they have
not been debunked by later authors)?
Does the author cite credible references?
Is the author affiliated with respected organisations?
If the answer to one or more of the forgoing questions is, “No”, then the article may not be a
credible reference source.
Using World Wide Web Sites
The World Wide Web (WWW) has made an enormous amount of information accessible to
everyone. Much of that information is credible. However, a great deal of it is just useless junk
and garbage. An academic author must get into the habit of applying rigorous scepticism to all
information obtained from WWW sites (web sites).
In the previous section it was emphasised that academic writers be critical of their reference
sources. This is especially true of information obtained from web sites.
The authoring tools available to self publish material on web sites allow even unskilled
writers to produce very professional and seemingly credible presentations. The professional
appearance of these sites has the potential to charm the reader into attributing it with more
credibility that it deserves. Just because it has been presented in the form of a professional
looking layout does not mean that the site contains credible information.
Unbelievable Web Sites
Many web sites contain claims that are not justified by reference to credible sources.
A typical example is the Amazing Products web site that advertises copper and
magnetic jewellery purporting to provide pain relief. The web site contains many nonspecific statements such as,
Throughout the ages copper has been used for medicinal and healing
purposes. In ancient Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Persian, Hindu and
Aztec writings there has been evidence of various consistent medicinal
uses of copper.
(Amazing Products 2005)
and,

An Exemplar for Writing a Simple Academic Technical Report, Edition 1.01
Michael Lloyd Turnbull BAppSc(Distinctions) QUT, MAppSc CQU, JP(CDec)
Copyright © Central Queensland University, August 2005, all rights reserved.
16
Many health practitioners and scientists have studied the beneficial use
of copper and copper bracelets. Many believe that it has antiinflammatory benefits for joint problems, connective tissue problems
and bone problems, such as inflammation, arthritis, tendentious,
bursitis, rheumatism and osteoporosis. It can also have a positive effect
on other health conditions. These benefits are found in may
[sic] people
who seem to get an insufficient amount of copper from their food.
Several doctors who have studied this copper connection think the
dissolved copper traces entering the body through the skin from a
copper bracelet may be the only way for people to get the copper they
need!
(Amazing Products 2005)
Nowhere on the web site is there any specific and verifiable information about the
medical efficacy of copper and magnetic jewellery. No citations of credible reference
sources are provided, and the site is full of misleading and unjustifiable claims. For
the purposes of most academic writing the reference source is of little use. One
possible exception would be if the site is being used as an example of poor credibility,
as is the case here.
Unbelievable Anonymous Web Sites.
Numerous web sites contain outlandish and unsupported claims that are so incredible
that no one has claimed authorship of it. A typical web site is the one that claims to
have a toad paint a picture of your “aura” (
Can your Words Inspire a Picture n.d.). No
credible academic author, even if they believed the claims made on that web site,
would seriously use it as a cited reference in their own work if they wished to
maintain credibility of their work. Possible exceptions, as I have stated previously,
would be if the site is being used as an example of poor credibility, an example of
human naiveness, or an example of tongue-in-cheek humour.
Credible Anonymous WWW Resources
Just because a web resource does not have an author who claims ownership of it does
not mean that it is not credible material. Take, for instance, music that was written in
the 11
th century. Most medieval polyphonic musical works are anonymous, because
the names of the authors were either not written into available history or were simply
never known. This piece of information was obtained from a web site published by a
well respected national radio broadcaster. However, the actual author of the web page
cannot be identified (Radio Prague 1997). The fact that a well known and well
respected radio broadcasting organisation has explicitly claimed rights to the material
imparts a degree of credibility to the information it contains.
When using such reference sources it is the writer’s responsibility to justify their
claim that the referenced source has credibility.

An Exemplar for Writing a Simple Academic Technical Report, Edition 1.01
Michael Lloyd Turnbull BAppSc(Distinctions) QUT, MAppSc CQU, JP(CDec)
Copyright © Central Queensland University, August 2005, all rights reserved.
17
Use of Acronyms, Initials, Abbreviations, and Contractions.
Most English literature abounds with the use of acronyms, initials, and abbreviations. This has
always been the case.
Acronyms
Acronym is not defined in the Reader’s Digest Dictionary (1972). However, the online
Oxford English Dictionary Online (Oxford University Press 2005) defines it as, “A
word formed from the initial letters of other words.” Typical examples are:
TDD – which is made up from the first letters of the phrase Telephony Device
for the
Deaf.
WWW – which is made up from the first letters of the phrase World Wide
Web.
WHO – for World Health Organisation.
All acronyms aren’t just formed from the
first letter of the words. Often acronyms are
created from other than the first letters, to give the acronym a sensibly pronounceable
form. Typical examples are:
TTY – for TeleTYpe.
HTML – for HyperText Markup Language.
When any acronym is used in academic literature, its full meaning should be clarified
at the first instance it is used. For instance, one might see the following.
Central Queensland University (CQU) is a major regional
institution.
Alternatively, it may be written as follows. Either form is acceptable.
CQU (Central Queensland University) is a major regional
institution.
Subsequent use of the same acronym does not require clarification.
Initials
Initials are often used in literature in somewhat the same way as acronyms – but with
a slight difference. Initials
always use the first letters of the word or words from which
they are formed. Examples are:
Q.E.D. – The initials of the Latin phrase “Quod erat demonstratum”; the
English translation of which is “Which was to be demonstrated.”
i.e. – The initials of the Latin phrase “id est”; the English translation of
which is “That is to say.”
e.g. – The initials of the Latin phrase “exempli gratia”; the English
translation of which is “For the sake of example.”
R.S.P.C.A. – The initials of the non-trivial words in “Royal Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals”.
An Exemplar for Writing a Simple Academic Technical Report, Edition 1.01
Michael Lloyd Turnbull BAppSc(Distinctions) QUT, MAppSc CQU, JP(CDec)
Copyright © Central Queensland University, August 2005, all rights reserved.
18
Abbreviations
An abbreviation is the shortening or truncation of a (usually, but not always) long
word, for convenience in writing. Examples are:
Mr. an abbreviation of “Mister”.
Etc. short for “Etcetera”.
cf. short for the Latin word “confer”; the English translation of which is
“compare”.
Pram an abbreviated form of the word “perambulator”.
Contractions
The Oxford English Dictionary Online (Oxford University Press 2005) defines
contraction as, “The action of contracting or shortening (a word, a syllable, etc.) by
omitting or combining some elements, or, in writing, by substituting a single symbol
for a number of letters.” A contraction is very similar to an abbreviation except that a
contraction tends to use an apostrophe to indicate that some letters have been omitted
from the fuller version in order to form the contracted version. Examples are:
Can’t – for “Can not”.
‘Phone – for “Telephone”.
Shan’t – for “Shall not”.
It’s – for “It is”.
Use of First Person Pronouns
It is customary in formal academic writing to avoid referring to the author, with any of the
first person pronouns. First person pronouns include words such as, “I”, “me”, “my”, “we”,
“us”, and “our”.
When the author needs to refer to him or her self, it should be framed in the third person. The
following examples demonstrate how this may be done.
Consider the following paragraph in which first person references are made.
I was born in the western Queensland town of Charleville. Spending my
early youth in the west gave me a love for the Australian bush.
This could be rephrased as follows to eliminate the first person pronouns, and replace them
with the third person form.
The author was born in the western Queensland town of Charleville.
Spending his early youth in the west gave him a love for the Australian
bush.

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Michael Lloyd Turnbull BAppSc(Distinctions) QUT, MAppSc CQU, JP(CDec)
Copyright © Central Queensland University, August 2005, all rights reserved.
19
An exception to this convention is if the author is quoting from an external source in which
the author uses the first person. For instance, the following paragraph is acceptable.
When the author was being interviewed, and was asked how he
developed a liking for rural communities, he responded by saying, “I
was born in the western Queensland town of Charleville. Spending my
early youth in the west gave me a love for the Australian bush.”
The consistent use of third person references to self maintains the formal framework of the
writing.
Word Count
All academic writing is subject to word limits. If the article is being written as an academic
paper for a conference or journal, it is only one of possibly several hundred that may be
selected or rejected by the conference or journal editors. There is a limited amount of space
available in the conference proceedings and the journal; so limits must be placed on the size
of all submissions. This limit may be expressed as a maximum number of pages, or it may be
determined by stipulating a maximum number of words. Often the conference or journal
editors will stipulate an upper and lower word limit. Sometimes a nominal word limit and
permitted variation percentage will be stated. Rarely does an academic writer have the luxury
of writing as much or as little as they choose.
Not all of a report contributes towards the word count. Only the chapter bodies or main body
of the report is used to determine the overall word count – and even then some parts of those
sections are omitted. In general all of the chapter body or main body is included in the word
count except for verbatim quotes and end of chapter glossaries (if they are used).
Although headings, citations, and captions should logically be excluded from the word count,
in practice they contribute a relatively small proportion of the overall count, and are usually
included to simplify the determination of the word count.
In hard copy documents the word count is usually determined by averaging the number of
words per line, and then counting the number of lines. Most word processing computer
applications, including Microsoft® Word®, provide a handy word count feature.
If it is required, the word count would usually be placed on the title page.
Distillation of Content
The online Oxford English Dictionary Online (Oxford University Press 2005) defines
verbiage as, “Wording of a superabundant or superfluous character, abundance of
words without necessity or without much meaning; excessive wordiness.” When faced
with strict word count limits it is crucial that academic writers are skilled at stripping
all verbiage from their document. This is rarely an easy task – but it is a necessary
undertaking.
Much of the skill of content distillation relies on the writer’s intimate knowledge of
the language being used. It involves elimination of redundant information, and
replacing long language forms with equivalent short forms. The English language is
especially poor for minimising redundant information, but particularly good at
providing alternate language forms. It is probably because English provides such a

An Exemplar for Writing a Simple Academic Technical Report, Edition 1.01
Michael Lloyd Turnbull BAppSc(Distinctions) QUT, MAppSc CQU, JP(CDec)
Copyright © Central Queensland University, August 2005, all rights reserved.
20
rich variety of redundant and alternative language forms that is has been successful as
a World Language for art, literature, science, law, and diplomacy.
Minimising Redundant Speech
The most obvious use of redundant speech is where the same subject matter is
repeated within the same paragraph, in different ways. If the same thing is said more
than once, in slightly different form, then speech redundancy has occurred. Repetition
of the same topic indicates speech redundancy.
That last paragraph is a ridiculously obvious demonstration of redundant speech. Yet it
is surprising how often it occurs in reports.
The first task in reducing verbiage in text is to go through the document and weed out
all information redundancy.
Using Short Alternative Language Forms
The author recalls with humour a time, more years ago than he cares to admit, when
he asked a farmer, “What is that thing you have in your hand?” To which the farmer
replied, “A specialist device devised to assist in the removal of silicon based foreign
objects from the hooves of equine quadrupeds.” It would have been much more
succinct if the farmer had said, “A pair of pincer pliers to take stones out of horse’s
hooves.” This demonstrates that we all have a tendency to
pad what we say with
unnecessary words.
The second task in reducing verbiage in text is to go through the document and
eliminate all
padding, and replacing long speech forms with succinct alternatives.
Summary and Conclusion
It is important that academic authors who are writing in the English language use proper
English grammar. This is not all that easy for authors for whom English is an acquired
language; especially when it has recently been acquired, or is in the process of being learnt.
The perfection of any written language, not just English, is a never-ending task. It is only
achievable with years of practice, self assessment, and comparison with the exemplary work
of others.
It is with those observations in mind that this document was written. This document is
intended to be an exemplary demonstration of the correct way to write a simple formal
academic report. It is only the reader who can judge the success or failure of this attempt. The
author does not regard it as an example of a
perfect report style – merely as a goal to aim for.
The author offers it with respect and humility, knowing that there will be inevitable mistakes
in it.
The author hopes that the reader finds this document useful.

An Exemplar for Writing a Simple Academic Technical Report, Edition 1.01
Michael Lloyd Turnbull BAppSc(Distinctions) QUT, MAppSc CQU, JP(CDec)
Copyright © Central Queensland University, August 2005, all rights reserved.
21
Glossary
All definitions contained in this glossary are derived from the Oxford English Dictionary
Online (Oxford University Press 2005).

Word or
Phrase
Definition
acronym A word formed from the initial letters of other words.
ad hoc a. For this purpose, to this end; for the particular purpose in hand or in view.
b. Devoted, appointed, etc., to or for some particular purpose.
affiliation Relationship, especially as perceived within a group of similar things thought to
have derived from a common source.
appendix An addition subjoined to a document or book, having some contributory value
in connexion with the subject-matter of the work, but not essential to its
completeness.
appendices Plural of “appendix”.
caption The heading of a chapter, section, or newspaper article (chiefly used in U.S.).
Also used (orig.
U.S.) for the title below an illustration; in cinematography and
television, a sub-title.
citation The action of citing or quoting any words or written passage, quotation; in Law,
a reference to decided cases or books of authority.
composite Made up of various parts or elements; compound; not simple in structure.
contraction The action of contracting or shortening (a word, a syllable, etc.) by omitting or
combining some elements, or, in writing, by substituting a single symbol for a
number of letters.
cite To quote (a passage, book, or author); generally with implication of adducing as
an authority.
credible Worthy of belief or confidence; trustworthy, reliable
credibility The quality of being credible.
critical Involving or exercising careful judgment or observation.
debunk To remove the ‘nonsense’ or false sentiment from; to expose (false claims or
pretensions); hence, to remove (a person) from his ‘pedestal’ or ‘pinnacle’.
distil To extract the quintessence of; to concentrate, purify.
efficacy Power or capacity to produce effects; power to effect the object intended.
emulate To strive to equal or rival a person, their achievements or qualities; to copy or
imitate with the object of equaling or excelling.
etcetera And the rest, and so forth, and so on, indicating that the statement refers not
only to the things enumerated, but to others which may be inferred from
analogy. Usually abbreviated to “etc.”
exemplar A person or thing which serves as a model for imitation; an example.
exemplary Fit to serve as an example or pattern for imitation.

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Michael Lloyd Turnbull BAppSc(Distinctions) QUT, MAppSc CQU, JP(CDec)
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22

Word or
Phrase
Definition
first person Denoting or indicating a person speaking. (Cf. second and third person.)
grammar That department of the study of a language which deals with its inflexional
forms or other means of indicating the relations of words in the sentence, and
with the rules for employing these in accordance with established usage;
usually including also the department which deals with the phonetic system of
the language and the principles of its representation in writing.
idiomatic Peculiar to or characteristic of a particular language; pertaining to or exhibiting
the expressions, constructions, or phraseology approved by the peculiar usage
of a language, especially as differing from a strictly grammatical or logical use
of words.
imbed To fix firmly in a surrounding mass of some solid material.
jargon Applied contemptuously to any mode of speech abounding in unfamiliar terms,
or peculiar to a particular set of persons, as the language of scholars or
philosophers, the terminology of a science or art, or the cant of a class, sect,
trade, or profession.
judicious Of action, thought, etc.: Proceeding from or showing sound judgment; marked
by discretion, wisdom, or good sense in relation to practical matters.
outlandish Looking or sounding foreign; unfamiliar, strange. Hence, in extended use: odd,
bizarre; going beyond what is considered normal or acceptable; outrageous,
extravagant.
paraphrase To express the meaning of (a written or spoken passage, or the words of an
author or speaker) using different words, especially to achieve greater clarity; to
render or translate freely.
plagiarize To practice plagiarism upon; to take and use as one’s own the thoughts,
writings, or inventions of another.
plagiarism The action or practice of plagiarizing; the wrongful appropriation or purloining,
and publication as one’s own, of the ideas, or the expression of the ideas
(literary, artistic, musical, mechanical, etc.) of another.
prescribe To write or lay down as a rule or direction to be followed
prescriptive That prescribes or directs; giving definite, precise directions or instructions.
redundant Superabundant, superfluous, excessive.
rigor The strict terms, application, or enforcement of some law, rule, etc.
rigorous Characterized by rigor; rigidly severe or unbending; austere, harsh, stern;
extremely strict
sceptical Inclined to or imbued with scepticism (in the various senses of that word); in
modern use often, dubious or incredulous.
scepticism Sceptical attitude in relation to some particular branch of science; doubt or
incredulity as to the truth of some assertion or supposed fact.
scrutiny Investigation, critical inquiry.

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Michael Lloyd Turnbull BAppSc(Distinctions) QUT, MAppSc CQU, JP(CDec)
Copyright © Central Queensland University, August 2005, all rights reserved.
23

Word or
Phrase
Definition
second
person
Denoting or indicating a person spoken to. (Cf. first and third person.)
sic A parenthetical insertion used in printing quotations or reported utterances to
call attention to something anomalous or erroneous in the original, or to guard
against the supposition of misquotation.
succinct Of a narrative, etc.: Compressed into small compass; expressed in few words;
brief and concise.
synonym Strictly, a word having the same sense as another (in the same language).
third
person
Denoting or indicating a person spoken of. (Cf. first and second person.)
veracity Agreement of statement or report with the actual fact or facts; accordance with
truth; correctness, accuracy.
verbatim Word for word; in the exact words with reference to a copy of a document or
passage in a book, or to the report of a speech, etc.
verbiage Wording of a superabundant or superfluous character, abundance of words
without necessity or without much meaning; excessive wordiness.

An Exemplar for Writing a Simple Academic Technical Report, Edition 1.01
Michael Lloyd Turnbull BAppSc(Distinctions) QUT, MAppSc CQU, JP(CDec)
Copyright © Central Queensland University, August 2005, all rights reserved.
24
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An Exemplar for Writing a Simple Academic Technical Report, Edition 1.01
Michael Lloyd Turnbull BAppSc(Distinctions) QUT, MAppSc CQU, JP(CDec)
Copyright © Central Queensland University, August 2005, all rights reserved.
25
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An Exemplar for Writing a Simple Academic Technical Report, Edition 1.01
Michael Lloyd Turnbull BAppSc(Distinctions) QUT, MAppSc CQU, JP(CDec)
Copyright © Central Queensland University, August 2005, all rights reserved.
26
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An Exemplar for Writing a Simple Academic Technical Report, Edition 1.01
Michael Lloyd Turnbull BAppSc(Distinctions) QUT, MAppSc CQU, JP(CDec)
Copyright © Central Queensland University, August 2005, all rights reserved.
27
Appendix A – Technical Usage Instructions
(Source <cite data source here>, used with permission)
This is a stylised representation of a
technical data sheet