How to Write a Design Report

Researchers create design reports for engineering and scientific designs.

Design reports are used in scientific and engineering designs such as objects that require temperature control or should display images a particular way. Researchers generally create them at the end of the planning and design phase of a project. The design report summarizes the problem to be solved, the theory behind the design, any tests used throughout the design process and the outcome of the design. It has two audiences: one at the management level, which wants to know about the effectiveness of the design as well as the design’s application. The other audience includes other engineers interested in how effective the design is and how it works.

Write the summary of the design report with the assumption that the reader has some knowledge of the subject in question but has not yet read the report. The summary is also referred to as an executive summary or an abstract. You are to communicate your motivation behind having the design as well as the effectiveness of the design. The summary should provide enough background information about the design so that it can stand by itself.

Target a management audience in the summary label is as an executive summary. If the summary label is an abstract, make your target audience a technical audience.

Write a table of contents page so the reader can clearly understand where each part of the report begins and ends.

Identify the exact design problem in the introduction of the report. You should also discuss the objectives and assumptions of the design as well as design alternatives and the design you are reporting on.

Map the entire report at the end of the introduction for transition into the actual report.

Detail the exact process of the entire design in the discussion portion of the report. You should present the design and theory behind the design. You should also outline the problems that arose while you were producing the design and how to overcome those problems as well as any test results used on the design.

Divide the discussion into main headings. You should separate the extremely detailed discussion into three or four main headings that are logical for the particular design.

Summarize the design and design testing in the conclusion. This is also the section where you discuss whether you met the objectives discussed in the introduction. If you did not meet the objectives, explain why and analyze what you can do in the future for a successful design.

Create an appendix with any graphs and test results used in the design process.

Akeia Dixon is a freelance writer who began her professional writing career in 2009 for various websites. She enjoys writing about natural health topics but also loves to research and write about her findings on any subject. She is currently in school studying psychology and sociology.