Format for Final Project Report
The purpose of your final report is to communicate the results of your design project. Some of the information from your proposal will be included in the final report to explain why you are doing what you are doing. However, this document will be entirely separate from your proposal and should not include sections directly copied from it. You will describe why your project is important, your complete design, methods of implementation, theoretical analysis, experimental testing, conclusions about the feasibility of the final design, and work to be done in the future on the design. The format is as follows:
I. Letter of transmittal (as done for the proposal).
II. Cover page (same format as for the proposal).
III. Table of contents (Section title and page number).
IV. List of figures (Figure number, title and page number).
V. List of tables (Table number, title and page number).
VI. Abstract: This will summarize the entire paper in less than 250 words. It will consist of one to three lines each for introduction, methods, results, discussion, conclusion.
VII. Introduction: This is to some extent an abridged version of your Background and Significance section from your proposal, except that, instead of trying to convince someone to fund your work, you are letting them know why your work will be useful to them. Start with a general statement of the problem, making sure that the reader understands its importance. Make sure that enough information is provided so that the importance of each one of your design criteria is understood. Now discuss the enabling technology or technologies that allow your product to work. For example, if you will be using layer-by-layer self assembly in a biosensor, tell the reader what the process is and how it works. Next, discuss the particular requirements for a solution. Generally, do not a talk about your approach to the problem until the last paragraph. Here you will state what you will make, the specific criteria that it will fulfill, and how it will be made. All of your criteria should relate to a specific need that you have already set up in the other parts of the intro. In effect, your design criteria provide you with a road map as to what to say in the earlier part of your introduction. Keep the introduction section to less than 4 pages, double spaced. Do not include section subheadings within the introduction.
VIII. Methods: This section will explain how you designed, analyzed and tested your device. Subsections will include:
1. Detailed design. Describe all information, both structural and functional, about 1) The overall design (production model) and 2) the prototype you have built. Remember that your prototype need not be ready to sell as is. It should, however, illustrate the basic concept and answer specific questions about the feasibility of your design. Be as detailed as possible. Include dimensions, materials, any computer algorithms or software used. Use the following subsections for this part of your report.
(a) Functional description: What does the ideal device do and how does it work? Include neat and fully labeled engineering drawings of the ideal device and of its major components.
(b) Subsystems: Describe any subsystems in the device, how they operate and what their purpose is. Some systems may have many subsystems. Some may have none.
(c) Description of the prototype: How does the prototype you have built differ from the ideal device?
(d) Theoretical Analysis: Explain the quantitative theory you have used to analyze your device and to describe its theoretical overall performance. You can be terse about any theory that has to do with off-the-shelf components of your system. The theory that counts is the analysis you have done to ensure that you have designed your device correctly or optimally.
(e) Construction: How is the device to be put together? Make suggestions about the manufacturing processes, materials, equipment, etc. that should be used. Provide a list of parts and indications of tolerances. Be specific about materials, techniques to be used and associated costs.
(f) Prototype construction: How was the prototype put together? Again, be specific about materials, suppliers and costs. Show a block diagram of the prototype (if appropriate). State the cost of each component, where it was obtained, and what the brand name is. Include a photograph of the prototype.
2. Testing: Describe what tests you performed on the device to ensure that it works properly. These tests should reflect your original design criteria as stated in your proposal. Results of your testing will be stated later in the “Results” section.
VIII. Results: Where appropriate, compare measured data to theoretical curves. Depict your measured data as individual data points and your theoretical curves as lines on your graphs. Remember that pictures are more readily understood than words, but words are needed to orient the reader to the pictures. Graphs are preferred over tables. Be sure to have descriptive figure captions for all of your graphs. Include enough information in the figure caption that the reader can understand the overall point of the graph without referring to the text. Use a statistical test of significance.
IX. Discussion: Discuss the test results and the prototype in general.
1. What did you set out to do, and why?
2. Which design criteria were achieved and which ones were not? What were the reasons for your discrepancies, if any?
3. To what extent does your product agree with your theoretical analysis?
4. How could you modify your theoretical analysis to more accurately model your design?
5. How can your theoretical analysis be used to better optimize your design?
6. What can be done about tests that were not passed?
7. What problems might you expect in the manufacturing process for the production model? For example, if you found that a particular dimension in the prototype had to have high tolerances, that might cause a problem in the manufacturing.
8. What additional functionality could you add to this design?
9. Do your tests indicate any cost savings that could be achieved by design changes?
10. Under what conditions is the product economically viable?
11. Cost analysis: provide a cost analysis of the production model. Suggest a retail price for your device based on materials, labor, estimated market size, cost of research and development, and cost of production.
12. Safety Considerations: Describe any precautions that should be taken to ensure the user’s safety and to prevent damage to the device. Relate these to any tests you have done on the prototype, if applicable.
13. Installation: How does one install the device?
14. Maintenance: What adjustments, cleaning, etc. are needed to maintain the device in good working order.
X. Conclusions: Draw conclusions about the viability of the product.
XI. Future work: Where do you go from here with the project?
XII. Acknowledgements: You should have a good number of people to acknowledge in your project. Do not acknowledge co-authors. They are already acknowledged by being listed on the title page.
XIII. References: I expect to find references that were not included in your original proposal. This should reflect continued library research throughout the implementation phase of your project. Use the same reference format as in the proposal (i.e. Author, Date).
1. Outline of 510K.
2. Notice of Invention.
3. Detailed reviews by two group members.
4. Rebuttals for all critiques of your first draft.
5. Memo from sophomore assistant(s) describing their contributions to the project.
6. Other appendices as appropriate to your project (e.g. detailed theoretical derivations, additional data that is important but not necessary to the overall thrust of your paper, etc.).