The page will support you in satisfying Writing Learning Objective: 

CONVENTIONS - Establish solid and consistent control of conventions for a technical audience (grammar, tone, mechanics, citation style, etc.).

Learning Objectives

You should be able to 

What are Credible References (Secondary Sources) When Writing Engineering Lab Reports?

The audience always expects the information writers are stating is actually true and closely related to the lab topics. Instructors often introduce examples of credible sources typically accepted in the discipline.

What is the Difference Between Citation and Reference?

Writers need to acknowledge any works from others by including in-text citations in the body of text and their corresponding literature reference in the Reference section of the report.

Does the Technical Audience Care About Citation and Referencing?

Including citations and references is an important convention in lab report writing. First, the audience wants to distinguish your ideas/works and others. Second, they want to trace the references to check their credibility, evaluate their appropriateness to the report contents, and conduct additional reading.

What are the Differences Among Popular Citation Conventions Used in College Writing?

Frequent Questions From the Students and the Answers

Citation Generators:

Note that citation generators follow the garbage in, garbage out principle--you have to start with correct information to get a correct citation.

Common Mistakes


What are the Conventions of the Lab Report Genre?

Lab reports are an important communication genre for students addressing a technical audience expecting engineering language, styles, and conventions commonly agreed upon in the engineering discourse community.

First-Person Narrative vs. Third-Person Narratives

Use of the first person (“I” or “we”) is quite restricted in lab reports because writers themselves are not personally important to the procedure in the experiment. Someone else can produce the same results as the writer. This doesn’t mean that students never use first-person in lab reports. When it is used by the writer(s) to illustrate something unique that others cannot do, first-person narrative can improve the report.

Using the Right Tense in Each Section

What Conventions Allow Engineering Lab Reports to be Effective Communication Tools?