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EDSGN 100: Introduction to Engineering Design

Resources for researching and writing a technical report based on an engineering design.

Evaluating Resources

Think critically about web sites and print resources.  

  • AuthorityWho is the author or creator?  What are their credentials for this topic?
  • Content: What is the author's bias? Who was the information written for?
  • CurrencyWhat is the publication date?  When was the website last updated? Does this matter for your topic?
  • ValidityIs the information accurate or valid?  Are there references to other works that support the information?
  • Publisher: Do they have a good reputation?

Technical Reports Evaluation

Definition: Technical reports describe the process, progress, or results of technical or scientific research. Include in-depth experimental details, data, and results.

Reasons to Use: Technical reports are usually produced to report on a specific research need. They can serve as a report of accountability to the organization funding the research. They provides access to the information before it is published elsewhere.

How to Evaluate: Technical Reports are usually not peer-reviewed.  They need to be evaluated on how the problem, research method, and results are described.

Comparison of Types of Journals

The information below can help you understand the differences between scholarly journals, professional/trade journals, and popular periodicals. 

​Peer Reviewed = Scholarly?  Not always. Scholarly implies an academic audience whereas some non-scholarly works can undergo editorial review or review by peers.
Comparison of Scholarly, Professional, and Popular Periodicals
Criteria Scholarly Journals Professional/Trade Journals Popular Periodicals/ Magazines
Audience Researchers and experts Members of a trade or profession The general public
Author Researchers and experts Staff writers and experts in the field Staff writers, although many articles are unsigned
References (Sources cited) Includes reference lists and bibliography. All quotes and facts are documented. Reference lists sometimes included. References rarely included.
Purpose To disseminate research findings  To publicize current topics in the field and professional issues To disseminate general information or to entertain
Content Detailed research reports and methodologies  Trends, standards, and new technologies in the field General interest stories and news; may include personal narrative and opinions
Language Jargon that assumes expertise in the field Jargon that assumes expertise in the field Language that requires no expertise
Publisher Associations or universities Associations Commercial organizations
Layout Highly structured organization; includes abstract, bibliography, charts or graphs Structured organization; usually includes abstract, bibliography, charts or graphs Informal organization: eye-catching type and format; includes illustrations or photographs
Examples Journal of the American Medical Association; Political Science Quarterly Hospital Business Week; Real Estate Weekly News; Farm Industry News Time; Newsweek; Science News