All students are required to write and submit 3 satisfactory work reports, WKRPT 200, WKRPT 300 and WKRPT 400.
The term you are required to submit each work report may be found in the University of Waterloo U/G calendar, at http://ugradcalendar.uwaterloo.ca/page/ENG-Mechanical-Engineering
Work reports from Mechanical Engineering students must be submitted to Tanya Yoworski, in E5-3106, prior to 4:00 p.m. of the day one week after the first day of lectures. See the Important Dates page for the specific date and time. Reports handed in after this deadline will not be marked until the next term. You will receive a mark of 38% for the work report if it is not submitted on time. While this grade will not be included in your term average, it will count as a failed course in your failed course count until such time as this course is successfully cleared. When the work report is ultimately marked and cleared, in a subsequent term, this will be indicated on your transcript accordingly. Note that the 38% mark will remain permanently on your transcript. It is best that you hand in your work report on time!
Work Reports should not be classified as confidential unless absolutely necessary. Confidential reports may be marked, in confidence, one of two ways: 1) marked by the Associate Chair undergraduate studies or a delegate in the department of Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering faculty member or marked by a licensed professional engineer (P.Eng.) at your place of employment.
Note: Only one of your required work term reports may be 'Confidential, Marked by Employer'. If your Confidential Work Report is being marked by your Employer, the marker must have his P.Eng. Licence Number. contact Tanya Yoworski, at email@example.com, or extension 33625, in the Mechanical Engineering U/G Office, for more information regarding confidential work reports, and for a copy of the Guidelines and forms required for a confidential work term report. You should provide your employer with a copy of these guideline and discuss this option. Note that if you already have a credit for a confidential work report marked by employer and your current employer is not willing to allow the Associate Chair or delegate to mark the report, then you must write a "Self-Study" work report on the topic totally unrelated to your place of employment.
In preparing your first work report you should begin by reviewing the report-writing steps taught to you in the First Year ME 100 course. In particular, see Chapters 6 & 7 in your First Year text: "Introduction to Professional Engineering in Canada, 3rd Ed., by G.C. Andrews, J.D. Aplevich, R.A. Fraser & C. Macgregor, Pearson Prentice Hall, Toronto 2009. Note, however, that a higher level of Engineering analytical content, commensurate with your academic level, will be expected in each of your work reports.
- Marking: Work reports are marked by a Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering faculty member or by a graduate teaching assistant working under the direction of the Associate Chair.
- Selecting a Suitable Topic: Your report must describe a technical task or project that you completed during your work term. Most importantly, your report must have analytic content. That is, your report must describe the challenge or problem you were assigned (this is the purpose of the report), what methods you considered to meet the challenge, which one you selected, and how you implemented it (this is the analysis), what the results were, and what you concluded and recommended. Generally, reports without a critical engineering analysis, such as mere descriptions of processes, systems, equipment or mathematical models or a literature or web page review are unacceptable work report topics. In particular, a software user's-guide is unacceptable as a work report, even if it is useful and well-written. However, a report about a software development project conducted by the student is acceptable. In this case, the report would describe the challenge you faced, what hardware, languages and procedures you used (and why), how you organized the code (include flowcharts), how it was tested, the test results, etc. The report is about the project; the user's-guide might be in an appendix.
- Letter of Submittal: The ME department requires you to clearly define the role you played in the project and precisely what help was provided. Please do not write: "This report was prepared and written by me and I would like to thank Joe Smith for his help." Explain who suggested the project, what your job was, and precisely what help Joe Smith gave. Was he your boss or an assistant? Did he help you, or did you help him? How do we contact him? For example:
"I would like to acknowledge the help of Mr. Joe Smith, Head of Engineering, who defined the purpose of the project, helped me choose the test methods, and proof-read my final report. My role in the project was to select and calibrate test equipment, make the measurements, collect and analyze the data, and write the report. The project lasted 3 months. Mr. Smith can be contacted at (905) 555-1234. I would particularly like to thank Ms. Jane Doe, who provided computer code for analyzing the test data, and Mr. John Buck who typed the first three drafts of this report."
NOTE: Your Letter of Submittal must be signed.
- Summary: The most common error is writing a Summary that is too brief and too vague. Another common error is writing a Summary that is identical to the Introduction. The Summary should be a brief version of the full report. It should give the reader an accurate overview. The Summary usually includes parts of the introduction, the main body, the conclusions, and the recommendations. Be brief, but be specific. What was the problem or challenge that you were given? State the purpose of the project, preferably in the first paragraph. ("The purpose of this project was to . . . .") How did you solve it? If you performed tests, how many were there? How did you organize them? In general terms, state what procedure and equipment you used. What problems were met? What did the results show? If the project was a design, state what criteria you defined, what alternatives you considered, what the final design looks like, how it was tested, how it performed, etc. Please do not say "Conclusions are given in the report." Include the key conclusions in the Summary, briefly. The Summary is usually one page but, if needed, two pages may be used.
- Format: Minor deviations from the Guideline format are acceptable, since many companies may require a different format. Presenting a neat, logical, consistent format is more important than conforming to an arbitrary standard, and clear communication is always more important than anything. Previous work report Guidelines required the Conclusions and Recommendations to follow the Summary. Although this format may still be used in some industries, it is not now recommended. The Guidelines now request that Conclusions and Recommendations come after the main body of the report.
- Conclusions & Recommendations: Conciseness is admirable; however, many students make the Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations too brief. On the other hand, do not "pad" your report with irrelevant ideas, just make it complete and understandable. You may organize ideas using lists or numbered points, if appropriate, but avoid making your report into a check-list or a series of encrypted notes.
- References: Every report needs references; in fact, your failure to consult references for guidance may be considered negligence. On the other hand, when you include sentences, photos, drawings or figures from other sources in your report, the complete reference must be cited. Failure to do so is plagiarism, an academic infraction with serious consequences.
- Work Term Report Common Error Checklist: You may find this presentation of common errors in work reports useful when preparing your work term report.