- Is the title 120 characters or fewer including spaces?
- Are the Abstract,
Introduction, and Summary of
Results or Conclusions
- Are report headings of equal weight written in the same
form? Are there at least two subheadings under the same higher
- Is the Abstract less than 200 words?
- Does the Summary of Results summarize only the material
presented in the main body of the report? Are the Conclusions
based on the material discussed in the main body of the report?
- Is the system of units used consistently?
- Are the tables,
references, and appendixes
numbered in the order cited?
- Are the references complete? Do they contain no unpublished
reports or private communications?
- Are the mathematical symbols all defined in the
symbol list? Is each symbol used
for only one concept?
- Are chemical symbols defined
the first time they are used?
- Are all acronyms, initialisms, and abbreviations defined?
- Are the mathematical conventions consistent?
- Are trade names used only
- Do all the appendixes have titles?
- Are the tables organized?
Do the numbered tables have titles? Do the column headings include
definitions of symbols used? Are conditions that apply to the
entire table given in a headnote and not in individual columns?
- Do all the figures have legends?
- Do parts (a), (b), (c), etc., have sublegends?
- Are the scales labeled with word definitions?
- Is the grid numbered for easy interpolation of scales?
- Are the keys consistent?
- Do all parts of a particular figure or related figures
have the same scale increments?
- Is each figure of a classified report marked with
its own classification?
- Is the report complete and ready for submission to the
Publishing Services Coordination Office?
- Has the Document Availability Authorization (DAA) form (FF427)
been filled in, if required, and signed by your branch chief?
- Has the Technical Publication Review and Approval Record and
Processing Information form (NASA
C-22) been signed by your
- Has the appropriate distribution category been chosen from NASA's Scope
and Subject Category Guide?
- Have you compiled a list of individuals and organizations,
other than those appearing in the Subject Category, who should
receive a copy of the report? Is the list with the rough draft?
- Are the original graphs with the rough draft?
- Have the original glossy prints of photographs that do not
have an Imaging
Technology Center file number been obtained? Are they with
the rough draft?
- Have glossy prints of any electron micrographs and negatives
of photomicrographs used in the report been obtained? Are they
with the rough draft?
- Have you identified handwritten
symbols the first time they appear?
- See Reports Publication—
(Center Procedure for Glenn's Business Management System)—for
report processing guidelines.
Report Writing Aids
As an aid in outlining and drafting your report, try to answer
the following questions before starting to write:
- What are the purpose and scope of the report? Do you have
something worth reporting?
- Who will read the report? What do you want your readers to
learn from the report? What do they need to know about the
subject to understand your results and conclusions?
- What are the most significant results and
conclusions of your work? Do these all fall within the stated
purpose of the report? What is the order of importance of the
results and conclusions?
- How can the important results best be presented to
the readers? Should figures and tables be used? If so, what
should these show? Should the results be presented and discussed by
What is the minimum information needed to support
the major results and conclusions? What additional information
do you have? Should any of this be included in the report, or will
it detract from your readers' comprehension of the major points?
If any additional information should be included, should it be in
the main text or in an appendix?
- Decreasing order of importance? (usually preferred)
- Increasing order of importance?
- The chronological order in which they were determined?
(Consider carefully before using.)
- Some other logical order of development?
After you have prepared your report draft, review it with the
following questions in mind:
Questions on policies and procedures should be directed to
- Are the purpose and scope of the report clearly stated?
Has the purpose been fulfilled?
- Does the Introduction give your
readers the information they need to understand the results
(or tell them where to get the information)? Are your assumptions
- Did you say what you wanted to say? Do you mean what you
said? Can your readers misinterpret what you said?
- Will the important results be clear to your readers?
Is the order of importance clear?
- Are the limitations of the conclusions clearly stated?
- Is the information presented so as to emphasize the most important
results rather than the difficulty of the work?
- Have you clearly separated facts from opinions? Can your readers
easily distinguish between these?
- Are the items listed in the Author's Checklist
- For more technical writing aids and tips, visit Editing and Writing Services.
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