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How Do I Find Technical Reports?

This guide describes Technical Reports and provides assistance to find the resources you need.

Library Assistant

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Tim Wray
H.G. Thode Library of Science & Engineering
McMaster University
1280 Main St. West
Hamilton, ON
L8S 4L8
905-525-9140 ext. 22000

What are Technical Reports?

Technical Reports are one of the most common and important types of information for the engineering field. They are documents that publish the results or findings from recent scientific and technical research; include the conclusions and recommendations from the research; and contain very detailed information that is intended for a specific reader/audience. Technical Reports are generally produced by one of these groups:  

  • a government agency
  • a corporate body or society
  • an academic department 

Technical Reports also fall in the category of “Grey Literature”, a term to describe documents that are outside the traditional/mainstream publication areas such as books and journals. It can therefore be challenging to locate Technical Reports.

Characteristics & Challenges
  • limited printing/publishing
  • cheap & quick to produce
  • highly technical & detailed information
  • current, up-to-date knowledge 
  • non-peer reviewed
  • embargoes (re: intellectual property)
  • incomplete collections & inconsistent cataloguing in libraries
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