A crucial aspect of engineering lies in the ability to properly relay ideas, findings and projects to the relevant bodies. The main reason of writing engineering reports and proposals is to seek grants from funding agencies, for publication in peer reviewed journals and for updating relevant agencies on the progress of projects.
The goal or reason of writing is an important aspect to consider when writing engineering documents. The purpose of writing is to convince the reader that you are qualified for the job and that the project is scientifically and economically viable. Most engineers wrongly assume that convincing is not part of their job but it indeed is as most clients may not be able to understand the terms used in the documents.
Another important aspect is the audience for the documents. A client will not pay for old information, only that which they do not know. Solutions proposed to solve the problem at hand should be spelt out clearly. In addition, the stated problem should be clear and of importance to the client. Background information is used to add perspective to the solution offered and therefore should always be included in these documents. Finally, the reader needs to know that yours is the best team available.
Proposals can be written by any engineer both in academia and consultants. Funding agencies need to see a project proposal before funding as it is an assurance that money is channeled in the right project and in the right way. Clients also need to see them to know how their problem is being addressed and if it fits what they had in mind. These documents are important because they spell the objectives, way of doing, cost and also the time the project will run.
The structure of this proposal should consist of at least six basic elements. The executive summary is a one paged brief and compressed summary of this proposal. It should clearly and objectively explain the purpose, programs essentials, expenses and qualifications of people undertaking the project. The introduction should bear the purpose of this project in detail. It should also provide useful background information and a brief overview of the task.
The project objectives, methods and evaluation are to be found in the project description section. A time frame and the budget bearing all the over heads and estimated cost are also found here. They should in form of charts, diagrams and tables. In the last section is a list of particular team to be involved and their education and professional qualifications.
The outline of an engineering report consists of a title, executive summary, introduction, background, methods, results, conclusion, acknowledgements, references and the appendix. The background consists of theory and analysis where the laws, equations used and any other unfamiliar information is defined. Methods section indicates the apparatus, instruments and materials used. The findings are spelt out in the results page and discussed. Later conclusions and recommendations are drawn based on the objectives.
In conclusion, remember to organize your writing to increase readability. Format the document including headings and text in the acceptable way. In addition, any graphs, pictures and tables used should be labeled. Lastly, the content of proposal or report should determine the style of writing and organization used.
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