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A Guide to Writing as an Engineer, 4th Edition by David A. McMurrey, David F. Beer

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5

WRITING COMMON ENGINEERING DOCUMENTS

This project requires as much writing as it does engineering!

Lev Shuhatovich, Engineer, Appliance Lab LLC, Austin, Texas, 2008.

This chapter explores common types of documents you may write as an engineer, focusing on their typical content, organization, and format. As you read this chapter, keep in mind that the names of these types vary considerably, and their contents often combine in different ways:

  1. Inspection or trip reports. Briefly report on the inspection of a site, facility, or property; summarize a business trip; or report on an accident, describing the problem, discussing the causes and effects, and explaining how it can be avoided.
  2. Research, laboratory, and field reports. Report on an experiment, test, or survey; discuss the research theory, method, or procedure; present the data collected; discuss conclusions, and possibly, explore applications of the findings or possibilities for further research.
  3. Specifications. Provide detailed requirements for a product to be developed or detailed descriptions of an existing product; provide specifics on design, function, operation, and construction.
  4. Proposals. Seek a contract, approval, or funding to do a project; function as a competitive bid to get hired to do a project; promote you or your organization as a good candidate for a project; promote the project itself, showing why it is needed.
  5. Progress reports. Summarize how your project is going, what you or your group has accomplished, ...

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