3.3 Typical scenarios for the proposal

Many of you may have never given much thought to producing a technical report based on a viable proposal. Here are some sample proposal ideas to ponder:

  • Imagine that a company has a problem or wants to make some sort of improvement. The company sends out a request for proposals; you receive one and respond with a proposal. You offer to come in, investigate, interview, make recommendations—and present it all in the form of a report.
  • An organization wants a seminar in your expertise. You write a proposal to give the seminar—included in the package deal is a guide or handbook that the people attending the seminar will receive.
  • An agency has just started using a new online data system, but the user’s manual is technically complex and difficult to read. You receive a request for proposals from this agency to write a simplified guide or startup guide.
  • Imagine that a nonprofit organization focused on a particular issue wants an consultant to write a handbook or guide for its membership. This document will present information on the issue in a way that the members can understand.

Not all research topics are appropriate for technical writing. Topics that are based on values and beliefs do not fall into the category of technical. Historical and literary topics do not qualify.

If your technical writing course requires that you integrate scholarly research into your final report, choose a topic for which you can readily find such material. While interviews and other first-hand sources are often valuable to a report, one that relies heavily on these sources may not meet the outcomes of your particular course.

Always check with your instructor about any topic ideas you have before starting on your project.

Chapter Attribution Information

This chapter was derived by Annemarie Hamlin, Chris Rubio, and Michele DeSilva, Central Oregon Community College, from Online Technical Writing by David McMurrey – CC: BY 4.0


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Technical Writing Copyright © 2017 by Allison Gross, Annemarie Hamlin, Billy Merck, Chris Rubio, Jodi Naas, Megan Savage, and Michele DeSilva is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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