82 Technical Reports- Proposals

In many technical fields, reports are a crucial part of professional communication. The successful report utilizes the design and content concepts we have discussed throughout this course. Your textbook has some excellent information on reports. Please read the assigned section before moving on to my information on brochures and making your decision on what kind of document you will write for this module.


The proposal is a specific kind of report. As your textbook describes, a good proposal is broken into sections, each one presenting its own piece of the overall technical puzzle. Headings, subheadings, bulleted lists, graphs, charts and tables are all important ingredients in helping your reader understand what it is you are asking for.


There are two major kinds of proposals: solicited and unsolicited. In a solicited proposal, you are providing information that someone has asked for. For instance, the Lake Champlain Management Conference might want some scientific information on the impact of zebra mussels in the lake. The conference would advertise (solicit) for scientists to write a proposal on how they would collect the information. Scientists would then develop a proposal based on the conference’s needs.


In an unsolicited proposal, the writer of the proposal is presenting information that the audience has not requested. Let’s say that the University of Vermont and Plattsburgh State have been gathering information on zebra-mussel infestation in Lake Champlain and want to receive some funding to help expand their research. Scientists from the schools would develop a proposal to send to the Management Conference. They would try to convince the conference of the need for this proposal to be carried out.


Both kinds of proposals follow a similar format, but obviously the attitude of the audience is different: in the first, you have to convince the audience that you are the person for the job; in the second, you have to convince the audience that the job is necessary.


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