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Overview. This is an "academic" proposal only in the sense that it is addressed to a technical writing instructor from a technical writing student. The context is clearly a technical writing class. There is no effort here to use a "real-world" context or to create a realistic one. For example, a guidebook to photolithography and the semiconductor manufacturing process might be needed for new fab employees; the fab management could send out requests for proposals for just such a guide to be created. The goal of this academic proposal is to convince the instructor that the writer can handle the project successfully, that he has thought through the details, and that the project has enough substance to give the writer a good chance of a good grade. Nothing is wrong with writing academic proposals—they're just not as much fun, and you don't get to charge the big bucks!
Memo to the instructor. This proposal is a professional communication, like any other. It is set up as a memorandum in that is an "internal" communication within the technical writing class. Notice that the entire proposal is contained in the memorandum; no cover memo is used. This proposal is short enough that the writer didn't believe a cover memo and a separate formal proposal was necessary.
Proposal introduction. Notice that the introduction follows just below the to, from, subject header of the memo and that no "Introduction" heading is used. Remember that in short document, readers can assume that the first paragraph following the title of the header is introductory in nature—therefore, no heading is needed. Notice that this introduction states the purpose and topic of the information to follow, mentions previous contacts, and provides an overview of what is to follow in the proposal.
Overview. Take a look specifically at the overview—very important element to include in business letters, memos, and report!
Background on the need for the proposed project. This writer rather briefly reviews the need for this project. It would have been a good touch to have found out why photolithography is not part of the curriculum.
Description of the proposed project. Having presented the problem, this writer now goes on to discuss the solution—the handbook. This is a vital element in any proposal: the recipients need to know what the proposer intends to do, what "deliverable" the proposer intends to develop.
Benefits. This writer reviews a numner of benefits inherent in the project: its educational value for himself and other students as well as its chance of improving his prospects for gaining employment.
Feasibility of the project. This part of the proposal is obviously rather weak. It states that the writer can do the project but provides no proof or explanation of that assertion. In this section, the instructor will want some reassurances that the students can successfully complete the project. How can the student provide this reassurance?
Procedure. This section is a good one—notice how it delineates exactly how the writer will carry out the project. in the feasibility section, the writer might have stated that he has a solid plan for completing the project and could have cross-referenced this section for support of that claim.
Results—description of the finished product. A good idea in many proposals, this section describes what the finished product will look like in terms of its page count and illustrations. Some additional descriptive detail could have been used here as well—for example, type of binding, cover, and so on.
Information sources. In this section, the writer must convince the instructor that adequate information sources exist to support his project. He provides a general discussion of the information sources available here and cross-references the actual list, which occurs toward the end of this proposal.
Graphics. In accordance with the assignment, the writer lists the graphics he think he will use in the proposed report—both in terms of their content as well as their type.
Schedule. This student lists the key milestones in his report project. additional milestones might be helpful here.
Qualifications. In this section, the students lists aspects of his background that he believes will enable him to carry out this project successfully. Are you convinced?
Cost. This student projects costs for this project and then reassures the instructor that these costs are manageable. When you write this section, delineate everything you can about the costs and then add them all up.
Conclusion. The writer of this proposal provides a very brief conclusion in which he encourages the instructor to get in touch with any questions.
Outline. Any instructor attempting to guide a student in the direction of a successful report project will wants to see as detailed an outline as possible—at least to the second level, or even third level, as is provided here.
Bibliography. As promised, the writer of this proposal lists the information sources he'll use to write this report. He mentions earlier that he will interview people directly involved in the industry process—it would been have useful to list the individuals that the writer expected to interview.
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