How to write a proposal for engineering projects?

The proposal is a written document designed or prepared to persuade a customer, company, government to –

  1. get the project, contract or tender
  2. win quotation or purchase a product
  3. receive funding (grant proposal)

Preparing a proposal for engineering projects is tough work and challenge. You need to submit a detailed plan for the projects to get approval from an organization or a person in a position of authority.

The purpose of the proposal is to inform the reader, a problem or need, offer a solution and give a broad overview of how the proposed solution will work and how much it will cost.

The quality of the proposal depends not only on the quality of the proposed project, but also on the quality of proposal writing. Proposal and reports have similar formats with few exceptions. Many of the similar components are found both in reports and proposals.

How to write a proposal for projects ?

Proposal for the projects is mainly divided into 3 parts. Front

i) Front Body / Front PartMain Body

Back Body / Back Part

i) Front Body

  1. Cover letter/ letter of transmittal: Clearly mention what and why you are writing. Point out the importance of what you are proposing and explain what your next step will be as a follow up. It includes purpose, subject, importance and date of plan.
  2. Title page: It includes the title, name and address of proposal writer and the recipient and the date submitted. Title should be informative and catchy. An effective title not only excites the reader’s interest but also influence him/her favorably towards the proposal.
  3. Acknowledgement: express your thanks or gratitude to everyone who helped you to write the proposal.
  4. Table of contents: headings and subheadings with their corresponding page numbers.
  5. List of tables and illustrations: if you see tables, illustrations and images list them by titles and page numbers.
  6. Executive summary: it is a brief synopsis of the proposal focusing on the problem, solution and benefit.

ii) Main body

A) Introduction

Introduction provides the necessary background or context of research problem. It gives a brief overview of the contents of the document and presents a persuasive statement about the feasibility of the project. It does so by explaining why the current situation is inadequate and why it needs to be change.

Key questions to answer while writing introduction. 
Does your introductory section
  1. Clearly establish who you are?
  2. Describe your organizational goals?
  3. Establish your credibility in the project topic area?
  4. Lead logically to the problem statement?
  5. Statement of problem or need: It represents the reason behind your proposal. It specifies the conditions you wish to change. It should be supported by evidence drawn from your experience, from statistics provided by authoritative sources and from appropriate literature review. Your problem statement should quickly summarize the problem, show your familiarity with prior research or work on the topic, reinforce your credibility for investigating the problem and justify why this problem should be investigated. It carries the following characteristics: 

Problem statement should be understandable

  1. There should be the relationship between project or organizational goals and set of problems.
  2. Justify why the problem should be of special interest to the sponsor.
  3. Demonstrate your problem is feasible to solve.
  4. Problems and outputs should be mentioned in terms of social needs and benefits.

B) Purpose of the study

specify the reasons for writing the proposal, set the objective clearly and define key terms and phrases. It is an important to state your objectives clearly. Central concept or idea of the study should be clearly defined.

As you write the objective section, answer these questions. Does the section
  1. Clearly describe your project’s objective, hypothesis and research question?
  2. Demonstrate that your objectives are important, significant and timely?
  3. Include objectives that comprehensively describe the intended outcomes of the project?
  4. State your objectives, hypothesis or questions in a way that they can be evaluated later?
  5. Demonstrate why your project’s outcome is appropriate and important to the sponsor?
  6. Methodology: this method section describes your project activities in detail, indicating how your objectives will be accomplish. It will provide a work plan and describe the activities necessary for the completion of the project. The description should include the sequence, flow and interrelationship of activities as well as planned staffing for the project.

C) Data collection

you will probably need to collect data as a part of a project. Common data collection methods include:

  1. Questionnaire
  2. Achievement tests
  3. Psychological tests
  4. Clinical examinations
  5. Personal diaries, interviews
  6. Survey or field visits.

D) Limitations and delimitation

A limitation identifies potential weakness of the study and delimitation addresses how a study will be narrowed in scope that is how it is bounded. This is the place to explain the things that you are not doing and why you have chosen not to do them – the literature you will not review (and why not), the population you are not studying( and why not) the methodology you will not use( and why not).

E) Feasibility

When you write a proposal you must clearly state that whether the project that you would like to get Is feasible or not. You must show that it is feasible on two important grounds:

Economically feasible:  you must show that the project would be feasible economically, that is it will make profit and not loss.

Technically feasible: some projects may appear to be profitable but you also have to show that you have the enough technology and resources to complete it.

F) Necessary sources and budgeting

The researcher should mention the available sources and necessary sources to conduct the research. The source of local material and human support can be the local community which alleviates the way of research.

The researcher needs to state the estimated budget along with the available sources to complete the task within the specified time period.

G) Evaluation

While undertaking any project, it is very important to evaluate it. It is supposed to solve the existing problems and bring happiness in the people. After the completion of the project there should be the remarkable benefit to the concerned people. That is to say you have to answer the question.

Has your project achieved the goals or objectives?

Is your project result oriented?

iii) Back Body / Back Part

  1. Glossary/ abbreviations: list of key vocabularies, abbreviations and acronyms.
  2. References: list of books, journals, articles and online sources used in the proposal.
  3. Appendices: these may include maps, diagrams, photos, charts and figures.

In this way you can write a great proposal for different projects in civil engineering fields as well as for others fields.

Are people benefiting from your project?

Hopeful you are clear about the confusion of

How to write a proposal?

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