Outlines of Various Types of Documents

This document contains outlines for the following types of documents:

OPERATION MANUAL

Introduction

type of manual, manufacturer's name and number for the equipment, related manuals, level of training needed, other background

General description

define, give overall picture, provide visual aid

Detailed description

each part needed by operator is described in a logical sequence; details should include location, shape, method of operation, and purpose

Theory of operation

the "why it works" section: technical or scientific explanation

Operation

step-by-step commands in sequential order; should include warnings and some brief explanations of results of actions and reasons for doing them. Purpose of each step should be clear to reader before instructions for doing it are given.

INSTRUCTION MANUAL

Introduction:

type of manual, value of process, special conditions and requirements, other related manuals

Materials:

list of materials needed, with some explanation of what they are, where they can be obtained, and how they will be used

Tools:

list of tools needed, may contain explanations of why they are needed, where they are obtained, and how they will be used

Theory:

same as the operation manual--if needed at all

Instructions:

same as those in the operation manual

EMPIRICAL RESEARCH REPORTS

INTRODUCTION AND LITERATURE REVIEW.

Describe the subject, purpose, problem and scope of the research.

Discuss the pertinent literature and lead to your objective. [example of objective below]

We then seek to answer the following questions raised by the model: 1) Is the spatial arrangement of nectar rewards within the inflorescence [pattern of flowers on a stalk or in a cluster] exploited by foraging bees in the manner predicted by our model? 2) Does the plant's pattern of nectar rewards elicit bee behavior which promotes pollen transfer?

MATERIALS AND METHODS

RESULTS

DISCUSSION (interpretation of the results)

RECOMMENDATIONS

INTERNAL PROPOSALS

  1. Introduction

  2. Sections

COMPARATIVE FEASIBILITY REPORTS

Introduction

Purpose
Problem: Brief reminder of situation calling for feasibility study
Scope:

Alternatives (Which options were considered?)

Criteria (What points of comparison were used? Broad divisions are usually cost and capability.) Specific list of qualities desired in the final choice. These statements are usually descriptive and should involve measurements whenever possible.

Sections (May be either block or alternating pattern, but usually alternating)

Criterion one: What is it? Describe its limits or any other background necessary. (When cost is a criterion, it is usually the first one discussed.)

Alternative one: description and reporting of data obtained

Alternative two: description and reporting of data

Alternative three: description and data

Summary of data, sometimes with brief evaluative statement.

Criterion two: (Usually some aspect of capability) What is it? Fill in appropriate background.

Alternative one: description and data

Alternative two: description and data

Alternative three: description and data

Summary of data, sometimes with brief evaluative statement.

Criterion three (and others) would follow the above pattern

Factual Summary: Summary of all data from all sections, often in table form.

Conclusions: Evaluative statements about the alternatives based on the factual summary. (Convictions arrived at on the basis of evidence).

Recommendations: What should be done? Which is the best option? What is the next step?

PROGRESS REPORTS

Summary

Introduction

Work Completed (Inclusive dates of the period)

Work Scheduled (Inclusive dates for next period)

Evaluation

How is progress going based on original projections?

  • If cost is part of your concern, are you staying within budget?
  • Estimate of completion date

    INFORMAL MEMORANDUM REPORTS

    Summary

    Summarize the whole report, being sure to answer the questions of most concern to the immediate reader.

    Background

    Give a brief summary of the general setting for whatever is being reported. This is more of a reminder than anything, but should answer the who, what, when, where, why and how questions (other than the report's major question).

    Facts

    Summary of whatever is being reported. If an inspection, what did you find? If a trip, where did you go and what did you do or learn? If an accident, what specifically happened? You might think of this section as being a fully developed discussion of the report's major question.

    Outcome

    What is the state of things now? (or) How would you evaluate the trip? What has been done to fix the problem? (or) Was the trip valuable? etc.

    Conclusions

    What conclusions can you draw about the overall significance of the thing being reported in relationship to the continuing work of the company?