1st Edition

Guide to Research Projects for Engineering Students Planning, Writing and Presenting

    253 Pages 43 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    253 Pages
    by CRC Press

    Presents an Integrated Approach, Providing Clear and Practical Guidelines

    Are you a student facing your first serious research project? If you are, it is likely that you’ll be, firstly, overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task, and secondly, lost as to how to go about it. What you really need is a guide to walk you through all aspects of the research project, from planning and conducting your research project to writing and presenting it. Guide to Research Projects for Engineering Students: Planning, Writing and Presenting is the guide you need to do the job efficiently.

    Specifically Designed with Engineering and Technical Science Students in Mind

    The book is organized into three sections, broken down into concise chapters that focus on a specific topic and the skills required. The section on planning shows you how to choose a project, research a topic, write a project proposal, plan the project, select methods and methodologies, and keep records. The section on writing provides help on writing the different sections of a research report as well as introduces you to the strategies and language conventions required for writing an effective research report. Finally, the section on presenting covers creating effective figures and layout, preparing for a project presentation, and the dos and don’ts in delivering a presentation. Advice on how to use IT tools effectively is given throughout the book.

    • Contains highly practical content—includes tips on how to conduct research, write it up effectively, and avoid common errors and pitfalls in grammar and style
    • Offers guidance on using IT tools (which are indispensable in research)
    • Includes pertinent examples of best practices on conducting research and research writing

    The authors have drawn on their many years of experience teaching engineering students, either in supervising engineering students in their research projects or teaching technical communication skills.


    Cognitive skills

    Role of supervisor

    Writing skills

    Information and technology skills


    Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

    PART I


    Choosing a research project

    Before you choose a research project

    Basic considerations for choosing a research project

    Advice for undergraduate students

    Advice for postgraduate students


    Researching a topic


    Sources of information

    Types of information

    Writing a research project proposal

    Purpose of a research proposal

    Structure of a research proposal

    Other considerations

    Tips on writing style and language in a research proposal

    Checklist for writing a research proposal


    Planning a research project

    Phases of a research project

    Project management

    Be accountable

    Be focused on your objectives

    Be realistic

    Keep interested

    Tips on making a Gantt chart


    Research methodology and research methods

    Research methodology

    Research methods


    Keeping research records

    Purpose of keeping a research log

    Contents in a research log

    Using a research log

    Writing a research log

    Recording literature searches

    Hardcopy versus electronic copy

    Things to avoid in keeping a research log

    Rules on keeping a research log




    Starting to write

    Starting to write

    Writing at the beginning of a project

    Managing your writing

    Avoiding procrastination

    Grammar, punctuation and word usage guide

    Common grammar problems

    Common sentence problems

    Common punctuation problems

    Commonly misused and confused words and phrases


    Do’s and don’ts of technical writing

    Do’s of technical writing

    Don’ts of technical writing


    Strategies for writing a good report or thesis

    Learn from others

    Start early

    Write the first draft quickly

    Use a template

    Revising and checking for plagiarism

    Writing the introduction and literature review

    Components of an introduction

    Strategic use of steps in the different parts of an introduction and literature review

    Common logical pitfalls in an introduction

    Some key language features of an introduction and literature review

    Writing the literature review as a separate section or chapter

    Checklist for introduction and literature review


    Other references

    Writing the materials and methods

    Components of materials and methods

    Some considerations in writing materials and methods

    Some key language features in materials and methods

    Checklist for materials and methods


    Writing the results and discussion

    Components of results and discussion

    Organizing results and discussion

    Common logical pitfalls in results and discussion

    Some key language features of results and discussion

    Tips on typing equations

    Checklist for results and discussion


    Writing the conclusion

    Functions of a conclusion section

    Components of the conclusion section

    Illustration of a conclusion section in a research paper

    Language features of the conclusion

    Do’s and don’ts in writing the conclusion section

    Checklist for writing the conclusion


    Writing the abstract and front matter

    Components of an abstract

    Some key language features in an abstract

    Some considerations in writing an abstract

    Checklist for writing an abstract

    Parts of front matter

    Checklist for an abstract and front matter



    Features of two main referencing systems

    In-text citations

    End-of-text citations


    Using sources and avoiding plagiarism

    Using sources

    Avoiding plagiarism

    Checklist for avoiding plagiarism


    Revising and editing

    General advice before you revise

    How to revise




    How to create figures

    Purpose of figures

    Types of figures

    Photographs and images

    Schematic drawings

    Tips for positioning figures, images and charts

    How to create a good layout

    Ten simple rules for a good layout

    Layout of report or thesis

    Follow the guidelines

    Create a template file


    How to prepare for an oral presentation

    The message

    The audience

    Presentation time

    Preparing for an oral presentation

    Presentation format

    Presentation slides


    Do’s and don’ts of oral presentations

    Managing anxiety

    Delivering your presentation

    Using presentation tools

    Managing your time

    Procedure for finishing quickly

    Tip: How to find your conclusions slide instantly

    Answering questions

    Checklist for a presentation


    Appendix: Common editing symbols


    Eng-Choon Leong is currently an associate professor at the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He has more than 300 publications in international journals and conferences and is a recipient of the 2004 ASTM Best Practical Paper for Geotechnical Practice Award and of the 2012 Koh Boon Hwee mentor award. Carmel Lee-Hsia Heah is a senior lecturer at the Language and Communication Centre at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and formerly a senior lecturer in professional communication at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto, Canada. Her research interests include EL teaching and learning, ELT and engineering curriculum and course design and Language for Special Purposes. She has done significant research work in ELT pedagogy and course development as well as professional communication skills training. Her research output includes co-authored textbooks and an English grammar reference book. Kenneth Keng Wee Ong is a lecturer at the Language and Communication Centre at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He teaches courses at graduate and undergraduate level on research writing and technical communication. He has also received the Dean's Commendation for Research award in 2010 and 2011 conferred by the National Institute of Education, Singapore. His current research interests include bilingual language processing and semantic/conceptual representation, second language vocabulary acquisition and computer-mediated discourse analysis.

    "Engineering students who have to complete research projects will find this book an immensely helpful reference to hone their skills throughout the whole project. Engineering project supervisors will also find it a great workload reducer if their students can use this volume to its full potential."

    English for Specific Purposes, July 2016

    "… comprehensive and covers every aspect of a research project. Students will also appreciate the concise chapters and easy-to-read text. And even if students do not use Microsoft Office, they will still benefit from the other well-written and informative content."
    Technical Communication, February 2016

    "… specifically caters to engineering students and provides a more than comprehensive coverage of not only the research process but provides tips on the writing process and also the presentation of the research conducted. The writers, having taught engineering students, are obviously aware of what these students require. However, although primarily aimed at engineering students, this volume will be of use to both undergraduate and postgraduate students working on research projects."
    —Maya Khemlani David, University of Malaya

    "… addresses the current need of a comprehensive guide for undergraduate students. … With its comprehensive approach and organizational clarity, the book should be able to come in handy for all students preparing a research report. Remarkably, the book includes specific advice on use of language and grammar that is bound to enhance the quality of student writing. A very welcome addition to books in this area!"
    —Dr Anil Pathak, Deputy Dean, Centre for Communication, Teaching and Learning, Institut Teknologi Brunei

    "This is a very useful and comprehensive book for undergraduate and postgraduate students facing the challenge of their first research project. Shaping an idea, make it happen, and being able to communicate achievements are difficult tasks. Even the most brilliant students tend to remain ‘trapped’ in one of the three stages identified by the authors, planning, writing, and presenting. This book is easy to read, has many practical examples, and is written in a straight-to-the-point style. It can be read from the start to the end or just consulted on any specific aspect where support is being sought."
    —Professor Alessandro Tarantino, University of Strathclyde

    "… this book is unique as it guides students from the initial stage of choosing a topic all the way to writing up the report to presenting it in front of an informed audience."
    —Dr Deng Xudong, Associate Professor, Centre for Communication Skills, Singapore Institute of Technology

    "…a useful research and writing companion handbook to help students cope with all the demands of completing a project of such a scale. … can be used as either a self-study guide or a textbook in final-year project writing courses."
    —Dr Becky Kwan, Associate Professor, Department of English, City University of Hong Kong

    "The authors deserve accolade for bringing to the fore key concepts essential to successful academic research and writing. It is an invaluable handbook that is written in accessible language with a clear purpose in mind: to guide students toward academic success. It is a must-have for supervisors who work with research students. It is also a reliable resource book for researchers, teachers, subject librarians, and those interested in engaging with academic research writing."
    —Professor Lawrence Jun Zhang, PhD, University of Auckland, New Zealand

    "…the approach and selection of the topics covered in the book are very comprehensive … from conception of ideas to final presentation of the research outcomes. This book should be a "must-have" for all beginners in research work. Veteran researchers will find this book a good and refreshing guide to produce more succinct research reports."
    —Associate Professor Woon Kwong Yip, Registrar, SIM University, Singapore

    "… comprehensive and covers every aspect of a research project. Students will also appreciate the concise chapters and easy-to-read text. And even if students do not use Microsoft Office, they will still benefit from the other well-written and informative content."
    Technical Communication, February 2016