Guide to Research Projects for Engineering Students: Planning, Writing and Presenting, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Guide to Research Projects for Engineering Students

Planning, Writing and Presenting, 1st Edition

By Eng Choon Leong, Carmel Lee-Hsia Heah, Kenneth Keng Wee Ong

CRC Press

253 pages | 43 B/W Illus.

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Description

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.

Reviews

"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

Table of Contents

Introduction

Cognitive skills

Role of supervisor

Writing skills

Information and technology skills

Reference

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

PART I

Planning

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

Reference

Researching a topic

Keywords

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

References

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

References

Research methodology and research methods

Research methodology

Research methods

References

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

References

PART II

Writing

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

Reference

Do’s and don’ts of technical writing

Do’s of technical writing

Don’ts of technical writing

Reference

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

References

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

References

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

References

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

References

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

References

Referencing

Features of two main referencing systems

In-text citations

End-of-text citations

References

Using sources and avoiding plagiarism

Using sources

Avoiding plagiarism

Checklist for avoiding plagiarism

References

Revising and editing

General advice before you revise

How to revise

References

PART III

Presentation

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

Reference

How to prepare for an oral presentation

The message

The audience

Presentation time

Preparing for an oral presentation

Presentation format

Presentation slides

References

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

References

Appendix: Common editing symbols

About the Authors

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.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCI026000
SCIENCE / Environmental Science
TEC009000
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Engineering (General)