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Keep it as simple as possible, yet no simpler. Albert Einstein

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  1. How We Will Evaluate the Writing of Engineering Documents Keep it as simple as possible, yet no simpler. Albert Einstein

  2. what do they know? why are they reading? what expectations do they have? what biases do they have? In engineering, the way that you write depends on the audience, purpose, and occasion audience occasion purpose format formality politics deadlines to inform to persuade

  3. This lecture present ways to avoid common errors of structure in writing Structure Organization illogical Assertions not supported Depth lacking Section transitions abrupt Illustration Illustration not introduced Illustration misplaced Illustration not captioned Language Audience not targeted Improper tone Ambiguity Needless complexity Sentence variety lacking Discontinuity Form Format not followed Major error (RO, Frag) Grammar error Punctuation error Usage error

  4. One error of structure is not properly organizing the document References Appendices Conclusion If a man can organize his ideas, then he is a writer. Robert Louis Stevenson Results Methods Introduction Summary Title EverestNews.com

  5. The organization of a document is reflected in the headings, subheadings, and paragraphs

  6. Heading Experiment. The experiment for the project consisted of several specimens placed inside a recirculating wind tunnel. The specimens were thin-walled tubes of 304L stainless steel... Avoid abrupt beginnings to documents or sections Experiment. The specimens were thin-walled tubes of 304L stainless steel...

  7. References • Armstrong, James, “Computer Engineering Laboratories Website at Penn State,” http://www.ee.vt.edu/cel (State College, PA: CSE Department, 2005). • Microchip Technology, “Specification Sheet DS11109G for the 28C64A” (Chandler, AZ: Microchip Technology, 1994), pp. 14-17. • Spasov, Peter, Microcontroller Technology: The 68HC11, 3rd ed. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2002), p. 243. 26 Each citation at the end of the report should refer to a reference listing in the text Introduction [Spasov, 2002] 1

  8. This lecture present ways to avoid common errors of language in writing Structure Organization illogical Depth lacking Assertions not supported Section transitions abrupt Illustration Illustration not introduced Illustration misplaced Illustration not captioned Language Audience not targeted Improper tone Ambiguity Needless complexity Sentence variety lacking Discontinuity Form Format not followed Major error (RO, Frag) Grammar error Punctuation error Usage error

  9. Procedures for Design The second part of the laboratory called upon us first to read the level of a DIP switch and then to output that value to a TIL311 hex display. When the switch was open (state zero), the voltage was 5 V. Similarly, when the switch was closed, the voltage was 0.... To target the audience, write the procedures as a narrative, not a set of instructions Procedures for Design 1. Load the contents of the A register into accumulator A and logically and it with $01. 2. If the result is equal to zero (meaning that the LSB of A was a zero), then branch to our inline ‘setlow’ routine, which clears accumulator A and puts it into the B register.

  10. In formal reports, the tone should be professional …At this point, we realized that we had neglected at every step to test the program on its own. When we did test the program disconnected from a personal computer, the program went berserk. To our astonishment, when we reentered Buffalo, we discovered that our program no longer existed where we had stored it. Therefore, we have no way of knowing what the HC11 had been doing, but it certainly had been up to no good.

  11. In formal reports, the tone should be professional …At this point, we realized that we had neglected at every step to test the program on its own. When we did test the program disconnected from a personal computer, the program went berserk. To our astonishment, when we reentered Buffalo, we discovered that our program no longer existed where we had stored it. Therefore, we have no way of knowing what the HC11 had been doing, but it certainly had been up to no good. Informal: you, a lot, pretty straightforward

  12. We examined four fuels: neat methanol, neat ethanol, methanol with 10% water, and ethanol with 10% water. An ambiguity is a group of words that can have more than one meaning We examined neat methanol and ethanol and methanol and ethanol with 10% water.

  13. Syntax often causes ambiguities,especially with adverbs Only I tested the Labrador for rabies yesterday. I only tested the Labrador for rabies yesterday. I tested the only Labrador for rabies yesterday. I tested the Labrador only for rabies yesterday. I tested the Labrador for rabies only yesterday.

  14. We wanted to reduce the vibration of the fan at the exhaust because the exhaust ducting was cracking. Word choice can also cause ambiguities We wanted to reduce the vibration of the fan at the exhaust as the exhaust ducting was cracking.

  15. After the display loop runs, it returns to check the status of the switch. Not having commas after introductory phrases or clauses often causes ambiguities After the display loop runs it returns to check the status of the switch.

  16. Although engineers realized the design flaws in the Titanic soon after its sinking in 1912, the reasons for the severe damage inflicted by the iceberg remained a mystery until the Titanic’s discovery in 1985. Also causing ambiguities are pronouns, particularly the pronouns it and this Although engineers realized the design flaws in the Titanic soon after its sinking in 1912, the reasons for the severe damage inflicted by the iceberg remained a mystery until its discovery in 1985.

  17. ??????? Also causing ambiguities are pronouns, particularly the pronouns it and this We wanted to load Port B with a 1 if the switch was high and with a 0 if the switch was low, which was easily done using a BRCLR statement with a mask of 1. This meant that if the low bit of Port A was clear, the code would output to Port B.

  18. Inherent complexity: Buffalo disassembler detailed schematics EEPROM $006 Needless complexity: facilitation, e.g., PORT A Long noun strings Sentences containing more than one idea One common error in engineering writing is to make the writing needlessly complex Content: Ideas Style and Form: Writing

  19. This study will consider why current solar energy systems, such as Solar One, have not reached the commercial stage and will find out what steps we can take to make these systems commercial. R.I.P. Complex wording buries ideas The goal of this study is to develop a commerciali- zation strategy for solar energy systems by analyzing factors impeding early commercial projects (i.e., SOLAR ONE) and by identifying the potential actions that can facilitate the viability of the projects.

  20. At high pressures (700 torr) and typical electrode gap distances (1 mm), the electrical breakdown of nitrogen was studied in uniform fields. Needless complexity can occur at the sentence level The goal of the work was to confirm the nature of electrical breakdown of nitrogen in uniform fields at high pressures and electrode gaps which approach those obtained in engineering practice, prior to the deter-mination of the processes which set the criterion for breakdown in the above-mentioned gas in uniform and non-uniform fields of engineering significance.

  21. In our study, we examined the electrical breakdown of nitrogen in uniform fields. For these experiments, the electrode gap distances were typical (1 mm), while the pressures were relatively high (760 torr). The more challenging the idea, the more revisions are needed to clarify it At high pressures (760 torr) and typical electrode gap distances (1 mm), the electrical breakdown of nitrogen was studied in uniform fields.

  22. Z Z Z When sentence openers do not vary, the sentences do not seem to connect Mount St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980. A cloud of hot rock and gas surged northward from its collapsing slope. The cloud devastated more than 500 square kilometers of forests and lakes. The effects of Mount St. Helens were well documented with geophysical instruments. The origin of the eruption is not well understood. Volcanic explosions are driven by a rapid expansion of steam. Some scientists believe the steam comes from groundwater heated by the magma. Other scientists believe the steam comes from water originally dissolved in the magma. We need to understand the source of steam in volcanic eruptions. We need to determine how much water the magma contains.

  23. Varying sentence openers allows for more kinds of transitions between sentences Sentence 1 Sentence 3 Sentence 2 Topic of Sentence Time or place of action Manner of action Subordinate action Reason for action Sentence

  24. In minutes, the mountain emitted… prepositional phrase However, debate has arisen... adverb Although the exact time of the eruption surprised scientists, evidence had been collected... dependent clause Vary sentence openers to vary rhythm Mount St. Helens erupted on May… subject–verb

  25. More sophisticated sentence openers exist infinitive phrase To understand the eruption, scientists have to... • gerundial phrase Calculating the amount of ash will require many assumptions. • dependent clause How the blast occurred remains as subject a mystery. • participial phrase Its slope collapsing, the mountain emitted...

  26. Varying sentence openers enlivens the writing and allows connections Mount St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980. Its slope collapsing, the mountain emitted a cloud of hot rock and gas. In minutes, the cloud devastated more than 500 square kilometers of forests and lakes. Although the effects of the eruption were well documented, the origin is not well understood. Volcanic explosions are driven by a rapid expansion of steam. Recently, debate has arisen over the source for the steam. Is it groundwater heated by magma or water originally dissolved in the magma itself? To understand the source of steam in volcanic eruptions, we need to determine how much water the magma contains.

  27. To make connections, use transitional phrases early in sentences Pause Continuation Reversal Also, Moreover, First…Second... For that reason, Therefore, For instance, For example, Strictly speaking, In other words, In effect, However, On the other hand, Conversely, Nevertheless, Otherwise, This shows... This means...

  28. …truss. This disregard for flexibility results in a low stiffness causing the natural frequency to be imprecise. Successful Transition …truss. Not accounting for the flexibility results in a low stiffness causing the natural frequency to be imprecise. Fluid Transition Replace the standalone “this” with a noun phrase that specifies the subject The finite element modeling technique does not take into account the flexibility of the truss. This results in a low stiffness, which causes the natural frequency to be imprecise. Weak Transition

  29. This lecture present ways to avoid common errors of illustration in writing Structure Organization illogical Depth lacking Assertions not supported Section transitions abrupt Illustration Illustration not introduced Illustration misplaced Illustration not captioned Language Audience not targeted Improper tone Ambiguity Needless complexity Sentence variety lacking Discontinuity Form Format not followed Major error (RO, Frag) Grammar error Punctuation error Usage error

  30. * *Pluto not considered here as a planet Illustrations consist of tables and figures Table 1. Physical characteristics of planets [Handbook, 1969]. Planet Diameter (km) Year (earth days) Mercury 5,100 88 Venus 12,600 225 Earth 12,800 365 Mars 6,900 687 Jupiter 143,600 4,333 Saturn 120,600 10,759 Uranus 53,400 30,686 Neptune 49,500 60,225

  31. Illustrations consists of tables and figures Figure 1. Static pressure versus flow rate for five settings on the inlet guide vanes. The circles show where the fan would operate for each setting.

  32. ..., as shown in Figure 1. Figure 1. Simplified schematic of hardware. In formal documents, an illustration appears after the paragraph that introduces it ..., as shown in Figure 1 below. Figure 1. Simplified schematic of hardware.

  33. An equation is part of the sentence that introduces it The goal of the project was to find the strain on the rim of an aluminum can. This strain, , was found from equation 1: where  is the stress estimated by the computer code, and E is the modulus of elasticity.   , (1) = E

  34. This lecture present ways to avoid common errors of form in writing Structure Organization illogical Depth lacking Assertions not supported Section transitions abrupt Illustration Illustration not introduced Illustration misplaced Illustration not captioned Language Audience not targeted Improper tone Ambiguity Needless complexity Sentence variety lacking Discontinuity Form Format not followed Major error (RO, Frag) Grammar error Punctuation error Usage error

  35. A run-on (RO) is the incorrect joining of two sentences with a comma Rubidium is more common in the earth than zinc, copper, or nickel, however, rubidium has no major uses. Correction: Rubidium is more common in the earth than zinc, copper, or nickel. However, rubidium has no major uses. Rubidium is more common in the earth than zinc, copper, or nickel; however, rubidium has no major uses. Although rubidium is more common in the earth than zinc, copper, or nickel, rubidium has no major uses.

  36. Past Tense: Events that have already occurred Present Tense: Timeless details or details at time of reading Future Tense: Events that will occur after project To decide upon the verb tense in a document, you first plant a reference flag for t = 0 t = 0 t The pressure was... For the experiment, we assumed… Air is 79 percent nitrogen. Figure 1 shows… This section presents... Future work will focus on....

  37. what do they know? why are they reading? what expectations do they have? what biases do they have? In summary, the way you write depends on your audience, purpose, and occasion audience occasion purpose format formality politics deadlines to inform to persuade