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A Guide to Writing as an Engineer 4E


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Table of Contents

1. Engineers and Writing 1 Engineers Write a Lot 2 Engineers Write Many Kinds of Documents 4 Successful Engineering Careers Require Strong Writing Skills 5 Engineers Can Learn to Write Well 6 Noise and the Communication Process 7 Controlling the Writing System 9 Exercises 11 Bibliography 11 2. Eliminating Sporadic Noise in Engineering Writing 12 Spelling and Spell Checkers 13 Punctuation 13 Traditional Sentence Errors 21 Technical Usage 29 Edit, Edit, Edit 38 Exercises 38 Bibliography 39 3. Guidelines for Writing Noise-Free Engineering Documents 40 Focus on Why You Are Writing 41 Focus on Your Readers 42 Satisfy Document Specifications 43 Get to the Point 44 Provide Accurate Information 45 Present Your Material Logically 45 Explain the Technical to Nonspecialists 46 Make Your Ideas Accessible 48 Use Efficient Wording 52 Format Your Pages Carefully 60 Express Yourself Clearly 61 Manage Your Time Efficiently 66 Edit at Different Levels 67 Share the Load: Write as a Team 68 Exercises 71 Bibliography 71 4. Letters, Memoranda, Email, and Other Media for Engineers 72 Which to Use? 73 Writing Style for Business Correspondence 76 Communication Strategies for Tricky Situations 77 Business Letters: Components and Format 78 Business Memoranda 82 Email: Functions, Style, Format 85 New Internet Media 87 Exercises 89 Bibliography 90 5. Writing Common Engineering Documents 91 Some Preliminaries 92 Inspection and Trip Reports 94 Research, Laboratory, and Field Reports 95 Specifications 98 Proposals 102 Progress Reports 105 Instructions 109 Recommendation Reports 114 Exercises 118 Bibliography 118 6. Writing Research and Design Reports 119 Engineering Research Reports 119 Engineering Design Reports 130 General Report Design and Format 131 Generating Portable Document Files 133 Using CMS and Other Applications for Team Reports 135 Exercises 136 Bibliography 137 7. Constructing Engineering Tables and Graphics 138 Tables 138 Charts and Graphs 142 Illustrations 145 Graphics and Tables: Guidelines 146 Exercises 147 Bibliography 148 8. Accessing Engineering Information 149 Basic Search Strategies 150 Sources of Engineering Information 154 Internet Engineering Information Resources 172 Internet Search Tools 174 Exercises 176 Bibliography 177 9. Engineering Your Speaking 178 Preparing the Presentation 179 Delivering the Presentation 190 Presenting as a Team 195 Checklist for Oral Presentations 196 Listening to Presentations 198 The Importance of Informal Communication 198 Exercises 199 Bibliography 200 10. Writing to Get an Engineering Job 201 How to Write an Engineering Resume 202 How to Write an Application Letter 214 How to Write a Follow-Up Letter 226 Exercises 228 Bibliography 228 11. Ethics and Documentation in Engineering Writing 229 Engineering Ethics 229 The Ethics of Honest Research 235 Exercises 243 Bibliography 243 12. Engineering Your Online Reputation 244 Introduction to Social Media Management 244 Creating a WordPress Blog 247 Building a Facebook Page for a Business 250 Using Twitter to Connect and Share Information 256 Generating Your Interactive Resume on LinkedIn 259 Targeting Experts with Google+ 263 Bibliography 266 Index 267

About the Author

David Beer is a retired professor of Engineering Communication at the University of Texas Austin. David McMurrey is Business & Technical Communications department chair at Austin Community College; a former technical writer, editor, and vendor coordinator for IBM-Austin; and a writing seminar provider for engineering groups at state and federal agencies.

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