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The IEEE Guide to Writing in the Engineering and Technical Fields

ISBN: 978-1-119-07011-5
200 pages
August 2017, Wiley-IEEE Press
The IEEE Guide to Writing in the Engineering and Technical Fields (1119070112) cover image

Description

Helps both engineers and students improve their writing skills by learning to analyze target audience, tone, and purpose in order to effectively write technical documents

This book introduces students and practicing engineers to all the components of writing in the workplace. It teaches readers how considerations of audience and purpose govern the structure of their documents within particular work settings. The IEEE Guide to Writing in the Engineering and Technical Fields is broken up into two sections: “Writing in Engineering Organizations” and “What Can You Do With Writing?” The first section helps readers approach their writing in a logical and persuasive way as well as analyze their purpose for writing. The second section demonstrates how to distinguish rhetorical situations and the generic forms to inform, train, persuade, and collaborate.

The emergence of the global workplace has brought with it an increasingly important role for effective technical communication. Engineers more often need to work in cross-functional teams with people in different disciplines, in different countries, and in different parts of the world. Engineers must know how to communicate in a rapidly evolving global environment, as both practitioners of global English and developers of technical documents. Effective communication is critical in these settings.

The IEEE Guide to Writing in the Engineering and Technical Fields

  • Addresses the increasing demand for technical writing courses geared toward engineers
  • Allows readers to perfect their writing skills in order to present knowledge and ideas to clients, government, and general public
  • Covers topics most important to the working engineer, and includes sample documents
  • Includes a companion website that offers engineering documents based on real projects

The IEEE Guide to Engineering Communication is a handbook developed specifically for engineers and engineering students. Using an argumentation framework, the handbook presents information about forms of engineering communication in a clear and accessible format. This book introduces both forms that are characteristic of the engineering workplace and principles of logic and rhetoric that underlie these forms. As a result, students and practicing engineers can improve their writing in any situation they encounter, because they can use these principles to analyze audience, purpose, tone, and form.

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Table of Contents

A Note from the Series Editor, ix

About the Authors, xi

PART I A TECHNIQUE FOR WRITING LIKE A PROFESSIONAL 1

Introduction, 3

1 The Social Situation of Text 7

The Social Contexts for Technical Writing, 8

Models of the Writing Environment, 9

Transmission Models, 10

Correctness Models, 11

Cognitive/Behavioral Models, 13

Social/Rhetorical Models, 14

This Guide's Approach, 16

The Rhetorical Situation: Purpose, 18

The Rhetorical Situation: Audience, 21

The Rhetorical Situation: Identity, 26

The Rhetorical Situation: Context, 28

The Pragmatic Situation: Community and Genre, 29

2 Making Writing Decisions 33

Introduction, 34

Document Structure and Granularity, 35

Arranging Text at the Macro Level, 37

Sectioning and Heading Sections, 39

Aids for Navigating and Understanding Document Structure, 43

Creating Effects with Lexis and Syntax at the Micro Level, 45

Lexical Technique: Word Choice, Technical Terms, and Hedges and Boosters, 47

Syntactic Technique: Modification, Clausal Arrangement, and Discursive Cueing, 53

Intermediate Structural Units and Argumentative Movement, 68

Paragraph Cohesion and Paragraphs as Structural Units of a Document, 69

Structures Other than Paragraphs, 72

Citations and Other Intertextual Statements, 73

Implications for the Process of Writing, 75

Additional Reading, 77

PART 2 WRITING DOCUMENTS 79

Introduction 81

3 Writing to Know: Informative Documents 85

Introduction, 86

The Purposes of Informative Documents, 86

Occasions for Preparing an Informative Document, 88

Audiences for an Informative Document, 88

Key Communication Strategies When Writing to Know, 90

Understanding What Constitutes Sufficient Evidence to Support a Claim, 90

Structuring Evidence in Your Document, 91

Establishing Expertise, 92

Questions for Analyzing Existing Documents, 93

Some Typical Informative Documents, 93

Reports, 93

Specifications, 104

4 Writing to Enable: Instructions and Guidance 109

Introduction, 110

The Purposes of Enabling Documents, 110

Occasions for Preparing an Enabling Document, 112

Audiences for an Enabling Document, 112

Key Communication Strategies When Writing to Enable, 113

Anticipating a Document's Use Context, 113

Deciding How Much Background Is Warranted, 115

Testing the Document with Users, 116

Questions for Analyzing Existing Documents, 119

Characteristic Enabling Documents, 119

Manuals/Guides and Other Documents That Primarily Contain Instructions/Directions/Procedures, 119

Tutorials/Training Materials, 128

Policies, 130

5 Writing to Convince: Persuasive Documents 133

Introduction, 134

The Purposes of Persuasive Documents, 134

Occasions for Preparing a Persuasive Document, 135

Audiences for the Persuasive Document, 136

Key Communication Strategies When Writing to Convince, 137

Designing Your Argument to Consider the Audience's Preexisting Beliefs, 137

Using the Terms and Values of the Audience to Articulate a Shared Goal, 140

Assuring Outcomes and Benefits without Seeming Unrealistic, 142

Questions for Analyzing Existing Documents, 143

Typical Examples of Persuasive Documents, 145

Proposals, 145

Business Plans, 149

6 Correspondence: Medium of Workplace Collaboration 155

Introduction, 156

The Purposes of Correspondence, 157

Occasions for Preparing Correspondence, 158

Audiences for Correspondence, 158

Key Communication Strategies When Corresponding, 160

Consider Workplace Roles and Official and Unofficial Relationships and Responsibilities, 160

Evaluate Target Size and Frequency of Communication for a Relationship, 162

Pause to Reconsider Composition, Time, and Tone before Sending, 163

Characteristics of Correspondence Documents, 165

Letters, Memoranda, and E-mails, 165

Types of Correspondence, 167

Pre- and Post-meeting Documents: Announcements, Agendas, and Minutes, 170

Social Media, 171

Appendix: IEEE Style for References, 173

Index, 183

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Author Information

David Kmiec, PhD is a Senior Lecturer and Coordinator of Undergraduate Technical Writing in the Department of Humanities at New Jersey Institute of Technology, USA. He also consults for government agencies and manufacturing and engineering services firms, helping them establish knowledge of management practices and effective workflows for digital and print publications.

Bernadette Longo, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Humanities at New Jersey Institute of Technology, USA. She won the Emily K. Schlesinger Award for outstanding service to the IEEE Professional Communication Society in 2014.

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