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A Guide to Writing as an Engineer, 4th Edition

A Guide to Writing as an Engineer, 4th Edition

David F. Beer, David A. McMurrey

ISBN: 978-1-118-30027-5

May 2013

288 pages

Description

The fourth edition of A Guide to Writing as an Engineer updates Beer and McMurrey’s popular book on communication and technical writing for engineers.  Used predominantly in freshmen engineering survey courses, the text is also applicable for specific courses on engineering writing or technical communication later in the curriculum. A Guide to Writing as an Engineer deals with a variety of topics ranging from important writing concepts that apply to professional engineers, to content, organization, format and style of various kinds of engineering writing.  The book also covers oral presentations, research techniques, ethics, and proper citation methods.  Beer remains a practical, handy book that can function not only as a classroom textbook, but also as a reference and guide for writing and research, for practicing engineers. 

Related Resources

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 Résumé 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 Résumé on LinkedIn 259

Targeting Experts with Google+ 263

Bibliography 266

Index 267

  • Incorporates new coverage of Social Media in a chapter written by Jill Brockmann of Austin Community College, including popular emerging forms, discussion of best practices, dangers/ethics of using social media, and “noise” in social media.
  • Updated content and revisions. Chapter 8 has been substantially revised to address the emergence of search engines and provides a set of guidelines for evaluating sources and proper citation methods.  The Informal Communication section in Chapter 9 has been expanded to address “oral informal communication” within a cultural context.
  • Boxes added in each chapter summarizing an interesting, new technology and/or device.
  • Stories added abouthistorical and modern day technical failures, as prompts for student reports and projects.   
  • Introduces the concept of noise in communication rather than focusing on errors and poor writing, as in traditional courses, alleviating negative feelings students have about the writing and revision process.
  • Examples from real engineering writing that concentrate on the engineering discipline and the specific area of focus that the student is studying and will be practicing as a professional.
  • Coverage of ethics—Presents two different Engineering Codes of Ethics (IEEE and ABET) showing how engineers and/or student interns can implement these codes on the job if faced with an ethical decision.
  • Shows how to document information taken from other sources by providing examples of numerous kinds of sources.