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Technical Report Writing

Chemical Engineering Department

Dr. Moustapha Salem Mansour First year Spring 2009

Table of contents

1. Introduction

1

1.1.

Types of Technical Reports

2

1.1.1. Technical-background report

2

1.1.2. Instructions

2

1.1.3. Feasibility, recommendation, and evaluation reports

2

1.1.4. Primary research report

2

1.1.5. Technical specifications

3

1.1.6. Report-length proposal

3

1.1.7. Business proposed

3

1.2. Audience and Situation in Technical Reports

3

1.3. Topics for Technical Reports

4

1.3.1. Editorializing

4

1.3.2. Fuzzy topics

4

1.3.3. Tough technical topics

4

1.4.

General Characteristics of Technical Reports

4

1.4.1. Graphics

4

1.4.2. Accurate detail

4

1.4.3. Information sources

4

1.4.4. Documentation

5

1.4.5. Realistic audience and situation

5

1.4.6. Headings and lists

5

1.4.7. Special format

5

1.4.8. Production

5

1.4.9. Length

5

1.4.10. Technical content

5

2. Visual Elements

6

2.1. Making a visual aid truly visual

6

2.2. Deciding when to use a visual aid

7

2.3. Selecting the best type of visual aid in a given situation

7

2.3.1. Conventions of Visual Perception

8

2.3.2. Some types of visual aids and their uses

8

2.4.

Designing the visual aid

14

2.4.2.

Making a visual aid clear

16

2.5.

Integrating the Visual Aid into the Test

18

2.5.1. Positioning

18

2.5.2. Printing

19

2.6.

Formatting Contentions that Make Reading Easier

19

3. The technical Report

22

3.1. Types of Reports

22

3.2. Organization of reports

24

 

3.2.1.

Organization of a design report

24

3.3. Preparing the report

27

3.4. Presenting the results

27

3.4.1. Subheadings and Paragraphs

28

3.4.2. Tables

28

3.4.3. Graphs

28

3.4.4. Illustrations

29

3.4.5. References to Literature

29

3.4.6. Sample Calculations

30

3.4.7. Mechanical Details

31

4. Oral Presentations

32

4.1. Topic and Situation for the Oral Presentation

32

4.2. Contents and Requirements for the Oral Presentation

33

4.3. Preparing for the Oral Report

34

4.4. Delivering an Oral Presentation

34

4.5. Planning and Preparing Visuals for Oral Presentations

35

 

4.5.1.

Tips for the preparation off the visuals

36

5. Making Your Writing Readable

37

5.1. Introduction

37

5.2. Information selection

37

5.2.1. Establish your Topic and Purpose

37

5.2.2. Use Keywords Prominently

38

5.2.3. Explain Important Concepts when Writing for Nonspecialist

Readers

38

5.2.4.

Use

Standard

Terminology

when

Writing

for

Specialist

Readers

 

39

5.2.6.

Construct Well Designed Paragraphs

40

 

5.2.7.

Field-Test Your Writing

41

5.3.

Information ordering

41

5.3.1.

Optimal Ordering of Noun Phrases

42

5.4.

Editing For Emphasis

45

5.4.1. Combine Closely Related Sentences

46

5.4.2. Be Concise

49

6. Project Proposal

52

6.1. The contents of project proposal can be structured as follows:

52

6.2. NATURE OF THE REPORTS:

52

6.3. Technical-industrial project proposals:

53

7. Checklist for the Technical Report

54

1. INTRODUCTION

The major focus of many technical writing courses is the technical report. Just about everything you study, everything you write is geared toward preparing you to write this final report. The early, short assignment involving instructions or descriptions and the like give you practice using headings, lists, notices, and graphics; in handling numbers and abbreviations; and of course in producing good, clear, well-organized writing. For many students, the technical report is the longest document they've ever written. It normally involves some research; often the information comes not only from published sources in the library, but also sources outside the library, including nonpublished things such as interviews, correspondence, and video tapes. It may also be the fanciest document: it uses binding and covers and has special elements such as a table contents, title page, and graphics. As you think about what you want to write about for this project, don't shy away from topics you are curious about or interested in, but don't know much about. You don't need to do exhaustive research; normally, you can pull together information for an excellent report from several books and a half-dozen articles. Your real focus is the writing: how well adapted to a specific audience it is, how clear and readable it is, how it flows, how it's organized, how much detail it provides. You are also focused on format: how well you use headings, lists, notices; how well you incorporate graphics; how well you handle the front- and back-matter elements; and how nice a job you do of turning out the final copy of the report. You don't need to be a trained graphic designer to produce a fine-looking report. Basic word-processing skills and a decent printer and access to nice (but inexpensive) binding are all you need. Plan on doing a first-rate job on the report; remember that past students have shown prospective employers their reports and have benefited by doing so. If you are planning a technical report, your job in this unit then is define the following:

Report topic: Decide what subject you are going to write on; narrow it as much as possible.

Report audience: Define a specific person or group of people for whom you are going to write the report. Define the circumstances in which this report is needed.

Report purpose: Define what the report will accomplishwhat needs of the audience it is going to fufill.

Report type: Decide on the type of reportfor example, technical background report, feasibility report, instructions, or some other. You can do these in any order: for some people, it helps to start by defining an audience or a report type first. For others, beginning by picking a topic is more stimulating. Once you have defined these elements, you can start testing your report-project ideas by asking yourself these questions:

Is there hard, specific, factual data for this topic?

Will there be at least one or two graphics?

Is there some realistic need for this report?

Technical Reports Writing (HS x12)

First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009

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1.1.

Types of Technical Reports

In this course you can choose to write one of the following types of reports

1.1.1. Technical-background report

The background report is the hardest to define but the most commonly written. This type of technical report provides background on a topicfor example, solar energy, global warming, CD- ROM technology, a medical problem, or U.S. recycling activity. However, the information on the topic is not just for anybody who might be interested in the topic, but for some individual or group that has specific needs for it and is even willing to pay for that information. For example, imagine an engineering firm bidding on a portion of the work to build a hemodialysis clinic. The engineers need to know general knowledge about renal disease and the technologies used to treat it, but they don't want to have to go digging in the library to find it. What they need is a technical background report on the subject.

1.1.2. Instructions

These are probably the most familiar of all the types of reports. Students often write backup procedures for the jobs they do at their work. Others write short user manuals for an appliance, equipment, or program. If there is too much to write about, they write about some smaller segmentfor example, instead of instructions on using all of MS-Word, just a guide on writing macros in MS-Word.

1.1.3. Feasibility, recommendation, and evaluation reports

Another useful type of report is one that studies a problem or opportunity and then makes a recommendation. A feasibility report tells whether a project is "feasible"that is, whether it is practical and technologically possible. A recommendation report compares two or more alternatives and recommends one (or, if necessary, none). An evaluation or assessment report studies something in terms of its worth or value For example, a college might investigate the feasibility of giving every student an e-mail address and putting many of the college functions online. The same college might also seek recommendations on the best hardware and software to use (after the feasibility report had determined it was a good idea). In practice, however, it's hard to keep these two kinds of reports distinct. Elements of the feasibility and recommendation report intermingle in specific reportsbut the main thing is to get the job done!

1.1.4. Primary research report

Primary research refers to the actual work someone does in a laboratory or in the fieldin other words, experiments and surveys. You may have written a "lab report," as they are commonly called, for one of your previous courses. This is a perfectly good possibility for the technical report as well. In this type of report, you not only present your data and draw conclusions about it, but also explain your methodology, describe the equipment and facilities you used, and give some background on the problem. You can modify this type by summarizing other primary research reports. For example, you could report on the research that has been done on saccharine.

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First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009

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1.1.5.

Technical specifications

In this report type, you discuss some new product design in terms of its construction, materials, functions, features, operation, and market potential. True specifications are not much on writing - the text is dense, fragmented; tables, lists, and graphics replace regular sentences and paragraphs whenever possible. Thus, specifications are not a good exercise of your writing abilities. However, you can write a more high-level version - one that might be read by marketing and planning executives.

1.1.6. Report-length proposal

As you may be aware, proposals can be monster documents of hundreds or even thousands of pages. (Please, not this semester.) Most of the elements are the same, just bigger. Plus elements from other kinds of reports get importedsuch as feasibility discussion, review of literature, and qualifications; these become much more elaborate. The problem with writing a proposal in our technical-writing class is coordinating it with the proposal you write at the beginning of the semester (a proposal to write a proposal, come on!). Several students have set up scenarios in which they proposed internally to write an external proposal, in which they went after some contract or grant.

1.1.7. Business proposed

If you are ambitious to run your own business, you can write a business plan, which is a plan or proposal to start a new business or to expand an existing one. It is aimed primarily at potential investors. Therefore, it describes the proposed business, explores the marketplace and the competition, projects revenues, and describes the operation and output of the proposed business. Don't feel constrained by this list; if there is a type of technical document you want to write not listed here, talk to your instructor. It may be that we are using different names for the same thing.

1.2. Audience and Situation in Technical Reports

A critical step in your early report planning is to define a specific audience and situation in which to write the report. For example, if you wanted to write about CD audio players, the audience cannot be this vague sort of "anybody who is considering purchasing a CD player." You have to define the audience in terms of its knowledge, background, and need for the information.

Why does the audience need this information?

How will readers get access to this information? You also have to define the audience in terms of who they are specifically: that means things like names, organization or company, street address and phone numbers, and occupation or position. Just as critical to the planning process is defining the situation. When you define audience, you define who the readers are, what they know or don't know in relation to the topic, what experience or background they have in relation to the topic, and why they want or might need the information. Sometimes this leaves out a critical element: just what are the circumstances that bring about the need for the information.

Technical Reports Writing (HS x12)

First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009

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1.3.

Topics for Technical Reports

Just about any topic can be worked into a good technical-report project. Some are a little more difficult than others; that's where your instructor can help. And, that is why some technical writing course includes a proposal assignment: it gives your instructor a chance to see what you want to do and to guide you away from problems such as the following:

1.3.1. Editorializing

For the report project, avoid editorial topics. For example, don't attempt to write a technical report on the pro's and con's of gun control, abortion, marijuana, and the like. You can, however, develop these topics: for example, describe the chemical, physiological aspects of marijuana or the medical techniques for abortion or the developmental stages of the fetus. These get into substantial technical areas. But avoid editorializingthere are other courses where you can do this.

1.3.2. Fuzzy topics

Some topics just don't work, for some reason. For example, dream analysis can be very fuzzy and nebulous. So can UFOs. You want your report to have hard factual data in it. The preceding topics are difficult to pin down this way. However, good reports have been written on the apparatus used in dream research laboratories. Maybe somebody can even figure out a good way to handle UFOs.

1.3.3. Tough technical topics

As mentioned earlier, don't shy away from interesting topics that you don't feel you know enough about. No one expects a doctoral thesis. Use the report project as a chance to learn something new. Of course, it's common sense that we often write better about things we know about. If this is a concern for you, look around you in your work, hobbies, or academic studies. At the same time, however, don't be concerned that your has to be about computers, electronics, or some other "technical" topic. Remember that the word technical refers to anybody of specialized knowledge.

1.4. General Characteristics of Technical Reports

You're probably wondering what this technical report is supposed to look like. Ask your instructor to show you a few example reports. In addition to that, here is a brief review of some of the chief characteristics of the technical report:

1.4.1. Graphics

The report should have graphics. Graphics include all kinds of possibilities, as a later chapter in this book will show. If you can't think of any graphics for your report project, you may not have a good topic. Get in touch with your instructor, who can help you brainstorm for graphics.

1.4.2. Accurate detail

The report should be very detailed and accurate. The point of the report is to go into details, the kind of details your specific audience needs.

1.4.3. Information sources

Your report should make use of information sources. These may include not only books and articles that can be found in libraries but also technical brochures, interviews or correspondence with experts, as well as first-hand inspections. If you don't believe any information sources are necessary for your report project, contact your instructor.

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First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009

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1.4.4.

Documentation

When you use borrowed information in your technical report, be sure to cite your sources. The style of citing your sources (also called "documenting" your sources). One style commonly used in science and engineering is called the number system.

1.4.5. Realistic audience and situation

The report must be defined for a real or realistic group of readers who exist in a real or realistic situation. Most students invent an audience and situation. And the audience can't merely be something like "anybody who might be interested in global warming." Instead, it has to be real, realistic, and specific: for example, "Texas Coastal Real Estate Developers Association, interested in reliable information on global warming, to be used to aid in long-range investment planning."

1.4.6. Headings and lists

The report should use the format for headings that is required for the course, as well as various kinds of lists as appropriate.

1.4.7. Special format

The technical report uses a rather involved format including covers, binding, title page, table of contents, list of figures, transmittal letter, and appendixes. These have to be prepared according to a set standard, which will be presented in a later chapter.

1.4.8. Production

The technical report should be typed or printed out neatly. If graphics are taped in, the whole report must be photocopied, and the photocopy handed in (not the original with the taped-in graphics). The report must be bound in some way.

1.4.9. Length

The report should be at least 8 1.5 spaced typed or printed pages (using 3/4 -inch margins), counting from introduction to conclusion. This is a minimum; a report of this length is rather skimpy. There is no real maximum length, other than what your time, energy, and stamina can handle. But remember that sheer weight does not equal quality (or better grade). If you get into a bind with a report project that would take too many pages, contact your instructorthere are numerous tricks we can use to cut it down to size.

1.4.10. Technical content

You must design your report project in such a way that your poor technical-writing instructor has a chance to understand it - in other words, you must write for the nonspecialist. Also, at some point, you may get concerned about the technical accuracy of your information. Remember that this is a writing course, not a course in engineering, nursing, science, electronics, or the like. Make a good- faith effort to get the facts right, but don't go overboard.

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2. Visual Elements

There are times when words alone are not the best way to transfer information or points of view. Also, sometimes words need to be combined with visual aids, formatting (the use of white space and indenting), or other visual elements. For example, appropriate formatting can make a technical report much easier to read, so much easier that the formatting becomes necessary given the limitations on the time and attention of an audience. The same can often be said of other visual elements, such as drawings, figures, charts, or graphs, which can quickly summarize an important point or present it in a different way. It is known that you can increase the strength and memorability of a message simply by repeating it or, even better, by repeating it in a different form. Thus, when a visual presentation is added to a verbal one, the combination can produce a much stronger and more easily remembered message than either presentation alone. Further, a visual aid can present a compact summary of the main points of a verbal text. (Have you ever heard the expression "a picture is worth a thousand words"?) Finally, a visual element can often summarize in a more memorable form than words alone can. Given these advantages of visual aids, a communicator ought to be able to use them effectively. This involves knowing

1. How to make a visual aid effective

2. When to use the visual aid

3. How to select the best type of visual element in a given situation (e.g., pie chart, bar graph, line graph)

4. How to integrate the visual aid into the text

2.1. Making a visual aid truly visual

Take about 2 to 5 seconds to look at Table 2-1 and then cover it up. Do not look at any of the following tables or discussions. Now try to write .down the main points made by the table. When you have finished this, look at the presentation of the same information in Table 2-2 and see if you can quickly add any more main points to your list. Do this before you continue. Typically, people who read only Table 2-1 note (1) that job satisfaction declines in each of the two main groups of occupations. These readers will sometimes notice (2) that there is a large difference in job satisfaction between the two groups-that is, that most of the first group is relatively satisfied (93 to 82 percent satisfied) whereas most of the second group is much less satisfied (only 52 to 16 percent satisfied). Very few readers of only Table 2-1 will notice (3) that the job satisfaction of skilled printers is higher than that of nonprofessional white-collar workers. These last two observations (points 2 and 3) are very hard to "see" in the format used in Table 2-1. In contrast, most readers of Table 2-2 easily and quickly note all three observations, as well as a few other, more subtle ones, simply because of the format of the table. Notice that Table 2-2 makes it visually quite clear that the job satisfaction ratings of the two groups overlap and that the skilled trade and factory workers as a group are less satisfied than the professionals.

Technical Reports Writing (HS x12)

First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009

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Table 2-1 Proportion of occupational groups who would choose similar work again

Professional occupation

percent

skilled trades occupations

percent

Ubran university professors

93

Skilled printers

52

Mathematicians

91

Paper workers

42

Physicists

89

Skilled auto workers

41

Biologists

89

Skilled steel workers

40

Chemists

86

Textile workers

31

Lawyers

85

Unskilled steel workers

31

School superintendents

84

Unskilled steel workers

21

Journalists

82

White-collar workers

43

Table 2-2 Alternate arrangement for proportion of occupational groups who would choose similar work again

Professional occupation

percent

Ubran university professors Mathematicians Physicists Biologists Chemists Lawyers School superintendents Journalists White-collar workers

93

91

89

89

86

85

84

82

43

skilled trades occupations

percent

Skilled printers Paper workers Skilled auto workers Skilled steel workers Textile workers Unskilled steel workers Unskilled steel workers

52

42

41

40

31

31

21

2.2. Deciding when to use a visual aid

Communicators often wonder when they should use a visual aid in a communication. Three suggested principles for deciding this are to use a visual aid

1. Where words alone would be either impossible or quite inefficient for describing a concept or an object

2. Where a visual aid is needed to underscore an important point, especially a summary

3. Where a visual element is conventionally or easily used to present data

2.3. Selecting the best type of visual aid in a given situation

When you design a particular visual aid, you are consciously or unconsciously making certain decisions. You are deciding-that the particular type of aid yon choose (a line graph, bar chart, pie diagram, and photograph) is the best type to make your point and that the arrangement and highlighting of material on the page is, again, the best to make your point. Unfortunately, there is little information available on which to base such decisions. If you

Technical Reports Writing (HS x12)

First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009

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are like most writers, you probably choose one type of visual aid over another simply because it is the first thing you think of using. The purpose of this section is to sketch out some better or more conscious reasons for choosing. The section will first identify some conventions of visual perception and then examine several common types of visual -aids to see what they do and do not show well.

2.3.1. Conventions of Visual Perception

There are a number of general statements we can make about our expectations of visual information. First, we expect written things to proceed from left to right. Note that in scientific and technical graphs, we place the independent variable on the x-axis so that the more important variable moves from left to right. For instance, we plot time on the x-axis and frequency on the y- axis, as illustrated in Figure 2-1. This pattern is so universal that Figure 2-2 looks at best odd and at worst disturbing.

that Figure 2-2 looks at best odd and at worst disturbing. Figure 2-1 Preferred location of

Figure 2-1 Preferred location of independent variable on a graph

2-1 Preferred location of independent variable on a graph Figure 2-2 Unconventional location of independent variable

Figure 2-2 Unconventional location of independent variable on a graph

Second, we expect things to proceed from top to bottom, and, third, we expect things in the center to be more important than things on the periphery. Fourth, we expect things in the foreground to be more important than things in the background; fifth, large things to be more important than small things; and sixth, thick things to be more important than thin things. Note that writing that, is larger, thicker, or bolder than the surrounding type is usually more important: a heading, a title, or an especially important word in a passage. Seventh, we expect areas containing a lot of activity and information to contain the most important information. Eighth, we expect that things having the same size, shape, location, or color are somehow related to each other. Lastly, ninth, we see things as standing out if they contrast with their surroundings because of line thickness, type face, or color.

2.3.2. Some types of visual aids and their uses

There are six main types of visual aids with which a scientist or engineer should be familiar: (1) line graphs, (2) bar graphs, (3) pie charts, (4) tables, (5) photographs, and (6) line drawings. Each of these types has particular strengths and weaknesses, and to use any one appropriately, you must decide what point you are trying to make and then select the type of visual aid which makes that kind of point well.

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LINEGRAPHS Line graphs, show well continuity and direction as opposed to individual or discrete points, direction as opposed to volume, and the importance of a nodal point, if there is one. These characteristics are illustrated in Figure2-3. Line graphs do not show well them importance of one particular point which falls of a node, the relationship of many lines, or the inter section of three or more lines, lf its important to be able to trace each line on a graph, you should probably not put more than three or four on a single graph, especially if they intersect frequently, or you may produce a graph as hard to follow as the one in Figure 2-4.

produce a graph as hard to follow as the one in Figure 2-4. Figure 2-3 River

Figure 2-3 River flow before (1963) and after (1977) construction of Aswan High Dam on the Nile River

(1977) construction of Aswan High Dam on the Nile River Figure 2-4 Reference of families for

Figure 2-4 Reference of families for girls versus boys in six countries

BAR GRAPHS Bar graphs show relatively well the discreteness or separateness of points as opposed to their continuity, volume as opposed to direction, the relationships among more than three or four items at a time, the contrast between large and small numbers, and the similarities and differences between similar numbers. These characteristics are evident in the variant of the bar graph presented in Figure 2-5 and in Figure 2-6. Bar graphs can be arranged with either horizontal (Figure 2-5) or vertical bars (Figure 2-6), depending on the type of information they represent. The bars are normally separated by spaces.

they represent. The bars are normally separated by spaces. Figure 2-5 Bar Chart Showing annual energy

Figure 2-5 Bar Chart Showing annual energy saving

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Figure 2-6 Vertical bar chart HISTOGRAMS A histogram looks like a bar chart, but functionally

Figure 2-6 Vertical bar chart

HISTOGRAMS

A histogram looks like a bar chart, but functionally it is similar to a graph because it deals

with two continuous variables (functions that can be shown on a scale' to be decreasing or increasing). It is usually plotted like a bar chart, as shown in Figure 2-7. The chief visible difference between a histogram and a bar chart is that there are no spaces between the bars

of a histogram.

is that there are no spaces between the bars of a histogram. Figure 2-6 Histogram for

Figure 2-6 Histogram for failure records

SURFACE CAHRTS A surface chart is shown in Figure 2-8. It may look like a graph, but it is not. To a technical person its' construction may seem so awkward that he might wonder when he would ever need to use one. Yet as a means for conveying Illustrative information to non technical readers, it can serve a very useful purpose.

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Figure 2-8 Surface chart adds thermal data to hydro data to show total energy resources

Figure 2-8 Surface chart adds thermal data to hydro data to show total energy resources Like a graph, a surface chart has two continuous variables that form the scales against which the

curves are plotted. But unlike a graph, individual curves cannot be read directly from the scales. The uppermost curve is achieved as follows:

1. The curve containing the most import-ant or largest quantity of data is drawn first, in the normal way. This is the Hydro curve in Figure 2-8.

2. The next curve is drawn in above the first curve, using the first curve as a base (i.e. zero) and adding the second set of data to it. For example, the energy resources shown as being available in 1980 are:

Hydro

15,000 MW

Thermal

7,000

MW

In Figure 2-8, the lower curve for 1980 is plotted at 15,000 MW. The 1980 data for the next curve is 7,000 MW, which is added to the first set of data so that the second curve indicates a total of 22,000 MW. (If there is a third set of data, it is added on in the same way). PIE DIAGRAMS Pie diagrams show relatively well the relationship among three or four items which total 100 percent, the contrast between large and small percentages, and the similarities between relatively similar percentage (they show that well that 27 percent and 29 percent are about equal). Pie diagrams do not show well the small differences between two similar percentages (you can not usually see the differences between 27 and 29 percent). They also do not show well absolute values (unless you label the parts of the pie) or the relationship among more than five or six parts; with too many parts it is hard to see relationships of part to part and part to whole. These strengths and weakness is illustrated in figure 2-9.

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Figure 2-9 Distribution of fatalities in 181 fatal car-truck crashers TABLES Tables are convenient for

Figure 2-9 Distribution of fatalities in 181 fatal car-truck crashers

TABLES Tables are convenient for presenting lots of data and for giving absolute values where precision is very important. However, since they present items one at a time in columns, they emphasize the discrete rather than the continuous and make it very difficult to show trends or direction in. the data. Tables are not predominantly visual: the reader's mind must translate each number into a relationship with each other number, as already described in the job satisfaction example at the beginning of this chapter. Thus, for maximum visual impact, tables should probably be a last choice as a visual aid and used only when it is important to provide a great deal of information with precision in a very small space. PHOTOGRAPHS Photographs are useful when you do not have the time, the money, or the expertise to produce a complicated line drawing; when you are trying to produce immediate visual recognition of an item; when you are emphasizing the item's external appearance (as opposed to its internal structure or a cross section); and when you are not concerned with eliminating the abundant detail a photograph provides. While photographs can be air-brushed to eliminate some undesired detail, they still are not preferred when you need to focus on some one aspect by eliminating a lot of detail and when you have the time and resources to produce a good line drawing.

LINE DRAWINGS

The term line drawing includes several types of drawings which focus on external appearance, physical shape, function, or relationship. These include "simplified photos," maps (see Figure 2- 10), anatomical drawings, parts charts, and drawings of models (such as atomic or molecular models as seen in Figure 2-11) or objects from any field of science or engineering. Also included are flow charts, organizational charts, schematic charts, block diagrams, as seen in Figure 2-12, architectural plans, and blueprints. While there are many types of line drawings, all of them share certain functions. They allow you to show things which you can't normally see in a photograph because of size, location, or excessive detail. They also allow you to easily highlight a particular shape, part, or function.

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Figure 2-10 map Showing UK Standard regions Figure 2-11 Model for polyethylene Figure 2-12 flow

Figure 2-10 map Showing UK Standard regions

Figure 2-10 map Showing UK Standard regions Figure 2-11 Model for polyethylene Figure 2-12 flow diagrams

Figure 2-11 Model for polyethylene

UK Standard regions Figure 2-11 Model for polyethylene Figure 2-12 flow diagrams for programming sequence

Figure 2-12 flow diagrams for programming sequence

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2.4. Designing the visual aid

Once you have decided .where a visual aid is needed and what type it should be, you must design it so that it is as relevant, clear, and truthful as possible. This will usually be at least a two-stage process: designing a rough copy and then producing the finished COPY, If you work for a company which has an art or illustration department you may be able to get a technical illustrator to produce the finished copy for you and to counsel you in the design stage. However, even if you have such help, you should be the real designer of the visual aid: you have the best knowledge of the subject and best know the purpose of the aid and the context in which it is being used.

2.4.1. Making a visual aid relevant

Since you place a visual aid in a text to make a point, you should be sure that it makes the point you intend. For instance, suppose that you are discussing expected energy saving from the use of

solar energy in the future. You have posed three possible sources of the savings-residences, total energy systems such as industrial parks and shopping centers, and solar-based electric power plants- and have broken down the specific savings as illustrated in Table 2-3. Table 2-3 Expected annual saving from solar energy Annual Savings (10 15 Btu)

Year

Residences

1985

0.4

1990

1.2

1995

1.9

Total energy

Solar-based electric

systems

power plants

0.24

-

0.92

1.4

1.9

53

Now that you have your data, you want to construct a visual aid to show the growth in savings and the relative contributions of each source. You construct five possible versions of a visual aid, presented in Figures 2-13 through 2-17, and now have to choose the one most appropriate to your point. On what basis do you choose? What are the differences among the five visual aids?

choose? What are the differences among the five visual aids? Figure 2-13 Annual energy savings from

Figure 2-13 Annual energy savings from solar energy, version I

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Figure 2-14 Annual energy savings from solar energy, version 2 Figure 2-15 Annual energy savings

Figure 2-14 Annual energy savings from solar energy, version 2

2-14 Annual energy savings from solar energy, version 2 Figure 2-15 Annual energy savings from solar

Figure 2-15 Annual energy savings from solar energy, version 3

2-15 Annual energy savings from solar energy, version 3 Figure 2-16 Annual energy savings from solar

Figure 2-16 Annual energy savings from solar energy, version 4

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Figure 2-17 Annual energy savings from solar energy, version 5 First let us consider the

Figure 2-17 Annual energy savings from solar energy, version 5 First let us consider the bar graphs. Among the bar graphs, Figure 2-13 presents the most information in the smallest space and the clearest vision of total growth; however, in comparison to the other charts, it obscures the comparisons between items in the same year and between the same item in different years. Figure 2-14 obscures the total growth but makes the comparisons already mentioned much clearer, especially between the same item in different years. On the other hand, Figure 2-15 clarifies the comparison between items in the same year but obscures comparisons between years. The line graphs in Figures 2-16 and2-17 have the same strengths and weaknesses as their respective bar graph counterparts, but in addition they also bring out more strongly the idea of direction and rate of change. So how do you choose one (or two) from among the group? You pick the one which best matches the focus you wish to take in your report or talk. If you are not much concerned about total growth but want to focus on the contribution of each area for savings, then you would probably choose Figure2-14. If you are interested in the growth of the contribution of each area, you would probably choose Figure 2-16. If you are primarily interested in the increase in total savings, you would probably choose Figure 2-13 or 2-17.

2.4.2. Making a visual aid clear

Making a visual aid clear involves two separate activities: making it conceptually clear and making it technically clear. Making it conceptually clear means having a clearly defined and relevant point and a good form for the point. Conceptual clarity is discussed above. Technical clarity is a simpler matter and will be treated here. It involves having an informative title, appropriate headings and labels, and enough white space so that an audience has the best possible chance of finding the "right" meaning for the visual aid. To really see the benefit of proper labeling and sufficient white space, look at the series of graphs presented in Figure 2-18. Graph (a) is an extremely bad example of a visual aid since it has none of the labeling information usually presented. Graphs (b) and (c) present more information, but still not enough to really get the message across. (Notice that graph c lacks enough information even though it provides everything except the title and two critical labels.) Graph (d) provides an adequate title and labels, but the grid in the background is so obtrusive that a reader can hardly see the important lines and labels. Finally, graph (e) provides adequate information and enough white space to let it be seen; from these, a careful and hardworking reader can probably figure out the

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message (you should note that version d is typical of most student reports, which are done quickly checked mainly for accuracy rather than readability).

checked mainly for accuracy rather than readability). Figure 2-18 The necessity of labels, headings and titles
checked mainly for accuracy rather than readability). Figure 2-18 The necessity of labels, headings and titles
checked mainly for accuracy rather than readability). Figure 2-18 The necessity of labels, headings and titles
checked mainly for accuracy rather than readability). Figure 2-18 The necessity of labels, headings and titles
checked mainly for accuracy rather than readability). Figure 2-18 The necessity of labels, headings and titles

Figure 2-18 The necessity of labels, headings and titles in visual aids

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2.5. Integrating the Visual Aid into the Test

Once you have decided to use a visual aid in a particular spot in the text, you must incorporate it so that it seems to belong there. The visual aid needs to be tied to the text and explained since it appears in the text and make sense to readers. In addition, if the communicator does NOT EXPLAIN the importance of the visual aid (its main point, limitations, assumptions and implications), then the readers will have to provide these of information for themselves. As a general rule, when readers are put in the position, they will -at least sometimes- see points or implications rein those the communicator's wants them to see or perhaps even completely miss the communicator's point. The easiest way to integrate a visual aid with the text is to explain its main points and any special implications a reader should note.

2.5.1. Positioning

Try to always put the visual aid after you have mentioned it and not are reverse: in other words, do not put a visual aid in a spot within the text. Before pointing out to it, for example do not put a figure in the text, and then point to it. Note that all illustrations in the present notes are referred to first, then they are inserted into the text. You must not only refer to every illustration in a report, but a real effort must be made to keep the illustration on the same page as the description it supports. This can become problem if the description is long. However, a reader who has to keep flipping back and forth between the text and illustrations will soon tire, and the reason for including the illustrations will be defeated. When reports are typed on only one side of the paper, full page illustrations can become an embarrassment. Try to limit the size of the illustrations so they can be placed beside, above or below the words, and lien to make sure that they are correctly placed. Horizontal full page illustrations may be inserted sideways on a page (landscape), but must always be positioned so that they are read from the right, see Figure 2-19. This holds true whether they are placed on a left- or right-hand page.

true whether they are placed on a left- or right-hand page. Figure 2-19 Page-size horizontal drawings

Figure 2-19 Page-size horizontal drawings should be positioned so they can read from the right

When an illustration is too large to fit on a normal page, or is going to be referred to frequently, you should consider printing it on a foldout sheet and inserting it at the back of the report. If the illustration is printed only on the extension panels of the foldout, the page can be left opened out for continual reference while the report is being read, see Figure 2-20. This technique is particularly suitable for circuit diagrams, plant layouts and flow charts.

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Figure 2-20 large illustrations can be placed on a fold out sheet at rear of

Figure 2-20 large illustrations can be placed on a fold out sheet at rear of report

2.5.2. Printing

Always discuss printing methods with the person who will be making copies of your report before you start making reproduction copy. Certain reproduction equipment cannot handle some sizes, materials and colors. For example, heavy blacks and light blues may not reproduce well on some electrostatic copiers, light browns cannot be copied by other types of equipment, and photographs can be reproduced clearly by very few.

2.6. Formatting Contentions that Make Reading Easier

There are many features of technical writing that make it look different from most writing we see in

newspapers, books and personal letters. Look for instance at Figure 2-21, the beginning of a typical engineering report. You will notice that its has some very interesting formatting features:

1. Single-spacing

2. Short paragraphs

3. Lists

4. Headings (underlined titles)

5. Numbers to mark the various paragraphs

6. Liberal use of white space

All of these features occur frequently in scientific and technical writing because they are functional; single-spacing saves space, and the others make a text easier to read, especially for busy and inattentive readers. Headings clearly announce the contents of a section so that, busy readers can skip that section if they don't need details. Short paragraphs and white space make a report easy on the eye, even though it may be single-spaced. The numbering, indentation and lists provide clues to the organization of the report: they allow a reader to skip freely from section to section without reading everything.

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Figure 2-21 Formatted version of discussion of technical report Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) First

Figure 2-21 Formatted version of discussion of technical report

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To get a good idea of how helpful these simple formatting considerations can be, look at the unformatted version of the Discussion section of the report, presented in Figure 2-22. Do you agree that it is much more difficult to read? Do you agree that formatting makes the version in Figure 2- 21 more functional, that is, easier to read and understand?

21 more functional, that is, easier to read and understand? Figure 2-22 Unformatted version of discussion

Figure 2-22 Unformatted version of discussion of figure 2-21

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3. THE TECHNICAL REPORT

A successful engineer must be able to apply theoretical and practical principles in the development

of ideas and methods and also have the ability to express the results clearly and convincingly.

During the course of a design project, the engineer must prepare many written reports which explain what has been done and present conclusions and recommendations. The decision on the advisability

of continuing the project may be made on the basis of the material presented in the reports. The

value of the engineer‟s work is measured to a large extent by the results given in the written reports covering the study and the manner in which these results are presented. The essential purpose of any report is to pass on information to others. A good report writer never forgets the words “to others.” The abilities, the functions, and the needs of the reader should be kept

in mind constantly during the preparation of any type of report. Here are some questions the writer

should ask before starting, while writing, and after finishing a report:

What is the purpose of this report? Who will read it? Why will they read it? What is their function? What technical level will they understand? What background information do they have now? The answers to these questions indicate the type of information that should be presented, the amount of detail required, and the most satisfactory method of presentation.

3.1. Types of Reports

Reports can be designated as formal and irtfortrrul. Formal reports are often encountered as research, development, or design reports. They present the results in considerable detail, and the writer is allowed much leeway in choosing the type of presentation. Informal reports include memorandums, letters, progress notes, survey-type results, and similar items in which the major purpose is to present a result without including detailed information. Stereotyped forms are often used for informal reports, such as those for sales, production, calculations, progress, analyses, or summarizing economic evaluations. Figures 13-1 through 13-3 present examples of stereotyped forms that can be used for presenting the summarized results of economic evaluations. Although many general rules can be applied to the preparation of reports, it should be realized that each industrial concern has its own specifications and regulations. A stereotyped form shows exactly what information is wanted, and detailed instructions are often given for preparing other types of informal reports. Many companies have standard outlines that must be followed for formal reports. For convenience, certain arbitrary rules of rhetoric and form may be established by a particular concern. For example, periods may be required after all abbreviations, titles of articles may be required for all references, or the use of a set system of units or nomenclature may be specified.

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Figure 3-1 Example of form for an informal summarizing report on factory manufacturing cost. Figure

Figure 3-1 Example of form for an informal summarizing report on factory manufacturing cost.

informal summarizing report on factory manufacturing cost. Figure 3-2 Example of form for an informal summarizing

Figure 3-2 Example of form for an informal summarizing report on capital investment.

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Figure 3-3 Example of form for an informal summarizing report on income and return. 3.2.

Figure 3-3 Example of form for an informal summarizing report on income and return.

3.2. Organization of reports

The organization of a formal report requires careful sectioning and the use of subheadings in order

to maintain a clear and effective presentation? To a lesser degree, the same type of sectioning is

valuable for informal reports. The following discussion applies to formal reports, but, by deleting or combining appropriate sections, the same principles can be applied to the organization of any type

of report.

A complete design report consists of several independent parts, with each succeeding part giving

greater detail on the design and its development. A covering Letter of Transmittal is usually the

first item in any report. After this come the Title Page, the Table of Contents, and an Abstract

or Summary of the report. The Body of the report is next and includes essential information,

presented in the form of discussion, graphs, tables, and figures. The Appendix, at the end of the report, gives detailed information which permits complete verification of the results shown in the body. Tables of data, sample calculations, and other supplementary material are included in the Appendix. A typical outline for a design report is as follows:

3.2.1. Organization of a design report

1. Letter of transmittal

Indicates why report has been prepared

Gives essential results that have been specifically requested

2. Title page

Includes title of report, name of person to whom report is submitted, writer‟s name and

organization, and date

3. Table of contents

Indicates location and title of figures, tables, and all major sections

4. Summary

Briefly presents essential results and conclusions in a clear and precise manner

5. Body of report

A. Introduction

Presents a brief discussion to explain what the report is about and the reason for the report;

no results are included

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B. Previous work

Discusses important results obtained from literature surveys and other previous work

C. Discussion

Outlines method of attack on project and gives design basis

Includes graphs, tables, and figures that are essential for understanding the discussion

Discusses technical matters of importance

Indicates assumptions made and their justification

Indicates possible sources of error

Gives a general discussion of results and proposed design

D. Final recommended design with appropriate data

Drawings of proposed design

a. Qualitative flow sheets

b. Quantitative flow sheets

c. Combined-detail flow sheets

Tables listing equipment and specifications

Tables giving material and energy balances

Process economics including costs, profits, and return on investment

E. Conclusions and recommendations

Presented in more detail than in Summary

F. Acknowledgment

Acknowledges important assistance of others who are not listed as preparing the report

G. Table of nomenclature

Sample units should be shown

H. References to literature (bibliography)

Gives complete identification of literature sources referred to in the report

I. Appendix i. Sample calculations

One example should be presented and explained clearly for each type of calculation

ii. Derivation of equations essential to understanding the report but not presented in detail in the main body of the report

iii. Tables of data employed with reference to source

iv. Results of laboratory tests 1. If laboratory tests were used to obtain design data, the experimental data, apparatus and procedure description, and interpretation of the results may be included as a special appendix to the design report.

3.2.1.1. Letter of Transmittal

The purpose of a letter of transmittal is to refer to the original instructions or developments that have made the report necessary. The letter should be brief, but it can call the reader‟s attention to certain pertinent sections of the report or give definite results which are particularly important. The writer should express any personal opinions in the letter of transmittal rather than in the report itself. Personal pronouns and an informal business style of writing may be used.

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3.2.1.2.

Title Page and Table of Contents

In addition to the title of the report, a title page usually indicates other basic information, such as the

name and organization of the person (or persons) submitting the report and the date of submittal. A table of contents may not be necessary for a short report of only six or eight pages, but, for longer reports, it is a convenient guide for the reader and indicates the scope of the report. The titles and subheadings in the written text should be shown, as well as the appropriate page numbers. Indentations can be used to indicate the relationships of the various subheadings. A list of tables, figures, and graphs should be presented separately at the end of the table of contents.

3.2.1.3. Summary

The summary is probably the most important part of a report, since it is referred to most frequently and is often the only part of the report that is read. Its purpose is to give the reader the entire contents of the report in one or two pages. It covers all phases of the design project, but it does not go into detail on any particular phase. All statements must be concise and give a minimum of

general qualitative information. The aim of the summary is to present precise quantitative

information and final conclusions with no unnecessary details. The following outline shows what should be included in a summary:

1. A statement introducing the reader to the subject matter

2. What was done and what the report covers

3. How the final results were obtained

4. The important results including quantitative information, major conclusions, and

recommendations An ideal summary can be completed on one typewritten page. If the summary must be longer than

two pages, it may be advisable to precede the summary by an abstract, which merely indicates the subject matter, what was done, and a brief statement of the major results.

3.2.1.4. Body of the Report

The first section in the body of the report is the introduction. It states the purpose and scope of the

report and indicates why the design project originally appeared to be feasible or necessary. The relationship of the information presented in the report to other phases of the company‟s operations can be covered, and the effects of future developments may be worthy of mention. References to previous work can be discussed in the introduction, or a separate section can be presented dealing with literature-survey results and other previous work.

A description of the methods used for developing the proposed design is presented in the next

section under the heading of disczmion. Here the writer shows the reader the methods used in reaching the final conclusions. The validity of the methods must be made apparent, but the writer should not present an annoying or distracting amount of detail. Any assumptions or limitations on the results should be discussed in this section. The next section presents the recommended design, complete with figures and tables giving all

necessary qualitative and quantitative data. An analysis of the cost and profit potential of the proposed process should accompany the description of the recommended design.

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The body of a design report often includes a section giving a detailed discussion of all conclusions and recommendations. When applicable, sections covering acknowledgment, table of nomenclature, and literature references may be added. 3.2.1.5. Appendix In order to make the written part of a report more readable, the details of calculation methods, experimental data, reference data, certain types of derivations, and similar items are often included as separate appendixes to the report. This information is thus available to anyone who wishes to make a complete check on the work, yet the descriptive part of the report is not made ineffective because of excess information.

3.3. Preparing the report

The physical process of preparing a report can be divided into the following steps:

1. Define the subject matter, scope, and intended audience

2. Prepare a skeleton outline and then a detailed outline

3. Write the first draft

4. Polish and improve the first draft and prepare the final form

5. Check the written draft carefully, have the report typed, and proofread the final report

In order to accomplish each of these steps successfully, the writer must make certain the initial work on the report is started soon enough to allow a thorough job and still meet any predetermined deadline date. Many of the figures, graphs, and tables, as well as some sections of the report, can be prepared while the design work is in progress.

3.4. Presenting the results

Accuracy and logic must be maintained throughout any report. The writer has a moral responsibility to present the facts accurately and not mislead the reader with incorrect or dubious statements. If approximations or assumptions are made, their effect on the accuracy of the results should, be indicated. For example, a preliminary plant design might show that the total investment for a proposed plant is $5,500,000. This is not necessarily misleading as to the accuracy of the result, since only two significant figures are indicated. On the other hand, a proposed investment of $5554,328 is ridiculous, and the reader knows at once that the writer did not use any type of logical reasoning in determining the accuracy of the results. The style of writing in technical reports should be simple and straightforward. Although short sentences are preferred, variation in the sentence length is necessary in order to avoid a disjointed staccato effect. The presentation must be convincing, but it must also be devoid of distracting and unnecessary details. Flowery expressions and technical jargon are often misused by technical writers in an attempt to make their writing more interesting. Certainly, an elegant or forceful style is sometimes desirable, but the technical writer must never forget that the major purpose is to present information clearly and understandably.

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3.4.1.

Subheadings and Paragraphs

The use of effective and well-placed subheadings can improve the readability of a report. The sections and subheadings follow the logical sequence of the report outline and permit the reader to become oriented and prepared for a new subject. Paragraphs are used to cover one general thought. A paragraph break, however, is not nearly as definite as a subheading. The length of paragraphs can vary over a wide range, but any thought worthy of a separate paragraph should require at least two sentences. Long paragraphs are a strain on the reader, and the writer who consistently uses paragraphs longer than 10 to 12 typed lines will have difficulty in holding the reader‟s attention.

3.4.2. Tables

The effective use of tables can save many words, especially if quantitative results are involved. Tables are included in the body of the report only if they are essential to the understanding of the written text. Any type of tabulated data that is not directly related to the discussion should be located in the appendix. Every table requires a title, and the headings for each column should be self-explanatory. If numbers are used, the correct units must be shown in the column heading or with the first number in the column. A table should never be presented on two pages unless the amount of data makes a break absolutely necessary.

3.4.3. Graphs

In comparison with tables, which present definite numerical values, graphs serve to show trends or comparisons. The interpretation of results is often simplified for the reader if the tabulated information is presented in graphical form. If possible, the experimental or calculated points on which a curve is based should be shown on the plot. These points can be represented by large dots, small circles, squares, triangles, or some other identifying symbol. The most probable smooth curve can be drawn on the basis of the plotted points, or a broken line connecting each point may be more appropriate. In any case, the curve should not extend through the open symbols representing the data points. If extrapolation or interpolation of the curve is doubtful, the uncertain region can be designated by a dotted or dashed line. The ordinate and the abscissa must be labeled clearly, and any nomenclature used should be defined on the graph or in the body of the report. If numerical values are presented, the appropriate units are shown immediately after the labels on the ordinate and abscissa. Restrictions on the plotted information should be indicated on the graph itself or with the title. The title of the graph must be explicit but not obvious. For example, a log-log plot of temperature versus the vapor pressure of pure glycerol should not be entitled “Log-Log Plot of Temperature versus Vapor Pressure for Pure Glycerol.” A much better title, although still somewhat obvious, would be “Effect of Temperature on Vapor Pressure of Pure Glycerol.” Some additional suggestions for the preparation of graphs follow:

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1.

The independent or controlled variable should be plotted as the abscissa, and the variable that is being determined should be plotted as the ordinate.

2. Permit sufficient space between grid elements to prevent a cluttered appearance (ordinarily, two to four grid lines per inch are adequate).

3. Use coordinate scales that give good proportionment of the curve over the entire plot, but do not distort the apparent accuracy of the results.

4. The values assigned to the grids should permit easy and convenient interpolation.

5. If possible, the label on the vertical axis should be placed in a horizontal position to permit easier reading.

6. Unless families of curves are involved, it is advisable to limit the number of curves on any one plot to three or less.

7. The curve should be drawn as the heaviest line on the plot, and the coordinate axes should be heavier than the grid lines.

3.4.4. Illustrations

Flow diagrams, photographs, line drawings of equipment, and other types of illustrations may be a necessary part of a report. They can be inserted in the body of the text or included in the appendix. Complete flow diagrams, prepared on oversize paper, and other large drawings are often folded and inserted in an envelope at the end of the report.

3.4.5. References to Literature

The original sources of any literature referred to in the report should be listed at the end of the body of the report. References are usually tabulated and numbered in alphabetical order on the basis of the first author‟s surname, although the listing is occasionally based on the order of appearance in the report. When a literature reference is cited in the written text, the last name of the author is mentioned and the bibliographical identification is shown by a raised number after the author‟s name or at the end of the sentence. An underlined number in parentheses may be used in place of the raised number, if desired. The bibliography should give the following information:

1. For journal articles:

(a) Authors‟ names, followed by initials,

(b) Journal, abbreviated to conform to the “List of Periodicals” as established by Chemical Abstracts,

(c)

volume number,

(d)

issue number, if necessary,

(e)

page number, and

(f)

year (in parentheses).

The title of the article is usually omitted. Issue number is omitted if paging is on a yearly basis. The

date is sometimes included with the year in place of the issue number. McCormick, J. E., Chem. Eng., 9503175-76 (1988). McCormick, J. E., Chem. Eng., 95:75-76 (Sept. 26, 1988).

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Gregg, D. W., and T. F. Edgar, AKhE J., 24753-781 (1978).

2. For single publications, as books, theses, or pamphlets:

(a)

authors‟ names, followed by initials,

(b)

title (in quotation marks),

(c)

edition (if more than one has appeared),

(d)

volume (if there is more than one),

(e)

publisher,

(f)

place of publication, and

(g)

year of publication.

The chapter or page number is often listed just before the publisher‟s name. Titles of theses are often omitted. Peters, M. S., “Elementary Chemical Engineering,” 2d ed., p. 280, McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York, 1984.

Heaney, M., PhD. Thesis in Chem. Eng., Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO. 1988.

3. For unknown or unnamed authors:

(a) alphabetize by the journal or organization publishing the information.

Chem. Eng., 9.5(13):26 (1988).

4. For patents:

(a) patentees‟ names, followed by initials, and assignee (if any) in parentheses,

(b)

country granting patent and number, and

(c)

date issued (in parentheses).

Fenske, E. R. (to Universal Oil Products Co.), U.S. Patent 3,249,650 (May 3, 1986).

5. For unpublished information:

(a) “in press” means formally accepted for publication by „the indicated journal or publisher; (b) the use of “private communication” and “unpublished data” is not recommended unless absolutely necessary, because the reader may find it impossible to locate the original material. Morari, M., Chem. Eng. Progr., in press (1988).

3.4.6. Sample Calculations

The general method used in developing the proposed design is discussed in the body of the report, but detailed calculation methods are not presented in this section. Instead, sample calculations are given in the appendix. One example should be shown for each type of calculation, and sufficient detail must be included to permit the reader to follow each step. The particular conditions chosen for the sample calculations must be designated. The data on which the calculations are based should be listed in detail at the beginning of the section, even though these same data may be available through reference to one of the tables presented with the report.

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3.4.7. Mechanical Details

The final report should be submitted in a neat and businesslike form. Formal reports are usually bound with a heavy cover, and the information shown in title page is repeated on the cover. If paper fasteners are used for binding in a folder, the pages should be attached only to the back cover. The report should be typed on a good grade paper with a margin of at least 1 in. on all sides. Normally, only one side of the page is used and all material, except the letter of transmittal, footnotes, and long quotations, is double-spaced. Starting with the summary, all pages including graphs, illustrations, and tables should be numbered in sequence. Written material on graphs and illustrations may be typed or lettered neatly in ink. If hand lettering is required, best results are obtained with an instrument such as a LeRoy or Wrico guide. Short equations can sometimes be included directly in the written text if the equation is not numbered. In general, however, equations are centered on the page and given a separate line, with the equation number appearing at the right-hand margin of the page. Explanation of the symbols used can be presented immediately following the equation. Proofreading and Checking Before final submittal, the completed report should be read carefully and checked for typographical errors, consistency of data quoted in the text with those presented in tables and graphs, grammatical errors, spelling errors, and similar obvious mistakes. If excessive corrections or changes are necessary, the appearance of the report must be considered and some sections may need to be retyped. Nomenclature If many different symbols are used repeatedly throughout a report, a table of nomenclature, showing the symbols, meanings, and sample units, should be included in the report. Each symbol can be defined when it first appears in the written text. If this is not done, a reference to the table of nomenclature should be given with the first equation. Ordinarily, the same symbol is used for a given physical quantity regardless of its units. Subscripts, superscripts, and lower- and upper-case letters can be employed to give special meanings. The nomenclature should be consistent with common usage.

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4. ORAL PRESENTATIONS

One of the assignments in this technical writing course is to prepare and deliver an oral presentation. You might wonder what an oral report is doing in a writing class. Employers look for course work and experience in preparing written documents, but they also look for some experience in oral presentation as well.

4.1. Topic and Situation for the Oral Presentation

For the oral report, imagine that you are formally handing over your final written report to the people with whom you set up the hypothetical contract or agreement. For example, imagine that you had contracted with the Govemorate of Alexandria to write a visitor's guide to the city of Alexandria. Once you had completed it, you'd have a meeting with the officers in charge to formally deliver the guide. You'd spend some time orienting them to the guide, showing them how it is organized and written, and discussing some of its highlights. Your goal is to get them acquainted with the guide and to prompt them for any concerns or questions. Here are some brainstorming possibilities in case you want to present something:

Topics: You can start by thinking of a technical subject, for example, solar panels, microprocessors, drip irrigation, or laser surgery. For your oral report, think of a subject you'd be interested in talking about, but find a reason why an audience would want to hear your oral report.

Place or situation: You can find topics for oral reports or make more detailed plans for them by thinking about the place or the situation in which your oral report might naturally be 'given: at a neighborhood association? at the parent teachers' association meeting? at a religious meeting? at the gardening club? at a city council meeting? at a meeting of the board of directors or high-level executives of a company? Thinking about an oral report this way makes you focus on the audience, their reasons for listening to you, and their interests and background.

Purpose: Another way to find a topic is to think about the purpose of your talk. Is it to instruct (for example, to explain how to run a text editing program on a computer), to persuade (to vote for or against a certain technically oriented bond issue), or simply to inform (to report on citizen participation in the new recycling program).

Informative purpose: An oral report can be primarily informative. For example, as a member of a committee involved in a project to relocate the plant, your job might be to give an oral report on the condition of the building and grounds at one of the sites proposed for purchase. Or, you might be required to go before the city council and report on the success of the new city-sponsored recycling project.

Instructional purpose: An oral report can be primarily instructional. Your task might be to train new employees to use certain equipment or to perform certain routine tasks.

Persuasive purpose: An oral report can be primarily persuasive. You might want to convince members of local civic organizations to support a city-wide recycling program. You might appear before city council to persuade its members to reserve certain city-owned lands for park areas, softball and baseball parks, or community gardens.

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4.2. Contents and Requirements for the Oral Presentation

The focus for your oral presentation is clear, understandable presentation, well-organized, well- planned, well-timed discussion You don't need to be Mr. or Ms Slick -Operator - just present the essentials of what you have to say in a calm, organized, well-planned manner When you give your oral presentation, we'll all be listening for the same things. Use the following as a requirements list, as a way of focusing your Preparations

Plan to explain to the class what the situation of your oral report is. who you are, and who they should imagine they are Make sure that there is a clean break between this brief explanation and the beginning of your actual oral report.

Make sure your oral report lasts no longer than few minutes.

Pay special attention to the introduction to your talk Indicate the purpose of your oral report, give an overview of its contents, and find some way to interest the audience

Use at least one visual- preferably a transparency for the overhead projector. Flip charts and objects for display are okay Bui please avoid scribbling stuff on the chalkboard or relying strictly on handouts

Make sure you discuss key elements of your visuals Don't just throw them up there and ignore them. Point out things about them; explain them to the audience

Make sure that your speaking style and gestures are okay Ensure that you are loud enough so that everybody can hear, that you don't speak too rapidly (nerves often cause that).

Plan to explain any technical aspect of your topic very clearly and understandably Don't race through complex, technical stuff--slow down and explain it carefully so that we understand it.

Never present large a large body of information orally without summarizing its main points (on a transparency, for example)

Use "verbal heading"- by now, you've gotten used to using headings in your written work. There is a analogy in oral reports with these, you give your audience a very clear signal you are moving from one topic or part of your talk to the next.

Plan your report in advance and practice it so that it is organized. Make sure that listeners know what you are talking about and why, which part of the talk you are in, and what's coming next. Overviews and verbal headings greatly contribute to this sense of organization.

End with a real conclusion People sometimes forget to plan how to end an oral report and end by just trailing off into a mumble. Remember that in conclusions, you can summarize (go back over high points of what you've discussed), conclude (state some logical conclusion based on what you have presented), provide some last thought (end with some final interesting point but general enough not to require elaboration), or some combination of these three. And certainly, you'll want to prompt the audience for questions and concerns.

As mentioned above, be sure your oral report is carefully timed to few minutes. Some ideas on how to do this are presented m the next section.

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4.3.

Preparing for the Oral Report

Pick the method of preparing for the talk that best suits your comfort level with public speaking and with your topic. However, do some sort of preparation or rehearsalsome people assume that they can just jump up there and ad Mb for few minutes and be relaxed, informal. It doesn't often work that way- drawing a mental blank is the more common experience. Here are the obvious possibilities for preparation and delivery:

Write a script, practice it, keep it around for quick-reference during your talk.

Set up an outline of your talk, practice with it, bring it for reference.

Set up cue cards, practice with them, use them during your talk.

Write m script and read from it Of course, the spontaneous or impromptu methods are also out there for the brave and the adventurous. However, please bear in mind that many people will be listening to youyou owe them a good presentation, one that is clear, understandable, well-planned, organized, and informative. It doesn't matter which method you use to prepare for the talk. Of course the head-down style of reading your report directly from a script has its problems. There is little or no eye contact or interaction with the audience. The delivery tends toward a dull monotone that either puts listeners off or is hard to understand. For some reason, people tend to get nervous in this situation. Try to remember that your classmates and instructor are a very forgiving, supportive group. You don't have to be a slick entertainerjust be clear, organized, understandable, informative. The nerves will wear off someday, the more oral presenting you do.

4.4. Delivering an Oral Presentation

When you give an oral report, focus on common problem areas such as these:

Timing-Make sure you keep within the time limit. Anything under the limit is also a problem. Do some rehearsal, write a script, or find some other way to get the timing just right. It should take about two minutes to go through a single transparency in the talk.

Posing, speedsometimes, speakers who are a bit nervous talk too fast. That makes it hard for the audience to follow. In general, it helps listeners to understand you better if you speak a bit more slowly and deliberately than you do in normal conversation. Slow down, take it easy, be clear.

Make sure your watch is visible and check it occasionally to see how the time is running. If you see you are running short or long, try to adjust the speed of your presentation to compensate.

Volume-Obviously, you must be sure to speak loud enough so that all of your audience can hear you. You might find some way to practice speaking a little louder in the days before the oral presentation.

Gestures and posture-Watch out for nervous hands flying all over the place. This too can be distracting and a bit comical. Plan to keep your hands clasped together or holding onto the podium and only occasionally making some gesture, and make sure that your gestures and

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posture are okay. For example, don't slouch on the podium or against the wall, and avoid fidgeting with your hands.

A verbal crutches- As for speaking style, consider slowing your tempo a bit-a common

tendency is to get nervous and talk too fast. Also, be aware of how much you say things like "uh," "you know," and "okay."eehhh" and other lands of nervous verbal habits. Instead of saying "uh" or "you know" every three seconds, just don't say anything at all. In the days before your oral presentation, exercise speaking without these verbal crutches. The silence that replaces them is not a bad thing- -it gives listeners time to process what you are saying

Never read directly from prepared text, there is nothing more deadly to an audience

Make frequent eye contact with your audience throughout the talk Do not stare at your notes or at the screen. Do not direct your talk to one or two individuals, leaving the rest of the audience isolated

Sound enthusiastic about your subject, or at least interested in it If you seem bored by your

material, you can be guaranteed your audience will follow the lead!

4.5. Planning and Preparing Visuals for Oral Presentations

Prepare at least one visual for this report. Here are some ideas for the medium" to use for your visuals.

Transparencies for overhead projector for most college classrooms and, in fact, business conference rooms, the overhead projector is the best way to show things to the whole group. Design your visual on a sheet of blank paper, then photocopy it, and then get a transparency of it. You may have access to equipment like this at your work; most copy shops can make transparencies for you.

Pasteboard size charts-Another possibility is to get some posterboard and draw and letter what you want your audience to see. If you have a choice, consider transparencies~-it's hard to make charts look neat and professional.

Handouts- You can ran off copies of what you want your listeners to see and hand them out before or during your talk. This option is even less effective than the first two because you can't point to what you want your listeners to see and because handouts take listeners attention away from you. Still, for certain visual needs, handouts are the only choice.

Objects-If you need to demonstrate certain procedures, you may need to bring in actual physical objects. Rehearse what you are going to do with these objects; sometimes they can take up a lot more time than you expect. Please avoid just scribbling your visual on the chalkboard. Whatever you can scribble on the chalkboard can be neatly prepared and made into a transparency or posterboard-size chart, for example. Take some time to make your visuals look sharp and professional-use a straightedge, good dark markers, neat lettering or typing. Do your best to ensure that they are legible to the entire audience.

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As for the content of your visuals consider these ideas:

Outline of your talk, report, or both If you are at a loss for visuals to use in your oral presentation, or if your presentation is complex, have an outline of it that you can show at various points during your talk.

Drawing or diagram of key objects-If you describe or refer to any objects during your talk, try to get visuals of them so that you can point to different components or features.

Tables charts, graphsIf you discuss statistical data, present it in some form or table, chart, or graph. Many members of your audience may have trouble "hearing" such data as opposed to seeing it.

Key terms and definitions A good idea for visuals (especially when you can't think of any others) is to set up a two-column list of key terms you use during your oral presentation with their definitions in the second column.

Key concepts or points similarly, you can list your key points and show them in visuals. (Outlines, key terms, and main points are all good, legitimate ways of incorporating visuals into oral presentations when you can't think of any others.) During your actual oral report, make sure to discuss your visuals, refer to them, guide your listeners through the key points in your visuals. It's a big problem just to throw a visual up on the screen and never even refer to it.

4.5.1. Tips for the preparation off the visuals

Lay-out, try to always present your transparencies in the Landscape position rather that the Portrait position

Do not present more than about eight lines on a single transparency. Transparencies crowded with information are useless.

Use large-type fonts on transparencies. Ordinary size type does not look good.

If you hand-write the transparency, use large Mock, lettering with horizontal guidelines to keep your lines straight

If you show a process flowchart, make sure the units and streams are labeled. A bunch of unlabeled boxes and lines with arrows is worthless to the audience.

If you show data plots, be sure the axes are clearly labeled.

Do not over fill your transparency with mixed, unmatched colors. Some of the best color combinations are: white on blue, yellow on blue, Black on white , black on yellow, red on yellow.

Do not crowd your visuals with too many mixed font types/sizes

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5. MAKING YOUR WRITING READABLE

5.1. Introduction

Most readers of scientific or technical writing do not have as much time for reading as Hey would like to have and therefore, must read selectively. This is especially true for managers, supervisors, executives, senior scientists and other busy decision makers, who often skim-read for main points and ideas. However, it is also true for professionals who often need TC read more closely and slowly, for thorough understanding, and it is true for technicians. workers and consumers who may need to read and follow operating instructions. These different types of readers are selective in different ways: the skim-reading decision maker may be looking for bottom-line cost figures and performance data; the professional may be looking for the main thread of an argument: Ac technician. worker or consumer may need to use operating instructions only as a checklist. For such readers, writing is readable to the extent that it provides the information they need, located where they can quickly find it, in a form in which they can easily use it. This lakes considerable effort on the w riter's part. If you can make your writing readable, you will greatly increase its chances of being read an used: i.e. you will increase its effectiveness. How can you make your writing readable? Unfortunately, there is no simple formula to follow. There are steps that you can take, however, that should be of some help; these are discussed in what follows. First we make suggestions for selecting appropriate information and for making this information accessible to the reader. Then we suggest a number of things you can do to make it easier for the reader to absorb details.

5.2. Information selection

5.2.1. Establish your Topic and Purpose

Make it clear whet the main topic of the report of the section is. Then state your purpose explicitly, so that your readers can anticipate how you will be dealing with the topic. Readers of scientific and technical writing are typically purpose-directed and pressed for time. So. rather than reading word for word and cover to cover, they often prefer to merely "consult" a document, looking only for the information they need. When you define your topic and state your purpose, you make it easier for the reader to determine right away how to process the document; whether to read it closely, skim-read it. pass it on to someone else, or disregard it. A clear statement of topic and purpose allows the reader to form certain expectations about the rest of the text, specifically, how the topic is likely to be developed. It is a well-known fact that we process information most quickly and efficiently when it accords with our preconceptions, this is why it is important to create the right preconceptions in the reader's mind in the first place Scientific and technical writing genres customarily have various features signed to announce

the topic and set up initial expectations, titles, abstracts, summaries, overviews etc

full advantage by loading them with keywords and main ideas instead of vague phrases if you are writing a report dealing with some problematic issue as is the case with most reports be sure to include a well written problem statement at the beginning Engineering and other applied sciences

Use these to

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are fundamentally problem-oriented, and so as discussed in chapter 6. a good problem statement usually has important orientation value.

5.2.2. Use Keywords Prominently

Build sections and paragraphs around keywords related to the main topic If possible, make these keywords visually prominent by using them in headings, subheadings, topic statements and sentence subjects Once you have established a conceptual framework at the beginning of your text, you can turn your attention by filling it in with appropriate details To make sure that your discussion is a coherent one. you should strive to link these details as directly as possible to the

main topic the best way to do this is to establish a hierarch) of intermediate topics and subtopics for the various units and subunits of vour text with each being directly related to the immediately higher topic or subtopic These intermediate topics and subtopics should consist of appropriate keywords as discussed above

A well-structured discussion is highly functional in at least two respects First it builds on the

basic framework established at the beginning of the text, allowing for easier interpretation and promoting greater coherence at the same time As new information is progressively added to the initial framework, it is interpreted in terms of this framework and integrated into it As such, this new information is transformed into given information and can then be used to help interpret succeeding pieces of new information. Second, a hierarchically structured text facilitates selective reading. Since the sections and subsections are arranged in a general-to-specific order, the reader can quite easily zero in on desired levels of details - specially, if the respective topics of these sections and subsections are made visually prominent through the use of headings and subheadings.

5.2.3. Explain Important Concepts when Writing for Nonspecialist Readers

When writing for nonspecialists be sure to clarify the important technical concepts in your text by using examples, analogies, visual aids, or other forms of verbal or visual illustration. Research by information theorists in the past few decades suggests that communication proceeds best when there is a fairly even balance between given information and new information. This is what you should strive for in your own writing this means that you must have some idea of who your readers are and what sort of background knowledge they have. For example if you are describing the function of a refinery distillation column the terms "bubble cap trays" would be perfectly comprehensible to a chemical engineer, to anyone else it would not. Therefore, if for some reason you had to communicate with such technical information to a nonspecialist reader, you would have to insert some background information more familiar to the reader to provide a proper framework for interpreting the new information

In technical writing, it frequently happens that the writer feels it necessary to introduce key

concepts that may be unfamiliar to the reader In general it is important to define such concepts, not necessarily with a formal definition but rather with some kind of illustration How is the concept used? What is t similar to? What does it look like'' If technical terminology is used, what is a non- technical way of saying more or less the same thing Not only will answering such questions with the reader's needs in mind help the reader understand that particular concept but more important specially if the concept is a typical one it will enrich and sharpen the reader's interpretation of the

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text as a whole It will provide some of the given information that a specialist reader would automatically and implicitly associate with that particular concept but which a nonspecialist reader would not. There are several ways to illustrate and explain unfamiliar concepts for the nonspecialist reader. Visual aids, of course, should be used whenever the concept is suited to visual presentation. Often, however, a concept is too abstract to be presented visually In such cases; specific examples of the concept are usually the most powerful means you can use to help the nonspecialist reader. Analogies help explaining an unfamiliar concept b} showing that it is similar in certain ways to a familiar concept: they are useful in situations where the concept is so unfamiliar that you simply cannot think of any ordinary examples of it. Paraphrases, on the other hand, are useful in precisely the opposite situation: where the concept is familiar to the reader but only if restated in more recognizable terms. Paraphrases have a distinct advantage over examples and analogies in that they usually take up less space: sometimes even a one-word paraphrase will accomplish the purpose. Definitions, of course are a familiar way of explicating new concepts. Here is an example of an extended definition, explaining what the technical term "Remark Coefficient" means:

The Remark Coefficient In the production of powdered detergents, spray drying is the icchn que used to evaporate the solvent from the liquid reaction mixture and physically form the finished powder product. In spray drying, the liquid is sprayed into the top of a tall tower and allowed to fall freely in the bottom of the tower, where it is removed as a dry powder. The solvent evaporates during the course of the fall. Particles dried in this fashion have an unusual shape, like that of a saddle (or a potato chip), and

Analogy

consequently, fail through the air in an unusual manner. Rather than

Paraphrase

falling in a vertical path, the particle fall in a helical (spiral) path. The shape of the helical path is described by the Remark coefficient, which is the ratio of the diameter of the helix to the height required for one

Definition

passage of the particle around the perimeter of the helix. The coefficient, which is a function of drying conditions, is sought to be

Paraphrase

maximized, so that the length of flight of the panicle is made much greater than the actual height of the spray-drying tower.

5.2.4. Use Standard Terminology when Writing for Specialist Readers

When writing for specialists, on the other hand, do not overexplain. That is. do not exemplify, define, illustrate, paraphrase, or otherwise explain concepts the reader is likely to already be familiar with. Instead, simply refer to such concepts with the standard terminology of the field. Technical terms permit efficient and precise communication between specialists who know the concepts that such terms refer to. They should be used for that purpose, and used freely, even if they appear to be incomprehensive jargon to an outsider. When used among specialists, standard

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technical terms are not only comprehensible, but arc often "information-rich" in the sense that they may trigger a host of associated concepts in the reader's memory. These associated concepts then become part of the "given information" in the message. Adding more given information in the form

of examples, analogies, etc

for that type of reader. What do you do, though, if you are writing to a mixed audience of specialists and nonspecialists? This is always a very challenging sometimes impossible'- situation, but there are a few things you can do. First, you might divide and conquer" produce two separate pieces of writing, or a single piece with two parts to it. so that each group of readers can be addressed with appropriate terminology. Alternatively, you might stick to a single text but briefly define the technical terms as you go along. The least objectionable way of doing this, usually, is to insert a short familiar paraphrase immediately after each technical term: in the Remark coefficient example, for instance, notice how the writer has inserted the paraphrase (spiral) after the less familiar term

helical.

would only produce a disproportionate and inefficient give/new ratio

5.2.5. Structure your Text to Emphasize Important Information

Structure the different parts of the text so as to give greatest prominence to the information you expect the reader to pay most attention to For mam ideas, use a hierarchical structure, for details, use a listing structure A hierarchical text structure allows the reader to move quickly through the text seeing what the mam ideas are. how they arc linked together and what kind of detailed support they have many readers, specifically busy decision makers habitually read this way Thus, if you are writing for that type of reader you should try to organize and present vour information in a highly hierarchical pattern, with main levels of subordination On the other hand, if you are writing for a reader who will be focusing more on details try to use a more coordinate structure, i.e. with the details arranged in list A list-like structure whether it is formatted as a list or not, draws the reader's attention to all of the items making up the list. Instead of one statement being subordinated to another, as in a hierarchical structure the statements in a list are all on the same level and thus share equal prominence Perhaps the most obvious examples of this phenomenon are lists of instructions, which are expected to be read and followed step by step The same phenomenon can also be seen in carefully reasoned arguments and explanations, which are often cast in the form of a list-like sequence of cause-and-effect statements Chronological sequences, too. As found m descriptions of test procedures or in progress reports, are often presented as lists

5.2.6. Construct Well Designed Paragraphs

Make sure that each paragraph has a good topic statement and a clear pattern of organization the paragraph is a basic and highly functional unit of discourse in scientific and technical writing. By definition a paragraph is a group of sentences focusing on one main idea If vou use a topic statement to capture the main idea and a clear pattern of organization to develop it. you make it easy for die reader to either read the paragraph in detail or read it selectively. The topic statement, of course, should be presented within the first two sentences of the paragraph, and it should contain one or more keywords for readers to focus their attention on. The pattern of organization you select

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for the remaining sentences in die paragraph should (1) be consistent with expectations likely to be raised by the topic statement. (2) be appropriate to the subject matter and the most important (3) be appropriate to die anticipated use of the paragraph by the reader. If you adhere to these principles with all your paragraphs, you will greatly enhance the overall readability of your writing.

5.2.7. Field-Test Your Writing

Field-test your manuscript with its intended users or with representative substitutes Up to tins point you have had to make guesses about whether or not you arc providing your readers with a proper mix of given information and new information for their purposes Your decisions about what kind of terminology to use. What kind of structure to use, when to use verbal or visual illustrations, and so on. have been made on the basis of guesswork about the background knowledge of your readers and the reasons they will have for reading your writing This is why field-testing is an important part of making any manuscript maximally useful Field-testing allows you to see whether the assumptions you have made about your readers are accurate or not. This is so important that you should not put it off until the final stage; as soon as you have finished writing a good first or second draft, try it out with few intended users. Have them read it as if it were the final draft submitted for actual use Tell them to mark it up raise questions about it, criticize it. Talk to them about it. ask them for their comments Docs it leave anything out? Does it mislead them'' Does it raise unanswered questions'' if they are using it for Reference purposes, can they easily find what they need? If they are skimming it for main points, can they easily locate and understand them? If you are writing a research proposal or article, for example, you might want to show your draft to other researchers in that area, so as to guard against the possibility that you have overlooked something important, misrepresented someone else's research, or to make sure that nothing you have written is substantively wrong. If you arc writing a progress report for a group project, this would be a good time to show it to other members of the team.

5.3. Information ordering

One of the most important parts of speech in scientific and technical writing is the noun phrase (NP). It can be defined as any noun or noun-plus-modifier combination (or any pronoun) that can function as the subject or object of a sentence. Some examples are tables, water, y/e. a potential buyer, the growing demand for asphalt, and strict limitations on the size of plates that can be handled. Note that each of these NPs can serve as the subject of a sentence:

Tables usually have four legs. Water can be dangerous. We have an emergency. A potential buyer has arrived. The growing demand for asphalt is obvious. Strict limitations on the size of plates that can be handled have been established. By contrast, a singular countable noun, such as table, is not a NP, because it cannot function by itself as die subject or object of a sentence. We cannot say:

Table usually has four legs.

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Instead, we would have to say A table usually has four legs

or

or

The table usually has four legs. Samir's table has four legs.

5.3.1. Optimal Ordering of Noun Phrases

In English, NPs are expected to occur in certain orderings according to grammatical and functional criteria. These will be discussed in order of importance, beginning with the most important

A) Put Given Information Before New Information

As will all languages. English sentences typically contain a mixture of given information and new information. That is, some NPs in a sentence refer to concepts or objects that have already been discussed or that are presumed to be understood from the context, this is given information. Other NPs refer to concepts or objects that have not set been discussed and are not presumed to be understood from the context; this is new information Let us consider a specific example of the optimal ordering of NPs. The 5-year plan does not indicate a clearly defined commitment to long-range environmental research For instance, where the plan docs address long-range research, it discusses the development of techniques rather than the identification of important Song- range issues. The key NPs in both sentences are in italics By the time the first sentence has been read and understood, the phrases the 5-vear plans and long-range environmental research have been mentioned and are part of the given information possessed by the reader Notice that the words "the given information" come at the beginning of the second sentence and that the new nour phrases "the new information", come at the end of the second sentence Tins ordering of given before new is desirable because the given information of the second sentence serves as a kind of glue between the information presented in the first sentence and the new information presented in the second sentence. Such an ordering allows a reader to more easily fit the new information into a meaningful context and to see the connection between the two sentences.

B) Put Topical Information in Subject Position

Often, more than one NP in a sentence carries given information. In that case, which of these NPs should be promoted to subject position? Ideally. the NP that carries information most closely related to the paragraph topic - call it "Topical Information" - should go there Consider the following example:

Not all investors will benefit from Saving Certificates of the Investment authority Investors exceeding a deposit of LE 26886 (LE 53768 joint return) would have an after-tax yield far lower than with alternative investments, such as money market funds, or Treasury bills. Alternative investments would also yield better after-tax yieldsand no penalty if the certificate was redeemed within the one-) car maturity period.

The last sentence in this paragraph has three definite NPs which contain given information Alternate investments, after-tax yields and the certificate. Of these, the last seems to come closest to

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being thought of as topical information, the word Certificate, after all, does appear in the topic statement. But what is the real topic of this paragraph? Isn't it different kinds of investors! Notice for example, that the word investors appears not only in the topic statement but in the subject position of the next sentence. Notice also that investors are referred to b\ implication as the delegated agent of the passive mam verb: was redeemed (by investors) ideally, then, we should try to insert the word investors in the subject position of the third sentence, too. if it is all possible Indeed it is.

Not all investors will benefit from Saving Certificates of the Investment Authority. Investors exceeding a deposit of LE 26886 (LE 53768 joint return) would have an after-tax yield far lower than with alternative investments, such as money market funds, or Treasury bills. Investors redeeming their certificates within the one-year maturity period would also have a lower after- tax yield and would pay a penalty besides.

Not only does this rewritten version keep the focus on the topic of the paragraph and thus contribute to paragraph unity- it also establishes parallelism between the second and thud sentences, thus making it much clearer to the reader that we are talking about two different classes of investors: those who exceed a deposit of LE 26886 (LE 33768 joint return) and thos. who redeem their certificate early

C) Put "Light" NPs Before "Heavy" NPs As seen earlier. NPs vary considerably in length, complexity, preciseness. etc

If we use the

word heavy to describe NPs which are long and complex and the word light for NPs which are short and simple, the preferred stylistic ordering is light NPs before heavy NPs For instance, consider the

following passage:

We have received and acted upon requests for equipment from several branch offices We have sent the research, development and testing office in Alexandria a gas analyzer,

The second sentence of this passage is awkward and difficult to read. It has a very heavy indirect object - the research, development and testing office in Alexandria - and a very light direct object -a gas analyzer. Thus the ordering of NPs in this sentence, as it stands, is heavy Light. A more readable version of the second sentence and thus a better version, would

order the NPs light

We have sent a gas analyzer (Direct Object) to the research, development and testing office in Alexandria (Object of preposition) Notice that in moving the heavy NP to the end, we have to insert the preposition The following represents a flowchart for editing sentences in paragraphs:

heavy as follows

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5.4. Editing For Emphasis

Although some readers may prefer to skim-read, others have to read more closely and thoroughly, concentrating on details. For these readers, there is a danger of getting lost in the details, of overlooking main points and "not seeing the forest for the trees", so to speak. Consequently the details themselves begin to loose significance; the reader cannot sec exactly how they fit into the larger picture and thus cannot evaluate their importance. The reading process as a whole bogs down at this point, and the reader is forced to stop and start over. When the readers get bogged down in detail like this, it is often the water's fault. Many writers make little effort to organize details in a coherent, unified way, preferring instead to have the reader do all the work. But this invites the kind of failure just described Readers are often pressed for time or, tired or have other things on their mind. Many readers lack the kind of background knowledge the writer has. Still others have poor reading techniques and arc unable to decipher poor writing, no matter how hard they work at it. In general readers are at the mercy of the writer, they depend on the writer to present details in such a way that the role of these details in support of main points is readily apparent. If the writer fails to do this, there is little the reader can do except try to figure things out. It thus fells on the writer to mold the details of a text so that they reinforce the main points in unified fashion. This is somewhat similar, actually, to the demands made on a speaker engaged in a serious conversation. Face-to-face conversation is an intensive form of communication in which the speaker is acutely aware of the listener and vice versa. Because of this close speaker-listener relationship, conversations are governed by certain unwritten rules; say what you mean, don't beat around the bush, get to the point, be honest, etc. If the speaker violates any of these rules, the conversation will begin to break down unless the listener rescues it with a corrective comment such as "I don't see what you are driving at" or "What's your point?" The possibility of such immediate feedback from the listener forces the speaker to make every detail relevant to the conversation, most listeners are simply intolerant of irrelevant details and will either intervene or break the conversation off if the speaker strays too far from the topic of discussion. Good conversationalists, of course, are aware of such constraints and employ various techniques to make it clear to the listener that they are observing the rules. For one thing, they use emphatic intonation, physical gestures, inverted sentence structure, intensifiers and other devices to signal important words- key words, topical words, words earning new information. Conversely they use none of these devices for the less important words- those that cany given information or redundant information. As for empty meaningless words that serve no communicative purpose at all, they are simply omitted. In general, both by giving prominence to important words and by subordinating or omitting unimportant ones, good conversationalists emphasize those aspects of a detailed discussion that link the discussion to the main point or purpose of the conversation. As a result, the listener not only absorbs those details but also sees just how they support the main point. Writers should do the same kinds of things as good conversationalists. They may not be in close touch with their audience as speakers are and so they may not have such immediate demands placed on them, and they cannot, of course, use intonation and gestures in their writing. But writers

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do have an audience, and this audience needs to know, just as listeners do. how the details of a discussion are related to the main points. Furthermore, writers have as many devices as speakers do for helping the reader sec how details support main points. In short the use of emphasis is as appropriate and indeed necessary to good writing as it is to good conversation. In what follows we will describe the most common and useful devices used by good writers to create emphasis within individual sentences. These fall into three categories: devices used to highlight important words and phrases, devices used to subordinate relatively unimportant words and phrases, and devices used to eliminate unnecessary words and phrases

5.4.1. Combine Closely Related Sentences

Combine closely related sentences unless there is a compelling reason not to (such as maintaining independent steps in a list of instructions or avoiding extreme sentence length): put main ideas in main clauses. Many inexperienced writers have a tendency to use nothing but short, simple sentences, producing a very choppy style of writing which irritates the reader with its sing- song rhythm and, worse fails to put emphasis on important ideas. This tendency derives, probably, from two principal sources: (1) An overemphasis in many quarters on the need to avoid dangling modifiers, comma splices, and other problems associated with complex sentence structures, and (2) Erroneous belief, promoted by readability formulas, short sentences make reading easier. Dangling modifiers, comma splices, and other errors of sentence structure and punctuation should, of course be avoided - but not at the expense of emphasis, unity, and coherence. And although a short sentence by itself may be easier to read than a long sentence, the repeated use of short sentences may have just the opposite effect The best approach to take regarding sentence length is to let the form reflect the content. If an idea is complex enough to require qualification, the best way to qualify it may be with a relative clause, an adverbial phrase, or some other complex modifier. On the other hand, if an idea is simple and straightforward, a simple sentence may be the best way to represent it. Often, these choices can be made properly only within the context of an entire paragraph. For example consider the following paragraph from a student report:

ORIGINAL VERSION At the present time electric car utilization is not possible. The problems holding it back are satisfactory performance and costs. Performance problems of lack of speed, short mileage range, and lack of acceleration are present. Cost problems are the price of battery replacement and the base price of the electric car. It is possible though, with research and development, that these problems can be solved in the future. Each of the first two sentences, taken in isolation, is grammatically correct and easy to read. When you look at them together, however, you notice that there excessive overlap between them:

sentence 2, in other words, contains too much given information (The problems holding it back). This unnecessary redundancy can be eliminated by combining these sentences; At the present time electric car utilization is not possible because of performance and cost problems.

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Not only does this move reduce the wordiness of the first two sentences, it also creates a better topic statement: it is more unified and emphatic, and it introduces the key terms performance problems and cost problems, (notice how these terms are the subjects of the next two sentences). If we also change sentence 3 to satisfy given-new and light-heavy criteria, we can reduce the wordiness of the paragraph and increase its readability still further. The overall result is this:

FIRST REWRITE At the present time electric car utilization is not possible because of performance and cost problems. The performance problems are lack of speed, short mileage range, and lack of acceleration. The cost problems are the price of batten replacement and the base price of the car. It is possible, though with research and development, that these problems can be solved in the future This is a significant improvement, but we have other options that might improve it even more. For example, now that we have converted the original sentence 2 into a prepositional phrase, we can shift it into presubject position in place of the time adverbial originally there:

Because of performance and cost problems, electric CAN utilization is not possible at the present lime. This puts more focus on the key terms performance problems and cost problems and less focus on the less time important time adverbial. Another change we could make, though not as compelling a one as thos just described, would be to combine the two sentences in the middle with a semicolon These two sentences are closely related in function; linking them formally would reflect this relatedness FINAL VERSION Because of performance and cost problems, electric car utilization is not possible at the present time. The performance problems are lack of speed, short mileage range, and lack of acceleration: the cost problems are the price of battery replacement and the base price of the car. It is possible. though, with research and development that these problems can be solved in the future. ln general, combining sentences is often a good way to create emphasis in your writing. By making it easy for your readers to see the relatedness of ideas, you make it easier for them to absorb these ideas. You can also show explicitly that one idea is logically subordinate to another by putting the more important idea in the main clause of the sentence and the less important idea in a subordinate clause. For example, suppose you wanted to combine the two sentences in italics in the following paragraph:

NEGATIVE EXAMPLE Electric cars must be able to meet the same safety standards that gasoline cars must meet as set up by the Ministry of Environmental Affairs. These standards are derived from an established crash test. In the crash test, the car is propelled against a solid wall at 30 mph. The data obtained from the crash test are analyzed for fuel spillage, fuel system integrity, windshield retention, and zone intrusion. In combining the two italicized sentences, we could subordinate the more detailed sentence to the more general first one:

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These standards are derived from an established car test in which the car is propelled against a solid wall at 30 mph. Alternatively, we could maintain prominence on the details and subordinate instead the idea that the crash test is an established one:

These standards are derived from propelling the car against a solid wall at 30 mph. which is an established car test. Clearly the first option is the more appropriate one in this context: the fact that the crash test is an established one underscores the main idea of the paragraph, as stated in the topic sentence. REVISED VERSION Electric cars must be able to meet the same safety standards that gasoline cars must meet as set up by the Department of Transportation. These standards are derived from an established crash test in which the car is propelled against a solid wall at 30 mph. The data obtained from the crash test are analyzed for fuel spillage, fuel system integrity, windshield retention, and zone intrusion. There are times when it is best not to combine sentences. For example, if you are giving a list of instructions and want to emphasize independent steps in accordance with how the user might carry out the instructions, you might want to state these steps in independent sentences. To see how this might apply in a specific case, consider the following set of instructions for replacing a brake line an automobile:

1. Disconnect the union nuts at both ends

2. Unclip the line from the chassis

3. Pull the line out

4. Install the new line in the chassis clips

5. Moisten the ends in brake fluid

6. Tighten the union nuts.

You could leave these set of instructions as is in the form of a formatted list Or you could combine some of the steps ( 2 with 3. 5 with 6) to create more realistic four-step sequence of disconnect-remove-install-reconnect. as is done in tins excerpt from a repair manual To replace a brake line, disconnect the union nuts at both ends. Unclip the line from the chassis and pull it out. install the new line in the chassis clips Moisten the ends in brake fluid, then tighten the union nuts. To combine sentences beyond this however, would be a mistake because it would destroy the emphasis we want to maintain on certain individual steps. For example, if we were to combine sentences 2 and 3 in the repair manual version, this would be the result:

NEGATIVE EXAMPLE To replace a brake line, disconnect the union nuts at both ends Unclip the line from the chassis, pull it out. and install the new line in the chassis clips. Moisten the ends in brake fluid, then tighten the union nuts. By lumping together the remove and install steps like this (Unclip the line from the chassis, pull it out. and install the new line in the chassis clips), we would be creating an imbalance in the

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sequence: no mechanic would consider this to be a single step, as the form of the description implies. It is also best not to combine sentences when the result would be too long a sentence Suppose, for example, you have been writuig a proposal for a computer-aided design system and have included this paragraph in your summary. The proposed system is required to alleviate the increase in demand. The system will do that by removing the burden of data entry from the present system. CADDS. This is accomplished by utilizing the microcomputer as a stand-alone data entry system. The microcomputer has all of the graphics and software capabilities required to implement this concept. As it stands, this paragraph is a nicely written one. with an adequate topic statement, a clear general-to-specific pattern of development, and properly constructed sentences satisfying the given- new. light-heavy and topical criteria. The result is a highly readable paragraph with appropriate emphasis on the main ideas and key words. If you were to combine the sentences into one. on the other hand, much of this emphasis would be destroyed:

NEGATIVE EXAMPLE The proposed system is required to alleviate the increase in demand by utilizing the microcomputer as a stand-alone entry system with all the necessary graphics and soft ware capabilities to remove the burden of data entry from the present system. CADDS. This is a more economical version, no doubt, insofar as it contains 16 fewer words than tic original. But is it more readable? Absolutely not! In fact it is a perfect example of the kind of incomprehensive gobbiedygook that so many readers of technical writing complain about. the lesson to be learned from this example . then, is this: do not combine sentences just for the sake of doing so; do it only when it serves a purpose.

5.4.2. Be Concise

While the more important words and phrases of a text should be highlighted, the less important ones should be subordinated - or perhaps even eliminated altogether Unnecessary words and phrases will only detract from the emphasis you have carefully tried to build up through the use of combined sentences, signal words and identifiers. A bloated, wordy style can submerge your readers in a sea of empty terms, making it next to impossible for them to follow. your main points and be persuaded to your point of view. In' fact, foggy language is more likely than not to rum readers against you. Inexperienced writers sometimes think that they must use a wordy, bloated style of writing in order to create a certain professional image. They seem to believe that by using pretentious language, they will enhance their image as experts in their field. Actually, what evidence there is suggests just the opposite: pretentious, wordy language is less likely to promote one's credibility as an expert than is concise, direct, simple language. For example, consider the following two abstracts presented in a conference; one version (Version 1) being noticeably wordier than the other (Version

2).

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Version 1 IN the experiment of the series using mice, it was discovered that total removal of the adrenal glands effects reduction or aggressivenss and that aggressheness in adrenalectomised mice is restorable to the level of intact mice by treatment with corticosterone. These results point to the indispensability of the adrenals for the full t expression of aggression. Nevertheless, since adrenalectomy is followed by an increase in the release of adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH). and since ACTH has been . reported (P. Brain. 1972) to decrease the aggressiveness of intact mice, it is possible that the effects of adrenalectomy on aggressiveness of intact mice, it is possible that the effects of adrenalectomy on aggressiveness are a function of the concurrent increased levels of ACTH. However, high levels of ACTH. in addition to causing increases in glucocorticoids (which possibly accounts for the depression of aggression in intact mice by ACTH). also result in decreased androgen levels. In view of the fact that animals with low androgen levels are characterized by decreased aggressiveness the possibility exists that adrenalectomy, rather than affecting aggression directly, has the effect of reducing aggressiveness by producing an ACTH- mediated condition of t decreased androgen levels. Version 2 The experiment in our series with mice showed that the total removal of the adrenal glands reduces aggressiveness. Moreover, when treated with corticosterone. mice that had their adrenals taken out became as aggressive as intact animals again. These findings suggest that the adrenals are necessary for animals to show full aggressiveness. But removal of the adrenals raises the levels of adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH). and P. Brain found that ACTH lowers the aggressiveness of intact mice. Thus the reduction of aggressiveness after this operation might be due to the higher levels of ACTH which accompany it. However. high levels of ACTH have tow effects. First the level of glucocorticoids rise, which might account for P. Brain's results. Second, the levels of androgen fall. Since animals with low levels of androgenare less aggressive it is possible that removal of the adrenals redues aggressiveness only drrectly by ratsing the levels of ACTH it cuases androgen levels to drop . Obviously, Version 2 is easier to read, and its style is more appropriate therefore the more concise abstract of Version 2 (155 words versus 179 for Version 1) is definmtely preferred This style is not so "noun-heavy", it has higher percentage of verbs and adectives than Version 1. For example, instead of saying effects reduction of it simply says reduces lnstead of point to the indispensability of the adrenals . it has suggests that the adrenals are necessary instead of producing a condition of decrease androgen levels . it has couses androgen levels to drop Second the Version 2 style has simpler sentence structure with fewer and shorter adverbial phrases before the sentence subject This means that the reader reaches the main verb of the sentence sooner, making it easier to process the sentence as a whole Thirdly, the Version 2 style avoids unnecessary

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technical terms in favor of more comrnooplace equivalents, even when it requires more words to make the substitution In place of adrenalectmised mice, for example. Version 2 has mice that had their adrenals taken out instead of are aunction of. there is are due to. Finally, the style of Version 2 uses more pronouns and demonstrative adjectives: their in sentence 2. these in sentence 3. this in sentences5 and it in the last part of sentence 9. By contrast, the Version 1 style has only one demonstrative These, leading off sentence 2 Pronouns and demonstrative adjectives, in general, help make a text more cohesive - provided, of course, that it is clear to the reader what they refer to.

This last point deserves some discussion before we end. Scientists, engineers, and other technical people sometimes use full nouns phrases repeatedly to avoid being "imprecise". They have heard of cases, perhaps, where a single misinterpretation of a pronoun by a single reader has led to some accident or mishap, which in turn has led to the writer's company being sued for damages. Therefore, they tend to avoid pronouns and demonstratives altogether, preferring instead to repeat full noun phrases over and over. This strategy is certainly a safe one. and indeed it should be used in appropriate circumstances (such as when writing operating instructions for a potentially hazardous macliine or when writing a legally binding contract). There are many circumstances, however, where such caution is uncalled for. and where in feet it simply disrupts the coherence of the text. Consider this example NEGATIVE EXAMPLE In order to keep from delaying the construction phase of the Office Building, the Technical Division needs to know the loads that will be placed upon the footings. I have investigated the proposed use of the structure and various footing systems to determine the loads that will be placed upon the footings. This report gives the loads of the footings and explains how these loads were derived There is no reason to describe the loads every time they are referred to Pronouns and demonstratives can be used instead without any real risk of misinterpretation, and the result will be more coherent and more concise text. REVISED VERSION In order to keep from delaying the construction phase of the Office Building, the Technical Division needs to know the loads that will be placed upon the footings. 1 have investigated the proposed use of the structure and various footing systems to determine these loads. This report gives the loads and explains how they were derived In general when you have to refer repeatedly to some object or concept that has first been introduced with a long noun phrase, you can usually use a shortened version of tins noun phrase and a demonstrative adjective or definite article without muck if any. risk of ambiguity

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6. PROJECT PROPOSAL

A project proposal deals with work plans of a certain subject. Project proposals usually serve the following purposes with respect to the different functional types of projects.

A)

Institution building projects:

They help in the institutional building up, its approaches and capabilities, set standards of performance and help continuing staff development.

B)

Direct support projects:

Provide data, information and analysis of a certain idea and in some cases embody the technical details and findings of a certain project.

C)

DIRECT TRAINING PROJECTS.

D)

Upgrading of the efficiency of certain institutions in industry, administration and other activities.

E)

Experimental and pilot projects:

Provide data, information and analysis on different aspects of experimental research or pilot activities and the results thereof, in detailed support of the findings and the recommendations of the project.

F)

SPECIAL SUPPORT PROJECTS. Which provide development support of communication, documentary services, e.g. CAD, computer services

6.1. The contents of project proposal can be structured as follows:

a)

Title page.

b)

An abstract of the documentary output or a list of KEYWORDS reflecting the principal subject fields of the project.

c)

An introduction providing information on:

1)

Project activity or subacthity related to the project proposal.

2)

Project staff responsible for the production.

3)

Specific purposes the project is intended to serve.

4)

Different means and methods which could be utilized to achieve the goals of the project.

5)

Future expected results on implementation of the included study.

d)

A summary of findings and recommendations.

e)

Substantive sections or chapters.

f)

Annexes as appropriate.

6.2. NATURE OF THE REPORTS:

They may be:

1)

Technical (production and upgrading).

2)

Administrative.

3)

Investment potential.

4)

Training activities.

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6.3. Technical-industrial project proposals:

These proposals may deal mainly with.

1)

Erection of completely new production line for a certain commodity, e.g. a fertilizer plant.

2)

3)

Upgrading the efficiency of already working industrial plants, e,g, pulp and paper, oil, leather tanning factories. Implementation of new production technologies and application of new machinery (research and pilot plant projects) . Such project proposals should include the following MAIN POINTS:

1- Present situation of the unit or state-of-art including.

a)

Description of the commodity.

 

b)

Raw materials required or used in daily and annually consumed amounts.

c)

Production line chemicals, machinery, additives

etc.

d) Services, water, electricity, man power, environmental conditions of the unit and

 

its suitability.

e)

Cost of production, deficits, benefits, wages

 

f)

Proposed capacity in case of installation of a completely new factory.

g)

Pre-feasibility study of poini f.

 

2- Critical discussion of the present situation and proposed steps required for upgrading the efficiency (not required in case of installation of new factories).

3-

Recommendations for better production (technical and mechanical) and development of the required steps to achieve the required targets.

4-

A time schedule for implementation of the proposed project.

5- In case of new factory installation, study of foreign markets should be included, export-

import prices, foreign and local currency required

etc.

6- Different expenditure items required, total budget of the project

etc.

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7. CHECKLIST FOR THE TECHNICAL REPORT

Use the following questions to ensure that your technical report is structured properly according to common expectations:

Do you include all the required components in the required order, for example, transmittal letter, followed by title page, followed by figure list, and so on? (See the chapter on report format for details.)

Do you address your report to a real or realistic audience that has a genuine need for your report? (See this chapter and the chapter on audience for details.) Do you identify in the introduction what background the audience needs to read and understand your report?

Does your report contain specific, factual detail focused on the purpose of the report and the needs of the audience and aimed at their level of understanding?

Does your report accomplish its purpose? Is that purpose clearly stated in the introduction?

Does your report use information sources and do you properly document them? (See the chapter on finding information and the chapter on documenting borrowed information for details.)

Does your report use the format for headings that is standard for this course? (See the chapter on headings for details.)

Does your report use the format for lists that is standard for this course? (See the chapter on lists for details.)

Does your report use graphics and tables? Does your report use the format for graphics and tables that is standard for this course? Specifically, are your figure titles (captions) to our class specifications? (See the chapter on graphics and tables for details.)

Is page 1 of your introduction designed according to the standard for this course? (See the chapter on report format for details.)

Does every new section (which starts with a first-level heading) start on a new page? Have you check for widowed headings (headings that start at the very bottom of a page)? stacked headings (two or more consecutive headings without intervening text)? lone headings (a single heading within a section)? parallelism in the phrasing of headings? (See the chapter on headings for details.)

Does the title page of your report include a descriptive abstract, and is it written according to the specifications in the chapter on abstracts?

Do you include an informative abstract in your report; is it positioned properly in relation to the other report components; and is it written according to the specifications in the chapter on abstracts? Specifically, does your informative abstract summarize the key facts and conclusions of your report rather than act as just another introduction or descriptive abstract?

Does the introduction of your report include the elements necessary in good introductions, such as audience, overview, purpose? Do you avoid the problem of having too much background in the introduction, or having an introduction that is all background? (See the chapter on introductions for details.)

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