Sunteți pe pagina 1din 85

Islamic University Of Gaza

Technical Writing
Faculty Of Engineering
Designed By: Bassam AL Saqqa
Technical Writing

Lectures Page:

Lecture 1: Introduction……………………………………………………………………………………….. 2
Lecture 2: Successful Writing ……………………….…………………………………………………….. 6
Lecture 3: Mechanics………………………………………………………………………………………….. 8
Lecture 4: Abstract Writing ………………….…..……………………….………………………………. 13
Lecture 5: Laboratory Report………………………………………………….………………………….. 18
Lecture 6: Proposals………………………..……………………………………….………………………… 22
Lecture 7: Resume……………………..………………...…………………………………….……………… 28
Lecture 8: Memorandums……………….………………..………………………………………………. 34
Lecture 9: Writing Letters …………..…………………….…………………….………………………… 41
Lecture 10: Formal Report…….…………………………………………………………………………….. 50
Lecture 11: Job Interview………………………………………...……………………….…………………. 61
Lecture 12: Oral Presentation….…………………………………...…………………….………………. 66
Lecture 13: Progress Report……….………………………………..………………….………………….. 73
Lecture 14: Research & Internet……………………………………...……………….…………………. 76
Lecture 15: Presentation On Ethics.……………………………………...…………………….………. 80

Technical Writing

Lecture 1


Technical Writing

These slides, which are used in graduate and undergraduate engineering courses at Virginia
Tech, come from Chapters 1, 16, and 17 in The Craft of Scientific Writing (3rd ed., Springer-
Verlag). If you would like a 60-day evaluation copy of The Craft of Scientific Writing, please go to
the following web page:
This first slide is a title slide for an introductory lecture about writing in engineering and science.
The purpose of this presentation is two-fold: (1) to inspire students to invest time into learning
how to write and speak well, and (2) to show students where to begin the process of writing a
scientific or engineering document.
With this title slide, you have the opportunity to give your own testimony as to the importance
of writing in engineering and science. This slide is also an opportunity for you to mention two
references (the shown web site and textbook) that students have for improving their writing.
Note that these slides use the term “scientific writing” to encompass the writing done by
engineers and scientists and the term “scientific documents” to encompass the documents
written by engineers and scientists. If you prefer the more general term “technical,” you can use
the Replace command to replace “scientific” with “technical” throughout. Likewise, if you desire
a term more specific than “scientific,” you can use the same command to insert your preferred
term (“engineering” or “biological” would be two examples). Note that all future references to
chapters and pages are for The Craft of Scientific Writing (3rd edition).

Mapping slide for this introductory presentation on scientific writing. This presentation has two
divisions: (1) a discussion of the importance of scientific writing, and (2) a discussion of key
principles. These principles include analyzing the situation, distinguishing between style and
form, and making the process efficient.
Reference for picture: Report to the President on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident, vol. 1
(Washington, D.C.: Presidential Commission, 6 June 1986), p. 33.

With this background slide, I try to convince students of the importance of scientific writing. This
slide presents three surveys that show different points about the importance of writing for
engineers. The first survey was performed by Richard M. Davis of the Air Force who surveyed
245 distinguished engineers. This survey not only found the result presented on this slide (25%
of work week spent on writing), but also found that those surveyed attributed their success in
part to their ability to communicate. Source: Richard M. Davis, Technical Writing: Its Importance
in the Engineering Profession and Its Place in the Engineering Curriculum, AFIT TR 75-5 (Wright-
Patterson AFB, Ohio: Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, 1975).
The second survey was performed by Dean John Bollinger from the College of Engineering at the
University of Wisconsin who contacted 9000 engineers who had graduated. The slide shows an
important result of that survey (that the engineers found writing to be their most useful
subject). Interestingly, the second most useful skill cited was the ability to speak. Source: Dean
John G. Bollinger, “Alumni Survey Results,” Perspective (Madison: College of Engineering,
University of Wisconsin, Summer 1994), p. 2.
The third survey was performed by the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech. Here, recruiters
to Virginia Tech were polled. The purpose of the survey was to determine what skills that
engineering graduates needed most improvement upon. Source: Virginia Tech, College of
Engineering, “Summary Report of Employer Focus Group” (October 2000).

With this background slide, I try to convince students of the importance of scientific writing. The
photograph shows the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger. Engineers were deeply

Technical Writing

concerned about the O-ring design on the booster rocket before the launch, but were unable to
convince managers at NASA of that concern. Richard Feynman’s paper from Physics Today
(February 1988) gives a good account of this case study.
In teaching scientific writing to engineers and scientists, convincing them about the importance
of scientific writing is probably the single most important argument that you will make. My
experience has been that professional engineers and scientists recognize the importance, while
students do not. For that reason, with students, I spend more time on this argument. Source:
Richard P. Feynman, “An Outsider’s Inside View of the Challenger Inquiry,” Physics Today
(February 1988), pp. 26-37.
Reference for picture: Report to the President on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident, vol. 1
(Washington, D.C.: Presidential Commission, 6 June 1986), p. 33.

This slide makes the point that engineers and scientists have to communicate in many different
situations. Not only are they called upon to write different types of documents and speak in
different occasions, but they also face several different audiences. Given this variety, coming up
with a set of rules to handle every situation is difficult, not impossible. Engineers and scientists
therefore have to learn to analyze each situation and decide upon the best way to communicate
in that situation. This news is hard for many engineering and science students to accept.

Repeat of mapping slide for this presentation on scientific writing. This slide introduces the
second part of the presentation: a discussion of key principles. These principles include
analyzing the situation, distinguishing between style and form, and making the process efficient.
Reference for picture: Report to the President on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident, vol. 1
(Washington, D.C.: Presidential Commission, 6 June 1986), p. 33.

With this slide, I try to impress upon the students the differences between scientific writing and
other types of writing that they have studied. While the students will draw upon many of the
things that they have learned in other writing courses, students have to be critical thinkers as far
as taking advice that may pertain to literary writing or journalism and applying it to scientific
writing. For instance, in scientific writing, the most important goal of language is precision--a
goal that poets sometimes subordinate for the sake of rhythm. (Chapter 1)
By the way, the photograph in the upper left is from Rosalind Franklin’s x-ray work that greatly
influenced the discovery of the structure of DNA by James Watson and Francis Crick. The story is
an interesting one from both a communications perspective and an ethical perspective. Watson
has documented it in The Double Helix, but take a look at the Norton critical edition, which
presents other viewpoints, including the one that Rosalind Franklin deserved considerably more
credit than Watson or Crick gave to her in their original article.
Reference for parachute photo: Peterson, C.W., and D.W. Johnson, Advanced Parachute Design,
SAND86-8006 (Albuquerque: Sandia National Laboratories, 1986).

This slide is perhaps the most important slide of the set because it shows what constraints
students are under as they begin writing a scientific document. In other words, this slide tells
students where they should begin the writing process (an assumption here is that the students
understand the content of their document and now must communicate that content). The
constraints of audience, purpose, and occasion are discussed in Chapter 1.
The aspect of format is also discussed in Chapter 16 and in the “Writing Guidelines for
Engineering and Science Students.” The aspect of process refers to how the student actually
puts words onto paper. Will the student write as an individual or part of a group? Does the

Technical Writing

student have a fixed deadline? Chapter 17 discusses this aspect in more detail. Formality refers
to the expectations that the audience has as far as mechanics, which is also discussed in Chapter
1, Appendix A, and Appendix B. Interactive exercises for mechanics can be found in the “Writing
Exercises for Engineers and Scientists.”
On this slide, you should make it clear to the students that no simple recipes exist for the
challenging documents that they will have to write. Students should assess the audience,
format, formality, and other constraints of the situation before committing words to paper. The
slides that follow elaborate on each of the constraints.

One problem that many students have is that they don’t have a sense of hierarchy about aspects
of writing. These students might equate a small aspect of form such as using a contraction with
a serious mistake in content such as leaving out important information, or style, such as not
emphasizing the most important result. With this slide, I try to distinguish these three terms.
While there certainly is overlap among these terms, their definitions are distinct. Content is the
message given, style is the way that message is presented (structure, language, and illustration),
and form is the appearance of the message (grammar, punctuation, usage, spelling, and format).
(Chapter 1)

If the constraints are what the engineer or scientist does not control in the writing process, then
style is what the engineer or scientist does control. Style comprises three perspectives:
structure, language, and illustration (all three are defined in Chapter 1). Students should note
that unlike most terms in engineering and science, most terms in writing do not have universal
definitions. For that reason, you and your students should agree upon a few definitions so that
your discussions about writing make sense. So often, I have seen discussions about writing
become unproductive because people invoke terms that others either do not understand or
have different definitions for. Terms often used in discussions of writing, but not often
understood by students, are format, style, structure, language, illustration, tone, active voice,
passive voice, past tense, and the major parts of speech. These are defined in the textbook’s
Reference for parachute photo: Peterson, C.W., and D.W. Johnson, Advanced Parachute Design,
SAND86-8006 (Albuquerque: Sandia National Laboratories, 1986).

Information about the format of scientific writing can be found on pages 6-7 and in Chapter 16.
Information about the mechanics of scientific writing can be found in Appendices A and B (and
in The Craft of Editing (Springer-Verlag, 2000). Both of these subjects are discussed in separate

Discussion of making the process of writing more efficient to perform can be found in Chapter
17. When I first started teaching, I discussed the process of writing towards the end of the
course. Recently, I have begun incorporating discussions of it throughout the course, particularly
just before assignments are due.

Conclusion slide to this presentation. One of the best ways to improve one’s writing is to select
strong models. Conversely, a reason that so many engineers and scientists write so poorly is that
they select poor models. Two excellent models of scientific writing are Maria Goeppert Mayer,
who won the Nobel prize in Physics for her work on the structure of the nucleus and Linus
Pauling, who won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on covalent bonds. Both were
excellent communicators of their work.

Technical Writing

Lecture 2

Successful Writing

Technical Writing

Five Steps to Successful writing:

1. Preparation

2. Research

3. Organization

4. Writing the draft

5. Revision

1. Preparation:

Ø Establishing your objective.

Simply determine what do you want your readers to know?
Or be able to do when they have finished reading your report.

Ø Identifying your reader.

What are your readers need in relation to your subject?
What does your reader already know about your subject?

Ø Determining the scope of your coverage.

The first two steps will help you to decide what to include and not to include in your

To understand your subject do search in the library, internet, and interview

To make topic understandable by the reader, follow the following steps:
l Outline

l Illustration

l Layout and design

4.Writing a Draft:
Expand your notes from outline to paragraph
Concentrate on converting outline into sentences and paragraphs


l Structure

l Grammar

Technical Writing

Lecture 3


Writing a Sentence

Technical Writing

Avoiding Common Errors of Grammar:

One of the most important skills a writer can have is the ability to compose clear, complete
sentences. The sentence is the basic unit of communication in all forms of English.

Funk, McMahan, and Day

Elements of Grammar


l A capital letter at the beginning

l A period, a question mark, or an exclamation point at the end

l A subject, stated only once

l A complete verb phrase

l Standard word order:

In English, the regular sequence is Subject + Verb + Object, with insertions possible at several
points in the sequence

l An independent core idea that can stand alone ( main clause)

Combining Sentences:


1. Dr. George was a successful engineer.

2. He won the prize.

The most important aspect of grammar is understanding what a sentence is:

Sentence: A sentence is group of words with a subject and a verb that expresses a
complete thought.
Fragment: A fragment being a group of words that either is missing a subject or a verb or
does not express a complete thought.
Run-on: A run-on is two or more independent clauses that are not joined properly, for
instance, a common mistake is to have a comma between the clauses.

Technical Writing

Which are sentences (S), fragments (F), or run-ons (RO)?

1. Rubidium has no major uses, however, it is more common in the earth than zinc,
copper, or nickel. RO

2. Although carbon dioxide occurs naturally, man has dramatically increased its
concentration this past century. S

3. Several systems can detect plastic explosives. For example, thermal neutron activation
systems, nitrogen sniffer systems, and enhanced x-ray systems. S / F

Shown in Red are corrections to the errors from previous :

Although rubidium has no major uses, it is more common in the earth than zinc, copper,
or nickel.

Although carbon dioxide occurs naturally, man has dramatically increased its
concentration this past century.

Several systems can detect plastic explosives. Examples include thermal neutron
activation systems, nitrogen sniffer systems, and enhanced x-ray systems.

Note that there are several ways to correct each of these errors:

Rubidium has no major uses; however, it is more common in the earth than zinc,
copper, or nickel.

Rubidium has no major uses, but it is more common in the earth than zinc, copper, or

Rubidium has no major uses. This metal, however, is more common in the earth than
zinc, copper, or nickel.

Technical Writing

Avoiding Common Errors of Punctuation

Punctuation marks are the traffic signs and signals placed along the reader’s road. They
tell him when to slow down and when to stop, and sometimes they warn him of the
nature of the road ahead. Traffic engineers do not always agree on what signs should be
used and where they should be placed, and neither do writers or editors.

Theodore M. Bernstein

The Careful Writer

Use numerals when referring to measurements:

When to use numerals :

Specific measurements 3 volts, 2 seconds, 1 m/s

Percentages 15 percent

Monetary figures $3000

Large numerals 5 million

When to write out numbers :

Counting (one or two words) twenty-three gages

Informal measurements two hours

First word of sentence Thirty-three...

Technical Writing

Certain words are commonly misused

*We produced a small (amount, number) of autos this year, even (fewer, less) than last year.
*A company’s success depends on (its / it's) employees.
*The new material is (composed / comprised) of plastic and iodine.
*It appears (as if, like) the Department of Energy will choose the third option.
*Reduced weight was the (principal / principle) reason for choosing aluminum.
*The talk centered (around / on) the (principal / principle) of virtual work.
*(Regrettably / Regretfully), the launch was delayed because of thunderstorms.
*You need not proceed any (farther / further) on your test.
*The serum had serious side (affects / effects).
*Whichever design you choose is (alright / all right) with me.
*(Irregardless / Regardless) of the shipping delay, the work will stop because of the strike.
*Applying that set of constraints is a (most unique / unique / very unique) way to approach the
*The serum had (alot / a lot) of side effects.

Combining Sentences

l Coordination and Subordination

l Subordinating conjunctions and dependent clauses

l Avoiding fragments with subordinate clause

l Clauses with although

Technical Writing

Lecture 4

Abstract Writing

Technical Writing


Ø Abstract summarized and highlight the major points of a longer piece of writing.

Ø Abstract are written for many formal reports, journal articles, and most dissertations.

Abstract primary purpose

Ø To enable readers to decide whether to read the work in full.

Ø They enable researches to review a great deal of literature in a short time.

Abstract for reports and articles

Ø Abstract must accurately but concisely describe the original work so that
researchers in the field will not miss valuable information.

Ø Abstract should contain no information not discussed in the original.

When are abstracts used?

l Ordinarily part of a research article in a journal

l For chapters in a book, especially if each chapter has a different author

l Library reference tools, such as Biological Abstracts

l For presentations at scientific meetings (often the "published abstract" is the only
written record of such a presentation)

l Dissertations, some papers in the sciences and social sciences require abstracts


l An abstract is a short informative or descriptive summary of a longer report.

l It is written after the report is completed, although it is intended to be read first.

l In a technical report, the abstract appears on a separate page after the table of contents
and list of illustrations

Abstract Classification

Ø Descriptive

Ø Informative

Technical Writing

Descriptive Abstract

l Tell readers what information the report, article, or paper contains

l Include the purpose, methods, and scope of the report, article, or paper

l Do not provide results, conclusions, or recommendations.

l Are always very short, usually under 100 words.

l Introduce the subject to readers, who must then read the report, article, or paper to
find out the author's results, conclusions, or recommendations

Example Of Descriptive Abstract:

Purpose and scope:

This report describes the practices selected foreign countries for providing engineering
expertise on shift in nuclear power plants. The report discusses the extent to which engineering
expertise is made available and the alternative models of providing such expertise. The
implications of foreign practices for U.S. consideration are discussed, with particular reference
to the shift

Methods used:
technical advisor position and to a proposed shift engineer position. The relevant information
for this study came from the open literature, interviews with utility staff and officials, and
governmental and nuclear utility reports.

Informative Abstracts

l Communicate specific information from the report, article, or paper.

l Include the purpose, methods, and scope of the report, article, or paper.

l Provide the report, article, or paper's results, conclusions, and recommendations.

l Are short -- from a paragraph to a page or two, depending upon the length of the
original work being abstracted. Usually informative abstracts are 10% or less of the
length of the original piece.

l Allow readers to decide whether they want to read the report, article, or paper.

Technical Writing

Example of Informative Abstract

Purpose and scope:

This report describes the practices selected foreign countries for providing engineering expertise
on shift in nuclear power plants. The report discusses the extent to which engineering
expertise is made available and the alternative models of providing such expertise. The
implications of foreign practices for U.S. consideration are discussed, with particular reference
to the shift technical advisor position and to a proposed shift engineer position.

Methods used:
The relevant information for this study came used from the open literature, interviews with
utility staff and officials, and governmental and nuclear utility reports.

The countries used two approaches to provide engineering expertise on shift:
(1) employing a graduate engineer in a line management operations position and
(2) creating a specific engineering position to provide expertise to the operations staff. The
comparison of these two models did not indicate that one system inherently functions more
effectively than does the other for safe operations.

General Conclusion:
However, the alternative models are likely to affect crew relationships and performance; labor
supply, recruitment, and retention and system implementation.

Of the two systems, the nonsupervisory engineering position seems more advantageous within
the context of current recruitment and career-path practices.

Technical Writing

Where to find examples of abstracts:

l The best source of example abstracts is journal articles. Go to the library and look at
engineering journals, or look at electronic journals on the web.

l Read the abstract; read the article. Pick the best ones, the examples where the abstract
makes the article easier to read, and figure out how they do it.
l Not everyone writes good abstracts, even in refereed journals, but the more abstracts
you read, the easier it is to spot the good ones.

Which Type Should you Write?

Ø The answer depends on the organization or publication for which you are writing.
Ø Aim at the needs of the principal readers of your document.

Length of Abstracts:
Ø A long abstract defeats the purpose of an abstract. For this reason abstracts usually no
longer than 150 to 250 words.
Ø Descriptive abstracts may be considerably shorter, of course.

Abstract Should Includes:

Ø The subject of the study
Ø The scope of the study
Ø The purpose of the study
Ø The methods used
Ø The results obtained (informative abstract only)
Ø The Recommendations made, if any (informative abstract only)

® Too long: If your abstract is too long, it may be rejected. Abstracts are often too long
because people forget to count their words
® Too much detail: Abstracts that are too long often have unnecessary details. The
abstract is not the place for detailed explanations of methodology or for details about
the context of your research problem
® Too short: Shorter is not necessarily better. If your word limit is 200 but you only write
95 words, you probably have not written in sufficient detail.
® Failure to include important information: You need to be careful to cover the points
listed above.

Write Abstract for your Formal Report

Technical Writing

Lecture 5

Laboratory Report

Technical Writing

Cover Page:
• Course Title
• Experiment Number
• The Experiment Title
• By: (name of performer)
• The title and address of the performer
• The name of the supervisor
• Title and address of the supervisor
• Date: (month day, year)


Circuit Theory I

Experiment number 1

Verification of Ohms’ Law


Bassam AL Saqqa

Submitted to

Eng. Mohammed Hussein

Islamic University


March 1, 2007

n Reflect the factual content with less than ten words in a straightforward manner
n Use keywords that researchers and search engines on the Internet will recognize
n Avoid abbreviations, acronyms, and initials.

Technical Writing

The format of the report:









Abstract (informative):
One short paragraph
n Aims:
Concise but informative
One or two sentences should be sufficient
To determine the relative molecular mass of an unknown dibasic acid

n Methods:
Explain in short the method or methods you used to get the results.

n Results:
Write down your results

A few paragraphs or a few pages.

n Background
n Theories, equations, and rules used in calculations
n Brief about the work (hypotheses) and expectations
Remember to quote your sources (you should include a bibliography of your references after
the conclusions section).

Technical Writing

q Concise but sufficient for someone to repeat the work.
q List materials used, how were they used.
q Describe special pieces of equipment.

q Use third person past tense

Example: A solution of barium chloride (0.05 mg in 100 cm3) was prepared in water and
titrated against silver nitrate.
q Avoid starting a sentence with a number
Example: 0.05 mg of barium chloride was mixed with 100 cm3 water

n Tabulate the numerical data when possible
n Make sure that you divide tables by measurements units such that you write only
number inside the table
n Title all figures and tables; include a legend explaining symbols, abbreviations, or special
n Number figures and tables separately and refer to them in the text by their number, i.e.
n Figure 1 shows that the activity....
n The activity decreases after five minutes (Figure 1)

Calculations and graphing
Interpretation of results go into this section
Remember to layout your calculations clearly, showing each step

How relevant are your results ?
What errors are there ?
Did something go wrong ?
Try to be positive
Write your ideas to improve the experiment

Did you meet the aims of the experiment ?
Example: The relative molecular mass of the unknown was determined to be 146.5.
The conclusion should echo the Abstract and be as short as possible.

All references should be listed

Quiz 1:
Name the Abstract Classification, and what are the differences between them?

Technical Writing

Lecture 6


Technical Writing

What is a proposal?
A proposal is document which outlines a problem and proposes a detailed plan to solve it. The
goal of a proposal is to persuade readers that the job needs doing and that you are the one to
do it, so be sure to include all the benefits as well as the limitations of your solution. Try to
foresee and counter any arguments against the solution.

q A proposal is a strategy for solving a problem.
q Proposals range from 1000 pg report to 1 pg form.
q Two types:
q Solicited
q Unsolicited
q Proposal purposes are to persuade not inform.
q The writing involves individual as well as teams.


1. Research you really want to do:
Find sponsor!
2. Topics some sponsor wants to see done:
Respond to RFP

What should the proposal accomplish?

Need to convince reviewers of scientific merit, and of your qualifications and ability to
successfully make an important contribution to the state-of-the-art.


Need to convince sponsoring agency that you understand the problem, that you have a
realistic approach that is likely to succeed, that could be implemented, and that you will deliver
results that will make them look good.

Solicited Proposal:
q Company or agency advertises that it desires the solution to a problem.
q Most cases, this company or agency sends out a request for proposals, often called an
RFP, that presents a problem which needs addressing
For example, if the Department of Energy desires research on reducing nitrogen oxide emissions
from diesel engines, then the Department announces its request, often in periodicals such as
the Commerce Business Daily.

Unsolicited Proposal:
q There is no request. Instead, an engineer on his or her own initiative recognizes a
client's problem, writes a proposal that first makes the client aware of the problem, and
then presents a plan for solving that problem.
q Often occur within a company.
For example, an engineer or scientist may write a proposal to his or her division supervisor
suggesting a new computer system to handle that division's work

Technical Writing

Aim of the proposal

q Explain your plans
q Why this work is worth while
While preparing:
v focus on your work
v Get early feedback

Audiences of Proposals:
includes both managers and engineers. These audiences view proposals in different ways.
q Managers review proposals to see if the plan for solving the problem is cost effective.
q Engineers and scientists, on the other hand, review proposals to see if the plan is
technically feasible.

Proposal Writing:
l Make sure your proposal is letter perfect and in full compliance with the application
l Use the active, not the passive voice wherever possible.
l Write clear, concise sentences.
l Use tables, charts, and side-headings to divide/organize/format your text.
l Find both expert readers in your field, and professionals who will critically review your

Format Of Proposal:
q Headings
q Body

To: Name of your advisor
From: Your name
Subject: The subject of your proposal
Date: date of submission

Example Of Heading:

Research the Storage Facility
for Spent Nuclear Fuel at Yucca Mountain

Prepared for
Walter E. Foerster, Jr.
President of New England Etching
23 Spring Street
Holyoke, MA 01040

Holohan Consulting 72 Triangle Street
Amherst MA 01002
December 12, 1996
Technical Writing

Divide your body to sections:
I. Introduction
II. Statement of the problem
III. Proposed project and purpose
IV. Plan of activities with deadlines
V. Evaluation
VI. References

I. Introduction:
q Summarize your project
q Explain why you are proposing it

Example of Introduction:
Nuclear power plants produce more than 20 percent of the electricity used in the United
States [Murray, 1989]. Unfortunately, nuclear fission, the process used to create this large
amount energy, creates significant amounts of high level radioactive waste. More than 30,000
metric tons of nuclear waste have arisen from U.S. commercial reactors as well as high level
nuclear weapons waste, such as uranium and plutonium [Roush, 1995]. Because of the build-up
of this waste, some power plants will be forced to shut down. To avoid losing an important
source of energy, a safe and economical place to keep this waste is necessary. This document
proposes a literature review of whether Yucca Mountain is a suitable site for a nuclear waste
repository. The proposed review will discuss the economical and environmental aspects of a
national storage facility. This proposal includes my methods for gathering information, a
schedule for completing the review, and my qualifications.

II. Statement of the Problem:

q What is current state of technology?
q What is The need or problem?
q Why do you want to address this problem?
q Why is it significant?
q Who should care and why?
q Provide examples and/ or supporting evidence Including references
q Briefly review current work

III. Proposed project and purpose:

q State your proposed project
q Its goals
q Your approach

IV. Plan of Activities with deadlines:

q List your major activities
q Make a schedule for your work
q List specific items you will produce as part of your project
device, test report, instructions, or running computer programs

Technical Writing

V. Evaluation:
Proposals will be evaluated in two ways: from a management perspective and from a
technical perspective
Also considered in the evaluation of the proposal will be the quality of the writing

Management Evaluation:
q Is the review worth doing?
q Does the proposal either show an important problem that needs addressing or
arouse the reader's curiosity in the topic?
q Does the proposal show what readers will be interested in the review?
q Does the proposal show objectivity?

Technical Evaluation:
q Are the boundaries of the review logical?
q Does the review take on too much or too little?
q Are the limitations clear?
q Is there something unique about the proposal's perspective?
q Does the writer convince the proposal reviewers that he or she can gather the
q Is the schedule believable?
q Does the writer justify himself or herself as the one to perform the review?

VI. References:
q List all your references
q Glossary If any

Acronym/Abbreviation Definition
dpi Dots per inch
GHz Gigahertz
GB Gigabyte
HD Hard drive
ppm Pages per minute

q For a proposal to succeed, you need a good idea. No amount of crafted writing can
make up for a weak idea.
q If you have a strong idea, then crafting the writing of that idea to meet the constraints
will improve your proposal's chances for acceptance.
q What is it that you have that will allow you to succeed where others may have failed, or
to make a unique contribution that others could not attain within the same time frame?
q Be constructive (diplomatic) in reviewing others’ work; don’t blast all previous work,
don’t be dismissive and definitely don’t single out anyone with scorn. Chances are they
are reviewing your proposal.

Technical Writing

Be constructive:
BAD: All previous studies are worthless because they failed to recognize the effect of X on Y.
Chen and Smith (1998) tried but their approach was simply wrong. Ours is the first study to
address this question correctly.

BETTER: Previous studies have made important contributions to this challenging problem,
however none of the published studies appear to have completely accounted for the effect of X
on Y. A pioneering effort in this direction is described by Chen and Smith (1998), highlighting
the need for additional investigation of the system properties when the full set of interacting
factors are incorporated in the model.

Write a proposal for your formal report

Technical Writing

Lecture 7


Technical Writing

What is Resume:
§ A resume is a brief summary of your abilities, education, experience, and skills.
§ Its main task is to convince prospective employers to contact you.
§ A resume has one purpose: to get you a job interview.

Characteristics of Resume:
Resumes must do their work quickly..
§ your resume must quickly convey that you are capable and competent enough to be
worth interviewing.
§ The more thoroughly you prepare your resume now, the more likely someone is to read
it later.

Steps to write the Resume:

§ Gather and check all necessary information
§ Match your experience and skills with an employer's needs
§ Highlight details that demonstrate your capabilities
§ Organize the resume effectively
§ Consider word choice carefully
§ Ask other people to comment on your resume
§ Make the final product presentable
§ Evaluate your resume

Gather and Check All Necessary Information:

Write down headings such as :

To obtain a ______ position in the area of ______ (write this infinitive phrase to target
the audience of this resume)
This infinitive phrase is often reworked by the author to target different audiences and

usually means post-secondary, college and university.
§ If you are just starting college, you can include high school as well.
§ List degrees and month/year obtained or expected; names and locations of schools;
major and minor, if any; grade point average.
§ A brief summary of important courses you've taken might also be helpful.

§ Includes full-time paid jobs, academic research projects, internships or co-op positions,
part-time jobs, or volunteer work.
§ List the month/years you worked, position, name and location of employer or place, and
responsibilities you had. As you describe your experiences, ask yourself questions like
– Have I invented, discovered, coordinated, organized, or directed anything
professionally for my community?
– Do I meet deadlines consistently?

Technical Writing
– Am I a good communicator?
Street Address
– Do I enjoy teamwork? City, State, Zip Code
Phone Number
FAX (if applicable)
List any academic awards (scholarships, fellowships, honors list), professional awards or
Email Address
recognition, or community awards (i.e. for athletic skills). (if applicable)
List computer languages and software, research, laboratory, teaching or tutoring,
Objective communication,
To obtainleadership, or athletic,
a ______ position among
in the area others.(write this infinitive phrase to target the audience of this
of ______
§ List academic, professional, or community organizations in which you hold office or are
Education currently a member;
Name of Degree on Which You Are Working, Expected Month/Year
§ List professional and community activities, including volunteer work.
§ Listing
Overallhobbies is optional. Targeted GPA (if beneficial): X.XX/4.00
GPA: X.XX/4.00
Match Your Skills and Experience with an Employer's Needs
Name of Next Most Recent Degree, Month Year (if applicable)
§ POSITION: What kind of position do you want for this job-search? Make notes. Now
University or College
GPA:wishes up with positions
X.XX/4.00 that are
Targeted GPA actually available
(if beneficial): (postings, ads, personal
contacts, or your own research).
§ EMPLOYER: For a certain position, what aspects of your education, experience, or skills
Relevant Courses will
most attractive
Course to that employer? FourthList
Course areas of specialty,
specific skills, or knowledge that you think would interest the employer.
Second Most Relevant Course Fifth Most Relevant Course
Third Most Relevant Course Sixth Most Relevant Course

Experience Most Recent Position, Company, Location (Month/Year–Month/Year)

Verb phrase that identifies key activity that you performed
Second verb phrase that identifies key activity that you performed
Third verb phrase that identifies key activity that you performed (if appropriate)

Next Most Recent Position, Company, Location (Month/Year–Month/Year)

Verb phrase that identifies key activity that you performed
Second verb phrase that identifies key activity that you performed
Third verb phrase that identifies key activity that you performed (if appropriate)

Third Most Recent Position, Company, Location (Month/Year–Month/Year)

Verb phrase that identifies key activity that you performed
Second verb phrase that identifies key activity that you performed
Third verb phrase that identifies key activity that you performed (if appropriate)

Honors/Awards Most Impressive Honor or Award

Second Most Impressive Honor or Award
Third Most Impressive Honor or Award
Fourth Most Impressive Honor or Award

Activities Most Impressive Activity

Second Most Impressive Activity
Third Most Impressive Activity
Fourth Most Impressive Activity

Outside Interests One outside interest, a second outside interest, perhaps a third outside interest

Technical Writing

Organize the Resume Effectively:

Top center of first page. Name (no title); addresses; phone numbers; e-mail and/or fax
addresses (optional); citizenship if applicable.
Example :
Bassam Al Saqqa
273 East Sixth Street
Gaza, Gaza Strip 47401
(970) 599-325698

Often comes first in student resumes, especially if it is a strong asset.

Islamic University Of Gaza (Gaza Strip)
Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (Expected June 2006)
Major: Electrical Engineering Minor: Computer Science

Here, you can use one of two formats: Functional or Chronological
§ Functional
To emphasize skills and talents, cluster your experience under headings that highlight
these skills: for ex.: leadership, research, computers, etc. This format can be helpful if
you have little relevant job experience

To emphasize work experience, list jobs beginning with the most recent. Some hints:
§ Write all job descriptions in parallel phrases, using ACTION verbs
§ List the most important responsibilities or successes first
§ Emphasize collaborative or group-related tasks

Example of Experience:
Gaza Electric Company (Gaza, Gaza Strip)
Research Assistant intern, Summer and fall 2004 Assistant manager of corporate
planning and developed computer model for long-range planning
Ali Corporation (Gaza, Gaza Strip)
Technician May,2003 to May, 2004
Use variety of test equipment to troubleshoot, repair and test precision electro-
mechanical and electronic instruments in a team environment.

Use reverse chronological order; include titles, places, dates.
Dean’s List- IUG,3.88 grade point average of possible 4.
Senior Honor Society- IUG, 2004
ASAI Scholarship 2003-2004, Islamic University of Gaza.

Technical Writing


Generally, list hobbies, travel, or languages only if they relate to your job interests. In
some cases, you may wish to emphasize your willingness to travel or relocate
Computer: Verilog HDL & Matlab in unix environment, Assembly,Pspice, Fortran,C++,
will be learning Java
Proven record of outstanding performance and dependability with increasing
responsibility, both in teams and in stand alone projects.
Willing to relocate, love all kind of sport, speak & write French well
Member Of IEEE.

You need not put these on your resume. Write a separate list of references, with
complete name, title, company name, address, and telephone numbers for each
Available upon request


§ Look at other resumes written for positions within your field.
§ TYPE each entry in a format close to the one you want to use for your resume.
§ LENGTH: for many resumes, two pages is the maximum length

Consider Word Choice Carefully:

§ In a resume, you need to sound positive and confident: neither too aggressive, nor
overly modest.
§ For a list of typical verbs used in resumes see page 602 in your text.
§ Examples:
accomplish; achieve; analyze; adapt; balance; collaborate; coordinate; communicate;
compile …

Ask Other People to Comment on Your Resume:

It STRONGLY RECOMMEND that you have an advisor, potential employer, or someone in
your field critique your resume.

Make the Final Product Presentable:

Use a computer and high-quality (preferably laser) printer

Evaluate Your Resume:

§ Hold your resume at arm's length and see how it looks. Is the page too busy with
different type styles, sizes, lines, or boxes?
§ Is the information spaced well, not crowded on the page?
§ Is there too much "white space"?
§ Is important information quick and easy to find?

Technical Writing

§ Check Name and address
§ All entries highlight a capability or accomplishment
§ Descriptions use active verbs, and verb tense is consistent; current job is in present
tense; past jobs are in past tense
§ Repetition of words or phrases is kept to a minimum
§ Capitalization, punctuation, and date formats are consistent
§ There are NO spelling errors

§ Your best assets, whether education, experience, or skills, are listed first
§ The page can be easily reviewed: categories are clear, text is indented
§ The dates of employment are easy to find and consistently formatted
§ Your name is printed at the top of each page

§ No more than two typestyles appear; typestyles are conservative
§ Bolding, italics, and capitalization are used minimally and consistently
§ Margins and line spacing keep the page from looking too crowded
§ Printing is on one side of the sheet only
§ The right side of the page is in "ragged" format, not right-justified. Right justification
creates awkward white spaces

Write your own resume

Technical Writing

Lecture 8

Memorandums (memo)

Interoffice way of communication.

Technical Writing


Basically, it is an in-house business letter. Like a business letter, a business memo is a

type of professional writing. However, a business memo differs from an ordinary letter
in several important ways:

1) It is written in a specific format, which will be described later.

2) Unlike a letter, you do not sign your name at the bottom of your memo. Instead,
you write your initials next to your name at the top of the memo.

Purpose Of Memo:

A business memo serves a very useful purpose. (Memos solve problems)

q It helps members of a business organization communicate, without the need for

time-consuming meetings.

q It lets someone know something they need to know in an effective and efficient



Audience A particular person Ambiguous

Format: Intro, specific points. Intro, thesis, evidence, conclusion.

Goal: provide information. prove a point

Introduction: List-like, straightforward Abstract summary, broad

Body of the writing: A series of short discussions A series of paragraphs of

Project: followed by a summary finer detail followed by a conclusion.

A memo exists for a very specific purpose: to convey information to a colleague

Technical Writing

Purpose- Example:

q Mr. Howard has asked me to arrange a working lunch for all members of the writing
staff, at the main office, sometime before the end of the month.

q The purpose of this memo is to request authorization to purchase a sound card and a
modem for the computer in the front office.

q This memo confirms the details of your tour of the new processing plant, as we
discussed over the telephone this morning.

Used for all kinds including:

• Short note

• Exchange information

• Request information

• Instruct employees

• Report results

• Small reports

• Internal proposals

Memos’ Role:

Play an important role in management:

• Keeps employees informed

• Motivates employees

• Keeps their moral high

To achieve this goal:

Memos Should Convey the message in a clear and accurate way

Technical Writing

Memo Format

I. Heading

II. Opening

III. Discussion

IV. Closing

V. Summary

I. Heading

TO: (readers' names and job titles)

FROM: (your name and job title)
DATE: (Month day, year)
SUBJECT: (what the memo is about, highlighted in some way)

From Line

It is a good idea to initial your name in handwriting.

CC: (others who are involved)

BCC: ( not directly involved)

Subject line:

q Should summarize the reason of the memo.

q Should be 10 words or less.

q Is NOT a sentence - it is a long title.

II. Opening Three parts:

1. The context and problem

2. The specific assignment or task

3. The purpose of the memo.

Technical Writing

1. The context

Event, circumstance, or background of the problem you are solving.

You may use An opening sentence, such as, “As Jane recommended, I reviewed the
office reorganization plan"

Include only what your reader needs, but be sure it is clear.

2. Task

Describe what you are doing to help solve the problem.

• If the action was requested, your task may be indicated by a sentence opening like, "You
asked that I look at...."

• If you want to explain your intentions, you might say, "To determine the best method of
controlling the percentage of rat extremities, I will...."

3. Purpose Statement

Are you announcing a meeting, welcoming a new employee, or asking for input on
adopting a new policy about lunch hour length?V

III Discussion:

In the discussion segment, give details about the problem, Don't ramble on incessantly,
but do give enough information for decision makers to resolve the problem. Describe
the task or assignment with details that support your opening paragraph (problem).

IV Closing:

q Close with a courteous ending that states what action you want your reader to take.

q Make sure you consider how the reader will benefit from the desired actions and how
you can make those actions easier.

V Summary:

If your memo is longer than a page, you may want to include a separate summary

This part provides a brief statement of the recommendations you have reached.
These will help your reader understand the key points of the memo immediately.

Technical Writing


Plankton Engineering

To: Employees In Research and Development Team

From: Mary Silvers, Project Manager

Date: January 15, 2002

Subject : New Flex-Time Policy Beginning March 1, 2002

Plankton Engineering is offering a new flex-time schedule to all employees. You

MUST sign up for this plan by Feb. 20, 2002, in order to use it.

Components of the Plan

Employees must agree to:

– Work 40 hours a week

– Work a minimum of 4 days a week

– Arrive at work no later than 9:30 a.m.

– Leave work no earlier than 3:30 p.m.

– Scheduling Considerations

– Employees may schedule work time as long as it fits the above criteria. Employees who
sign up for this new flex time scheduling must declare their work hours during the
previous week. The supervisor will take responsibility for recording each employees
work schedule.

Employees who wish to try this new plan must stay on it for three months before
returning to the current policy. Employees who may want to start it later, must wait
until January of the next calendar year to sign up.

– Important Reminder

– Remember - Sign up by Feb. 20 to take advantage of the new Flex-Time schedule.

Technical Writing


Write a memo telling your professor about the problems you encounter or
faced in IUG.

In which you will answer the following questions:

What are the problems? Why are they problems? And what is your plans to
solve it?


What are the differents between a memo and a business latter and What is the
purpose of a memo.


What are the types of proposal, and what is the different between them.

Technical Writing

Lecture 9

Writing Letters

Technical Writing

Types of Letters:
n Cover Letter
n Acceptance Letter
n Acknowledgment letters
n Adjustment letters
n Application letters
n Complaint letters
n Correspondence … good news and bad news letters
n Inquiry letters and responses
n Reference letters ( Recommendation letter)
n Refusal letters
n Resignation letters
n Technical information letters

Letter Format:
Two common Format:
1 - Full Block Style
2 - Modified Block Style

Full Block: Modified Block Style:

Your address Your address

The recipient address The recipient address

Date Date

Dear Mr./Ms recipient last name: Dear Mr./Ms recipient last name:

Body Body

Complimentary close Complimentary close

Space for Signature Space for Signature

Typed name Typed name

1. Establish your objectives
2. Determine your reader’s attitude and needs
3. Prepare an outline
4. Write the first draft
5. Allow a cooling period
6. Revise the draft

Technical Writing

Imagine the reader sitting across the desk

Keep the language neutral

Careful choice of words

Cover Letter:
q Identifies the item being sent
q The person to whom it is being sent
q The reason for sending it
Letter of application (cover letter) is a sales letter Main Objective is to get the job interview.

n Each letter should also make specific references to the company and indicate your
knowledge of and interest in the work the company is currently doing.
n The cover letter also allows you to highlight the most important and relevant
accomplishments, skills, and experience listed in your resume.

Should provide the following information:

1. Identify an employment area
2. Point out your source of information
3. Summarize your qualification
4. Refer the reader to your résumé
5. Ask for interview

Content of the Cover Letter:

n In the first paragraph, you should state what job you are applying for and how you
learned about it.
n You should also state your general qualifications for the job.
n Pick out the most relevant qualifications listed in your resume and discuss them in detail
n Be as specific as possible, and refer the reader to your resume for additional details.
n State where and when you can be reached, and express your willingness to come to an
interview or supply further information.

Cover Latter Example:

n John Jackson
34 Second Street
Troy, New York 12180

October 4, 1999
n Mr. James Roberts
Recruiting Coordinator
Department DRR 1201
Database Corporation
Princeton, New Jersey 05876

Technical Writing

Dear Mr. Roberts:

Your advertisement for software engineers in the January issue of the IEEE Spectrum
caught my attention. I was drawn to the ad by my strong interest in both software design and
I have worked with a CALMA system in developing VLSI circuits, and I also have
substantial experience in the design of interactive CAD software. Because of this experience, I
can make a direct and immediate contribution to your department. I have enclosed a copy of my
resume, which details my qualifications and suggests how I might be of service to Database.
I would like very much to meet with you to discuss your open positions for software
engineers. If you wish to arrange an interview, please contact me at the above address or by
telephone at (518) 271-9999.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sincerely yours,
Joseph Smith

Acceptance Letters:
This letter is written in order to accept a received job offer. It should be written within a
week of receiving the offer. The format is as follow

Acceptance Letters Example:

230 Elnaser St.
Gaza, Palestine
Dr. Basil Hamed
General Manager
Mechatronics Company
22 Omer Al-moktar St.
Gaza, Palestine
Dear Dr. hamed:
I am very happy to accept your offer for a position as a computer engineer at a
salary of $1200.00, per a month.
Since graduation in July 25, I plan to move to Gaza from Khan Younes this month. I
should be locating to a suitable living accommodation within a week and be ready to
report for work on Saturday, August 26th. Please let me know if this date OK to you.
I look forward to work for you and join a great team.

Ahmed Ali

Technical Writing

Acknowledgment Letters:
In this letter you acknowledge receiving an item (letter, box, or something). It serves as
a good public relation practice. In this letter you mention what and when items are
received in a short and polite manner.

Acknowledgment Letters Example:

Rocky Tech Corp.

112 Jamal Abed Nasser St.
Gaza, Palestine
March 1, 2007

Mr. Ayman Majeed, Salesman

102 Mannara Square
Ramalla, Palestine

Dear Mr. Majeed:

I received your shipment of ten digital multimeters today; the shipment seems
To be complete and in good shape. Thank you for sending it on time.
After the multimeters passing our tests, we will send you a check with the last
payment covering the cost of this purchase.

Ahmed Ali,
General Manager

Complaint Letters:
When customers are not satisfied with goods and services that are offered by
businesses, they write complaint letters asking for fixing these situations. In order to be
more effective, the tone of the letter should not be angry. In order to obtain a positive
response, you should not vent your anger in the letter. You should state your claim
supported by factual evidence and ask for adjustment.

Technical Writing

Complaint Letters Example:

June 25, 2003

Islamic University of Gaza PO Box 1004
PO Box 108, Kan Yunis, Palestine
Gaza, Palestine

Attention: ECE Department Head

On June 16, I filed for an incomplete grade in the Power Systems course. All the
supporting items were attached which included a medical doctor report, medical
prescription, and the hospital check out papers.

On June 23 I received a denial for my incomplete application without any explanation.

I immediately contacted the department with a note explaining my situation. Not only
I received no explanation but also I was advised to just forget about it.

Please either send me a explanation for the denial or else advise me with the steps
and procedures that I need to take to fix this problem.
Majed Imran
5th year Computer Engineering student

Correspondence Letter:
The Correspondence Latter Can be:
q Good news Letter
q Bad news Letter

Good News Letter:

1. Good news
2. Explanation or facts
3. Goodwill

Good News Letter Example:

Good News:
Please accept our offer for the position of electrical engineer at IUG.
if the terms we discussed in the interview are acceptable to you, please come in at 9:30
a.m. on September 5, at that time we will ask you…....
Goodwill example:
Everyone here at IUG is looking forward to working with you. We all were very favorably
impressed with you during the interview

Technical Writing

Bad News Letters:

n Buffer
n Bad news
n Goodwill

Bad News Letters Example:

Buffer :
Thank you for your time and effort in applying for the position of electrical engineer at
Bad News:
Since we need someone who can assume the duties here with a minimum of training,
we have selected an applicant with over ten years of experience.
I am sure that with your excellent college record you will find a position in another

Inquiry Letter:
Two types:
1. Provides benefit to the reader
Asking about a product the company recently advertised

2. Provides benefits to the writer

Asking the public utility for information on energy-related project you are developing

to obtain, within a reasonable period of time, answers to specific questions.

Technical Writing

Sample Letter of Recommendation:

n XYZ Company
123 XYZ Way • New York City • NY • 12345
(123) 555-0000 • Fax (123) 555-0001

n February 1, 2000

n To Whom it May Concern:

n I've been Holly Smith's manager for over six years. While I wish her only the best and
fully understand that she must advance her career, I'm truly sorry to see her go. It has
been a pleasure having her on my team.
n Holly is a professional technical writer of the highest caliber, who meticulously
researches, formats, edits and proofs her documents. I've received many compliments
from customers who rely on Holly's documentation. Management and personnel in
tech support, engineering, technical training, and other departments praise her work.
n Holly is an innovative self-starter, who rarely needs supervision. She is punctual and
typically exceeds expectations. She handles pressure well, and will voluntarily work
overtime and take work home to meet a deadline. For example, we received a rush
order from one of our customers for a complex product modification, including critical
user documentation. Holly not only made the extremely tight deadline, but beat it; yet
she still produced a stellar, technically-accurate addendum for the standard user
manual. Sales, marketing, training and engineering were quite pleased with Holly's
performance in this crunch. Even our CEO was impressed, and our customer was
ecstatic. This is just one example among many of Holly's superior skills and admirable
work ethics.
n Holly is an invaluable asset to any technical communications department, and I highly
recommend hiring her. If you'd like to discuss her attributes in more detail, please don't
hesitate to contact me.
n Sincerely,
n [Signature]

John Doe
Manager, Technical Communications
Ext. 245,

Technical Writing

Resignation Letter Sample:

[Your Name]
[Street • City • State • Zip Code]
[Phone # • Fax phone # • Messages phone # • Email]
[Date today]
[Recipient's name]
[Company name]
n Dear [Recipient's name]:
n Please accept this letter as my formal notice of resignation from [Company name],
effective [date, two weeks from date above]. The associations I've made during my
employment here will truly be memorable for years to come.
n I hope a two-week notice is sufficient for you to find a replacement for me. If I can help
to train my replacement or tie up any loose ends, please let me know.
n Thank you very much for the opportunity to work here.
n Sincerely,
n [Sign here]
n [Your name, title]

Retirement Letter Sample:

n Your Name
Your Address
Your City, State, Zip Code
Your Phone Number
Your Email
n Date
n Name
City, State, Zip Code
n Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name:
n I would like to inform you that I am retiring from my position with Smith Agency,
effective August 1.
n Thank you for the opportunities for professional and personal development that you
have provided me over the years. I have enjoyed working for the agency and appreciate
the support provided me during my tenure with the company.
n While I look forward to enjoying my retirement, I will miss working for the company. If I
can be of any assistance during this transition, please let me know.
n Your Signature
n Your Typed Name

I. Write a cover letter for any (from internet, newspaper,…) announced job.
II. You bought something (computer, book, electronic instrument) from the internet, when
you received it was not in good shape. Write a complaint letter to the company.

Technical Writing

Lecture 10

Formal report

Technical Writing

u Basic Page Layout.
u Preliminary Pages.
u Text Pages.
u Back Mater.

Basic Page Layout:

1. Margins
2. Line Spacing
3. Line Spacing for Equations
4. Font Types
5. Font Size
6. Font Style
7. Page Number

1. Margins:
u Left and right 2.5 cm
u Top and bottom 3.5 cm

2. Line Spacing:
u Single space the text.
u Single space: table/figure caption
u Single space appendix materials and tables.
u Allow additional space above and below the equation to separate it from the text.

3. Font Types:
u Use proportional font -- Arial, Times New Roman, Courier New, … -- must use at least
12-point font.
u Fixed fonts -- Courier, … -- use 10 ( 10 character per inch).

4. Font Size:
u Text must be a minimum of 12-point.
u Fonts 10-point not acceptable for body of report.
u Fonts 8-,9-,or 10-point may be used for tables and appendix to accommodate the
u 5. Font Style
Any standard office font style is acceptable -- not script, italic, bold, characters with slant
or different sizes.
u Italic fonts may be used when appropriate.
u Times Roman -- uses 13-point size.
u Font size and style are the same for text and page number.

5. Font Style:
u Any standard office font style is acceptable -- not script, italic, bold, characters with slant
or different sizes.
u Italic fonts may be used when appropriate.
u Times Roman -- uses 13-point size.
u Font size and style are the same for text and page number.

Technical Writing

6. Page Number:
u Pages should be numbered consecutively, with numbers located in the upper right,
lower right, or lower middle of the page.
u The Introduction should begin with 1.
u Before Introduction, use Roman numerals.

Front matter:
u Front cover
u Title page
u Dedication page (optional)
u Acknowledgment (optional)
u Abstract
u Table of Contents
u List of Tables
u List of Figures
u List of Abbreviations
u Foreword (optional)
u Preface (optional)

Title Page:
u Title of document
u Your name
u Degree title - Course title
u Major Subject
u University name, city, country
u Date (month, year)
u Assign numeral i, but does not appear
u Back of title page is empty

Dedication Page:
u Optional
u Type the word DEDICATION
u Insert two double spaced blank lines and begin the text-double spacing all lines.

Acknowledgment Page:
u Optional
u Type the word ACKNOWLEDGMENT
u Insert two double spaced blank lines and begin the text-double spacing all lines.

u Type the word ABSTRACT
u Single space all lines
u Must have
• statement of the problem
• exposition of methods & procedures
• summary of the finding
u Usually 200 to 250 words.

Technical Writing

Table of Contents:
List items followed with dotes and page number
• Abstract
• List of Tables
• List of Figures
• List of Abbreviations
• and so on
u Don’t list anything before the Table of Contents

Table of Contents Continue:

u Include all chapter heads-upper case
• Subheads as they appear in chapter.
u Generally no more than three levels of heads are used. If heads in any levels is listed, all
headings of that levels must be listed.
u List Appendices next
u The Bibliography

Table of contents Example:

Abstract …………………………….. ….……... ….……….…....iii
List of Figures ……………………… ….……...... ….............iv
List of Tables ……………………… ….…….. …………………..v
1 SUMMARY ……………………… ….…….. ……….….…....1
2 INTRODUCTION ………………… ….…….. …….…….… 3
3 METHODOLOGY ………………… ….…….. ….….……...6
3.1 Selection of study area ……… ….….......... 8
3.2 Description of study series…….…...........10
3.2.1 Pilgrim 1 …………………….….12
3.3 Time series analysis ………. ….……...........14
5 CONCLUSION ……………….……………………………….…22
APPENDIX A ……………..…………………………………………23
References …………………..………………………………..….24

List of Tables (Figures, Abbreviations):

u List each one on a separate page with each table followed by dots and page number at
the right margin.
u Double space between each caption but single space captions longer than one line.
u Number all tables/figures consecutively

u Optional introductory statement written by someone other than the author.
u May discuss the purpose of the report.
u May include background information

Technical Writing

u Optional written by the author.
u Include the purpose, background, and scope of the report.
u Specify the audience for whom the report to be given.

Text Pages:
I. Introduction.
II. Materials and methods.
III. Results and discussion.
IV. Conclusion

Text Pages Continue:

u Must be divided into chapters which could be sub divided and listed in the Table of
u Use just boldface, just italic, or just underline any heading.
u Single space all heading.
u Each new chapter must start on a new page.
u Avoid having a heading as the last line of text on a page.

I. Introduction:
u First paragraph should capture reader’s attention.
u Should include
• Statement of the problem
• Motivations
• Complete description of the project.
• Mentioning each part of the report

II. Materials & Methods:

u Literature Review.
u Theoretical Derivations.
• State your assumptions clearly.
• Step-by-step derivation.
• Figures may be necessary.
u Summary of the approach taken.
• Software simulation, hand calculation, design and implementation,
programming, or analytical derivations.

III. Results & Discussion:

u Software documentation.
u Analysis of plots, charts and figures where each should be mentioned and discussed.
u Explanation of the results
• The punch line
• How did it turn out?
• Was it as expected?
• Did it turn out according to theory?
• Were the results repeatable?
• Do you understand the significant of the results?
u The reader should know exactly what happened and why.

Technical Writing

IV. Conclusion:
u Tie together any loose ends.
u Summarize the whole report.
u Should include
• restatement of the problem
• restatement of the goals
• restatement of the approach taken
• restatement of the results & their relevance
• future works, extrapolation and possible applications for technology

Back Mater:
u Page numbers continue as Arabic numerals
u Appendix
u Bibliography or References
u Glossary
u Index (optional)

u Labeled as Appendix A, Appendix B, so on.
u Observe the margins and the page numbering.
u Include materials that are too long and technical or unnecessary in the appendix.

u Single space all lines of each entry, but double space between entries.
u Use numbered reference list.
u At least three references should be given.
u References include course notes, text books, journal articles, conference proceedings,
and thesis.

Reference should include:

• author
• title of work
• title of journal or text
• volume number
• date
• page number
• publisher
• publisher’s city

Bibliography Examples:
1. Samir S. Soliman and Mandyam D. Srinath. Continuous And Discrete Signals And
Systems,2nd ed. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1998

2. Khotandzal A. and et al, “ Neural Networks--Generation Three,” IEEE Trans. Neural

Networks, Vol. 8, No. 4, July 1997

Technical Writing

u List of selected terms on particular subject that are defined and explained.
u Arrange alphabetically
u Follow dictionary style.

Abbreviation Definition

AM Amplitude Modulation

FM Frequency Modulation

LAN Local Area Network

HD Hard drive

SISO Single Input Single Output

u Alphabetical list of all the major topics discussed in the report.
u Cites the pages where each topic can be found thus allows readers to find information
on topics quickly and easily.

Title page example:



Senior Project submitted to the Electrical & Computer

In partial fulfillment of the requirements
For the degree
Bachelor of Science, Electrical Engineering

Specialization in: Communication

Islamic University of Gaza

Gaza, Gaza Strip
July 2006

Technical Writing

Title page example:


Technical Writing

To my parents and to my family who made this accomplishment possible:

First and foremost, I would like to thank the chairman of my committee, Dr. xxxxxx, for
his support, outstanding, guidance and encouragement throughout my senior project.

I would also like to express my gratitude and appreciation to Dr. xxx for all the help and
guidance he provided throughout my education, and to the other members of my
instructors, Dr. xxxxxxx and Dr. xxxxxxxx.

I would like to thank my family, especially my parents, for their encouragement,

patience, and assistance over the years. I am forever indebted to my parents, who have
always kept me in their prayers.

Title of the senior project
Your name
The design of controllers for nonlinear systems in industry is a complex and difficult task. The
development of nonlinear control techniques has been approached in many different ways with
varied results. One approach which has been shown promise for solving nonlinear control
problems is the use of XXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXX

Table of Contents:

1. INTRODUCTION ………..……………………….……………..…….………….……1
1.1 Introduction ……...…………………….…………………….…………..…...1
1.2 Literature Review …………………….……………………………….……..3
1.3 Contribution ….………….………………..……………………….…….4
1.4 Outline of This Thesis……………….……………………………..……….5
2. CLASSICAL CONTROL SYSTEM.…..……………………………………………...8
2.1 Background ..…..………..…………………….……..………....……………8
2.2 Controller Design…………………………………….……….…………..….9
2.3 Proportional-Integral-Derivative ….………………………………..11
3.1 Introduction ..………………………………………….……………….14
3.2 Inverted Pendulum Problem ..………………………………….15
3.3 Nonlinear case ..…..………….…………………………………….…17
3.4 linearization case….…………..………………..………………….…19


REFERENCES ……………………..……………………….……..103
C. COMPUTER PROGRAMS ……………………………..115

Technical Writing

D. PHASE PLAINS ……….…………………………..……..…121

Table 3.1 Inverted Pendulum Parameter Values ……………21
Table 5.1 Inverted Pendulum Equations …….………..………..53
Table 5.2 Inverted Pendulum Parameter Values ……....…..54
Table 5.3 Fuzzy Associative Memory (FAM) ………….…..…..59
Table 5.4 Set of Input-Output Data for First Rule ……..……70
Table 5.5 Finding Parameters of First Rule Using Least
Square Method ………………………………………….…..70
Table 5.6 The Eigenvalues of Sugeno Fuzzy Control Using
State Variable Feedback ……..……………….…..…...85

u Figure 2.1 Closed-Loop Controller …………………………..……………………………………..8
u Figure 2.2 A PID Controller ……………………………………………...………………….…....…12
u Figure 3.1 PID Controller for Inverted Pendulum ………………..…..…………..….…..18
u Figure 3.2 The Cart Position of the Inverted Pendulum (Nonlinear Case) ….….18
u Figure 3.3 The Position of the Inverted Pendulum (Nonlinear Case)……………….19
u Figure 3.4 The Cart Position of the Inverted Pendulum (Linearized Case) .…..22
u Figure 3.5 The Position of the Inverted Pendulum (Linearize Case)………………..23
u Figure 4.1 The Venn diagram of a fuzzy set ……………………….….…………………..…..27
u Figure 4.2 Intersection of fuzzy sets A and B …………………………………………...……29
u Figure 4.3 Union of fuzzy sets A and B …………………………..………………………...…...29
u Figure 4.4 Complement of fuzzy set A ……………………………..…………………….…....30
u Figure 4.5 A bell-shaped membership function ………….. …………………….....…..31
u Figure 4.6 A triangular membership function …………………….………………….....…31


Technical Writing


1.1 This is a Section Heading

This is a sentence to take up space and look like text.
This is a sentence to take up space [1]. This is a
sentence to take up space and look like text.

1.1.1 This is a Subsection Heading

This is a sentence to take up space and look like text. This is a sentence to take up space
[2]. This is a sentence to take up space and look like text.


This is a sentence to take up space and look like text.
This is a sentence to take up space and look like text.

A.1 A Section Heading Inside an Appendix :

This is how equations are numbered in an appendix:

This is a sentence to take up space and look like text

Technical Writing

Lecture 11

Job Interview

Technical Writing

Job interviewing:
Job interviewing is one of the most popular career topics on the Web. But no career
advisor can tell you exactly what to say during a job interview. Interviews are just too up-close
and personal for that. About the best that career advisors can do, is to give you some tips about
the typical questions to expect, so you can practice answering them ahead of time. But, while
there are many canned interview questions, there are few canned answers. The rest is up to

The Interview can be divided into three stages:
1. Before the interview
2. During the interview
3. After the interview

Before The Interview:

• Show that you are knowledgeable about the company and its operations
– Learn about your potential employer before the interview
– What kind of business is it ?
– Is the company locally owned?
– Is it a nonprofit organization?
– If the job is public employment, at what level of government is it?
– Does the business provide a service, and, if so, what kind?
– How large is the firm?
– Is it expanding?
– Where will you fit in?
• Know Interviewer himself (if possible)
• It is good idea to try to anticipate the questions an interviewer might ask and to prepare
your answers in advance

Example of Interviewer questions:

• Why Should We Hire You?
• What are your short-term and long-term occupational goals?
• What are your major strengths and weaknesses?
• Do you work better alone or with others?
• Why do you want to work for this company?
• How do you spend your free time?
• Why are you leaving your job?
• What are you looking for in your next job? What is important to you?

Interview Questions NOT to Ask:

• What does this company do? (Do your research ahead of time!)
• If I get the job when can I take time off for vacation? (Wait until you get the offer to
mention prior commitments)
• Can I change my schedule if I get the job? (If you need to figure out the logistics of
getting to work don't mention it now...)
• Did I get the job? (Don't be impatient. They'll let you know.)

Technical Writing

During The Interview:

• Be sure to arrive for an interview at the appointed time
• Take along your resume
• The interview will actually begin before you are seated
• What you wear and how you act will be closely observed
• Remain standing until you are offered a seat.

Present a positive attitude Self confidence & Be modest

Tell your interviewer about your recent accomplishments and future career plans

• Don't interrupt the interviewer.

• Take your time - it's perfectly acceptable to take a moment or two to collect your
• Don't smoke, chew gum, eat, or drink.
• Unfreeze your face – smile !
“ A man without smiling face must not open a shop”

Shake hands firmly !

Depends upon occasions

Listen Attentively:
• Listen is not hearing
• Make sure you listen to the question and take a moment to gather your thoughts before
you respond.
• Look directly to the interviewer
• Don’t argue mentally
• Rid yourself of visual distractions—glasses, pen, or other objects.
• Bridle your thoughts
• Listen with animation

q Be mindful of physical appearance

q Show Enthusiasm

Approach the question of salary cautiously

Do not talk too much

Never create a situation where you keep

Interviewer waiting

Get the interviewer to like you

Job Interview Tips and Suggestions:

Job interviewing never seems to get any easier - even when you have gone on more interviews
than you can count. You are meeting new people, selling yourself and your skills.

Technical Writing

Job Interview Tips:


Practice answering interview questions and practice your responses to the typical job
interview questions and answers most employers ask. Think of actual examples you can use to
describe your skills. Providing evidence of your successes is a great way to promote your

Prepare a response so you are ready for the question "What do you know about our company

Be on time for the interview. On time means five to ten minutes early. If need be, take some
time to drive to the office ahead of time so you know exactly where you are going and how long
it will take to get there

During the job interview try to relax and stay as calm as possible. Take a moment to regroup.
Maintain eye contact with the interviewer. Listen to the entire question before you answer and
pay attention - you will be embarrassed if you forget the question!


Try to relate what you know about the company when answering questions. When discussing
your career accomplishments match them to what the company is looking for

Always follow-up with a thank you note reiterating your interest in the position. If you
interview with multiple people send each one a thank you note.

End of the Interview:

q Thank your interviewer
q Indicate you are interested in the job
q Tactfully get an idea of when expect to hear from the company.

After The Interview:

q Jot down pertinent information you learned during the interview.
q A day or two later, send the interviewer a brief note of thanks.

Technical Writing

Sample Thank You Letter:

Your Name
Your Address

City, State, Zip Code

Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name:

It was very enjoyable to speak with you about the assistant account executive position
at the Smith Agency. The job, as you presented it, seems to be a very good match for my skills
and interests. The creative approach to account management that you described confirmed my
desire to work with you.

In addition to my enthusiasm, I will bring to the position strong writing skills,

assertiveness and the ability to encourage others to work cooperatively with the department.
My artistic background will help me to work with artists on staff and provide me with an
understanding of the visual aspects of our work.

Follow-up Letter to job Interview:

Dear Mr. Vallone:

Thank you for the informative and pleasant interview we had last Wednesday.
Please extend my thanks to Mr. Wilson of the Servocontrol Group as well. I came away
from the meeting most favorably impressed with Calcutex Industries.
I find the position to an attractive one feel confident that my qualifications
would enable me to perform the duties to everyone’s advantage.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Sincerely yours,
Philip Ming

Technical Writing

Lecture 12

Oral Presentation

Technical Writing

Oral Communication is different from written communication:

Listeners have one chance to hear your talk and can't "re-read" when they get confused

Important of Oral Presentation:

q Oral presentation is part of the professionals Career.
q Presenting your talent and skills
q Present your ideas clearly and persuasively with self-assurance and dynamic energy.

Preparing for your presentation:

I. Define Your Task
q Identify the topic of your presentation
q Specify the kinds and amount of information
q Identify many key points that you want the audience to understand.
q List the important questions that you want to answer in your presentation.

II. Know your audience:

q What are the notable characteristics of this audience? Curious? Inhibited? Cautious?
Eager? Expert?
q Does this audience respect a formal or informal style?
q Does this audience value simplicity or complexity?

III. Collecting Data:

q Gather information more than you need for the presentation to build
q Use all sources of information like brainstorming, written material, interviewing
others, and your own background

IV. Developing (Organizing) the Topic:

Select the best organizational strategy
q Problem-solution method of development
q Comparison method of development
q Cause-and-effect method of development
q Specific-to-general method of development
q General-to-specific method of development
q Increasing-order-of-importance method of development

V. Outlining the presentation:

q Opening (Introduction)
q Body
q Closing (Conclusion)

The Opening:
Your opening is the most important part of your speech.
It should catch the interest of your audience, stimulate their curiosity, and impress them.

Technical Writing

Ways to start your opening:

q A rhetorical question
Example: “Will colonizing outer space ever be practical?”
q A dramatic story
Example: Terry Fox’s attempt to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research
q A quotation from a famous person
Example: “Good order is the foundation of all good things.” Edmund Burke
q A historical events
Example: “Do you remember where you were when Neil Armstrong first set foot on the
q A reference from literature or the holly book

The Body:
q Begin the body with a statement of your theme.
q Then state all the evidence and proof necessary to support your theme statement.
q The strength of your proof will sell your ideas.
q Use analogies, stories, testimony, logic, statistic, and examples to support your theme.

The closing:
§ Plan your closing as you planned your opening.
§ It is as important as the opening, because what you say in the closing is what your
audience is most likely to remember.
§ Review, highlight and emphasize - key points, benefits, recommendations
§ Draw conclusions - where are we? ... what does all of this mean? ... what's the next

A Generic Talk Outline:

This talk outline is a starting point, not a rigid template. Most good speakers average two
minutes per slide (not counting title and outline slides), and thus use about a dozen slides for a
twenty minute presentation

A Generic Talk Outline Continue:

§ Title/author/affiliation (1 slide)
§ Forecast (1 slide)
Give gist of problem attacked and insight found (What is the one idea you want people
to leave with? This is the "abstract" of an oral presentation.)
§ Outline (1 slide)
Give talk structure. Some speakers prefer to put this at the bottom of their title slide.
(Audiences like predictability.)
§ Background
§ Motivation and Problem Statement (1-2 slides)
(Why should anyone care? Most researchers overestimate how much the
audience knows about the problem they are attacking.)
§ Related Work (0-1 slides)
Cover superficially or omit; refer people to your paper.
§ Methods (1 slide)
Cover quickly in short talks; refer people to your paper

Technical Writing

§ Results (4-6 slides)

Present key results and key insights. This is main body of the talk. Its internal structure
varies greatly as a function of the researcher's contribution. (Do not superficially cover
all results; cover key result well. Do not just present numbers; interpret them to give
insights. Do not put up large tables of numbers.)
§ Summary (1 slide)
§ Future Work (0-1 slides)
Optionally give problems this research opens up.
§ Backup Slides (0-3 slides)
Optionally have a few slides ready (not counted in your talk total) to answer expected
questions. (Likely question areas: ideas glossed over, shortcomings of methods or
results, and future work.)

VI. Select Visuals Aid:

Identify the purpose of your visual aid
§ to clarify a key point
§ to provide an illustrative example
§ to model
§ to summarize

Select Visuals Aid Continue:

If you pay attention to these four concept as you put the visuals together, the end
products will be more effective:
1) Make it BIG
2) Keep it Simple
3) Make it Clear
4) Be Consistent

Select types of visual aids well matched to the needs of your audience with respect to
specific portions of your presentation.
Table, bar graph, line graph, flow chart, pie graph, diagram, organizational chart

q table - good for presenting groups of detailed facts

q bar graph - can represent numerical qualities
q line graph - shows how one quantify changes as a function of change in another quantity
q pie graph - effective for depicting the composition of a whole
q diagram - similar to a drawing but relies upon symbols
q flow chart - means of representing successions of events
q organizational chart - usually depicts hierarchical arrangement

Technical Writing

Bar graph:


Organizational chart:

Pie graph:

Production per year


Select presentation vehicles:

q Overhead
q Chalkboard
q Hand-out
q Slides
q Model
q Computer screen
q Poster

Technical Writing

Critique your visual aid:

q Is it large enough to be easily seen or is it too small and detailed?
q Is the contrast/color effective or distracting?
q Does it clarify a difficult concept or introduce confusion?
q Is the visual aid necessary or superfluous?

VII. Practice your presentation:

q Maintain eye contact with the audience.
q Eye contact gives
l self-confidence
l feedback (speed up, slow down, repeat your self)
q Keep body movement quiet and natural.
q Maintain appropriate voice volume.
q Avoid wearing distracting clothing or accessories.
q Maintain a constant rate of speech

Practice your presentation Continue:

§ won’t be able to duplicate the real audience stress.
§ Avoid being nervous by:
§ Practice in front of classmates, colleagues, family or friends.
§ taking deep breaths
§ distributing weight equally on both feet
§ Use Body Language Effectively: relaxed gestures, eye contact; don't play with a pen or
§ don't block visual aids

Be sensible about transparencies:

q The optimal number 6-10 per 10 minutes talk
q Avoid transparencies with 1 or 2 lines.
q Avoid jam-packed transparencies
q Text to be concise and self-explanatory

Most people find the more they practice, the more at ease they feel when they give
their presentation.

Questions from the floor:

q Let questioner finish the question
q Be prepare to rephrase the question
q Keep the answer short
q Deflect hostile questions and Never argue with questioner

Example: I am sorry, but it appears we have a difference of opinion. This probably is not
the proper forum for a debate but I’ll be happy to discuss the matter with you in

Technical Writing

Group Presentation Evaluation Form:

Rate the Group Presentation (5= Excellent; 1= Poor NA= not applicable)

Comments would be very helpful.

Group Number:____ Group Topic:________________________________

____1. Introduction: Did the introduction capture your interest; was necessary background
given; was a clear purpose conveyed
___2. Organization: Was there a clear organization; were transitions between sections clear
and effective; did the organization lead to a clear conclusion?
___3. Content: Did the group support their points; was the supporting material relevant, up to
___4. Visual Aids: Were visual aids used effectively and appropriately, carefully prepared?
___5. Conclusion: Were key points reinforced; was a sense of closure provided; if appropriate,
was a course of action proposed?
___6. Delivery: Were the speakers natural, enthusiastic; did they speak clearly; were
appropriate gestures, posture, expreesions used
___7. Discussion: Were questions answered accurately, clearly, effectively?
___8. Overall Rating General Comments (use back):

Technical Writing

Lecture 13

Progress Report

Technical Writing

Progress Report:
When you have a job with a company or any organization, your bosses will want you to keep
track of the progress you are making on your work. One way for them to do this is to ask you to
write a progress report. They may have a form for this, or they may expect you to complete a
q A progress report describes the status of an ongoing project.
q Progress reports range in size from single-page blank forms to documents running to
sixty or seventy pages.
q Some progress reports are written when an unexpected breakthrough occurs or when a
project falls under new administration
q Most, however, are written upon completion of a certain stage

Goal of Progress Report:

q Progress reports are written to provide information about the way a project is
q to convince your audience that you are making progress, that it's the proper progress,
and that you will finish on time, or
q to explain problems and to request assistance or guidance
q Force you to establish a work schedule so that you'll complete the project on time.

n Instructors
n Supervisor
n Associates
n Customers

What Should progress Report Include:

Successful progress reports answer the following questions
q How much has been accomplished since the last report?
q Is the project on schedule?
q If not, what went wrong? How has the problem been corrected? How long will it take to
get back on schedule?
q Are there any unexpected problems (other than schedule problems)?
q When do you anticipate completion?

Basic layout:
q 2 – 3 pages
q Single spaced

Format of Progress Report:

Depending on the size of the progress report, the length and importance of the project, and
the recipient, the progress report can take the following forms:
n Memo--A short, informal report to someone within your organization
n Letter--A short, informal report sent to someone outside your organization
n Formal report--A long, formal report sent to someone outside your organization

Technical Writing

Organization of the Progress Report:

q Headings
q Body
I. Introduction
II. Discussion
III. Conclusion
q References

To: Name of your advisor
From: Your name
Subject: The subject of your proposal
Date: date of submission

I. Introduction:
n Purpose of the project
n Specific objectives of the project
n Scope, or limits, of the project
n Date the project began; date the project is scheduled to be completed
n People or organization working on the project
n People or organization for whom the project is being done
n Overview of the contents of the progress report

II. Discussion ( Project description ):

2 possibilities for subheadings in this section
n Option #1-Chronological organization
– Work Completed
– Work in Progress
– Work Remaining
n Option #2-Topical organization
– Task #1
– Task #2
– Task #3
Whichever organization you choose, provide a detailed discussion of your progress.

III. Conclusion:
n Briefly summarize your progress.
n Relate back to the originally proposed schedule and deadline.
n Reassure the reader that you are adhering to the schedule and that the project will be
completed on time.
n Emphasize the benefits of the final report.

n List all the references you used
Assignment: Write a progress report for your formal report

Technical Writing

Lecture 14

Research and the Internet

Technical Writing

Research and the Internet:

© The Internet can be a great tool for research, but finding quality web materials and
using them to your advantage in your writing can be challenging.

Why do we need to evaluate web sources?

© Virtually any person can publish almost anything on the Internet.
© Unlike most print sources, web sources do not have to be professionally accepted and
edited to be published.

Researching the Internet:

© Use search engines to your advantage
© Identify the web site
© Examine for credibility
© Determine depth and scope of information
© Assess date of information

Types of web pages:

© Informative pages
© Personal web pages
© Political/interest group pages
© Marketing-oriented pages
© Entertainment pages

What is a search engine?

© A search engine is an Internet tool that locates web pages and sorts them according to
specified keywords.

Types of search engines:

© Yahoo and Alta Vista are the most useful search engines for beginning searches.
© Google, Northern Light, and Snap access the greatest percentage of the World Wide
Web--only around 15-16%.
© Dogpile will search through several search engines at once.
© A collection of search engine links is available at the OWL web site:

Use search engines to your advantage:

© Pick the right search engine for your research needs.
° Yahoo and AltaVista will help you to distinguish between different categories of
web sites.
° Hotbot, however, locates information based upon the popularity of the site.
© Refine your search whenever possible.

Limit your keyword search:

© It is a good idea to read the directions for each search engine to get the most out of
your search.
© Use words like AND and OR to limit your search and get more specified information.

Technical Writing

Identify the web site:

© Assess the authorship, content, and purpose of the web site.
© This is important because
° many web sources are not checked for accuracy.
° some personal sites are used to express individual opinions about issues, but
not necessarily the facts.
© Sometimes the actual purpose of the web site may not be clearly articulated.
© Can be difficult to separate advertising from accurate information.
© Some marketing sites will offer misleading information in attempts to sell their
© Whenever possible, try to locate the home page.
© You can often do this by eliminating some information from the end of the URL.
.org .gov
.com .net
.edu .us
.au .uk
© Who is the creator of the site?
© What is the purpose of the site?
© Who is the audience of this site?
© Can you purchase products at this site?
© Is the site affiliated with a business or university?
© Does the site offer idiosyncratic information about a particular person or group?

Examine for credibility:

© Credibility may be compromised by purposeful misinformation or by unintentional
© Locating the name of the site’s creator may be challenging.
© Credentials may be missing even if the author’s name is provided.
© Who is the author of the site?
© What is the authority or expertise of the individual or group?
© What else comes up when you type the author’s name into a search engine?
© Does the source have a political or business agenda?
© Is the site sponsored by a political or business group? If so, what can you find out about
that group?
© Does the site provide a list of sources or a Works Cited page?
© Can you locate any of the source material? How reliable is this material?
© Are there links to other credible sites with additional information?
© Does the site provide a link for emailing the author or webmaster?

Technical Writing

Determine depth and scope of information:

© Does the material show signs of research, such as references to other sources,
hyperlinks, footnotes, or a reference page?
© Does the author consider opposing points of view?
© How closely does the site really match the information for which you are searching?
© Corroborate information whenever possible!

Are there a lot of flashy pictures, colors, animated images, and logos designed to attract
attention? Do these eye-catching images distract you from noticing a lack of credible
information? Do they disguise an attempt to get you to buy something?

© Different from print sources:

° Information covered on web pages is often presented for easy digestion and
visual appeal.
° Information may not provide sufficient depth or scope.
° Material may be affected by marketing or political bias.
© Sometimes web sources may not be the right sources for the information you need.

Assess date of information:

© Can you locate a date on the web page?
© Dates on web pages can mean:
° Date the author first wrote or developed the material
° Date site was first available on the Internet for public access
° Date site was most recently updated, including revisions, additions, or
subtractions to the material

Evaluating web sources:

© Use search engines to your advantage
© Identify the web site
© Examine for credibility
© Determine depth and scope of information
© Assess date of information

Write lab report using the format you learned in the lab report presentation

Technical Writing

Lecture 15

Presentation on Ethics
in Business and Society

Technical Writing

What Is Ethics?
A few years ago, sociologist Raymond Baumhart asked business people, "What does ethics mean
to you?" Among their replies were the following:
"Ethics has to do with what my feelings tell me is right or wrong."
"Ethics has to do with my religious beliefs."
"Being ethical is doing what the law requires."
"Ethics consists of the standards of behavior our society accepts."
"I don't know what the word means

In order to understand what ethics is, and what it might look like, it's important to
distinguish the difference between ethics and values .
Ethics is about the way we treat one another and is an action concept that dictates how
we choose to live our lives. The ultimate true test of our character is when we are willing to do
the right thing even when it is not in our best interest to do so.

Refers to our core beliefs or desires , the things we value the most. Our values shape our
attitudes and determines how we will behave in certain situations.

Ethical Values Vs. Non-Ethical Values:

Ethical Values directly relate to our beliefs concerning our moral duty as opposed to
what is correct, effective, or desirable. These are the values that drive our principles.
Non-Ethical Values are concerned with things that we like or find personally satisfying
and/or important, with no regard to the moral content.

When evaluating one’s goals and objectives, a vital question must be asked: What is your
highest aspiration?
A. Wealth
B. Fame
C. Knowledge
D. Popularity
E. Integrity

If integrity is second to any of the alternatives, then it is subject to sacrifice in situations where
a choice must be made. Such situations will inevitably occur in every person’s life.

Why talk about ethics?

Why talk about ethics? In the aftermath of major corporate failures and questionable
accounting practices, American Accounting Association President G. Peter Wilson said that in
the classroom, educators need to increasingly emphasize the value of integrity, what has long
been a mainstay of accountants’ reputation

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Psychology professor Steven Davis says that
cheating by high school students has increased from about 20 percent in the 1940’s
to 75 percent today.
“Students say cheating in high school is for grades, cheating in college is for a career.”

Technical Writing

If students lack ethics in high school and college, then there should be little surprise that they
lack ethics in their careers. Greed and over-reaching ambition often end in disastrous personal
consequences. Convicted inside trader, Dennis Levine, in a Fortune magazine article wrote:

Many institutions of higher education have instituted policies regarding ethics education. For
example, the Faculty Handbook of the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University includes
the following statement:
“Therefore, faculty and staff have a responsibility for creating an academic environment that
promotes honest academic inquiry and teaches students ethical behavior in the process.”

Educational Institutions have established ethics codes for their students, e.g. the U.S. Air Force

"We Will Not Lie, Steal Or Cheat, Nor Tolerate Among Us Anyone Who Does"
-- Which do you think is the harder part:
Line 1 or Line 2? Why?

What do profs think?

In a survey of college faculty, 187 professors responded to several statements about teaching
1. The importance of ethics and personal integrity should be stressed in the courses I teach.4.75
2. The basis for ethics and personal integrity should be discussed (e.g. benefit to society as a
whole, moral and religious foundations of society, etc.) 4.11
Note: Scores are based on a scale from 1: Strongly Agree to 5: Strongly Disagree

American Institute of CPAs Code of Professional Conduct, Principles Article I:

In carrying out their responsibilities as professionals, members should exercise sensitive
professional and moral judgments in all their activities.

Is there an ethics crisis in America?

One recent national election day poll indicated that 56 percent of voters thought that America’s
problems are “primarily moral and social.” Only 36 percent thought that the nation’s problems
were “primarily economic.”

Can ethics be taught? Teddy Roosevelt said, “To educate a person in mind and not in morals is
to educate a menace to society.”

In his best-seller, The Closing of the American Mind, Allan Bloom says that the eternal
conflict between good and evil has been replaced with “I’m okay, you’re okay.” Students
unthinkingly embrace a blind tolerance in which they consider it “moral” never to think they are
right because that mean someone else is wrong.
[Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind, New York, Simon and Schuster, Inc. 1987]

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are
indispensable supports… Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality
can prevail in the exclusion of religious principle.
George Washington’s Farewell Address, September 17, 1796

Technical Writing

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions
unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious
people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
President John Adams, 1789

“God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have
removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?”

“Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep
forever.” Thomas Jefferson

Declaration of Independence
The second paragraph of America's founding document states:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are
endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and
the pursuit of happiness."

Where Do We Start?
Upon What Can We Agree?

Whether we derive a code of ethics from religious beliefs, a study of history and literature, or
personal experience and observation: We can all agree upon some basic values.
In an issue of Management Accounting, James Brackner stated: The universities are responding
with an increased emphasis on ethical training for decision making. For the most part, however,
they ignore the teaching of values. For moral or ethical education to have meaning there must
be agreement on the values that are considered “right.”

Be sure you are right, then go ahead.

Davy Crockett

A nation or a culture cannot endure for long unless it is undergirded by common values such as
valor, public spiritedness, respect for others and for the law; It cannot stand unless it is
populated by people who will act on the motives superior to their own immediate interest.
Chuck Colson, Against the Night

Michael Josephson, in Chapter 1 of Ethical Issues in the Practice of Accounting, describes the
“Ten Universal Values: “Honesty, integrity, promise keeping, fidelity, fairness, caring, respect for
others, responsible citizenship, pursuit of excellence, and accountability.”

“Until about 50 years ago, it was commonly accepted that universities were to provide students
not only with knowledge and skills, but also moral guidance based on the essentials of the our
Business Prof Geoffrey Lantos

Technical Writing

If we want to produce people who share the values of a democratic culture, they must be taught
those values and not be left to acquire them by chance.
Cal Thomas, The Death of Ethics in America

Can you make a difference?

“To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.”
Abraham Lincoln
Do you think this relates to line 2 of the U.S.A.F. Academy Code of Honor?

The reputation of a thousand years may be determined by the conduct of one hour.
Japanese proverb