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© 2001 ASM International. All Rights Reserved.

Engineers’ Guide to Technical Writing

(#06218G)

www.asminternational.org

ENGINEERS’ GUIDE TO

TECHNICAL WRITING

Kenneth G. Budinski

E NGINEERS ’ G UIDE TO T ECHNICAL W RITING Kenneth G. Budinski Materials Park, OH

Materials Park, OH 44073 www.asminternational.org

© 2001 ASM International. All Rights Reserved.

Engineers’ Guide to Technical Writing

(#06218G)

Copyright © 2001 by ASM International ® All rights reserved

www.asminternational.org

No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the written permission of the copyright owner.

First printing, March 2001

Great care is taken in the compilation and production of this book, but it should be made clear that NO WAR- RANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, WARRANTIES OF MER- CHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, ARE GIVEN IN CONNECTION WITH THIS PUBLICATION. Although this information is believed to be accurate by ASM, ASM cannot guarantee that favorable results will be obtained from the use of this publication alone. This publication is intended for use by per- sons having technical skill, at their sole discretion and risk. Since the conditions of product or material use are out- side of ASM’s control, ASM assumes no liability or obligation in connection with any use of this information. No claim of any kind, whether as to products or information in this publication, and whether or not based on negli- gence, shall be greater in amount than the purchase price of this product or publication in respect of which dam- ages are claimed. THE REMEDY HEREBY PROVIDED SHALL BE THE EXCLUSIVE AND SOLE REMEDY OF BUYER, AND IN NO EVENT SHALL EITHER PARTY BE LIABLE FOR SPECIAL, INDIRECT OR CON- SEQUENTIAL DAMAGES WHETHER OR NOT CAUSED BY OR RESULTING FROM THE NEGLIGENCE OF SUCH PARTY. As with any material, evaluation of the material under end-use conditions prior to specifica- tion is essential. Therefore, specific testing under actual conditions is recommended.

Nothing contained in this book shall be construed as a grant of any right of manufacture, sale, use, or reproduction, in connection with any method, process, apparatus, product, composition, or system, whether or not covered by letters patent, copyright, or trademark, and nothing contained in this book shall be construed as a defense against any alleged infringement of letters patent, copyright, or trademark, or as a defense against liability for such in- fringement.

Comments, criticisms, and suggestions are invited, and should be forwarded to ASM International.

ASM International staff who worked on this project included Steven Lampman, Acquisitions Editor, Bonnie Sanders, Manager of Production, Nancy Hrivnak, Copy Editor, Kathy Dragolich, Production Editor, and Scott Henry, Assistant Director, Reference Publications.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Budinski, Kenneth G.

Engineers’ guide to technical writing / by Kenneth G. Budinski p. cm.

1. Technical writing.

I. Title

T11 .B83 2001

808 .0666—dc21

00-046476

ISBN: 0-87170-693-8

SAN: 204-7586

ASM International® Materials Park, OH 44073-0002 www.asminternational.org

Printed in the United States of America

© 2001 ASM International. All Rights Reserved.

Engineers’ Guide to Technical Writing

(#06218G)

www.asminternational.org

This book is dedicated to my technical writing professor Robert E. Tuttle of General Motors Institute.

iii

© 2001 ASM International. All Rights Reserved.

Engineers’ Guide to Technical Writing

(#06218G)

www.asminternational.org

Contents

Preface

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ix

CHAPTER 1:

What Is Technical Writing

 

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Purpose of This Book

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. Attributes of Technical

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Pertains to a Technical Subject

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Conveys

 

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Impersonal (Third Person) Voice

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Be Concise.

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Directed

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Style and Format

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Other Types of Writing

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Archival

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Attributions

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Instructions

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Advertising

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Creative Writing

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Opinion

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Information

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Administrative

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Entertainment.

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14

Summary

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15

CHAPTER 2: Reasons for Writing

 

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Excuses for Not Writing

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Benefits of Technical Writing

 

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Summary

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24

iv

© 2001 ASM International. All Rights Reserved.

Engineers’ Guide to Technical Writing

(#06218G)

www.asminternational.org

CHAPTER 3:

Performing Technical

 

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Types of Technical Studies

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General Methodology

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36

Proposing a Project—The Idea

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Gathering Background

 

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Designing Test

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Performing Experiments

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Reporting Results

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Summary

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52

CHAPTER 4:

Analysis

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Writing Strategy

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Selecting Readers

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58

Scope of Writing

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60

Number of

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Depth of Writing

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Level

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Details .

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Writing to Various Readers

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Summary

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CHAPTER 5:

Document

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Document Hierarchy

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73

Report Types and

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Patents

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Technical Papers

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E-Mail

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Summary

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84

CHAPTER 6: Criteria for Good Technical Writing

 

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Technical Content

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Presentation

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93

Language

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99

Summary

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102

CHAPTER 7:

Writing Style

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107

Elements

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108

. Sentence Construction

Word Choice

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110

118

v

© 2001 ASM International. All Rights Reserved.

Engineers’ Guide to Technical Writing

(#06218G)

www.asminternational.org

Paragraphs .

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123

Summary of the Elements of Style

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Examples of Writing Recommended Style

 

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126

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Summary

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