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Chemical Engineering Department
Dr. Moustapha Salem Mansour First year Spring 2009
Table of contents
1. Introduction ............................................................................................. 1 1.1. Types of Technical Reports ............................................................... 2 1.1.1. Technical-background report ...................................................... 2 1.1.2. Instructions .................................................................................. 2 1.1.3. Feasibility, recommendation, and evaluation reports ................. 2 1.1.4. Primary research report ............................................................... 2 1.1.5. Technical specifications .............................................................. 3 1.1.6. Report-length proposal ................................................................ 3 1.1.7. Business proposed ....................................................................... 3 1.2. Audience and Situation in Technical Reports .................................... 3 1.3. Topics for Technical Reports ............................................................. 4 1.3.1. Editorializing ............................................................................... 4 1.3.2. Fuzzy topics................................................................................. 4 1.3.3. Tough technical topics ................................................................ 4 1.4. General Characteristics of Technical Reports.................................... 4 1.4.1. Graphics ...................................................................................... 4 1.4.2. Accurate detail............................................................................. 4 1.4.3. Information sources ..................................................................... 4 1.4.4. Documentation ............................................................................ 5 1.4.5. Realistic audience and situation .................................................. 5 1.4.6. Headings and lists ....................................................................... 5 1.4.7. Special format ............................................................................. 5 1.4.8. Production ................................................................................... 5 1.4.9. Length.......................................................................................... 5 1.4.10. Technical content ...................................................................... 5 2. Visual Elements ...................................................................................... 6 2.1. Making a visual aid truly visual ......................................................... 6 2.2. Deciding when to use a visual aid ...................................................... 7 2.3. Selecting the best type of visual aid in a given situation ................... 7 2.3.1. Conventions of Visual Perception............................................... 8 2.3.2. Some types of visual aids and their uses ..................................... 8 2.4. Designing the visual aid ................................................................... 14 2.4.1. Making a visual aid relevant ..................................................... 14
2.4.2. Making a visual aid clear .......................................................... 16 2.5. Integrating the Visual Aid into the Test ........................................... 18 2.5.1. Positioning ................................................................................. 18 2.5.2. Printing ...................................................................................... 19 2.6. Formatting Contentions that Make Reading Easier ......................... 19 3. The technical Report ............................................................................. 22 3.1. Types of Reports .............................................................................. 22 3.2. Organization of reports .................................................................... 24 3.2.1. Organization of a design report ................................................. 24 3.3. Preparing the report .......................................................................... 27 3.4. Presenting the results........................................................................ 27 3.4.1. Subheadings and Paragraphs ..................................................... 28 3.4.2. Tables ........................................................................................ 28 3.4.3. Graphs ....................................................................................... 28 3.4.4. Illustrations ................................................................................ 29 3.4.5. References to Literature ............................................................ 29 3.4.6. Sample Calculations .................................................................. 30 3.4.7. Mechanical Details .................................................................... 31 4. Oral Presentations ................................................................................. 32 4.1. Topic and Situation for the Oral Presentation.................................. 32 4.2. Contents and Requirements for the Oral Presentation ..................... 33 4.3. Preparing for the Oral Report........................................................... 34 4.4. Delivering an Oral Presentation ....................................................... 34 4.5. Planning and Preparing Visuals for Oral Presentations ................... 35 4.5.1. Tips for the preparation off the visuals ..................................... 36 5. Making Your Writing Readable............................................................ 37 5.1. Introduction ...................................................................................... 37 5.2. Information selection ....................................................................... 37 5.2.1. Establish your Topic and Purpose ............................................. 37 5.2.2. Use Keywords Prominently ...................................................... 38 5.2.3. Explain Important Concepts when Writing for Nonspecialist Readers ................................................................................................ 38 5.2.4. Use Standard Terminology when Writing for Specialist Readers ............................................................................................... 39 5.2.5. Structure your Text to Emphasize Important Information ........ 40
5.2.6. Construct Well Designed Paragraphs ....................................... 40 5.2.7. Field-Test Your Writing ............................................................ 41 5.3. Information ordering ........................................................................ 41 5.3.1. Optimal Ordering of Noun Phrases ........................................... 42 5.4. Editing For Emphasis ....................................................................... 45 5.4.1. Combine Closely Related Sentences......................................... 46 5.4.2. Be Concise................................................................................. 49 6. Project Proposal .................................................................................... 52 6.1. The contents of project proposal can be structured as follows: ....... 52 6.2. NATURE OF THE REPORTS: ....................................................... 52 6.3. Technical-industrial project proposals: ............................................ 53 7. Checklist for the Technical Report ....................................................... 54
The major focus of many technical writing courses is the technical report. Just about everything you study, everything you write is geared toward preparing you to write this final report. The early, short assignment involving instructions or descriptions and the like give you practice using headings, lists, notices, and graphics; in handling numbers and abbreviations; and of course in producing good, clear, well-organized writing. For many students, the technical report is the longest document they've ever written. It normally involves some research; often the information comes not only from published sources in the library, but also sources outside the library, including nonpublished things such as interviews, correspondence, and video tapes. It may also be the fanciest document: it uses binding and covers and has special elements such as a table contents, title page, and graphics. As you think about what you want to write about for this project, don't shy away from topics you are curious about or interested in, but don't know much about. You don't need to do exhaustive research; normally, you can pull together information for an excellent report from several books and a half-dozen articles. Your real focus is the writing: how well adapted to a specific audience it is, how clear and readable it is, how it flows, how it's organized, how much detail it provides. You are also focused on format: how well you use headings, lists, notices; how well you incorporate graphics; how well you handle the front- and back-matter elements; and how nice a job you do of turning out the final copy of the report. You don't need to be a trained graphic designer to produce a fine-looking report. Basic word-processing skills and a decent printer and access to nice (but inexpensive) binding are all you need. Plan on doing a first-rate job on the report; remember that past students have shown prospective employers their reports and have benefited by doing so. If you are planning a technical report, your job in this unit then is define the following: Report topic: Decide what subject you are going to write on; narrow it as much as possible. Report audience: Define a specific person or group of people for whom you are going to write the report. Define the circumstances in which this report is needed. Report purpose: Define what the report will accomplish—what needs of the audience it is going to fufill. Report type: Decide on the type of report—for example, technical background report, feasibility report, instructions, or some other. You can do these in any order: for some people, it helps to start by defining an audience or a report type first. For others, beginning by picking a topic is more stimulating. Once you have defined these elements, you can start testing your report-project ideas by asking yourself these questions: Is there hard, specific, factual data for this topic? Will there be at least one or two graphics? Is there some realistic need for this report?
Technical Reports Writing (HS x12)
First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009
1. In practice. Feasibility. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 2 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . you not only present your data and draw conclusions about it.1. Instructions These are probably the most familiar of all the types of reports. A feasibility report tells whether a project is "feasible"—that is. In this type of report. 1.S. and give some background on the problem. it's hard to keep these two kinds of reports distinct. For example. recycling activity. for one of your previous courses. The same college might also seek recommendations on the best hardware and software to use (after the feasibility report had determined it was a good idea). experiments and surveys. recommendation. you could report on the research that has been done on saccharine. Types of Technical Reports In this course you can choose to write one of the following types of reports 1. This is a perfectly good possibility for the technical report as well.4. However.1. Elements of the feasibility and recommendation report intermingle in specific reports—but the main thing is to get the job done! 1.1." as they are commonly called. however. 1. but also explain your methodology. A recommendation report compares two or more alternatives and recommends one (or. imagine an engineering firm bidding on a portion of the work to build a hemodialysis clinic. the information on the topic is not just for anybody who might be interested in the topic. but for some individual or group that has specific needs for it and is even willing to pay for that information. just a guide on writing macros in MS-Word. instead of instructions on using all of MS-Word. a medical problem. CDROM technology. Students often write backup procedures for the jobs they do at their work. The engineers need to know general knowledge about renal disease and the technologies used to treat it.1. but they don't want to have to go digging in the library to find it. equipment. You can modify this type by summarizing other primary research reports. Primary research report Primary research refers to the actual work someone does in a laboratory or in the field—in other words. For example. whether it is practical and technologically possible. none). Others write short user manuals for an appliance.1. or program. What they need is a technical background report on the subject. This type of technical report provides background on a topic—for example. You may have written a "lab report.2. a college might investigate the feasibility of giving every student an e-mail address and putting many of the college functions online. Technical-background report The background report is the hardest to define but the most commonly written. they write about some smaller segment—for example.3. describe the equipment and facilities you used. If there is too much to write about. An evaluation or assessment report studies something in terms of its worth or value For example. global warming.1. or U. and evaluation reports Another useful type of report is one that studies a problem or opportunity and then makes a recommendation. solar energy. if necessary.
street address and phone numbers. Business proposed If you are ambitious to run your own business. Don't feel constrained by this list. organization or company.1. projects revenues. The problem with writing a proposal in our technical-writing class is coordinating it with the proposal you write at the beginning of the semester (a proposal to write a proposal. It is aimed primarily at potential investors. Therefore. you can write a business plan. When you define audience. which is a plan or proposal to start a new business or to expand an existing one. operation. and qualifications. what they know or don't know in relation to the topic. and why they want or might need the information. background.one that might be read by marketing and planning executives. and occupation or position. Thus. specifications are not a good exercise of your writing abilities. in which they went after some contract or grant. the audience cannot be this vague sort of "anybody who is considering purchasing a CD player. True specifications are not much on writing the text is dense. and graphics replace regular sentences and paragraphs whenever possible. functions. 1.2. just bigger.1. lists.1. (Please. Why does the audience need this information? How will readers get access to this information? You also have to define the audience in terms of who they are specifically: that means things like names. these become much more elaborate. and market potential. if there is a type of technical document you want to write not listed here. you define who the readers are. come on!). review of literature. It may be that we are using different names for the same thing. not this semester. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 3 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . explores the marketplace and the competition. For example. fragmented. you discuss some new product design in terms of its construction. you can write a more high-level version . materials. talk to your instructor. if you wanted to write about CD audio players.7. Plus elements from other kinds of reports get imported—such as feasibility discussion. Report-length proposal As you may be aware." You have to define the audience in terms of its knowledge. it describes the proposed business. Technical specifications In this report type. Audience and Situation in Technical Reports A critical step in your early report planning is to define a specific audience and situation in which to write the report. proposals can be monster documents of hundreds or even thousands of pages.1.6. and need for the information. what experience or background they have in relation to the topic. Sometimes this leaves out a critical element: just what are the circumstances that bring about the need for the information.5. 1.) Most of the elements are the same. tables. and describes the operation and output of the proposed business. Several students have set up scenarios in which they proposed internally to write an external proposal. features. Just as critical to the planning process is defining the situation. 1. However.
Fuzzy topics Some topics just don't work. here is a brief review of some of the chief characteristics of the technical report: 1. who can help you brainstorm for graphics. However. But avoid editorializing—there are other courses where you can do this. These get into substantial technical areas. You can. don't be concerned that your has to be about computers. abortion. electronics.3. however. If you don't believe any information sources are necessary for your report project. however. that's where your instructor can help.1. interviews or correspondence with experts.3. and the like. If you can't think of any graphics for your report project. Remember that the word technical refers to anybody of specialized knowledge. So can UFOs. And. Ask your instructor to show you a few example reports. or academic studies. or some other "technical" topic. develop these topics: for example. No one expects a doctoral thesis. 1. 1. These may include not only books and articles that can be found in libraries but also technical brochures. Maybe somebody can even figure out a good way to handle UFOs. physiological aspects of marijuana or the medical techniques for abortion or the developmental stages of the fetus. Of course. marijuana. In addition to that. look around you in your work. General Characteristics of Technical Reports You're probably wondering what this technical report is supposed to look like. don't shy away from interesting topics that you don't feel you know enough about.4. you may not have a good topic. Graphics The report should have graphics. describe the chemical. Use the report project as a chance to learn something new.3. Information sources Your report should make use of information sources. The preceding topics are difficult to pin down this way. The point of the report is to go into details. for some reason.3. Accurate detail The report should be very detailed and accurate. as a later chapter in this book will show. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 4 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . Get in touch with your instructor.2. Some are a little more difficult than others.1. the kind of details your specific audience needs. 1. Tough technical topics As mentioned earlier. Topics for Technical Reports Just about any topic can be worked into a good technical-report project. You want your report to have hard factual data in it. as well as first-hand inspections.3. Graphics include all kinds of possibilities.4. For example.1. don't attempt to write a technical report on the pro's and con's of gun control. 1. Editorializing For the report project.4. dream analysis can be very fuzzy and nebulous.4. that is why some technical writing course includes a proposal assignment: it gives your instructor a chance to see what you want to do and to guide you away from problems such as the following: 1. hobbies. At the same time.3. good reports have been written on the apparatus used in dream research laboratories. If this is a concern for you. 1. it's common sense that we often write better about things we know about. contact your instructor.2. For example. avoid editorial topics.
6." Instead. transmittal letter.10. Most students invent an audience and situation.4. a report of this length is rather skimpy. table of contents. This is a minimum.9. Documentation When you use borrowed information in your technical report. the whole report must be photocopied. you may get concerned about the technical accuracy of your information. or the like. list of figures. Remember that this is a writing course.7. 1. Length The report should be at least 8 1. But remember that sheer weight does not equal quality (or better grade).4. binding. 1. realistic. The report must be bound in some way. and appendixes. The style of citing your sources (also called "documenting" your sources). contact your instructor—there are numerous tricks we can use to cut it down to size.4. Make a goodfaith effort to get the facts right. but don't go overboard. electronics. 1.4. Special format The technical report uses a rather involved format including covers.4.4. If you get into a bind with a report project that would take too many pages. Technical content You must design your report project in such a way that your poor technical-writing instructor has a chance to understand it . and specific: for example. energy. 1. at some point. interested in reliable information on global warming.4. other than what your time. be sure to cite your sources. it has to be real. and stamina can handle. "Texas Coastal Real Estate Developers Association. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 5 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .8. nursing. you must write for the nonspecialist. title page.in other words. Production The technical report should be typed or printed out neatly. One style commonly used in science and engineering is called the number system.5 spaced typed or printed pages (using 3/4 -inch margins). which will be presented in a later chapter. and the photocopy handed in (not the original with the taped-in graphics). There is no real maximum length. And the audience can't merely be something like "anybody who might be interested in global warming.4. Headings and lists The report should use the format for headings that is required for the course. 1. These have to be prepared according to a set standard. Realistic audience and situation The report must be defined for a real or realistic group of readers who exist in a real or realistic situation. If graphics are taped in. as well as various kinds of lists as appropriate. not a course in engineering.1. science. to be used to aid in long-range investment planning." 1. Also.5. counting from introduction to conclusion.
. figures. In contrast. These last two observations (points 2 and 3) are very hard to "see" in the format used in Table 2-1. look at the presentation of the same information in Table 2-2 and see if you can quickly add any more main points to your list. Thus. When you have finished this. Do this before you continue. sometimes words need to be combined with visual aids. This involves knowing 1. How to integrate the visual aid into the text 2. The same can often be said of other visual elements. Further. more subtle ones. most readers of Table 2-2 easily and quickly note all three observations. such as drawings. charts. appropriate formatting can make a technical report much easier to read. by repeating it in a different form. or other visual elements. a communicator ought to be able to use them effectively. formatting (the use of white space and indenting). even better. a visual aid can present a compact summary of the main points of a verbal text. Given these advantages of visual aids. When to use the visual aid 3. Making a visual aid truly visual Take about 2 to 5 seconds to look at Table 2-1 and then cover it up. pie chart. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 6 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . It is known that you can increase the strength and memorability of a message simply by repeating it or. when a visual presentation is added to a verbal one. line graph) 4. people who read only Table 2-1 note (1) that job satisfaction declines in each of the two main groups of occupations. (Have you ever heard the expression "a picture is worth a thousand words"?) Finally. that most of the first group is relatively satisfied (93 to 82 percent satisfied) whereas most of the second group is much less satisfied (only 52 to 16 percent satisfied). Notice that Table 2-2 makes it visually quite clear that the job satisfaction ratings of the two groups overlap and that the skilled trade and factory workers as a group are less satisfied than the professionals. These readers will sometimes notice (2) that there is a large difference in job satisfaction between the two groups-that is. a visual element can often summarize in a more memorable form than words alone can.down the main points made by the table. simply because of the format of the table. Typically. bar graph. How to select the best type of visual element in a given situation (e. Also. Very few readers of only Table 2-1 will notice (3) that the job satisfaction of skilled printers is higher than that of nonprofessional white-collar workers.2. Visual Elements There are times when words alone are not the best way to transfer information or points of view. Do not look at any of the following tables or discussions. How to make a visual aid effective 2. which can quickly summarize an important point or present it in a different way. For example. as well as a few other. or graphs. the combination can produce a much stronger and more easily remembered message than either presentation alone. Now try to write . so much easier that the formatting becomes necessary given the limitations on the time and attention of an audience.1.g.
especially a summary 3. Where words alone would be either impossible or quite inefficient for describing a concept or an object 2. bar chart. You are deciding-that the particular type of aid yon choose (a line graph.3. If you Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 7 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . you are consciously or unconsciously making certain decisions. Unfortunately. Three suggested principles for deciding this are to use a visual aid 1. Deciding when to use a visual aid Communicators often wonder when they should use a visual aid in a communication.Table 2-1 Proportion of occupational groups who would choose similar work again Professional occupation Ubran university professors Mathematicians Physicists Biologists Chemists Lawyers School superintendents Journalists White-collar workers percent 93 91 89 89 86 85 84 82 43 skilled trades occupations Skilled printers Paper workers Skilled auto workers Skilled steel workers Textile workers Unskilled steel workers Unskilled steel workers percent 52 42 41 40 31 31 21 Table 2-2 Alternate arrangement for proportion of occupational groups who would choose similar work again Professional occupation Ubran university professors Mathematicians Physicists Biologists Chemists Lawyers School superintendents Journalists White-collar workers skilled trades occupations Skilled printers Paper workers Skilled auto workers Skilled steel workers Textile workers Unskilled steel workers Unskilled steel workers percent 93 91 89 89 86 85 84 82 43 percent 52 42 41 40 31 31 21 2.2. again. pie diagram. and photograph) is the best type to make your point and that the arrangement and highlighting of material on the page is. Where a visual aid is needed to underscore an important point. Selecting the best type of visual aid in a given situation When you design a particular visual aid. there is little information available on which to base such decisions. the best to make your point. Where a visual element is conventionally or easily used to present data 2.
third. or color. as illustrated in Figure 2-1. we expect things in the center to be more important than things on the periphery.3. we expect things in the foreground to be more important than things in the background. and sixth. The purpose of this section is to sketch out some better or more conscious reasons for choosing. Figure 2-1 Preferred location of independent variable on a graph Figure 2-2 Unconventional location of independent variable on a graph Second. is larger. thick things to be more important than thin things. we expect things to proceed from top to bottom. Some types of visual aids and their uses There are six main types of visual aids with which a scientist or engineer should be familiar: (1) line graphs. type face. we expect written things to proceed from left to right. The section will first identify some conventions of visual perception and then examine several common types of visual -aids to see what they do and do not show well. Fourth. First. ninth. a title. we plot time on the x-axis and frequency on the yaxis. 2. Conventions of Visual Perception There are a number of general statements we can make about our expectations of visual information.are like most writers.2. location. or color are somehow related to each other. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 8 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . and. 2. and (6) line drawings. thicker.1. Each of these types has particular strengths and weaknesses. Note that writing that. fifth. For instance. (4) tables. Seventh. we see things as standing out if they contrast with their surroundings because of line thickness.3. Note that in scientific and technical graphs. we place the independent variable on the x-axis so that the more important variable moves from left to right. Eighth. (5) photographs. large things to be more important than small things. (2) bar graphs. shape. you must decide what point you are trying to make and then select the type of visual aid which makes that kind of point well. This pattern is so universal that Figure 2-2 looks at best odd and at worst disturbing. and to use any one appropriately. we expect that things having the same size. (3) pie charts. or an especially important word in a passage. you probably choose one type of visual aid over another simply because it is the first thing you think of using. we expect areas containing a lot of activity and information to contain the most important information. or bolder than the surrounding type is usually more important: a heading. Lastly.
These characteristics are illustrated in Figure2-3. and the similarities and differences between similar numbers. the relationship of many lines. the relationships among more than three or four items at a time. direction as opposed to volume. volume as opposed to direction. These characteristics are evident in the variant of the bar graph presented in Figure 2-5 and in Figure 2-6. if there is one. show well continuity and direction as opposed to individual or discrete points. Figure 2-5 Bar Chart Showing annual energy saving Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 9 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . Figure 2-3 River flow before (1963) and Figure 2-4 Reference of families for girls after (1977) construction of Aswan High versus boys in six countries Dam on the Nile River BAR GRAPHS Bar graphs show relatively well the discreteness or separateness of points as opposed to their continuity. depending on the type of information they represent. you should probably not put more than three or four on a single graph.LINEGRAPHS Line graphs. or the inter section of three or more lines. and the importance of a nodal point. the contrast between large and small numbers. especially if they intersect frequently. or you may produce a graph as hard to follow as the one in Figure 2-4. The bars are normally separated by spaces. Bar graphs can be arranged with either horizontal (Figure 2-5) or vertical bars (Figure 2-6). Line graphs do not show well them importance of one particular point which falls of a node. lf its important to be able to trace each line on a graph.
Figure 2-6 Vertical bar chart HISTOGRAMS A histogram looks like a bar chart. It is usually plotted like a bar chart. Figure 2-6 Histogram for failure records SURFACE CAHRTS A surface chart is shown in Figure 2-8. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 10 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . Yet as a means for conveying Illustrative information to non technical readers. as shown in Figure 2-7. The chief visible difference between a histogram and a bar chart is that there are no spaces between the bars of a histogram. but functionally it is similar to a graph because it deals with two continuous variables (functions that can be shown on a scale' to be decreasing or increasing). but it is not. it can serve a very useful purpose. It may look like a graph. To a technical person its' construction may seem so awkward that he might wonder when he would ever need to use one.
the lower curve for 1980 is plotted at 15. The curve containing the most import-ant or largest quantity of data is drawn first.000 MW In Figure 2-8. The uppermost curve is achieved as follows: 1. zero) and adding the second set of data to it.e.000 MW. and the similarities between relatively similar percentage (they show that well that 27 percent and 29 percent are about equal). using the first curve as a base (i. But unlike a graph. (If there is a third set of data. This is the Hydro curve in Figure 2-8. PIE DIAGRAMS Pie diagrams show relatively well the relationship among three or four items which total 100 percent. They also do not show well absolute values (unless you label the parts of the pie) or the relationship among more than five or six parts. with too many parts it is hard to see relationships of part to part and part to whole.000 MW Thermal 7. individual curves cannot be read directly from the scales. The next curve is drawn in above the first curve. the energy resources shown as being available in 1980 are: Hydro 15. in the normal way. which is added to the first set of data so that the second curve indicates a total of 22. For example.Figure 2-8 Surface chart adds thermal data to hydro data to show total energy resources Like a graph.000 MW.000 MW. the contrast between large and small percentages. Pie diagrams do not show well the small differences between two similar percentages (you can not usually see the differences between 27 and 29 percent). it is added on in the same way). The 1980 data for the next curve is 7. 2. These strengths and weakness is illustrated in figure 2-9. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 11 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . a surface chart has two continuous variables that form the scales against which the curves are plotted.
anatomical drawings. Also included are flow charts. or excessive detail. or the expertise to produce a complicated line drawing. While photographs can be air-brushed to eliminate some undesired detail. and blueprints. block diagrams. or relationship. the money. and drawings of models (such as atomic or molecular models as seen in Figure 2-11) or objects from any field of science or engineering. They also allow you to easily highlight a particular shape. or function. since they present items one at a time in columns. all of them share certain functions. parts charts. LINE DRAWINGS The term line drawing includes several types of drawings which focus on external appearance. They allow you to show things which you can't normally see in a photograph because of size. they emphasize the discrete rather than the continuous and make it very difficult to show trends or direction in. organizational charts. Tables are not predominantly visual: the reader's mind must translate each number into a relationship with each other number. when you are emphasizing the item's external appearance (as opposed to its internal structure or a cross section). part. While there are many types of line drawings. as seen in Figure 2-12. tables should probably be a last choice as a visual aid and used only when it is important to provide a great deal of information with precision in a very small space. However." maps (see Figure 210). function. These include "simplified photos. they still are not preferred when you need to focus on some one aspect by eliminating a lot of detail and when you have the time and resources to produce a good line drawing. PHOTOGRAPHS Photographs are useful when you do not have the time. and when you are not concerned with eliminating the abundant detail a photograph provides.Figure 2-9 Distribution of fatalities in 181 fatal car-truck crashers TABLES Tables are convenient for presenting lots of data and for giving absolute values where precision is very important. architectural plans. for maximum visual impact. physical shape. as already described in the job satisfaction example at the beginning of this chapter. the data. when you are trying to produce immediate visual recognition of an item. Thus. location. schematic charts. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 12 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .
Figure 2-10 map Showing UK Standard regions Figure 2-11 Model for polyethylene Figure 2-12 flow diagrams for programming sequence Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 13 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .
and solar-based electric power plantsand have broken down the specific savings as illustrated in Table 2-3.4 1995 1. If you work for a company which has an art or illustration department you may be able to get a technical illustrator to produce the finished copy for you and to counsel you in the design stage. You construct five possible versions of a visual aid.4. On what basis do you choose? What are the differences among the five visual aids? Figure 2-13 Annual energy savings from solar energy.2 0. and truthful as possible. You have posed three possible sources of the savings-residences.1. presented in Figures 2-13 through 2-17. However. Designing the visual aid Once you have decided .where a visual aid is needed and what type it should be.24 1990 1. For instance. you should be the real designer of the visual aid: you have the best knowledge of the subject and best know the purpose of the aid and the context in which it is being used.9 1. Table 2-3 Expected annual saving from solar energy Annual Savings (1015 Btu) Total energy Solar-based electric Year Residences systems power plants 1985 0. even if you have such help. you must design it so that it is as relevant. suppose that you are discussing expected energy saving from the use of solar energy in the future. total energy systems such as industrial parks and shopping centers. 2.2. This will usually be at least a two-stage process: designing a rough copy and then producing the finished COPY. you should be sure that it makes the point you intend.4.92 1. you want to construct a visual aid to show the growth in savings and the relative contributions of each source. Making a visual aid relevant Since you place a visual aid in a text to make a point.4 0. and now have to choose the one most appropriate to your point. version I Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 14 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . clear.9 53 Now that you have your data.
version 2 Figure 2-15 Annual energy savings from solar energy.Figure 2-14 Annual energy savings from solar energy. version 4 Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 15 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . version 3 Figure 2-16 Annual energy savings from solar energy.
but in addition they also bring out more strongly the idea of direction and rate of change. So how do you choose one (or two) from among the group? You pick the one which best matches the focus you wish to take in your report or talk. Finally. To really see the benefit of proper labeling and sufficient white space. (Notice that graph c lacks enough information even though it provides everything except the title and two critical labels. Conceptual clarity is discussed above. If you are primarily interested in the increase in total savings. Among the bar graphs. Graphs (b) and (c) present more information. If you are not much concerned about total growth but want to focus on the contribution of each area for savings. but the grid in the background is so obtrusive that a reader can hardly see the important lines and labels. Making a visual aid clear Making a visual aid clear involves two separate activities: making it conceptually clear and making it technically clear. a careful and hardworking reader can probably figure out the Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 16 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . especially between the same item in different years. Making it conceptually clear means having a clearly defined and relevant point and a good form for the point.2. from these. however. Figure 2-13 presents the most information in the smallest space and the clearest vision of total growth. it obscures the comparisons between items in the same year and between the same item in different years. If you are interested in the growth of the contribution of each area. and enough white space so that an audience has the best possible chance of finding the "right" meaning for the visual aid. graph (e) provides adequate information and enough white space to let it be seen. Figure 2-14 obscures the total growth but makes the comparisons already mentioned much clearer. look at the series of graphs presented in Figure 2-18. Graph (a) is an extremely bad example of a visual aid since it has none of the labeling information usually presented. 2.Figure 2-17 Annual energy savings from solar energy. Figure 2-15 clarifies the comparison between items in the same year but obscures comparisons between years.4. On the other hand. version 5 First let us consider the bar graphs. you would probably choose Figure 2-13 or 2-17. in comparison to the other charts. you would probably choose Figure 2-16. then you would probably choose Figure2-14. but still not enough to really get the message across. It involves having an informative title. Technical clarity is a simpler matter and will be treated here.) Graph (d) provides an adequate title and labels. The line graphs in Figures 2-16 and2-17 have the same strengths and weaknesses as their respective bar graph counterparts. appropriate headings and labels.
Figure 2-18 The necessity of labels.message (you should note that version d is typical of most student reports. which are done quickly checked mainly for accuracy rather than readability). headings and titles in visual aids Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 17 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .
if the communicator does NOT EXPLAIN the importance of the visual aid (its main point.5. Note that all illustrations in the present notes are referred to first. As a general rule.see points or implications rein those the communicator's wants them to see or perhaps even completely miss the communicator's point. for example do not put a figure in the text. see Figure 2-20. You must not only refer to every illustration in a report. you should consider printing it on a foldout sheet and inserting it at the back of the report. This technique is particularly suitable for circuit diagrams. This can become problem if the description is long. limitations. The visual aid needs to be tied to the text and explained since it appears in the text and make sense to readers.or right-hand page.2. and the reason for including the illustrations will be defeated. Try to limit the size of the illustrations so they can be placed beside. full page illustrations can become an embarrassment. or is going to be referred to frequently. assumptions and implications). then the readers will have to provide these of information for themselves. If the illustration is printed only on the extension panels of the foldout. the page can be left opened out for continual reference while the report is being read. Figure 2-19 Page-size horizontal drawings should be positioned so they can read from the right When an illustration is too large to fit on a normal page. Integrating the Visual Aid into the Test Once you have decided to use a visual aid in a particular spot in the text.1. 2. do not put a visual aid in a spot within the text. When reports are typed on only one side of the paper. see Figure 2-19. you must incorporate it so that it seems to belong there. when readers are put in the position. a reader who has to keep flipping back and forth between the text and illustrations will soon tire.5. but a real effort must be made to keep the illustration on the same page as the description it supports. This holds true whether they are placed on a left. The easiest way to integrate a visual aid with the text is to explain its main points and any special implications a reader should note. and lien to make sure that they are correctly placed. above or below the words. Horizontal full page illustrations may be inserted sideways on a page (landscape). then they are inserted into the text. plant layouts and flow charts. Positioning Try to always put the visual aid after you have mentioned it and not are reverse: in other words. and then point to it. they will -at least sometimes. In addition. but must always be positioned so that they are read from the right. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 18 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . Before pointing out to it. However.
Liberal use of white space All of these features occur frequently in scientific and technical writing because they are functional. busy readers can skip that section if they don't need details. Numbers to mark the various paragraphs 6. indentation and lists provide clues to the organization of the report: they allow a reader to skip freely from section to section without reading everything. books and personal letters. Certain reproduction equipment cannot handle some sizes.2. single-spacing saves space. Short paragraphs 3. heavy blacks and light blues may not reproduce well on some electrostatic copiers. 2.Figure 2-20 large illustrations can be placed on a fold out sheet at rear of report 2. materials and colors. and photographs can be reproduced clearly by very few. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 19 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . the beginning of a typical engineering report. Printing Always discuss printing methods with the person who will be making copies of your report before you start making reproduction copy. Formatting Contentions that Make Reading Easier There are many features of technical writing that make it look different from most writing we see in newspapers. For example. Single-spacing 2.5. The numbering. Headings (underlined titles) 5. Lists 4. even though it may be single-spaced. Short paragraphs and white space make a report easy on the eye. and the others make a text easier to read. Look for instance at Figure 2-21. especially for busy and inattentive readers.6. Headings clearly announce the contents of a section so that. You will notice that its has some very interesting formatting features: 1. light browns cannot be copied by other types of equipment.
Figure 2-21 Formatted version of discussion of technical report Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 20 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .
look at the unformatted version of the Discussion section of the report. Do you agree that it is much more difficult to read? Do you agree that formatting makes the version in Figure 221 more functional. easier to read and understand? Figure 2-22 Unformatted version of discussion of figure 2-21 Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 21 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .To get a good idea of how helpful these simple formatting considerations can be. presented in Figure 2-22. that is.
3. while writing. A stereotyped form shows exactly what information is wanted. A good report writer never forgets the words “to others. it should be realized that each industrial concern has its own specifications and regulations. and the writer is allowed much leeway in choosing the type of presentation. Stereotyped forms are often used for informal reports. and similar items in which the major purpose is to present a result without including detailed information.” The abilities. progress. During the course of a design project. 3. development. calculations. such as those for sales. Many companies have standard outlines that must be followed for formal reports. production. certain arbitrary rules of rhetoric and form may be established by a particular concern. and the most satisfactory method of presentation. THE TECHNICAL REPORT A successful engineer must be able to apply theoretical and practical principles in the development of ideas and methods and also have the ability to express the results clearly and convincingly. progress notes. The essential purpose of any report is to pass on information to others. titles of articles may be required for all references. or summarizing economic evaluations. the engineer must prepare many written reports which explain what has been done and present conclusions and recommendations. the amount of detail required. Here are some questions the writer should ask before starting. The decision on the advisability of continuing the project may be made on the basis of the material presented in the reports. and after finishing a report: What is the purpose of this report? Who will read it? Why will they read it? What is their function? What technical level will they understand? What background information do they have now? The answers to these questions indicate the type of information that should be presented. Figures 13-1 through 13-3 present examples of stereotyped forms that can be used for presenting the summarized results of economic evaluations. the functions. Formal reports are often encountered as research. They present the results in considerable detail. or design reports. survey-type results. Informal reports include memorandums. or the use of a set system of units or nomenclature may be specified. letters.1. and detailed instructions are often given for preparing other types of informal reports. Types of Reports Reports can be designated as formal and irtfortrrul. Although many general rules can be applied to the preparation of reports. periods may be required after all abbreviations. For convenience. For example. The value of the engineer‟s work is measured to a large extent by the results given in the written reports covering the study and the manner in which these results are presented. and the needs of the reader should be kept in mind constantly during the preparation of any type of report. analyses. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 22 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .
Figure 3-1 Example of form for an informal summarizing report on factory manufacturing cost. Figure 3-2 Example of form for an informal summarizing report on capital investment. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 23 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .
no results are included Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 24 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . by deleting or combining appropriate sections. The Appendix. the same principles can be applied to the organization of any type of report. tables. The following discussion applies to formal reports. at the end of the report. Letter of transmittal Indicates why report has been prepared Gives essential results that have been specifically requested 2.Figure 3-3 Example of form for an informal summarizing report on income and return. graphs. but. and date 3. Tables of data. Introduction Presents a brief discussion to explain what the report is about and the reason for the report. the same type of sectioning is valuable for informal reports. Body of report A. with each succeeding part giving greater detail on the design and its development. 3. Summary Briefly presents essential results and conclusions in a clear and precise manner 5. writer‟s name and organization. and all major sections 4. A complete design report consists of several independent parts. presented in the form of discussion. Table of contents Indicates location and title of figures. Organization of reports The organization of a formal report requires careful sectioning and the use of subheadings in order to maintain a clear and effective presentation? To a lesser degree. The Body of the report is next and includes essential information. Organization of a design report 1. After this come the Title Page.2. Title page Includes title of report. A typical outline for a design report is as follows: 3. tables. and other supplementary material are included in the Appendix.2. gives detailed information which permits complete verification of the results shown in the body. sample calculations. name of person to whom report is submitted. and figures. A covering Letter of Transmittal is usually the first item in any report.1. and an Abstract or Summary of the report. the Table of Contents.
Appendix i. Conclusions and recommendations Presented in more detail than in Summary F. tables. References to literature (bibliography) Gives complete identification of literature sources referred to in the report I. and figures that are essential for understanding the discussion Discusses technical matters of importance Indicates assumptions made and their justification Indicates possible sources of error Gives a general discussion of results and proposed design D. 3. If laboratory tests were used to obtain design data. Sample calculations One example should be presented and explained clearly for each type of calculation ii. Results of laboratory tests 1. profits. and return on investment E.B. Qualitative flow sheets b. Derivation of equations essential to understanding the report but not presented in detail in the main body of the report iii. The letter should be brief. Acknowledgment Acknowledges important assistance of others who are not listed as preparing the report G. Quantitative flow sheets c. the experimental data. Table of nomenclature Sample units should be shown H. apparatus and procedure description. Personal pronouns and an informal business style of writing may be used. Letter of Transmittal The purpose of a letter of transmittal is to refer to the original instructions or developments that have made the report necessary. but it can call the reader‟s attention to certain pertinent sections of the report or give definite results which are particularly important. and interpretation of the results may be included as a special appendix to the design report. Combined-detail flow sheets Tables listing equipment and specifications Tables giving material and energy balances Process economics including costs.1. The writer should express any personal opinions in the letter of transmittal rather than in the report itself. Previous work Discusses important results obtained from literature surveys and other previous work C. Tables of data employed with reference to source iv.2. Final recommended design with appropriate data Drawings of proposed design a. Discussion Outlines method of attack on project and gives design basis Includes graphs. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 25 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .1.
A statement introducing the reader to the subject matter 2. and recommendations An ideal summary can be completed on one typewritten page. The important results including quantitative information. as well as the appropriate page numbers. 3.1. The relationship of the information presented in the report to other phases of the company‟s operations can be covered. but the writer should not present an annoying or distracting amount of detail.2. Summary The summary is probably the most important part of a report. An analysis of the cost and profit potential of the proposed process should accompany the description of the recommended design. Here the writer shows the reader the methods used in reaching the final conclusions. References to previous work can be discussed in the introduction. 3. but it does not go into detail on any particular phase. Any assumptions or limitations on the results should be discussed in this section. such as the name and organization of the person (or persons) submitting the report and the date of submittal. it may be advisable to precede the summary by an abstract. complete with figures and tables giving all necessary qualitative and quantitative data. what was done. but. It states the purpose and scope of the report and indicates why the design project originally appeared to be feasible or necessary. Title Page and Table of Contents In addition to the title of the report. The titles and subheadings in the written text should be shown.2. or a separate section can be presented dealing with literature-survey results and other previous work. and a brief statement of the major results. A table of contents may not be necessary for a short report of only six or eight pages. and graphs should be presented separately at the end of the table of contents.1.4. major conclusions. for longer reports. it is a convenient guide for the reader and indicates the scope of the report. Body of the Report The first section in the body of the report is the introduction. Indentations can be used to indicate the relationships of the various subheadings. and the effects of future developments may be worthy of mention. The following outline shows what should be included in a summary: 1. The validity of the methods must be made apparent. since it is referred to most frequently and is often the only part of the report that is read. What was done and what the report covers 3.1. figures. which merely indicates the subject matter.3. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 26 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . It covers all phases of the design project. A list of tables.2. A description of the methods used for developing the proposed design is presented in the next section under the heading of disczmion. a title page usually indicates other basic information. The aim of the summary is to present precise quantitative information and final conclusions with no unnecessary details. The next section presents the recommended design.2. If the summary must be longer than two pages.3. All statements must be concise and give a minimum of general qualitative information. How the final results were obtained 4. Its purpose is to give the reader the entire contents of the report in one or two pages.
3.328 is ridiculous. Appendix In order to make the written part of a report more readable. reference data. 3. and the reader knows at once that the writer did not use any type of logical reasoning in determining the accuracy of the results.1.000. variation in the sentence length is necessary in order to avoid a disjointed staccato effect. The writer has a moral responsibility to present the facts accurately and not mislead the reader with incorrect or dubious statements. a proposed investment of $5554. certain types of derivations. have the report typed. and similar items are often included as separate appendixes to the report.500. and proofread the final report In order to accomplish each of these steps successfully. table of nomenclature.3. Flowery expressions and technical jargon are often misused by technical writers in an attempt to make their writing more interesting. This is not necessarily misleading as to the accuracy of the result. a preliminary plant design might show that the total investment for a proposed plant is $5. The style of writing in technical reports should be simple and straightforward. This information is thus available to anyone who wishes to make a complete check on the work. experimental data. graphs. and intended audience 2. The presentation must be convincing. as well as some sections of the report. 3.5.2.The body of a design report often includes a section giving a detailed discussion of all conclusions and recommendations. Certainly. scope. be indicated. For example. Write the first draft 4. since only two significant figures are indicated.4. Prepare a skeleton outline and then a detailed outline 3. When applicable. Preparing the report The physical process of preparing a report can be divided into the following steps: 1. Many of the figures. Check the written draft carefully. the writer must make certain the initial work on the report is started soon enough to allow a thorough job and still meet any predetermined deadline date. and literature references may be added. If approximations or assumptions are made. Polish and improve the first draft and prepare the final form 5. the details of calculation methods. an elegant or forceful style is sometimes desirable. but the technical writer must never forget that the major purpose is to present information clearly and understandably. Presenting the results Accuracy and logic must be maintained throughout any report. yet the descriptive part of the report is not made ineffective because of excess information. can be prepared while the design work is in progress. but it must also be devoid of distracting and unnecessary details. sections covering acknowledgment. Although short sentences are preferred. and tables. their effect on the accuracy of the results should. On the other hand. Define the subject matter. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 27 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .
Long paragraphs are a strain on the reader. the experimental or calculated points on which a curve is based should be shown on the plot. or some other identifying symbol. a log-log plot of temperature versus the vapor pressure of pure glycerol should not be entitled “Log-Log Plot of Temperature versus Vapor Pressure for Pure Glycerol. For example. Restrictions on the plotted information should be indicated on the graph itself or with the title. Any type of tabulated data that is not directly related to the discussion should be located in the appendix.4. Tables are included in the body of the report only if they are essential to the understanding of the written text. A paragraph break. The most probable smooth curve can be drawn on the basis of the plotted points.4. the correct units must be shown in the column heading or with the first number in the column. If possible. and any nomenclature used should be defined on the graph or in the body of the report.3. or a broken line connecting each point may be more appropriate.3. Every table requires a title. is not nearly as definite as a subheading. the appropriate units are shown immediately after the labels on the ordinate and abscissa. squares. and the writer who consistently uses paragraphs longer than 10 to 12 typed lines will have difficulty in holding the reader‟s attention.1. If numerical values are presented. would be “Effect of Temperature on Vapor Pressure of Pure Glycerol. however. graphs serve to show trends or comparisons. which present definite numerical values. and the headings for each column should be self-explanatory. The length of paragraphs can vary over a wide range.” Some additional suggestions for the preparation of graphs follow: Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 28 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . especially if quantitative results are involved. although still somewhat obvious.2. 3. but any thought worthy of a separate paragraph should require at least two sentences.” A much better title. In any case. Subheadings and Paragraphs The use of effective and well-placed subheadings can improve the readability of a report. If numbers are used. triangles. These points can be represented by large dots. the curve should not extend through the open symbols representing the data points. small circles. Paragraphs are used to cover one general thought. If extrapolation or interpolation of the curve is doubtful. 3. The interpretation of results is often simplified for the reader if the tabulated information is presented in graphical form. The sections and subheadings follow the logical sequence of the report outline and permit the reader to become oriented and prepared for a new subject.4. Graphs In comparison with tables. The title of the graph must be explicit but not obvious. Tables The effective use of tables can save many words. the uncertain region can be designated by a dotted or dashed line. The ordinate and the abscissa must be labeled clearly. A table should never be presented on two pages unless the amount of data makes a break absolutely necessary.
. if necessary. 26. Permit sufficient space between grid elements to prevent a cluttered appearance (ordinarily. McCormick. and (f) year (in parentheses).. The values assigned to the grids should permit easy and convenient interpolation. and the variable that is being determined should be plotted as the ordinate. 2. J. 4. Chem.4. The date is sometimes included with the year in place of the issue number. The bibliography should give the following information: 1. When a literature reference is cited in the written text. photographs. (b) Journal. References are usually tabulated and numbered in alphabetical order on the basis of the first author‟s surname. and other large drawings are often folded and inserted in an envelope at the end of the report.5. 3. They can be inserted in the body of the text or included in the appendix. but do not distort the apparent accuracy of the results. Eng. if desired. and other types of illustrations may be a necessary part of a report. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 29 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . the label on the vertical axis should be placed in a horizontal position to permit easier reading. Issue number is omitted if paging is on a yearly basis.4. 3. E. The curve should be drawn as the heaviest line on the plot. J. line drawings of equipment. 1988). 6. (d) issue number. (c) volume number. and the coordinate axes should be heavier than the grid lines. abbreviated to conform to the “List of Periodicals” as established by Chemical Abstracts.. followed by initials. E. Eng. although the listing is occasionally based on the order of appearance in the report. two to four grid lines per inch are adequate). Illustrations Flow diagrams. Chem. Complete flow diagrams. Unless families of curves are involved. 5. 7. (e) page number. McCormick. The independent or controlled variable should be plotted as the abscissa. An underlined number in parentheses may be used in place of the raised number. References to Literature The original sources of any literature referred to in the report should be listed at the end of the body of the report. prepared on oversize paper. If possible.1. The title of the article is usually omitted. the last name of the author is mentioned and the bibliographical identification is shown by a raised number after the author‟s name or at the end of the sentence. it is advisable to limit the number of curves on any one plot to three or less.4. 9503175-76 (1988). Use coordinate scales that give good proportionment of the curve over the entire plot.. 3. 95:75-76 (Sept. For journal articles: (a) Authors‟ names.
followed by initials. Peters. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 30 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . M. (f) place of publication. For patents: (a) patentees‟ names. Sample Calculations The general method used in developing the proposed design is discussed in the body of the report.. even though these same data may be available through reference to one of the tables presented with the report. (b) country granting patent and number. Thesis in Chem. Univ. (b) the use of “private communication” and “unpublished data” is not recommended unless absolutely necessary. and (g) year of publication. Progr. 1988.. Instead.. (e) publisher. (c) edition (if more than one has appeared). M. theses. D. E. New York. 1984..6. 5. The particular conditions chosen for the sample calculations must be designated. and (c) date issued (in parentheses). The data on which the calculations are based should be listed in detail at the beginning of the section...Gregg. Eng. W. 1986). of Colorado. For unknown or unnamed authors: (a) alphabetize by the journal or organization publishing the information.. in press (1988). Eng. M. and assignee (if any) in parentheses. 24753-781 (1978). R. (to Universal Oil Products Co. U. Chem. because the reader may find it impossible to locate the original material. sample calculations are given in the appendix. McGraw-Hill Book Company. followed by initials. 3. For single publications. Edgar. Heaney. Morari. For unpublished information: (a) “in press” means formally accepted for publication by „the indicated journal or publisher. (b) title (in quotation marks). The chapter or page number is often listed just before the publisher‟s name. or pamphlets: (a) authors‟ names.4. 280.249. “Elementary Chemical Engineering. 9. 4. Eng. p. 2.” 2d ed. Fenske. Patent 3. One example should be shown for each type of calculation. and sufficient detail must be included to permit the reader to follow each step. but detailed calculation methods are not presented in this section. AKhE J. and T.S. 3. CO.5(13):26 (1988). Chem..). Titles of theses are often omitted. PhD. F.. Boulder. S.650 (May 3. as books. (d) volume (if there is more than one).
3. meanings. equations are centered on the page and given a separate line. Proofreading and Checking Before final submittal. If hand lettering is required. and similar obvious mistakes. Short equations can sometimes be included directly in the written text if the equation is not numbered. should be included in the report. the completed report should be read carefully and checked for typographical errors. footnotes. Mechanical Details The final report should be submitted in a neat and businesslike form. Written material on graphs and illustrations may be typed or lettered neatly in ink. a reference to the table of nomenclature should be given with the first equation.4. If this is not done. however. showing the symbols. superscripts. only one side of the page is used and all material. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 31 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .7. Subscripts. Formal reports are usually bound with a heavy cover. the pages should be attached only to the back cover. Ordinarily. and long quotations. The report should be typed on a good grade paper with a margin of at least 1 in. consistency of data quoted in the text with those presented in tables and graphs. If paper fasteners are used for binding in a folder. In general. the appearance of the report must be considered and some sections may need to be retyped. a table of nomenclature. The nomenclature should be consistent with common usage. best results are obtained with an instrument such as a LeRoy or Wrico guide. Nomenclature If many different symbols are used repeatedly throughout a report. all pages including graphs. illustrations. and sample units. Explanation of the symbols used can be presented immediately following the equation. and tables should be numbered in sequence. and lower. Each symbol can be defined when it first appears in the written text. Starting with the summary. If excessive corrections or changes are necessary. and the information shown in title page is repeated on the cover. is double-spaced. spelling errors.and upper-case letters can be employed to give special meanings. the same symbol is used for a given physical quantity regardless of its units. Normally. grammatical errors. with the equation number appearing at the right-hand margin of the page. on all sides. except the letter of transmittal.
ORAL PRESENTATIONS One of the assignments in this technical writing course is to prepare and deliver an oral presentation. Your goal is to get them acquainted with the guide and to prompt them for any concerns or questions. Place or situation: You can find topics for oral reports or make more detailed plans for them by thinking about the place or the situation in which your oral report might naturally be 'given: at a neighborhood association? at the parent teachers' association meeting? at a religious meeting? at the gardening club? at a city council meeting? at a meeting of the board of directors or high-level executives of a company? Thinking about an oral report this way makes you focus on the audience. Or. softball and baseball parks. Informative purpose: An oral report can be primarily informative. imagine that you are formally handing over your final written report to the people with whom you set up the hypothetical contract or agreement. or laser surgery. for example. You might want to convince members of local civic organizations to support a city-wide recycling program. Persuasive purpose: An oral report can be primarily persuasive. You'd spend some time orienting them to the guide. Here are some brainstorming possibilities in case you want to present something: Topics: You can start by thinking of a technical subject. you'd have a meeting with the officers in charge to formally deliver the guide. Your task might be to train new employees to use certain equipment or to perform certain routine tasks. Once you had completed it. Employers look for course work and experience in preparing written documents. For your oral report. You might appear before city council to persuade its members to reserve certain city-owned lands for park areas.4. Topic and Situation for the Oral Presentation For the oral report. but they also look for some experience in oral presentation as well. but find a reason why an audience would want to hear your oral report. Purpose: Another way to find a topic is to think about the purpose of your talk. their reasons for listening to you. to explain how to run a text editing program on a computer). think of a subject you'd be interested in talking about. or simply to inform (to report on citizen participation in the new recycling program). You might wonder what an oral report is doing in a writing class. 32 Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . • • Instructional purpose: An oral report can be primarily instructional.1. showing them how it is organized and written. 4. and their interests and background. drip irrigation. and discussing some of its highlights. imagine that you had contracted with the Govemorate of Alexandria to write a visitor's guide to the city of Alexandria. Is it to instruct (for example. microprocessors. your job might be to give an oral report on the condition of the building and grounds at one of the sites proposed for purchase. For example. as a member of a committee involved in a project to relocate the plant. For example. or community gardens. solar panels. to persuade (to vote for or against a certain technically oriented bond issue). you might be required to go before the city council and report on the success of the new city-sponsored recycling project.
well-organized. conclude (state some logical conclusion based on what you have presented). who you are. give an overview of its contents. • Never present large a large body of information orally without summarizing its main points (on a transparency. Make sure that listeners know what you are talking about and why. • Make sure your oral report lasts no longer than few minutes. Point out things about them. well-timed discussion You don't need to be Mr. we'll all be listening for the same things.4. as a way of focusing your Preparations • Plan to explain to the class what the situation of your oral report is. Some ideas on how to do this are presented m the next section. you'll want to prompt the audience for questions and concerns. provide some last thought (end with some final interesting point but general enough not to require elaboration). or some combination of these three. Use the following as a requirements list. and find some way to interest the audience • Use at least one visual. technical stuff--slow down and explain it carefully so that we understand it. well-planned manner When you give your oral presentation. and what's coming next.preferably a transparency for the overhead projector. that you don't speak too rapidly (nerves often cause that). you've gotten used to using headings in your written work. and who they should imagine they are Make sure that there is a clean break between this brief explanation and the beginning of your actual oral report. • Pay special attention to the introduction to your talk Indicate the purpose of your oral report. wellplanned. understandable presentation. you give your audience a very clear signal you are moving from one topic or part of your talk to the next. explain them to the audience • Make sure that your speaking style and gestures are okay Ensure that you are loud enough so that everybody can hear. • As mentioned above. which part of the talk you are in. There is a analogy in oral reports with these. • Plan your report in advance and practice it so that it is organized. Contents and Requirements for the Oral Presentation The focus for your oral presentation is clear. • End with a real conclusion People sometimes forget to plan how to end an oral report and end by just trailing off into a mumble. Remember that in conclusions. be sure your oral report is carefully timed to few minutes. or Ms Slick -Operator .just present the essentials of what you have to say in a calm. • Plan to explain any technical aspect of your topic very clearly and understandably Don't race through complex. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 33 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . Overviews and verbal headings greatly contribute to this sense of organization. organized. Flip charts and objects for display are okay Bui please avoid scribbling stuff on the chalkboard or relying strictly on handouts • Make sure you discuss key elements of your visuals Don't just throw them up there and ignore them.by now. you can summarize (go back over high points of what you've discussed). And certainly. for example) • Use "verbal heading".2.
Of course the head-down style of reading your report directly from a script has its problems. the more oral presenting you do. For some reason.4. one that is clear. You don't have to be a slick entertainer—just be clear. • Set up an outline of your talk. There is little or no eye contact or interaction with the audience. speed— sometimes. Do some rehearsal. If you see you are running short or long.drawing a mental blank is the more common experience. That makes it hard for the audience to follow. Preparing for the Oral Report Pick the method of preparing for the talk that best suits your comfort level with public speaking and with your topic. you must be sure to speak loud enough so that all of your audience can hear you. organized. informal. practice with it. keep it around for quick-reference during your talk. write a script. The delivery tends toward a dull monotone that either puts listeners off or is hard to understand. • Set up cue cards. In general. • Posing. It doesn't matter which method you use to prepare for the talk. people tend to get nervous in this situation. please bear in mind that many people will be listening to you—you owe them a good presentation. supportive group. take it easy. be clear. 4. It doesn't often work that way. and make sure that your gestures and Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 34 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . • Volume-Obviously. understandable. This too can be distracting and a bit comical. well-planned. focus on common problem areas such as these: • Timing-Make sure you keep within the time limit. do some sort of preparation or rehearsal—some people assume that they can just jump up there and ad Mb for few minutes and be relaxed. Delivering an Oral Presentation When you give an oral report. • Make sure your watch is visible and check it occasionally to see how the time is running. The nerves will wear off someday. try to adjust the speed of your presentation to compensate. speakers who are a bit nervous talk too fast. Anything under the limit is also a problem. • Gestures and posture-Watch out for nervous hands flying all over the place. Here are the obvious possibilities for preparation and delivery: • Write a script. organized. the spontaneous or impromptu methods are also out there for the brave and the adventurous. understandable. use them during your talk.4. You might find some way to practice speaking a little louder in the days before the oral presentation. practice with them. bring it for reference. However.3. Try to remember that your classmates and instructor are a very forgiving. Slow down. it helps listeners to understand you better if you speak a bit more slowly and deliberately than you do in normal conversation. informative. It should take about two minutes to go through a single transparency in the talk. • Write m script and read from it Of course. However. practice it. or find some other way to get the timing just right. and informative. Plan to keep your hands clasped together or holding onto the podium and only occasionally making some gesture.
neat lettering or typing. business conference rooms. For example. • A verbal crutches. and then get a transparency of it. for certain visual needs. and avoid fidgeting with your hands. the overhead projector is the best way to show things to the whole group. be aware of how much you say things like "uh.As for speaking style. • Pasteboard size charts-Another possibility is to get some posterboard and draw and letter what you want your audience to see. Please avoid just scribbling your visual on the chalkboard. you can be guaranteed your audience will follow the lead! 4. sometimes they can take up a lot more time than you expect. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 35 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .• • • posture are okay.You can ran off copies of what you want your listeners to see and hand them out before or during your talk. In the days before your oral presentation. The silence that replaces them is not a bad thing. • Transparencies for overhead projector for most college classrooms and. Do your best to ensure that they are legible to the entire audience. Whatever you can scribble on the chalkboard can be neatly prepared and made into a transparency or posterboard-size chart. in fact. just don't say anything at all. then photocopy it. Rehearse what you are going to do with these objects.-it gives listeners time to process what you are saying Never read directly from prepared text. consider slowing your tempo a bit-a common tendency is to get nervous and talk too fast. Do not direct your talk to one or two individuals. leaving the rest of the audience isolated Sound enthusiastic about your subject. you may need to bring in actual physical objects. Still. Here are some ideas for the medium" to use for your visuals. good dark markers."eehhh" and other lands of nervous verbal habits. Instead of saying "uh" or "you know" every three seconds." and "okay. Also. exercise speaking without these verbal crutches. for example. Take some time to make your visuals look sharp and professional-use a straightedge. don't slouch on the podium or against the wall." "you know. This option is even less effective than the first two because you can't point to what you want your listeners to see and because handouts take listeners attention away from you. Design your visual on a sheet of blank paper. If you have a choice.5. consider transparencies~-it's hard to make charts look neat and professional. handouts are the only choice. or at least interested in it If you seem bored by your material. there is nothing more deadly to an audience Make frequent eye contact with your audience throughout the talk Do not stare at your notes or at the screen. You may have access to equipment like this at your work. • Objects-If you need to demonstrate certain procedures. Planning and Preparing Visuals for Oral Presentations Prepare at least one visual for this report. most copy shops can make transparencies for you. • Handouts.
you can list your key points and show them in visuals. Transparencies crowded with information are useless. refer to them. and main points are all good. make sure the units and streams are labeled.) During your actual oral report. It's a big problem just to throw a visual up on the screen and never even refer to it. red on yellow. make sure to discuss your visuals. key terms. Ordinary size type does not look good. • Tables charts. • Key concepts or points similarly. If you hand-write the transparency. or if your presentation is complex. Tips for the preparation off the visuals • • • • • • • Lay-out. black on yellow.5. try to get visuals of them so that you can point to different components or features. have an outline of it that you can show at various points during your talk. A bunch of unlabeled boxes and lines with arrows is worthless to the audience. Do not crowd your visuals with too many mixed font types/sizes • Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 36 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . (Outlines.As for the content of your visuals consider these ideas: • Outline of your talk. Do not over fill your transparency with mixed. Many members of your audience may have trouble "hearing" such data as opposed to seeing it. chart. • Drawing or diagram of key objects-If you describe or refer to any objects during your talk. • Key terms and definitions A good idea for visuals (especially when you can't think of any others) is to set up a two-column list of key terms you use during your oral presentation with their definitions in the second column. 4. graphs—If you discuss statistical data. guide your listeners through the key points in your visuals. present it in some form or table. Some of the best color combinations are: white on blue. yellow on blue. report. or graph. lettering with horizontal guidelines to keep your lines straight If you show a process flowchart. Black on white . If you show data plots. use large Mock. be sure the axes are clearly labeled. unmatched colors. try to always present your transparencies in the Landscape position rather that the Portrait position Do not present more than about eight lines on a single transparency. or both If you are at a loss for visuals to use in your oral presentation. Use large-type fonts on transparencies. legitimate ways of incorporating visuals into oral presentations when you can't think of any others.1.
There are steps that you can take. located where they can quickly find it. A clear statement of topic and purpose allows the reader to form certain expectations about the rest of the text. they often prefer to merely "consult" a document. writing is readable to the extent that it provides the information they need. looking only for the information they need. It is a well-known fact that we process information most quickly and efficiently when it accords with our preconceptions. So. abstracts. these are discussed in what follows.e. Establish your Topic and Purpose Make it clear whet the main topic of the report of the section is. These different types of readers are selective in different ways: the skim-reading decision maker may be looking for bottom-line cost figures and performance data. it is also true for professionals who often need TC read more closely and slowly. you make it easier for the reader to determine right away how to process the document. you will greatly increase its chances of being read an used: i. executives. If you can make your writing readable. For such readers. MAKING YOUR WRITING READABLE 5. worker or consumer may need to use operating instructions only as a checklist.. you will increase its effectiveness. supervisors. summaries. who often skim-read for main points and ideas. Use these to full advantage by loading them with keywords and main ideas instead of vague phrases if you are writing a report dealing with some problematic issue as is the case with most reports be sure to include a well written problem statement at the beginning Engineering and other applied sciences Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 37 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . Readers of scientific and technical writing are typically purpose-directed and pressed for time. senior scientists and other busy decision makers.2. Information selection 5. pass it on to someone else. however. the professional may be looking for the main thread of an argument: Ac technician.5. this is why it is important to create the right preconceptions in the reader's mind in the first place Scientific and technical writing genres customarily have various features signed to announce the topic and set up initial expectations. How can you make your writing readable? Unfortunately. for thorough understanding. how the topic is likely to be developed. must read selectively. specifically. Then we suggest a number of things you can do to make it easier for the reader to absorb details. and it is true for technicians. This lakes considerable effort on the w riter's part. workers and consumers who may need to read and follow operating instructions.2. Then state your purpose explicitly.1. skim-read it. that should be of some help. rather than reading word for word and cover to cover. whether to read it closely. or disregard it. there is no simple formula to follow. When you define your topic and state your purpose. However. so that your readers can anticipate how you will be dealing with the topic. in a form in which they can easily use it. 5. overviews etc.. Introduction Most readers of scientific or technical writing do not have as much time for reading as Hey would like to have and therefore. titles.1. This is especially true for managers. First we make suggestions for selecting appropriate information and for making this information accessible to the reader.
if the respective topics of these sections and subsections are made visually prominent through the use of headings and subheadings. you would have to insert some background information more familiar to the reader to provide a proper framework for interpreting the new information In technical writing. 5. what is a nontechnical way of saying more or less the same thing Not only will answering such questions with the reader's needs in mind help the reader understand that particular concept but more important specially if the concept is a typical one it will enrich and sharpen the reader's interpretation of the Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 38 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . or other forms of verbal or visual illustration. this new information is transformed into given information and can then be used to help interpret succeeding pieces of new information.are fundamentally problem-oriented. Explain Important Concepts when Writing for Nonspecialist Readers When writing for nonspecialists be sure to clarify the important technical concepts in your text by using examples. you can turn your attention by filling it in with appropriate details To make sure that your discussion is a coherent one. For example if you are describing the function of a refinery distillation column the terms "bubble cap trays" would be perfectly comprehensible to a chemical engineer. subheadings. This is what you should strive for in your own writing this means that you must have some idea of who your readers are and what sort of background knowledge they have. it is interpreted in terms of this framework and integrated into it As such. Therefore. not necessarily with a formal definition but rather with some kind of illustration How is the concept used? What is t similar to? What does it look like'' If technical terminology is used. 5. Research by information theorists in the past few decades suggests that communication proceeds best when there is a fairly even balance between given information and new information. allowing for easier interpretation and promoting greater coherence at the same time As new information is progressively added to the initial framework.2. the reader can quite easily zero in on desired levels of details . if for some reason you had to communicate with such technical information to a nonspecialist reader. analogies. a good problem statement usually has important orientation value. it frequently happens that the writer feels it necessary to introduce key concepts that may be unfamiliar to the reader In general it is important to define such concepts. Use Keywords Prominently Build sections and paragraphs around keywords related to the main topic If possible. Since the sections and subsections are arranged in a general-to-specific order.2. a hierarchically structured text facilitates selective reading. topic statements and sentence subjects Once you have established a conceptual framework at the beginning of your text.2. and so as discussed in chapter 6. to anyone else it would not.specially. visual aids. make these keywords visually prominent by using them in headings.3. Second. you should strive to link these details as directly as possible to the main topic the best way to do this is to establish a hierarch) of intermediate topics and subtopics for the various units and subunits of vour text with each being directly related to the immediately higher topic or subtopic These intermediate topics and subtopics should consist of appropriate keywords as discussed above A well-structured discussion is highly functional in at least two respects First it builds on the basic framework established at the beginning of the text.
4. are useful in precisely the opposite situation: where the concept is familiar to the reader but only if restated in more recognizable terms. do not overexplain. fail through the air in an unusual manner. Particles dried in this fashion have an unusual shape. of course are a familiar way of explicating new concepts. illustrate. Here is an example of an extended definition. which is a function of drying conditions. which is Paraphrase the ratio of the diameter of the helix to the height required for one passage of the particle around the perimeter of the helix. They should be used for that purpose. the liquid is sprayed into the top of a tall tower and allowed to fall freely in the bottom of the tower. That is. on the other hand. The shape of the helical path is described by the Remark coefficient. Paraphrase 5. Often. even if they appear to be incomprehensive jargon to an outsider. Use Standard Terminology when Writing for Specialist Readers When writing for specialists. simply refer to such concepts with the standard terminology of the field. There are several ways to illustrate and explain unfamiliar concepts for the nonspecialist reader. or otherwise explain concepts the reader is likely to already be familiar with. Analogies help explaining an unfamiliar concept b} showing that it is similar in certain ways to a familiar concept: they are useful in situations where the concept is so unfamiliar that you simply cannot think of any ordinary examples of it. should be used whenever the concept is suited to visual presentation. and Analogy consequently. standard Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 39 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . Definitions. paraphrase. so that the length of flight of the panicle is made much greater than the actual height of the spray-drying tower. however. like that of a saddle (or a potato chip). The solvent evaporates during the course of the fall. Rather than falling in a vertical path. and used freely. Visual aids. of course. explaining what the technical term "Remark Coefficient" means: The Remark Coefficient In the production of powdered detergents.2. define. is sought to be maximized. where it is removed as a dry powder. do not exemplify. a concept is too abstract to be presented visually In such cases. the particle fall in a helical (spiral) path. In spray drying. When used among specialists. specific examples of the concept are usually the most powerful means you can use to help the nonspecialist reader. Technical terms permit efficient and precise communication between specialists who know the concepts that such terms refer to. spray drying is the icchn que used to evaporate the solvent from the liquid reaction mixture and physically form the finished powder product. on the other hand. Instead.text as a whole It will provide some of the given information that a specialist reader would automatically and implicitly associate with that particular concept but which a nonspecialist reader would not. Paraphrases. Paraphrases have a distinct advantage over examples and analogies in that they usually take up less space: sometimes even a one-word paraphrase will accomplish the purpose. The Definition coefficient.
you might divide and conquer" produce two separate pieces of writing. As found m descriptions of test procedures or in progress reports.5.6. First. or a single piece with two parts to it. for details. etc. usually. you make it easy for die reader to either read the paragraph in detail or read it selectively.2. By definition a paragraph is a group of sentences focusing on one main idea If vou use a topic statement to capture the main idea and a clear pattern of organization to develop it. of course.2. are often presented as lists 5. The least objectionable way of doing this. if you are writing to a mixed audience of specialists and nonspecialists? This is always a very challenging sometimes impossible'.situation. you might stick to a single text but briefly define the technical terms as you go along. What do you do. The pattern of organization you select Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 40 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . should be presented within the first two sentences of the paragraph. and it should contain one or more keywords for readers to focus their attention on. Adding more given information in the form of examples.technical terms are not only comprehensible. use a listing structure A hierarchical text structure allows the reader to move quickly through the text seeing what the mam ideas are. Construct Well Designed Paragraphs Make sure that each paragraph has a good topic statement and a clear pattern of organization the paragraph is a basic and highly functional unit of discourse in scientific and technical writing.. though. The topic statement. for instance. i. too. but there are a few things you can do. how they arc linked together and what kind of detailed support they have many readers. is to insert a short familiar paraphrase immediately after each technical term: in the Remark coefficient example.e. would only produce a disproportionate and inefficient give/new ratio for that type of reader. which are expected to be read and followed step by step The same phenomenon can also be seen in carefully reasoned arguments and explanations. notice how the writer has inserted the paraphrase (spiral) after the less familiar term helical. Alternatively. with the details arranged in list A list-like structure whether it is formatted as a list or not. 5. if you are writing for that type of reader you should try to organize and present vour information in a highly hierarchical pattern. Instead of one statement being subordinated to another. use a hierarchical structure. which are often cast in the form of a list-like sequence of cause-and-effect statements Chronological sequences. specifically busy decision makers habitually read this way Thus.. but arc often "information-rich" in the sense that they may trigger a host of associated concepts in the reader's memory. analogies. as in a hierarchical structure the statements in a list are all on the same level and thus share equal prominence Perhaps the most obvious examples of this phenomenon are lists of instructions. so that each group of readers can be addressed with appropriate terminology. if you are writing for a reader who will be focusing more on details try to use a more coordinate structure. with main levels of subordination On the other hand. These associated concepts then become part of the "given information" in the message. Structure your Text to Emphasize Important Information Structure the different parts of the text so as to give greatest prominence to the information you expect the reader to pay most attention to For mam ideas. draws the reader's attention to all of the items making up the list.
so as to guard against the possibility that you have overlooked something important. If you arc writing a progress report for a group project. Talk to them about it. (2) be appropriate to the subject matter and the most important (3) be appropriate to die anticipated use of the paragraph by the reader. Water can be dangerous. Information ordering One of the most important parts of speech in scientific and technical writing is the noun phrase (NP).3. when to use verbal or visual illustrations. Strict limitations on the size of plates that can be handled have been established. or to make sure that nothing you have written is substantively wrong.7. misrepresented someone else's research. because it cannot function by itself as die subject or object of a sentence. you might want to show your draft to other researchers in that area. water. a singular countable noun. for example. The growing demand for asphalt is obvious. Have them read it as if it were the final draft submitted for actual use Tell them to mark it up raise questions about it. and strict limitations on the size of plates that can be handled. It can be defined as any noun or noun-plus-modifier combination (or any pronoun) that can function as the subject or object of a sentence. Field-Test Your Writing Field-test your manuscript with its intended users or with representative substitutes Up to tins point you have had to make guesses about whether or not you arc providing your readers with a proper mix of given information and new information for their purposes Your decisions about what kind of terminology to use.for the remaining sentences in die paragraph should (1) be consistent with expectations likely to be raised by the topic statement. This is so important that you should not put it off until the final stage. as soon as you have finished writing a good first or second draft. have been made on the basis of guesswork about the background knowledge of your readers and the reasons they will have for reading your writing This is why field-testing is an important part of making any manuscript maximally useful Field-testing allows you to see whether the assumptions you have made about your readers are accurate or not.2. can they easily find what they need? If they are skimming it for main points. 5. We have an emergency. a potential buyer. What kind of structure to use. By contrast. and so on. try it out with few intended users. ask them for their comments Docs it leave anything out? Does it mislead them'' Does it raise unanswered questions'' if they are using it for Reference purposes. such as table. can they easily locate and understand them? If you are writing a research proposal or article. y/e. Some examples are tables. If you adhere to these principles with all your paragraphs. this would be a good time to show it to other members of the team. is not a NP. A potential buyer has arrived. you will greatly enhance the overall readability of your writing. the growing demand for asphalt. criticize it. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 41 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . We cannot say: Table usually has four legs. Note that each of these NPs can serve as the subject of a sentence: Tables usually have four legs. 5.
some NPs in a sentence refer to concepts or objects that have already been discussed or that are presumed to be understood from the context. which of these NPs should be promoted to subject position? Ideally. The 5-year plan does not indicate a clearly defined commitment to long-range environmental research For instance. beginning with the most important A) Put Given Information Before New Information As will all languages. That is.1. this is given information. English sentences typically contain a mixture of given information and new information.Instead. the NP that carries information most closely related to the paragraph topic . where the plan docs address long-range research. B) Put Topical Information in Subject Position Often. The last sentence in this paragraph has three definite NPs which contain given information Alternate investments. more than one NP in a sentence carries given information.call it "Topical Information" . come at the end of the second sentence Tins ordering of given before new is desirable because the given information of the second sentence serves as a kind of glue between the information presented in the first sentence and the new information presented in the second sentence.should go there Consider the following example: Not all investors will benefit from Saving Certificates of the Investment authority Investors exceeding a deposit of LE 26886 (LE 53768 joint return) would have an after-tax yield far lower than with alternative investments. NPs are expected to occur in certain orderings according to grammatical and functional criteria. it discusses the development of techniques rather than the identification of important Songrange issues. Other NPs refer to concepts or objects that have not set been discussed and are not presumed to be understood from the context. or Treasury bills. Optimal Ordering of Noun Phrases In English. after-tax yields and the certificate. Such an ordering allows a reader to more easily fit the new information into a meaningful context and to see the connection between the two sentences. Of these. the phrases the 5-vear plans and long-range environmental research have been mentioned and are part of the given information possessed by the reader Notice that the words "the given information" come at the beginning of the second sentence and that the new nour phrases "the new information". we would have to say A table usually has four legs or The table usually has four legs. 5. such as money market funds.3. The key NPs in both sentences are in italics By the time the first sentence has been read and understood. this is new information Let us consider a specific example of the optimal ordering of NPs. These will be discussed in order of importance. the last seems to come closest to Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 42 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . or Samir's table has four legs. In that case. Alternative investments would also yield better after-tax yieldsand no penalty if the certificate was redeemed within the one-) car maturity period.
who redeem their certificate early C) Put "Light" NPs Before "Heavy" NPs As seen earlier.being thought of as topical information. we should try to insert the word investors in the subject position of the third sentence.and a very light direct object -a gas analyzer.. etc. development and testing office in Alexandria . Notice also that investors are referred to b\ implication as the delegated agent of the passive mam verb: was redeemed (by investors) ideally. after all. thus making it much clearer to the reader that we are talking about two different classes of investors: those who exceed a deposit of LE 26886 (LE 33768 joint return) and thos. as it stands.. Investors redeeming their certificates within the one-year maturity period would also have a lower aftertax yield and would pay a penalty besides. such as money market funds. too. complexity. that the word investors appears not only in the topic statement but in the subject position of the next sentence. if it is all possible Indeed it is. development and testing office in Alexandria (Object of preposition) Notice that in moving the heavy NP to the end. preciseness. or Treasury bills. does appear in the topic statement. NPs vary considerably in length. But what is the real topic of this paragraph? Isn't it different kinds of investors! Notice for example. Thus the ordering of NPs in this sentence. then.. the preferred stylistic ordering is light NPs before heavy NPs For instance.it also establishes parallelism between the second and thud sentences. Investors exceeding a deposit of LE 26886 (LE 53768 joint return) would have an after-tax yield far lower than with alternative investments. A more readable version of the second sentence and thus a better version.. Not only does this rewritten version keep the focus on the topic of the paragraph and thus contribute to paragraph unity. heavy as follows We have sent a gas analyzer (Direct Object) to the research. If we use the word heavy to describe NPs which are long and complex and the word light for NPs which are short and simple. Light. consider the following passage: We have received and acted upon requests for equipment from several branch offices We have sent the research. development and testing office in Alexandria a gas analyzer. we have to insert the preposition The following represents a flowchart for editing sentences in paragraphs: Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 43 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . the word Certificate. The second sentence of this passage is awkward and difficult to read.the research.. would order the NPs light. Not all investors will benefit from Saving Certificates of the Investment Authority. It has a very heavy indirect object . is heavy ..
Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 44 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .
But this invites the kind of failure just described Readers are often pressed for time or.those that cany given information or redundant information.4. Many readers lack the kind of background knowledge the writer has. unified way. Face-to-face conversation is an intensive form of communication in which the speaker is acutely aware of the listener and vice versa. and they cannot. etc. inverted sentence structure. they use emphatic intonation. they are simply omitted. to the demands made on a speaker engaged in a serious conversation. When the readers get bogged down in detail like this. But writers Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 45 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . For one thing. topical words. physical gestures. both by giving prominence to important words and by subordinating or omitting unimportant ones. In general readers are at the mercy of the writer. intensifiers and other devices to signal important words. tired or have other things on their mind. words earning new information. say what you mean. use intonation and gestures in their writing. As for empty meaningless words that serve no communicative purpose at all. of course. don't beat around the bush. For these readers. If the speaker violates any of these rules. are aware of such constraints and employ various techniques to make it clear to the listener that they are observing the rules. This is somewhat similar. The reading process as a whole bogs down at this point. Because of this close speaker-listener relationship. In general. so to speak. of overlooking main points and "not seeing the forest for the trees". They may not be in close touch with their audience as speakers are and so they may not have such immediate demands placed on them. Conversely they use none of these devices for the less important words. no matter how hard they work at it.5. the listener not only absorbs those details but also sees just how they support the main point. It thus fells on the writer to mold the details of a text so that they reinforce the main points in unified fashion. there is little the reader can do except try to figure things out. actually. the reader cannot sec exactly how they fit into the larger picture and thus cannot evaluate their importance. of course. it is often the water's fault. most listeners are simply intolerant of irrelevant details and will either intervene or break the conversation off if the speaker strays too far from the topic of discussion. preferring instead to have the reader do all the work. Writers should do the same kinds of things as good conversationalists. If the writer fails to do this. Still others have poor reading techniques and arc unable to decipher poor writing.key words. the conversation will begin to break down unless the listener rescues it with a corrective comment such as "I don't see what you are driving at" or "What's your point?" The possibility of such immediate feedback from the listener forces the speaker to make every detail relevant to the conversation. be honest. others have to read more closely and thoroughly. and the reader is forced to stop and start over. Many writers make little effort to organize details in a coherent. Editing For Emphasis Although some readers may prefer to skim-read. As a result. get to the point. Good conversationalists. they depend on the writer to present details in such a way that the role of these details in support of main points is readily apparent. Consequently the details themselves begin to loose significance. concentrating on details. there is a danger of getting lost in the details. good conversationalists emphasize those aspects of a detailed discussion that link the discussion to the main point or purpose of the conversation. conversations are governed by certain unwritten rules.
how the details of a discussion are related to the main points. a simple sentence may be the best way to represent it. and other problems associated with complex sentence structures. Dangling modifiers. from two principal sources: (1) An overemphasis in many quarters on the need to avoid dangling modifiers. is grammatically correct and easy to read. Each of the first two sentences. promoted by readability formulas. When you look at them together.1. These fall into three categories: devices used to highlight important words and phrases. short sentences make reading easier. and devices used to eliminate unnecessary words and phrases 5. If an idea is complex enough to require qualification. and lack of acceleration are present. Often. It is possible though. or some other complex modifier. comma splices. devices used to subordinate relatively unimportant words and phrases. you notice that there excessive overlap between them: sentence 2. of course be avoided . the repeated use of short sentences may have just the opposite effect The best approach to take regarding sentence length is to let the form reflect the content. with research and development. Furthermore. This unnecessary redundancy can be eliminated by combining these sentences. In short the use of emphasis is as appropriate and indeed necessary to good writing as it is to good conversation. that these problems can be solved in the future. these choices can be made properly only within the context of an entire paragraph. and coherence.do have an audience. On the other hand. Performance problems of lack of speed.4. At the present time electric car utilization is not possible because of performance and cost problems. unity. This tendency derives. And although a short sentence by itself may be easier to read than a long sentence. however. taken in isolation. an adverbial phrase. and this audience needs to know. producing a very choppy style of writing which irritates the reader with its singsong rhythm and. short mileage range. worse fails to put emphasis on important ideas. if an idea is simple and straightforward. probably. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 46 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .but not at the expense of emphasis. writers have as many devices as speakers do for helping the reader sec how details support main points. Cost problems are the price of battery replacement and the base price of the electric car. and (2) Erroneous belief. comma splices. and other errors of sentence structure and punctuation should. The problems holding it back are satisfactory performance and costs. Many inexperienced writers have a tendency to use nothing but short. contains too much given information (The problems holding it back). For example consider the following paragraph from a student report: ORIGINAL VERSION At the present time electric car utilization is not possible. In what follows we will describe the most common and useful devices used by good writers to create emphasis within individual sentences. Combine Closely Related Sentences Combine closely related sentences unless there is a compelling reason not to (such as maintaining independent steps in a list of instructions or avoiding extreme sentence length): put main ideas in main clauses. simple sentences. in other words. the best way to qualify it may be with a relative clause. just as listeners do.
we can shift it into presubject position in place of the time adverbial originally there: Because of performance and cost problems. It is possible. and it introduces the key terms performance problems and cost problems. it also creates a better topic statement: it is more unified and emphatic. ln general. In combining the two italicized sentences. short mileage range. (notice how these terms are the subjects of the next two sentences). The data obtained from the crash test are analyzed for fuel spillage. electric car utilization is not possible at the present time. windshield retention. If we also change sentence 3 to satisfy given-new and light-heavy criteria.Not only does this move reduce the wordiness of the first two sentences. You can also show explicitly that one idea is logically subordinate to another by putting the more important idea in the main clause of the sentence and the less important idea in a subordinate clause. In the crash test. For example. that these problems can be solved in the future This is a significant improvement. though not as compelling a one as thos just described. and lack of acceleration. linking them formally would reflect this relatedness FINAL VERSION Because of performance and cost problems. the car is propelled against a solid wall at 30 mph. but we have other options that might improve it even more. The overall result is this: FIRST REWRITE At the present time electric car utilization is not possible because of performance and cost problems. we can reduce the wordiness of the paragraph and increase its readability still further. The cost problems are the price of batten replacement and the base price of the car. though with research and development. fuel system integrity. For example. we could subordinate the more detailed sentence to the more general first one: Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 47 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . It is possible. with research and development that these problems can be solved in the future. short mileage range. now that we have converted the original sentence 2 into a prepositional phrase. electric CAN utilization is not possible at the present lime. suppose you wanted to combine the two sentences in italics in the following paragraph: NEGATIVE EXAMPLE Electric cars must be able to meet the same safety standards that gasoline cars must meet as set up by the Ministry of Environmental Affairs. and lack of acceleration: the cost problems are the price of battery replacement and the base price of the car. By making it easy for your readers to see the relatedness of ideas. The performance problems are lack of speed. would be to combine the two sentences in the middle with a semicolon These two sentences are closely related in function. Another change we could make. This puts more focus on the key terms performance problems and cost problems and less focus on the less time important time adverbial. though. The performance problems are lack of speed. you make it easier for them to absorb these ideas. combining sentences is often a good way to create emphasis in your writing. These standards are derived from an established crash test. and zone intrusion.
There are times when it is best not to combine sentences. pull it out. fuel system integrity. consider the following set of instructions for replacing a brake line an automobile: 1. To combine sentences beyond this however. Unclip the line from the chassis 3. would be a mistake because it would destroy the emphasis we want to maintain on certain individual steps. Clearly the first option is the more appropriate one in this context: the fact that the crash test is an established one underscores the main idea of the paragraph. disconnect the union nuts at both ends. if we were to combine sentences 2 and 3 in the repair manual version. These standards are derived from an established crash test in which the car is propelled against a solid wall at 30 mph. The data obtained from the crash test are analyzed for fuel spillage. Moisten the ends in brake fluid. and install the new line in the chassis clips). you might want to state these steps in independent sentences. which is an established car test. You could leave these set of instructions as is in the form of a formatted list Or you could combine some of the steps ( 2 with 3. we would be creating an imbalance in the Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 48 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . REVISED VERSION Electric cars must be able to meet the same safety standards that gasoline cars must meet as set up by the Department of Transportation. Unclip the line from the chassis and pull it out. Disconnect the union nuts at both ends 2. then tighten the union nuts. 5 with 6) to create more realistic four-step sequence of disconnect-remove-install-reconnect. For example. For example. this would be the result: NEGATIVE EXAMPLE To replace a brake line. if you are giving a list of instructions and want to emphasize independent steps in accordance with how the user might carry out the instructions. Install the new line in the chassis clips 5. Alternatively. To see how this might apply in a specific case. Tighten the union nuts. install the new line in the chassis clips Moisten the ends in brake fluid. and install the new line in the chassis clips. we could maintain prominence on the details and subordinate instead the idea that the crash test is an established one: These standards are derived from propelling the car against a solid wall at 30 mph. By lumping together the remove and install steps like this (Unclip the line from the chassis. disconnect the union nuts at both ends Unclip the line from the chassis. Pull the line out 4.These standards are derived from an established car test in which the car is propelled against a solid wall at 30 mph. Moisten the ends in brake fluid 6. as stated in the topic sentence. windshield retention. pull it out. and zone intrusion. as is done in tins excerpt from a repair manual To replace a brake line. then tighten the union nuts.
Inexperienced writers sometimes think that they must use a wordy. The system will do that by removing the burden of data entry from the present system. The microcomputer has all of the graphics and software capabilities required to implement this concept. signal words and identifiers. one version (Version 1) being noticeably wordier than the other (Version 2). what evidence there is suggests just the opposite: pretentious. wordy style can submerge your readers in a sea of empty terms. For example. then. making it next to impossible for them to follow. The result is a highly readable paragraph with appropriate emphasis on the main ideas and key words. this paragraph is a nicely written one. CADDS. Actually. no doubt. insofar as it contains 16 fewer words than tic original. light-heavy and topical criteria. CADDS. A bloated. much of this emphasis would be destroyed: NEGATIVE EXAMPLE The proposed system is required to alleviate the increase in demand by utilizing the microcomputer as a stand-alone entry system with all the necessary graphics and soft ware capabilities to remove the burden of data entry from the present system. the less important ones should be subordinated . 5. direct. But is it more readable? Absolutely not! In fact it is a perfect example of the kind of incomprehensive gobbiedygook that so many readers of technical writing complain about. Be Concise While the more important words and phrases of a text should be highlighted. This is accomplished by utilizing the microcomputer as a stand-alone data entry system.2. on the other hand. It is also best not to combine sentences when the result would be too long a sentence Suppose. bloated style of writing in order to create a certain professional image. foggy language is more likely than not to rum readers against you. for example. In' fact. This is a more economical version. If you were to combine the sentences into one. as the form of the description implies.4. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 49 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .sequence: no mechanic would consider this to be a single step. wordy language is less likely to promote one's credibility as an expert than is concise. the lesson to be learned from this example . The proposed system is required to alleviate the increase in demand. a clear general-to-specific pattern of development. They seem to believe that by using pretentious language. consider the following two abstracts presented in a conference. you have been writuig a proposal for a computer-aided design system and have included this paragraph in your summary. simple language. they will enhance their image as experts in their field.or perhaps even eliminated altogether Unnecessary words and phrases will only detract from the emphasis you have carefully tried to build up through the use of combined sentences. your main points and be persuaded to your point of view. and properly constructed sentences satisfying the givennew. do it only when it serves a purpose. is this: do not combine sentences just for the sake of doing so. As it stands. with an adequate topic statement.
These results point to the indispensability of the adrenals for the full t expression of aggression. it has higher percentage of verbs and adectives than Version 1. making it easier to process the sentence as a whole Thirdly. it was discovered that total removal of the adrenal glands effects reduction or aggressivenss and that aggressheness in adrenalectomised mice is restorable to the level of intact mice by treatment with corticosterone. it is possible that the effects of adrenalectomy on aggressiveness of intact mice. when treated with corticosterone. and P. Brain's results. instead of saying effects reduction of it simply says reduces lnstead of point to the indispensability of the adrenals . high levels of ACTH have tow effects. which might account for P. Thus the reduction of aggressiveness after this operation might be due to the higher levels of ACTH which accompany it. also result in decreased androgen levels. Moreover. high levels of ACTH. it is possible that the effects of adrenalectomy on aggressiveness are a function of the concurrent increased levels of ACTH. Since animals with low levels of androgenare less aggressive it is possible that removal of the adrenals redues aggressiveness only drrectly by ratsing the levels of ACTH it cuases androgen levels to drop . But removal of the adrenals raises the levels of adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH). However. Brain found that ACTH lowers the aggressiveness of intact mice. has the effect of reducing aggressiveness by producing an ACTHmediated condition of t decreased androgen levels.Version 1 IN the experiment of the series using mice. the levels of androgen fall. 1972) to decrease the aggressiveness of intact mice. These findings suggest that the adrenals are necessary for animals to show full aggressiveness. mice that had their adrenals taken out became as aggressive as intact animals again. since adrenalectomy is followed by an increase in the release of adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH). For example. rather than affecting aggression directly. and its style is more appropriate therefore the more concise abstract of Version 2 (155 words versus 179 for Version 1) is definmtely preferred This style is not so "noun-heavy". First the level of glucocorticoids rise. Brain. and since ACTH has been . in addition to causing increases in glucocorticoids (which possibly accounts for the depression of aggression in intact mice by ACTH). reported (P. Nevertheless. it has couses androgen levels to drop Second the Version 2 style has simpler sentence structure with fewer and shorter adverbial phrases before the sentence subject This means that the reader reaches the main verb of the sentence sooner. it has suggests that the adrenals are necessary instead of producing a condition of decrease androgen levels . Second. Version 2 The experiment in our series with mice showed that the total removal of the adrenal glands reduces aggressiveness. In view of the fact that animals with low androgen levels are characterized by decreased aggressiveness the possibility exists that adrenalectomy. Version 2 is easier to read. However. the Version 2 style avoids unnecessary Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 50 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . Obviously.
risk of ambiguity Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 51 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . preferring instead to repeat full noun phrases over and over. you can usually use a shortened version of tins noun phrase and a demonstrative adjective or definite article without muck if any. I have investigated the proposed use of the structure and various footing systems to determine the loads that will be placed upon the footings. and indeed it should be used in appropriate circumstances (such as when writing operating instructions for a potentially hazardous macliine or when writing a legally binding contract). in general. leading off sentence 2 Pronouns and demonstrative adjectives. This strategy is certainly a safe one. the style of Version 2 uses more pronouns and demonstrative adjectives: their in sentence 2. the Version 1 style has only one demonstrative These. Finally.provided. these in sentence 3. the Technical Division needs to know the loads that will be placed upon the footings. and the result will be more coherent and more concise text. of course. perhaps. even when it requires more words to make the substitution In place of adrenalectmised mice. the Technical Division needs to know the loads that will be placed upon the footings. which in turn has led to the writer's company being sued for damages. help make a text more cohesive . Scientists. Version 2 has mice that had their adrenals taken out instead of are aunction of. and where in feet it simply disrupts the coherence of the text. There are many circumstances. engineers. 1 have investigated the proposed use of the structure and various footing systems to determine these loads. They have heard of cases. for example. that it is clear to the reader what they refer to. however. they tend to avoid pronouns and demonstratives altogether. where a single misinterpretation of a pronoun by a single reader has led to some accident or mishap. This report gives the loads and explains how they were derived In general when you have to refer repeatedly to some object or concept that has first been introduced with a long noun phrase. By contrast. This last point deserves some discussion before we end. where such caution is uncalled for. REVISED VERSION In order to keep from delaying the construction phase of the Office Building. this in sentences5 and it in the last part of sentence 9. Therefore. and other technical people sometimes use full nouns phrases repeatedly to avoid being "imprecise". This report gives the loads of the footings and explains how these loads were derived There is no reason to describe the loads every time they are referred to Pronouns and demonstratives can be used instead without any real risk of misinterpretation. there is are due to. Consider this example NEGATIVE EXAMPLE In order to keep from delaying the construction phase of the Office Building.technical terms in favor of more comrnooplace equivalents.
Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 52 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ . NATURE OF THE REPORTS: They may be: 1) Technical (production and upgrading). 2) Administrative. C) DIRECT TRAINING PROJECTS.6. computer services. 3) Investment potential. 5) Future expected results on implementation of the included study. Which provide development support of communication. in detailed support of the findings and the recommendations of the project.. information and analysis of a certain idea and in some cases embody the technical details and findings of a certain project. Project proposals usually serve the following purposes with respect to the different functional types of projects. its approaches and capabilities. 4) Training activities. PROJECT PROPOSAL A project proposal deals with work plans of a certain subject. information and analysis on different aspects of experimental research or pilot activities and the results thereof. 4) Different means and methods which could be utilized to achieve the goals of the project.etc. 6. CAD. b) An abstract of the documentary output or a list of KEYWORDS reflecting the principal subject fields of the project. e) Substantive sections or chapters. d) A summary of findings and recommendations.g. documentary services. B) Direct support projects: Provide data. 6. c) An introduction providing information on: 1) Project activity or subacthity related to the project proposal. e. 2) Project staff responsible for the production. 3) Specific purposes the project is intended to serve.1. E) Experimental and pilot projects: Provide data. D) Upgrading of the efficiency of certain institutions in industry.. F) SPECIAL SUPPORT PROJECTS. A) Institution building projects: They help in the institutional building up. f) Annexes as appropriate. administration and other activities.2. The contents of project proposal can be structured as follows: a) Title page. set standards of performance and help continuing staff development.
etc. oil. Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 53 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .g. water. a fertilizer plant. Technical-industrial project proposals: These proposals may deal mainly with. g) Pre-feasibility study of poini f.6. wages.. 3. a) Description of the commodity. electricity. 2.Present situation of the unit or state-of-art including. e) Cost of production.. man power. e. b) Raw materials required or used in daily and annually consumed amounts. foreign and local currency required.Recommendations for better production (technical and mechanical) and development of the required steps to achieve the required targets.Different expenditure items required. c) Production line chemicals.Critical discussion of the present situation and proposed steps required for upgrading the efficiency (not required in case of installation of new factories). 5. study of foreign markets should be included.. 6. 2) Upgrading the efficiency of already working industrial plants.. d) Services.etc.In case of new factory installation. total budget of the project . additives . 3) Implementation of new production technologies and application of new machinery (research and pilot plant projects) .etc.g. deficits.etc. 1) Erection of completely new production line for a certain commodity. environmental conditions of the unit and its suitability.. Such project proposals should include the following MAIN POINTS: 1. f) Proposed capacity in case of installation of a completely new factory. pulp and paper. leather tanning factories.A time schedule for implementation of the proposed project. e. 4. machinery. benefits.3. exportimport prices.
or having an introduction that is all background? (See the chapter on introductions for details. factual detail focused on the purpose of the report and the needs of the audience and aimed at their level of understanding? Does your report accomplish its purpose? Is that purpose clearly stated in the introduction? Does your report use information sources and do you properly document them? (See the chapter on finding information and the chapter on documenting borrowed information for details. transmittal letter.) Do you identify in the introduction what background the audience needs to read and understand your report? Does your report contain specific. and so on? (See the chapter on report format for details. is it positioned properly in relation to the other report components. does your informative abstract summarize the key facts and conclusions of your report rather than act as just another introduction or descriptive abstract? Does the introduction of your report include the elements necessary in good introductions.) Does your report use the format for lists that is standard for this course? (See the chapter on lists for details. and is it written according to the specifications in the chapter on abstracts? Do you include an informative abstract in your report.) Is page 1 of your introduction designed according to the standard for this course? (See the chapter on report format for details. are your figure titles (captions) to our class specifications? (See the chapter on graphics and tables for details.7. purpose? Do you avoid the problem of having too much background in the introduction.) Do you address your report to a real or realistic audience that has a genuine need for your report? (See this chapter and the chapter on audience for details.) Does every new section (which starts with a first-level heading) start on a new page? Have you check for widowed headings (headings that start at the very bottom of a page)? stacked headings (two or more consecutive headings without intervening text)? lone headings (a single heading within a section)? parallelism in the phrasing of headings? (See the chapter on headings for details.) Does the title page of your report include a descriptive abstract. CHECKLIST FOR THE TECHNICAL REPORT Use the following questions to ensure that your technical report is structured properly according to common expectations: Do you include all the required components in the required order. followed by figure list.) Technical Reports Writing (HS x12) 54 First year Chemical Engineering Department Spring 2009 [ .) Does your report use the format for headings that is standard for this course? (See the chapter on headings for details. such as audience. for example. overview.) Does your report use graphics and tables? Does your report use the format for graphics and tables that is standard for this course? Specifically. and is it written according to the specifications in the chapter on abstracts? Specifically. followed by title page.
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