Writing Skills

Based on the presentation of Tom Atkinson, Boğaziçi University, May 6, 2004 Some additions/updates by Dr. Enis Karaarslan, Muğla University Computer Engineering Department, March 2013

Boğazıçı University

Tom Atkinson

Agenda
1.

Writing an Email
a. b.

Motivation What makes a good email Planning Structure Style

2.

Writing a Report
a. b. c.

Boğazıçı University

Tom Atkinson

  Email and reports are the most important documents we use today. The main topics will be for these types of reports but the main philosophy is general. Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .

Part 1 Writing an Email .

a Motivation .Part 1.

Motivation    How many emails in your in-box? How much time do you spend figuring out your next action after reading an email? How long do you spend deciphering (sökme. yorumlama) your text books? Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .

. So I just wanted to ask you if you could be more specific in what you want to know about "offshore" financials. but . I want to get the 8 o'clock train tonight. because the next one doesn’t leave until 10pm. I intend to respond to you each morning. you know how busy it gets.S. Angelo Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson . He'll provide me with the info you are interested in. I can't believe it has been almost 2 weeks since you sent this e-mail. the client he his supporting on an offshore project). and I am back to getting in by 6:30 or 7:15 most mornings. I am going to see Kemal Wednesday night (he has a short stay in U.Example #1 Hey Tom. with regard to visiting Citi bank on-site.. Regards.

please explain in more detail what you mean by “offshore financials. Angelo Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .Example #2 Tom.” Are you looking for financial statements or for salary levels? Regards. In order to help you better.

Example #3 OK. Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .

Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .Example #4 Gd 2 hear fm u. M. The LBJ is OK. Y R U going w/o him? C u soon.

Part 1.b What makes a good email .

Albert Einstein .“ ."Everything should be made as simple as possible. but not simpler.

What makes a good email?     Response within 36 hours To the point – short Clear Organized Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .

your message may just be ignored! Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .Pretend you are the reader and ask: What is the point?  What action am I supposed to take?  If the answers aren’t immediately obvious (apaçık).

Organizing for the reader’s benefit The first section summarizes key “take aways”:  Make your point early  Request responses up front  For long emails:   Write a summary Create headings (başlık) for each major section. Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .

She was under the direct supervision of.Get to the point #1  Example of a hidden main point Dear Personnel Director: On March 27. who was once a data entry clerk in your Ohio office.. Karen Krane from New York. I received a phone call from Mrs.... Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .

Dear Personnel Director: Please verify the employment of Mrs.Get to the point #2  The same example rewritten so that the main point is clear. Karen Krane? She was a data entry clerk in your Ohio office… (fill in the details) Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .

Avoid explosions   Do not wait until the end of the day to introduce a problem. Avoid writing a list of concerns (şikayet) that you have been thinking about for a long period of time. Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .

Avoid explosions     Strongly worded emails can create more conflict (anlaşmazlık) than intended Angry emails give a negative impression What you say cannot be taken back When possible. call or meet in person instead Tom Atkinson Boğazıçı University .

” Passive is less confrontational (çatışmacı): “Your registration payment is past due.” Source: Purdue University Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .Use active and passive voice appropriately   Active places blame (suçlamak): “You are past due on your registration payment.

Proofread! (düzeltme) Re-read to ensure:   Accuracy. spelling Message clearly delivered Rewrite or reorganize if necessary! Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson . grammar.

Finally: Take the 20-second test


After a 20 second scan, what stands out most? Did your main idea come through? Will the reader know what action to take?

Source: Purdue University
Boğazıçı University
Tom Atkinson

When requesting help by email, etc ...
They don’t have to answer  (Re)search before asking  Minimize their effort  Be polite  Ask in their proficiency (Ferruh Mavituna, “Nasıl soru sorulur ve cevap alınır”)

Boğazıçı University

Tom Atkinson

Recommended reading (in Turkish)

Bilgi kaynağı: insan – Nasıl soru sorulur ve cevap alınır? http://enisden.wordpress.com/2011/02/16/bil gi-kaynagi-insan-nasil-soru-sorulur-vecevap-alinir/

Boğazıçı University

Tom Atkinson

Part 2 Writing a Report .

b Structure 3.Report writing topics 3.c Style Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .a Planning 3.

Part 2.a Planning .

What is a Report?  A structured written presentation which gives:     A response to specific request An account (muhasebesi) of something An answer to a question A solution to a problem Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .

The report-writing process 1. 3. 2. 4. 5. Identify your audience Define your purpose Collect your ideas Select the material and decide how to show the significance of your facts Structure your ideas Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .

Identify your audience  Who is your audience?     Professor Manager Client Colleagues Write more persuasively (inandırıcı) Know their expectations Organize your message to address their needs Tom Atkinson  Helps decide level and purpose    Boğazıçı University .1.

dikkat çekici) arguments to support thesis Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson . cohesive (bağlı) organization Clearly articulated (bağlantılı) ideas Detailed research Compelling (ilgi uyandırıcı.The Audience: your professor  What will your professor be looking for?     Coherent (tutarlı).

Define your purpose (amaç)  What is the purpose of the report?     What are you trying to prove? What question are you answering? What problem are you solving? What process or experiment are you describing? Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .2.

Collect your ideas  Collecting is: Taking notes  Doing research  Performing experiments  Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .

or just something you happen to know on the subject? Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .Select the material  Selecting is:   Ensuring each idea supports your main objective (amaç) Deciding if the information relevant (ilgili).

Structure your ideas  Structuring is:     Organizing into logical blocks Creating a logical flow Enhancing clarity through charts or graphs Deciding which data should be moved to appendices Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .

Part 2.b Structure .

Critical success factor for life The majority of your perceived (sezilen) ability comes from how you communicate 30% What you know 70% How you communicate it Source: CGAP Direct Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .

What makes a report effective  An effective report is:      appropriate to its purpose and audience accurate logical clear and concise (az ve öz) well organized with clear section headings Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .

5.Report Format 1. 9. 6. 8. Title page Table of contents Abstract/Executive Summary Introduction Discussion Conclusions Recommendations Bibliography Attachments / Exhibits Tom Atkinson Boğazıçı University . 2. 3. 7. 4.

Title Page Title Author's name (position and qualifications) Place of origin Date Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .1.

etc. iii. Table of contents   Number pages starting with the Introduction Abstract usually numbered with lower case Roman numerals (i. ii.2. iv.) Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .

1 Internet Sources 6.2 Apparatus 2. Table of contents Table of Contents Table of Contents Abstract 1. Attachments Exhibit A Exhibit B Exhibit C Boğazıçı University iii iv 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 5 6 7 8 9 9 Tom Atkinson . Discussion 2.2. Introduction 2. Bibliography 5.1 Subjects 2.3 Procedures 3. Conclusion 4. Recommendations 5.

Abstract/Executive Summary  Concise summary of the essential elements of the report       Purpose Scope Achievements Main points Conclusions Recommendations      Independent (can be read on its own) Comprehensive (covers all the main points) Clear and concise Short. only 10-15% of the length of the report Written in full sentences and paragraphs Tom Atkinson Boğazıçı University .3.

4. intended audience. Introduction     States purpose. scope. approach. assumptions. possible benefits Defines special terms Explains why the report is necessary Gives motivation for writing the report Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .

5.g. Discussion   Main body of the report Headings clearly identify the content   E. “WebServices in the Financial Sector” Should NOT be entitled “Discussion” Theoretical basis of research Analysis of data and findings Charts and Graphs Evaluation of the methods used  May include:      Structure should reflect the analysis and objective Tom Atkinson Boğazıçı University .

solution 2. current. future technologies Problem. solution 3 Simple  Complex State how it is organized up front Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson . Discussion  Presented in an order that leads logically towards the conclusions and recommendations. solution 1.5.     Chronological based on your research Past.

Any volunteers? Tell me about your project and how it is structured Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .

analysis. where you've reached.6. interpretation and evaluation presented in the discussion No new material introduced Follows logically from the Discussion Conclusions section should give:    Key points Main findings NOT another Executive Summary  Overview of the research. Conclusions     Drawn from evidence. and where further investigation might be warranted Tom Atkinson Boğazıçı University .

Recommendations      Suggestions for possible actions based on the research Applications of your research in industry Recommendations to scientific or business community Possible improvements to your research Areas for further research be definite (kesin) be perceptive (anlayışlı) be imaginative (yaratıcı) be rational (makul) Tom Atkinson Boğazıçı University .7.

htm e. Townes.g.8. Phys. Krane. Bibliography   The bibliography lists all publications either cited or referred to in preparing the report Give full details of all publications and web pages either cited or used for background research while preparing the report. 2.S. (Wiley: New York) p. 18. and spectrometer". H. Resnick.H. Gordon. "The maser new type of microwave amplifier. 55. http://www.J. (1992). Rev. frequency standard. 3.com/outsourcing. J. Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .P. 1264-1274 (1955). Zeiger and C. 1. Physics 4th ed. Sigma Pro Inc. R. D.sigmaprotraining. Halliday and K.

Attention – Citation   Cite the work you have benefited from. Avoid plagiarism (intihal) Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .

com/2011/02/27/intihal asirma-tespit-ve-engelleme-onerileri/  Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .Recommended Reading (Turkish) İntihal/aşırma tespit ve engelleme önerileri http://enisden.wordpress.

has provided interdomain routing services for the Internet’s disparate component networks since the late 1980’s [2]. Tom Atkinson  Boğazıçı University .  “The world is a dangerous place to live.. (Albert Einstein)” [5] Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) [1]. not because of the people who are evil. but because of the people who don't do anything about it.Cite like ..

yet not essential. Attachments / Exhibits   Includes detailed data or information that would affect the coherent flow of the report For example    a long derivation of an equation a listing of a computer program written to assist in analysis of data Supporting.9. pages of findings Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson . data: companies. addresses.

6. 3. 5. 4. 7. Title page Table of contents Abstract/Executive Summary Introduction Discussion Conclusions Recommendations Bibliography Attachments / Exhibits Tom Atkinson Boğazıçı University .Report Format (again) 1. 8. 2. 9.

Part 2.c Style .

Effective whitespace    Blank line between paragraphs Bullet points where appropriate Not right-justified Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .

Describes the study in enough detail to permit another investigator to replicate it. The Method section is often divided into three subsections: 2. Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson . Method section continues on the same page after the end of the Introduction. the study in enough detail to permit another investigator to replicate it. The Method section. 2. the study in enough detail to permit another investigator to replicate it. the study in enough detail to permit another investigator to replicate it. The Method section is often divided into three subsections: • Subjects • Apparatus • Research Instruments/Tools • Procedures.2 Apparatus This sub-section is optional. The Method section is often divided into three subsections. the study in enough detail to permit another investigator to replicate it. The Method section is often divided into three subsections. The Method section is often divided into three subsections.1 Subjects This sub-section is optional. Method Describes the study in enough detail to permit another investigator to replicate it.Effective whitespace 2.

The Method section. This subsection is optional. ethod section is often divided into three subsections. The Method section is often divided into three subsections. the study in enough detail to permit another investigator to replicate it. The Method section is often divided into three subsections: Method section continues on the same page after the end of the Introduction. The Method section is often divided into three subsections. The Method section is often divided into three subsections. the study in enough detail to permit another investigator to replicate it. The Method section. the study in enough detail to permit another investigator to replicate it. the study in enough detail to permit another investigator to replicate it. The Method section is often divided into three subsections. ethod section is often divided into three subsections. The Method section is often divided into three subsections. The Method section is often divided into three subsections. the study in enough detail to permit another investigator to replicate it. the study in enough detail to permit another investigator to replicate it. Describes the study in enough detail to permit another investigator to replicate it. the study in enough detail to permit another investigator to replicate it. the study in enough detail to permit another investigator to replicate it. detail to permit another investigator to replicate it. This sub-section is optional.Ineffective whitespace Describes the study in enough detail to permit another investigator to replicate it. the study in enough detail to permit another investigator to replicate it. the study in enough detail to permit another investigator to replicate it. the study in enough detail to permit another investigator to replicate it. the study in enough detail to permit another investigator to replicate it. The Method section. This sub-section is optional. The Method section is often divided into three subsections: This sub-section is optional. The Method section is often divided into three subsections. ethod section is often divided into three subsections. The Method section is often divided into three subsections. This sub-section is optional. The Method section. the study in enough detail to permit another investigator to replicate it. The Method section. The Method section is often divided into three subsections. The Method section is often divided into three subsections. the study in enough detail to permit another investigator to replicate it. Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .

Easy to read      Clear. concise language Short sentences Correct grammar and spelling Pitch at appropriate level: not everyone knows what you know (seviyeyi ayarla) Concrete (somut) examples that support. not distract Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .

it is incumbent upon you to advise your organization to comply with it.” Tom Atkinson .” Boğazıçı University “After the law passes.Keep it simple  An example using “impressive” words:  An example using simple words: “Subsequent to the passage of the subject legislation. you must tell your people to comply with it.

Albert Einstein ."Everything should be made as simple as possible. but not simpler.“ .

solution 2. current. solution 1. future technologies Problem.Coherent (tutarlı)   Obvious signposts guide your reader through the report Follow a logical sequence     Chronological based on your research Past. solution 3 Simple  Complex Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .

” Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .Cohesive (bağlı)   Every sentence supports your objective Topic sentences introduce a paragraph’s main idea: “There are three main reasons why CORBA technology is used in web application development…” “The advent of the Internet provided new ways for people to communicate which has caused a revolution in the fields of sociology and anthropology.

Effective paragraphs Place information where it will be seen:  First and last paragraphs  First and last sentences Keep paragraphs simple:  Short paragraphs are more likely to be read  Each paragraph should contain one main point Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .

” “Solving this problem is difficult if you are renovating the office.Passive (edilgen) sentences  Rare occasion where “passive” style is preferred   Not good: "You cannot import those goods from Africa." “We will discuss the economic consequences of the reunification of Germany.”  Fix these sentences:    Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .” “People considered him one of the best designers." Good : "Those goods cannot be imported from Africa.

obvious headings   Use Microsoft Word “Style” function Automatically insert Table of Contents using “TOC” field .Consistent.example Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .

Templates from the Web  In Microsoft Word   Select “File. New” Click on the templates under the title “Templates on Microsoft office online” Title of Term Paper Your Name Course Number Date Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .

.............................................................. 2 1........................................................ 3 (2) Heading styles are already turned on for you in this template.......................... Working with outline numbered text ............. 2 II............... 3 Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson ........... Other ways of working with outlines............................................................................................................................................................................. 2 A.................................................................. 2 1.... 2 a) click Bullets and Numbering ....... Create a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation from a Word outline........... 3 III............................ On the Format menu .. A document can have up to nine levels.................................... 3 a) PowerPoint uses the heading styles in your Word document ........................................................... 2 (2) click Increase Indent........................................... About creating a PowerPoint presentation from a Word Outline . 3 a) Open the document you want to use to create a PowerPoint presentation..................................................... Click OK......... Click a list format that does not contain the text "Heading"... 3 (3) For example............ 3 1........................................................................................ 2 b) To promote the item to a higher numbering level. 2 B........ 3 b) On the File menu..................... ..... 2 A.... On the Formatting toolbar:....................... Type the list text............................................. 2 (a) Subsequent numbers are automatically inserted at the beginning of each line at the same numbering level.............................................. 3 2............... 2 b) click the Outline Numbered tab.................................................................... ...Templates from the Web   Take what is given and customize to match your style This IS NOT SUFFICIENT for your purposes.......................... . Outline Title Your name Date Table of Contents inserted by Tom Atkinson I................................. . 3 (1) Heading styles are applied when you use numbered outlines....... and then click Microsoft PowerPoint........ 2 1... each Heading 2 becomes the first level of text............................................... 2 (1) click a list number.................... It must be customized......................... 3 A........................... Procedure ...... ... 3 (2) click Decrease Indent................. 3 (1) click a list number....... Procedure ................................................. 2 2....... Move an outline numbered item to the appropriate numbering level ........................... Microsoft Word does not apply built-in heading styles to the items in the list.................. each paragraph formatted with the Heading 1 style becomes the title of a new slide................... . ....................................................................... pressing ENTER after each item............................................................................... 2 3................................................................................. 2 a) To demote the item to a lower numbering level ................ Definition: An outline numbered list is a list created to apply a hierarchical structure to any list or document........................................................................................... 2 (a) The first number of the list is displayed in the document...... 2 2..... .. and so on................................................... Create an outline numbered list ............................................ point to Send To...................................... 2 4............ ....

you will find that your ideas have gelled and that you can see the way ahead more clearly.Spread the load    Not all of your ideas will come at once Spend time noting initial ideas and set the document aside When you come back to it later. Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .

original ideas) Compelling arguments to support thesis  Quality and depth of research – 33 ⅓ %    Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson . cohesive organization – 33 ⅓ %   Use of standard report structure Ideas appropriately placed in each section  Clearly articulated ideas – 33 ⅓ %     Use of topic sentences Simple syntax and correct grammar Correct use of bullets. interviews.Repeat: your professor is the audience I am suggesting that your professor grade as follows:  Coherent. whitespace Charts and graphs Thesis pushes boundaries of what was learned in classroom Research from a variety of sources (web.

com/2012/03/27/onerile r-rapor-yazarken-dikkat-edilmesi-gerekenler/  Sunum Teknikleri – Dikkat Edilmesi Gerekenler http://enisden.wordpress.wordpress.Recommended Reading (in Turkish) Öneriler: Rapor Yazarken Dikkat Edilmesi Gerekenler http://enisden.com/2011/03/14/sunum -teknikleri-dikkat-edilmesi-gerekenler/  Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .

Questions? .

karaarslan@mu.edu.tr Boğazıçı University Tom Atkinson .Feedback      Give an assessment of today’s session What did you like most and least? Assess (değerlendir) the verbal presentation? Assess the slides? How useful do you think this topic will be for future classes and your life? enis.

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