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A Guide to Writing as an Engineer, 4th Edition by David A. McMurrey, David F. Beer

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3

GUIDELINES FOR WRITING NOISE-FREE ENGINEERING DOCUMENTS

As every engineer knows, form and content must work together. What is sometimes forgotten is that the relationship of form and content applies to documents as well as to physical phenomena. Without some type of form, be it well or poorly structured, no content can be communicated…. Even the word “in-form-ation” implies that ideas must be structured in some fashion or other.

Susan Stevenson and Steve Whitmore, Strategies for Engineering Communication (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2002), p. 247.

Information isn't a scarce commodity, as a leading economist wrote in the 1970s. Attention is. So, what can you do to sustain your reader's attention?

Bruce Ross-Larson, Writing for the Information Age (New York, W. W. Norton & Company, 2002), p. 3.0.

This chapter presents guidelines for producing large sections of noise-free writing, from efficient paragraphs to effective and useful documents. These guidelines follow the overall process used by successful engineering writers and include important considerations for your entire writing process. The topics covered here represent common problems you as an engineer are likely to face in the course of writing and formatting your documents.

FOCUS ON WHY YOU ARE WRITING

Consider this statement by Ruth Savakinas:

Complex technical writing is likely to be very difficult to read. Readability further decreases when the writer does not define major ideas for the reader and when the written document ...

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