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Writing in Engineering

A Brief Guide

Robert Irish

Publication Date - 25 January 2016

ISBN: 9780199343553

256 pages
5 x 7-3/4 inches

In Stock

The ideal pocket-sized manual for undergraduate engineering students who want to improve their writing


At once sophisticated and practical, Writing in Engineering: A Brief Guide leads students through how to compose design reports, lab reports, and other key engineering genres while attending to the principles of argument, style, and visual design. It is a part of a series of brief, discipline-specific writing guides from Oxford University Press designed for today's writing-intensive college courses. The series is edited by Thomas Deans (University of Connecticut) and Mya Poe (Northeastern University).

About the Author(s)

Robert Irish is a senior lecturer in the Engineering Communication Program at the University of Toronto.


"Writing in Engineering successfully attacks one of the critical communication problems engineering students encounter: it presents the theoretical and micro-scale examples that they need to form arguments." --John J. Reap, Quinnipiac University

"The text is comprehensive yet concise. Its approach is accessible and pragmatic, a strategy that is clearly attuned to the audience at which it is aimed." --Susanne E. Hall, California Institute of Technology

Table of Contents


    Chapter 1: Engineers Write: Purpose and Audience
    Why Do Engineers Write?
    What Does Engineering Writing Do?
    How Audience Influences Purpose
    Bringing Together Our Audience and Purpose

    Chapter 2: Constructing Engineering Argument
    The Five Axioms of Engineering Argument
    1. A Claim does not stand alone
    2. Putting the Claim first is strongest
    3. Interpretation is more valuable than analysis
    4. Logic is best, but rarely works alone
    5. Arguments follow recognized patterns
    Analyzing an Engineer's Argument
    Putting the Five Axioms to Work in Your Writing

    Chapter 3: Strategies for Reporting with Visuals
    Connecting the Visual to the Text of the Document
    The Functional Basis of Engineering Visuals
    Capitalizing on Human Visual Perception for Visual Design
    Deciding between Tables, Graphs, and Diagrams
    Tables: Making Data Visual and Meaningful
    Graphs and Charts: Visualizing Patterns and Trends
    Diagrams: Showing Specifics
    Heuristics for Making Visuals

    Chapter 4: Strategies for Design Reports
    The Logical Structure of the Design Report
    Developing a Design Report by Stages
    Final advice on developing a Design Report

    Chapter 5: Strategies for Lab Reports, Literature Reviews, and Posters
    Writing Lab Reports
    Comparing Lab Reports and Design Reports
    Literature Reviews
    Posters for Presentations
    Final Thoughts about Using these Genres

    Chapter 6: Strategies for Patent Searches, Use Case Scenarios, Code Comments, and Instructions
    Patent Searches and Patent Applications
    Understanding the Patent
    Use Case Scenarios
    Code Comments
    Technical Instructions
    Using the Supporting Genres

    Chapter 7: Style
    Developing Strong Paragraphs
    How Paragraphs Work
    Improving Flow in Writing
    Building Transitions
    Moving from Known to New Information
    Strengthening the Sentence
    Developing your Style

    Chapter 8: Sources
    How Engineers Make Citations
    Compressing and Focusing Sources for Writing like an Engineer
    Creating a Citation and Reference
    IEEE, a Numerical Reference System
    APA, an Author-Date System
    Ensuring Traceability of Information


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