Technical Writing

Technical Writing: A Practical Guide for Engineers and Scientists

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Features

  • Offers precise, hands-on coverage of technical writing
  • Complements the traditional writer’s reference manuals and other books on technical writing
  • Includes a number of personal anecdotes and historical stories that serve as real-world examples of technical writing
  • Explores the various avenues for publishing your work
  • Explains how to write for blogs, social networks, and other e-media
  • Incorporates at least one figure, table, graphic, bullet list, or equation on most pages

Summary

Engineers and scientists of all types are often required to write reports, summaries, manuals, guides, and so forth. While these individuals certainly have had some sort of English or writing course, it is less likely that they have had any instruction in the special requirements of technical writing.

Filling this void, Technical Writing: A Practical Guide for Engineers and Scientists enables readers to write, edit, and publish materials of a technical nature, including books, articles, reports, and electronic media. Written by a renowned engineer and widely published technical author, this guide complements the traditional writer’s reference manuals and other books on technical writing. It helps readers understand the practical considerations in writing technical content.

Drawing on his own work, the author presents many first-hand examples of writing, editing, and publishing technical materials. These examples illustrate how a publication originated as well as various challenges and solutions.

Table of Contents

The Nature of Technical Writing
Introduction
Who Writes Technical Documentation?
Taxonomy of Technical Writing
Technical Reporting
Business Communications
Scientific Writing

Technical Writing Basics
Introduction
Structuring Your Writing
Positioning Your Writing
Choosing the Right Words
Avoiding Traps
Making Your Technical Writing More Interesting
The 5 Cs of Technical Writing
Referencing

The Writing Process
Introduction
The Traditional Writing Process
Environment
Dealing with Writer’s Block
Meeting Deadlines
Writing Tools
Permissions and Plagiarism

Scientific Writing
Introduction
Technical Reports
Tutorials
Opinion
Research Papers
Reviews of Books, Papers, and Reports

Business Communications
Introduction
Resumés
Transmittal Letters
Writing Letters of Reference
Memos
Meetings, Agendas, and Minutes
Customer Relations Writing
Press Releases
Presentations

Technical Reporting
Introduction
Technical Procedures
Proposals
Panel Sessions
Strategic Plans and Planning
Problem Reports

Using Graphical Elements
Breaking up the Monotony
Modeling Ideas with Graphics
Selecting the Best Model for a Schedule
Dealing with Figures
Dealing with Tables
Dealing with Equations
Dealing with Dynamic Content

Publishing Your Work
Introduction
Making a Living as a Writer
The Review Process
Handling Rejection
Open Access Publishing
Self-Publishing

Writing for E-Media
Introduction
E-Mail Can Be Dangerous
E-Newsletters
Blogging
Social Networks
E-Magazines
E-Readers

Writing with Collaborators
Introduction
Writing in Different Voices
Very Large Collaborative Writing Projects
Behavior of Groups
Other Paradigms for Team Building
Antipatterns in Organizations

Glossary

Index

Exercises and References appear at the end of each chapter.

Author Bio(s)

Phillip A. Laplante is a professor of software engineering at Pennsylvania State University’s Great Valley School of Graduate Professional Studies. Dr. Laplante is an IEEE and SPIE fellow and a licensed professional engineer in Pennsylvania. His applied research encompasses software project management, software testing, and requirements engineering.

Editorial Reviews

"Concisely written, fastpaced, comprehensive, and written with workplace expectations in mind, Laplante hits the mark when he says his book is intended to complement reference books or other technical communication books. … The language is easy for students to understand; the design, graphics, and examples keep readers engaged; and it can be a great supplement or primary text depending on how much original material of your own you would like to provide to your students."
—Diane Martinez, Technical Communication, May 2012

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