Writing the Engineering Paper

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by Alex A. Kecskes

Engineers, as they move up in their careers, are often asked to write a paper on their work, especially if the work is pioneering or innovative in nature. If you've be tasked with writing a paper, here are some guidelines that may help you get through the ordeal:

Define the Concept. The best papers begin with a plan, a design that frames the presentation. Here's where you overview the argument, make judgments about the length and scope of the paper.

Write to the Audience. Who will read your paper? How will they use it? What conclusions do you want them to walk away with? The answers to these questions will help you determine the degree of detail and the style of your paper.

The Embodiment. This is the first draft. It's your opportunity to get all the facts together without concern for style. You should create drafts of each section. Set down and refine calculations. Create pencil sketches and thumbnails of charts, figures and graphs.

Refine and Polish. Here's where you craft the paper for easy readability, clarity, and style. This may take several read-throughs. Graphs and charts should be formalized. And if you have the time, set the paper aside for a few days. Then read it as if for the first time. Have someone you trust give you an honest appraisal of your work. Then refine.

The Final Review. At this point, you want to refine the overall look of the paper. It should have an easy to follow layout that invites readers to keep turning those pages. The headings should draw the reader into each paragraph. And the information in your figures and graphs should be easy to absorb at a glance.

For another perspective, check out this video:

Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of published articles on health/fitness, "green" issues, TV/film entertainment, restaurant reviews and many other topics. As a former Andy/Belding/One Show ad agency copywriter, he also writes web content, ads, brochures, sales letters, mailers and scripts for national B2B and B2C clients. Please see more of his blogs and view additional job postings on Nexxt.

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