Cutting the Fluff from your Writing

Dandelion_fluff

Good professional technical writing involves a struggle between conciseness and completeness. Writers need to provide the evidence and reasoning to justify their claims in the shortest space possible. Cutting too much or the wrong things, however, can damage your ability to support your decisions. It's important, then, to be able to differentiate … [Read more...]

Simplified Technical English and Clearer Documentation through the Thumbs Up Technique (3/3)

As discussed in the beginning of this first article, Simplified Technical English (STE) is generally considered as being of great importance for writing clear and unambiguous content, mainly for user instructions like maintenance manuals. In this series of three articles, Ferry Vermeulen, MSc. will show three steps that will help to apply … [Read more...]

Simplified Technical English and Clearer Documentation through the Thumbs Up Technique (2/3)

Scissors

As discussed in the beginning of this first article, Simplified Technical English (STE) is generally considered as being of great importance for writing clear and unambiguous content, mainly for user instructions like maintenance manuals.  In this series of three articles, Ferry Vermeulen, MSc. will show three steps that will help to apply … [Read more...]

How to Implement Simplified Technical English and Write Clearer Documentation with the Thumbs Up Technique (Part 1/3)

INSTRKTIV 1-7Ferry227x227

Simplified Technical English (STE) is generally considered as being of great importance for writing clear and unambiguous content, mainly for user instructions like maintenance manuals. However, many technical writers experience specific problems when implementing STE. Although theoretically possible, STE is not an easy language to learn by … [Read more...]

Using Numbers in Technical Documents

seated-man-thinks

For engineers, like physicists, numbers are as important as words in reporting on their work, and carry much of the meaning behind their technical documents. However, how we write these numbers - and how we integrate them with text - may determine a reader’s understanding of that report. For example, take this passage: "An appropriate sample … [Read more...]

Brian Price: Peeling Back the Information Onion in Technical and Engineering Communication

Brian Price, Lecturer at Aston University, UK, explores the metaphor of the "information onion" in technical and engineering communication, which helps reveal important strategies for effectively delivering and designing information for your readers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5COPk-bwX0 His talk on "Peeling Back the Layers of the … [Read more...]

PCS Newsletters Archive–Everything Old is New Again!

The header from the first IEEE Group on Engineering Writing and Speech

Bell-bottom jeans, disco music, and a Dodge Dart--if you take a look at consumer culture, you would suspect that we are in the midst of a 70's revival.  In the case of PCS, you need look no further than the PCS Newsletters Archive, now available on the PCS website. These newsletters first began appearing in August 1970 and covered a variety of … [Read more...]

New Year, New You? Communication Resolutions for 2014

It's a new year!  Why not create communication resolutions for 2014?

We are 11 days into the new year, and a few days after the Polar Vortex, so it seems like a good time to think about communication resolutions for 2014.  Communication resolutions, you ask?  Aren't resolutions just for reducing food intake and getting more exercise?  Absolutely not!  Like maintaining a healthy weight and working out regularly, … [Read more...]

Welcome Class of 2017!

Move in day at Rose-Hulman, when temps reached the 90's!

At this time of year, as Rose-Hulman first year students arrive and begin orientation, I always like to take a look at the Beloit College Mindset List, an inventory of the Class of 2017.  Every year the list makes its rounds among college faculty who realize once again that there is a large gulf between the old professors and the new … [Read more...]

Will Communicate For Food

In a recent article in the New York Times, Alina Tugend posed the eternal question that often crops up at this time of year--what are the skills college graduates should possess to make them employable?  You may be surprised that the answer is not more technical skills.  Quoting from a special report by the Chronicle of Higher Education and … [Read more...]