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The University of Tokyo Center for Innovation in Engineering Education (CIEE) English for Engineers and Scientists Technical Writing Vince Ricci

5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

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Improve your academic and technical writing in five easy steps: Vince Technical Writing Tips for Engineers and ScientistsVince Ricci, Part-time Lecturer | The University of Tokyo | Center for Innovation in Engineering Education (CIEE) | English for Engineers and Scientists

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Page 1: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

The University of Tokyo

Center for Innovation in Engineering Education (CIEE)

English for Engineers and Scientists

Technical Writing

Vince Ricci

Page 2: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

Learn how to write for peers from a different academic discipline

OBJECTIVE

Page 3: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

5 Steps

Page 4: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

① Identify your contribution

Step One

Page 5: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

② Improve your topic sentences

Step Two

Page 6: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

③ Deepen your transitions

Step Three

Page 7: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

④ Use active voice

Step Four

Page 8: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

⑤ Confirm your articles

Step Five

Page 9: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

Step One: Identify your contribution

Page 10: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

ContributionA contribution includes an addition to your field’s overall knowledge

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ContributionFor example, “I propose developing a mobile information terminal to help people access information in the event of a power failure caused by a natural disaster.”

Page 12: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

How do you add value?

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Do NOT write:

“I analyzed mobile information terminals

and found many issues related to power failures and

natural disasters.”

Page 14: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

Context

Main idea

Page 15: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

Why / How

What

Page 16: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

Do write:

“I propose developing a mobile information terminal

to help people access information in the event of a

power failure caused by a natural disaster.”

Page 17: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

Context

Main idea

Page 18: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

Why / How

What

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How to Identify & Express your Contribution

See page 1, lines 12-27

Page 20: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

In Class ExerciseFind and circle your contribution.

If you cannot find your contribution, or if it is spread out across several sentences, spend a moment crystalizing your ideas into one clear contribution sentence.

Then, draw an arrow to the top of the page. Your contribution goes at the top!

Homework #1: Reorganize and write your paper so that your contribution appears in the first sentence.

Page 21: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

Homework #1Reorganize and write your paper

so that your contribution appears in the first sentence.

Page 22: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

Step Two: Improve your

topic sentences

Page 23: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

Page 2, Line 38Japan is the country where a lot of natural disaster such as earthquakes or typhoons exists every year.

Page 24: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

Context

Main idea

Page 25: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

Page 6, lines 140 - 141

I propose developing a mobile information terminal to help people access information in the event of a power failure caused by a natural disaster.

Page 26: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

Context

Main idea

Page 27: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

Japan is the country where a lot of natural disaster such as earthquakes or typhoons

exists every year.

I propose developing a mobile information terminal to help people access information in the event of a power failure caused by a natural disaster.

Page 28: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

Page 2, Line 45The adult male obtains 2000 kcal from food in a day, and uses 75% among them for the basal metabolic rate.

Page 29: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

Page 6, Lines 144 - 145

When people lose power due to a natural disaster, they might want to use their cellular phones to access news and information.

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The adult male obtains 2000 kcal from food in a day, and uses 75% among them for the basal metabolic rate.

When people lose power due

to a natural disaster, they might want to use their

cellular phones to access news and information.

Page 31: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

In Class ExerciseCircle the first sentence of each

paragraph.

These are your topic sentences.

Read them all to yourself, one after the other (four or five total sentences).

Page 32: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

In Class ExerciseNow, ask yourself this

question

If someone only read my topic sentences, would he be able to understand my contribution and main ideas?

Page 33: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

Confusing TS1. Japan is the country where a lot of natural

disaster such as earthquakes or typhoons exists every year.

2. The adult male obtains 2000 kcal from food in a day, and uses 75% among them for the basal metabolic rate.

3. Here, I suggest the single-function device that displays information data received from digital broadcasting airwave.

4. The reliability of the cellular phone is low as the information terminal for the emergency due to battery problem.

Page 34: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

Re-written TS1. I propose developing a mobile information terminal

to help people access information in the event of a power failure caused by a natural disaster.

2. When people lose power due to a natural disaster, they might want to use their cellular phones to access news and information.

3. If energy harvested from human motion could be converted into electric power, it would be possible to operate various devices.

4. I propose the creation of a single-function device to display information data received from digital broadcasting airwaves.

5. In closing, cellular phones are not reliable information terminals in the event of an emergency.

Page 35: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

Best TS1. I propose developing a mobile information terminal

to help people access information in the event of a power failure caused by a natural disaster.

2. When people lose power due to a natural disaster, they might want to use their cellular phones to access news and information.

3. Cellular phones, however, are not reliable information terminals in the event of an emergency.

4. If energy harvested from human motion could be converted into electric power, it would be possible to operate various devices.

5. In closing, I propose the creation of a single-function device to display information data received from digital broadcasting airwaves.

Page 36: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

Homework #2Re-write your topic sentences so

that they best express your contribution and main ideas.

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③ Deepen your transitions

Step Three

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How to Identify & Improve your Transitions

See page 8, lines 213 - 215

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Weak TransitionHere, I suggest the single-function device that displays information data received from digital broadcasting airwave.

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Strong Transitions

RELATIONSHIP TRANSITION

Consequence therefore, thus

Contrast & Comparison

but, however, still, yet

Similarity likewise, moreover

Summarizing in conclusion, on balance

Page 41: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

Weak Transitions

RELATIONSHIP TRANSITION

Restatement in other words,

that is to say,

to put it differently,

Page 42: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

In Class ExerciseFind and circle the transitions in

your paper.

Ask yourself, "Do my transitions express the connections between my ideas?"

Are my transitions misleading in any way?

Page 43: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

Homework #3Re-write your transitions so that

they best express the connections between your ideas

Page 44: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

④ Use active voice

Step Four

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Active Voice

Subject Verb Objec

t Other

Page 46: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

Active Voice

The group

will prese

nt

the report

next week.

Page 47: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

Passive Voice

Subject Verb Objec

t Other

Page 48: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

Passive Voice

The report

will be present

ed

by the group

next week.

Page 49: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

Active Voice

The studen

tstested

the sample

s.

Page 50: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

Passive Voice

The sampl

es

were tested

Page 51: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

Take responsibility for what you are writing

Page 52: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

Subject Verb Object Results

It is assumed that x = 3.

Page 53: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

Subject Verb Object Results

It is assumed that x = 3. I assume x = 3.

Page 54: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

Subject Verb Object Results

Data were constructed as follows.

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Subject Verb Object Results

Data were constructed as follows. I constructed the data as follows.

Page 56: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

In Class ExerciseFind and circle all examples of

passive voice in your paper.

Do they fit one of the following five reasons?

Page 57: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

Five reasons for using the passive voice (Page 10, lines 288 – 305)

① The 'actor' is not known.

② The 'actor' is not important.

③ It is considered desirable to conceal the identity of the 'actor'.

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Five reasons for using the passive voice(page 10, lines 288 – 305)

④ An impersonal tone is needed for academic writing.

⑤ A tactful tone is needed to smooth over an error or difficulty.

Page 59: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

Homework #4Find all passive voice sentences

that do not fit one of the five reasons.

Then, change them into active voice .

Page 60: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

⑤ Confirm your articles

Step Five

Page 61: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

In Class ExerciseFind and circle all of the articles

in your paper.

Can you tell which nouns require definite and indefinite articles, and which require no article at all?

Page 62: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

Homework #5Find and fix any mistakes in your

use of articles.

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Questions?

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Vince’s Perspective

Thank you.http://techwritingtodai.blogspot.jp

Page 65: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

PEER REVIEW

① Be respectful

② Use "I" statements

③ Offer suggestions, not commands

Page 66: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

CONSTRUCTIVE COMMENTS

④ Provide reader's point of view

⑤ Phrase comments clearly and carefully

⑥ Make sure comments are constructive and specific

Page 67: 5 Steps to better writing: Vince tips from University of Tokyo

"This paper is confusing. It keeps saying the same

things over and over again"

"It sounds like paragraph five makes the same point as

paragraphs two and three."