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A Scientific Approach to Writing for Engineers and Scientists (IEEE PCS Professional Engineering Communication Series)

A Scientific Approach to Writing for Engineers and Scientists (IEEE PCS Professional Engineering Communication Series)

A Scientific Approach to Writing for Engineers and Scientists (IEEE PCS Professional Engineering Communication Series)
By Robert E. Berger

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(17 customer reviews)

Book Description


Technical ideas may be solid or even groundbreaking, but if these ideas cannot be clearly communicated, reviewers of technical documents—e.g., proposals for research funding, articles submitted to scientific journals, and business plans to commercialize technology—are likely to reject the argument for advancing these ideas.

The problem is that many engineers and scientists, entirely comfortable with the logic and principles of mathematics and science, treat writing as if it possesses none of these attributes. The absence of a systematic framework for writing often results in sentences that are difficult to follow or arguments that leave reviewers scratching their heads.

This book fixes that problem by presenting a “scientific” approach to writing that mirrors the sensibilities of scientists and engineers, an approach based on an easily-discernable set of principles. Rather than merely stating rules for English grammar and composition, this book explains the reasons behind these rules and shows that good reasons can guide every writing decision.

This resource is also well suited for the growing number of scientists and engineers in the U.S. and elsewhere who speak English as a second language, as well as for anyone else who just wants to be understood.

Book Details

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #518271 in Books
  • Brand: Robert E Berger
  • Published on: 2014-06-30
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: 9.10" h x .50" w x 6.20" l, .0 pounds
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 232 pages


  • A Scientific Approach to Writing for Engineers and Scientists IEEE PCS Professional Engineering Communication Series

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

ROBERT E. BERGER, PHD, brings a unique set of experiences to the subject of writing. In addition to his training as a scientist, he has edited thousands of research proposals, technical topics in solicitations for such proposals, abstracts of winning proposals, and commercialization plans for converting technology to businesses.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
5Five Stars
By Roger Harris

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful.
5Invaluable Lessons in Writing ...
By Dr. E
Having taught writing at a sub-ivy engineering-school for ten years (all English professors teach writing in addition to their specialty), I was eager to read this text. At this school, first-year composition is a full-year and strongly focuses on concise, direct prose. As I read this text, the author's observations and concerns were precisely what I had seen throughout my career: if engineers and scientists do not have a specific skill-set for composing, their ideas will be completely obscured by their inept prose. When we (professors) teach the basic skills presented by this author, we give our students a distinct advantage.

I deeply appreciate the focus on qualifiers. Proper usage of qualifiers is the hallmark of a strong writer. However, the in-depth exploration of lists was a genuine surprise. I often "begin and end" on the proper use of colons, but here there are many brilliant ideas for fine-tuning. Other professors may be equally as appreciative of this section. Finally, the entries for word-choice and word usage, are extensive and greatly needed. The majority of my classes focuses on just this. From detecting redundancies (which are easily addressed in the editing process) to the use of adjectives/adverbs, this text has the power to strengthen even the most average writing.

While this text will not make one's writing more dynamic or engaging (that is not its intended purpose), it will (most definitely) make it more succinct. And, succinct writing is effective writing. It is really that simple.

Purchase this book if you have a son or daughter currently majoring in engineering or science. By incorporating these writing techniques early in their studies, they will be given a distinct "edge." Know that the text is "dry" and requires patience to complete, but it does offer invaluable lessons. Finally, professors should feel comfortable in adding this to their student's "suggested reading" lists.

Good luck.

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful.
5Helping you get your ideas across to others
By Adam Wood
I have worked professionally as an engineer for almost 20 years, and a couple of things grabbed my attention and impressed me right from the beginning with this book:
(*) First, the author who is trying to provide advice on how to communicate ideas through writing is...absolutely...a good writer! Mr. Berger clearly communicates his thoughts from the beginning, which to me was a critical aspect of me taking his advice seriously.
(*) Second, the rationale given in the very beginning of the book as to why writing effectively is so important is spot on to me. He applies it to engineers and scientists in this context, but it is essentially about getting what you want. If you want to convince anyone of something (for example, to fund your idea), you have to be able to communicate with them.

A point that I want to emphasize up front is - this book is meant to help you effectively communicate your ideas and results by teaching/refreshing your memory on good writing practices in a novel way. It is not intended to stifle your writing creativity, which I want to point out in case the title makes you concerned that it's just a cookie-cutter recipe to report writing.

As a kid and young adult, I used to have the mentality that the burden of understanding me was on the other person. If someone didn't understand me, well, then they were just stupid. :) Long ago, though, I developed a different mentality that if someone doesn't understand me, then I need to communicate the information in another way. After all, _I_ am the one who is trying to communicate something. I use that thinking no matter who I'm taking to or what I'm trying to say, but that second mentality is important to have (and is one of the points of this book) if you are trying to convince someone else of something. For example, do you have a great idea that you want to get funded? Published? Patented? Your idea may be the key to your company's future success, but if no one else can understand it, then it's never getting off the drawing board. If you are an engineer or scientist, you have probably been in a conversation with someone in which you had almost no idea what they were trying to say, and it wasn't because you're dumb - it's because they simply couldn't (or didn't) effectively communicate their idea to you. If you haven't, then maybe people talking to you have. :D

Okay, so outside of the intent of the book being valuable, is the book itself valuable? I sure think so. I haven't gotten all of the way through it, as it's almost a text book - and is certainly a reference book, but the parts that I have read are useful to me. I tend to get complimented on my ability to communicate complex ideas in simple ways, but I've been out of school for nearly two decades, and I definitely can use a refresher on writing. I say that because while my end products are considered good, it takes me a while to figure out how to phrase things. This book will hopefully help me get to that end result faster by reminding me of some good grammar rules and training me to think that way.

In closing, there is a huge difference between a "data dump" and a compelling argument. If you find yourself trying and failing to make those compelling arguments, give this book some consideration. The "Look inside" feature on Amazon will let you get to the Preface, which is the section that rang true to me on who is reading your proposals and why it's important to write them well. Give that a quick read, and if you agree, maybe give this book a try.

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