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Engineering Writing by Design: Creating Formal Documents of Lasting Value

Engineering Writing by Design: Creating Formal Documents of Lasting Value

Engineering Writing by Design: Creating Formal Documents of Lasting Value
By Edward J. Rothwell, Michael J. Cloud

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(8 customer reviews)

Book Description

Engineers are smart people. Their work is important, which is why engineering material should be written as deliberately and carefully as it will be read.

Engineering Writing by Design: Creating Formal Documents of Lasting Value demonstrates how effective writing can be achieved through engineering-based thinking. Based on the authors’ combined experience as engineering educators, the book presents a novel approach to technical writing, positioning formal writing tasks as engineering design problems with requirements, constraints, protocols, standards, and customers (readers) to satisfy. Specially crafted for busy engineers and engineering students, this quick-reading, conversational text:

  • Describes how to avoid logical fallacies and use physical reasoning to catch mistakes in claims
  • Covers the essentials of technical grammar and style as well as the elements of mathematical exposition
  • Emphasizes the centrality of the target audience, and thus the need for clear and concise prose
Engineering Writing by Design: Creating Formal Documents of Lasting Value addresses the specific combination of thinking and writing skills needed to succeed in modern engineering. Its mantra is: to write like an engineer, you must think like an engineer. Featuring illustrative examples, chapter summaries and exercises, quick-reference tables, and recommendations for further reading, this book is packed with valuable tips and information practicing and aspiring engineers need to become effective writers.

Book Details

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #1364701 in Books
  • Brand: Michael J Cloud Edward J Rothwell
  • Published on: 2014-05-30
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: 9.21" h x .42" w x 6.14" l, .66 pounds
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 199 pages


  • Engineering Writing by Design Creating Formal Documents of Lasting Value

Editorial Reviews

"Teaching technical writing is challenging, as most engineering students feel that it isn’t important, because they are studying engineering not English. A book that teaches the logic behind technical writing combined with basic writing rules/tips is an asset."
―Raenita A. Fenner, Loyola University Maryland, Baltimore, USA

"This book places the value of good writing in an engineering context―both in terms of methodology (by using the design process) and in terms of the need for good writing in engineering. … I’m not aware of other engineering-based [writing] texts that go much past the mechanics of writing."
―Fred DePiero, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, USA

About the Author
Edward J. Rothwell received his BS from Michigan Technological University, Houghton, USA; MS and EE from Stanford University, California, USA; and Ph.D from Michigan State University, East Lansing, USA; all in electrical engineering. He has been a faculty member in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Michigan State University since 1985, and currently holds the rank of professor. Beforehand, he worked for Raytheon Co., Waltham, Massachusetts, USA and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory, Lexington, USA. Dr. Rothwell previously coauthored a book on electromagnetics and has published numerous journal articles on related subjects. He is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Sigma Xi, and URSI Commission B, and is an IEEE fellow.

Michael J. Cloud received his BS, MS, and Ph.D in electrical engineering from Michigan State University, East Lansing, USA. Since 1987, he has been a faculty member in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Lawrence Technological University, Southfield, Michigan, USA. He currently holds the rank of associate professor. Dr. Cloud has coauthored 11 other books, primarily in the field of engineering mathematics. He is a senior member of the IEEE.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
5Five Stars
By Peggy Graff

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful.
5What a great little primer for the engineering student who has to write a term paper to be graded by an engineering professor!
By Jeff Lippincott
I liked this book a lot. Didn't love it, but it gets the 5 star nod just the same. I majored in accounting in college, and as a result I didn't have to do much reading. Most of my accounting courses required me to outline textbook chapters and regurgitate the contents of those chapters on my exam papers. Didn't have to write too many papers. My roommate in college was an engineering major (civil). He was in the same boat as me – he didn't read much nor write much. He had to regurgitate his textbooks on exams, too. As a result, neither of us were very good writers. Practice makes perfect, and we were not required to write much, so we didn't get much practice.

While reading the instant book being reviewed I learned the authors are college professors who teach wanta-be engineers what they need to know to be allowed to join the profession. And I'm sure these two professors have had to slap more than a few of their honor students with a poor letter grade when reading their undergraduate term papers and doctoral dissertations. I'm equally sure that instead of having to sit down with future students who fail their writing assignments and give them the sad news that they lack the skill and ability to write well, they decided to write this book and require their students to read and study it before tackling their grand writing assignments. I'm sure if an honors engineering student gets, reads, and studies the instant book before taking on his or her big papers in school, then he or she will do very well on those assignments.

The book is short. It is clear, and it is concise. It assumes the readers are familiar with the Standard Engineering Design Process, because if you're not, then you won't have a base problem solving structure to adapt when creating your own writing process. It takes skill to write well, and you don't develop a writing ability overnight. Read this book, practice, practice, and practice some more, and the skill will come. Murky thinking leads to murky writing, and a low grade. Clear thinking leads to clear writing and a good grade.

Each chapter has a recap or summary at the end. And the book can probably be used as a writing course textbook at an engineering school since each chapter has exercises that can be assigned as homework, too. To get through the book the quickest way I'd recommend reading the recaps first to get a feel of the book. Then go back and read it from cover to cover excluding the exercises. 5 stars!

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful.
5Intended as a textbook for writing in the engineering field
By Michael A. Duvernois
In my work life, I am an experimental physicist and work closely with professional engineering resources. I never had a formal class on technical writing, but over the years have had to spend a lot of time and effort writing up physics results both for scientific papers and internal documents, proposal writing, and documenting the experimental hardware we've built. This looks like a good textbook for the class that I never took, but that would have covered these topics. I did a quick glance at a couple of engineering programs and didn't see such a class that was required, but did see optional engineering writing classes. Success in practical engineering does go along with a sensibly good writing skill, otherwise your work is little seen or referenced. Highly recommended for students, and not a bad reference source either for the rest of us.

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