Tutorial on Writing 2 for ME4001, Introduction to Engineering

Tutorial on Writing 2 for
ME4001, Introduction to
Lawrence Cleary
Shannon Consortium Regional Writing
Centre, UL
 Last week, we looked at a text marked for
clause structure as one way of answering the
question, “How do engineers write?”
 We saw that engineering texts seem to
contain more of the red structures and fewer
of the green structures than do literary texts.
 We saw that the red structures in engineering
texts were longer than in literary texts.
A Closer Look
 What can we say about the function of blue, red and
green structures? How do they make meaning?
Versatile Disc, or DVD, is the subject talked about.
a collection of new optical disc technologies tells
us what DVD is.
The green tells us that a collection of new optical disc
technologies have potential.
The red tells us what the potential is: to significantly
improve the quality of a number of consumer
electronics and personal computer products.
Organization of Information
 What is each sentence about?
 What is each paragraph about?
 How is the information organized?
 Information usually moves from given
information to new information, providing
context for the new information.
 Exercise: Rewrite the paragraph graphed for
given and new information in your colourcoded feedback so that it is more clear what
your paragraph is about..
Text Organization
 Cohesion largely depends on repetition and
logical order.
 What is the sentence about?
 How does the theme of this sentence
contribute to the paragraph, and does it have
a logical relationship to the sentences
preceding and following?
 How is your information organized? Can you
chart it?
What Do Engineers Say
When They Write?
 What do these sentences have in common?
 “The main purpose of this study is to compare the
differences between an idealised in-plane bifurcated
stent graft model to a realistic stent graft fit model and
to comment on the clinical implications of the results”
(Morris et al. 2006, p. 20).
 “I wish to share some of my reflections on the
engineering profession and discuss how we can
improve the climate and culture for the women who
choose this non-traditional occupation” (Frize 1994, p.
Language and Rhetorical Function
in Engineering Reports
 The Question is,…
Why do they say it?
When do they say it?
How much of it do they say when they say it?
 What do they do in the Introductions to their
What do they say in Introductions?
Indicate the specific topic of the report
Indicate the purpose of the report
Indicate who are the appropriate or intended readers
Indicate the main contents of the report
Indicate the relevance of the report by
 grounding it in the historical context, the theory
surrounding it, and the importance of the subject,
 the situation that brought about the need for the
 Indicate the limitations of the study
How Does Language Function?
 What do Engineers do with language?
 Define things
 Describe things and illustrate how they function
 Explain things, giving reasons
 Explain, Recount and Discuss processes
 Discuss causes
 Classify things
 Compare and Contrast things
 Give examples
 Come to conclusions given what is already known
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