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Guidelines for Technical Writing Vinod K. Banthia M.D.Deshpande

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1 Guidelines for Technical Writing Vinod K. Banthia M.D.Deshpande

2 Why a lecture about writing?
General Issues Why a lecture about writing? Surely, any literate can write. Why talk about ‘Writing’? Any body can sing. But, can we get an audience? Writing is for communication? Can we get readers? ‘Writing’ is a SKILL. Good writing is an ART. More so ‘Technical Writing’. There may be those who are born or gifted writers. Others have to LEARN and PRACTICE. VKB MDD

3 Elements of Technical Writing Writing a Project Report
Contents Introduction General Issues Basic Requirements Elements of Technical Writing Writing a Project Report Selecting a Project – Composing the Title - Writing the Introduction – Body of the Report – Problem – Methodology and Tools – Collecting the Results – Presentation of the Results – Conclusions and Recommendations – Abstract – Appendix Where is the Innovation? General Hints on How to Study. Ver th Apr 2005. VKB MDD

4 Scope: Presentation of broad guidelines on writing a project report.
Introduction Scope: Presentation of broad guidelines on writing a project report. Purpose: Help the students who have to do lot of technical writing. Assignment Reports Examinations Project Reports This talk attempts to help the students in good technical writing , specifically relating to ‘Writing a Project Report’. Plan: General Issues – Elements of Technical Writing – Technical Report Writing. VKB MDD

5 "Practice is the best of all instructors.“ -- Publilius Syrus,
Syrian-born Roman author, c. 100 BC VKB MDD

6 Purpose: Provide an opportunity to develop the writing skills.
Assignment Convey the ability to analyze a problem. Exam Ready to use knowledge plus ability to be precise Project Report Physics of the problem and its application – Critical view - design/analysis process Results – conclusions Oral and Written presentation. VKB MDD

7 Why Technical Writing? Technical Work is NOT Technical Writing
Build on existing knowledge Propagate the knowledge Co-workers/Team members Sales/Marketing personnel Customers Technical Work is NOT Technical Writing Commitment & Details VKB MDD

8 Technical writing is a specialized field that requires
Basic Requirements Technical writing is a specialized field that requires Personal Discipline Organization Skill Skill in Writing Clearly and Concisely Understanding of Technical Products and Processes Knowledge of numerous software tools Good Vs Bad writing: This is subjective. No one is perfect. VKB MDD

9 What are you writing about?
Organisation What are you writing about? What do you plan to achieve in what you are writing? Ideas I II Flow Hierarchy III IV Refinement So, what you are doing is to be very methodical in what you write. In this way, you will try to make sure it makes sense to you and others. Some people outline, some use graphical outlines and some just write out their thoughts. But it has to be in some order. Prevent repetition VKB MDD

10 Who is going to read the report?
Audience Who is going to read the report? What is the level of their current knowledge? How much information is needed? What background information to include? Why is the reader reading the report? Is the document supposed to inform or convince? Level knowledge – not necessarily it is nil How much time does the reader have to read it? VKB MDD

11 Example of an old Technical Paper
From: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society 41, (1739) An Experiment to prove, that Water, when agitated by Fire, is infinitely more elastic than Air in the same circumstances; by the late Revd John Clayton, Dean of Kildare in Ireland Sir Thomas Proby having heard of a new Digester, which I contrived, had a Desire to see it, and some experiments made therein. I had a small one which I designed only for an inward Cylinder; this I could easily put in my Pocket: Wherefore , going to pay him a Visit at … … , but that the Vessel was very weak, and I feared would not endure the Pressure of so violent a Heat; yet something desirous to have the Experiment tried; I said I was ready to venture my Vessel: ……. into the Fire about half way; and in about three Minutes time I found it raised to a great Heat; … Scare had I done speaking, and Sir Thomas thereupon moved his Chair to avoid Danger; ….. , it burst as a Musquet had gone off. A Maid that was gone a milking, heard it considerable Distance; the Servants said it shook the House. The Bottom …. (This old style of writing was uninhibited, personal and relaxed.) VKB MDD

12 Decay of a three-dimensional vortex in an enclosure
Example of a modern Technical Paper From: Proceedings of the Royal Society 457, (2001) Decay of a three-dimensional vortex in an enclosure By Name of the Author(s), Institution, Address, Received 7 January 2000; revised 17 October 2000; accepted 6 December 2000 Abstract: ………………….. Keywords: vortex motion; viscous decay; closed streamlines; cavity; toroidal surface ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Introduction Although many studies exist of both inviscid and viscous free vortices, not many exist of confined three-dimensional vortex motions, despite these being of fundamental and practical interest. Confined flows, of course, have special complications brought about by, for instance, the presence of corner or secondary vortices and separation and reattachment points; moreover if the initial state is turbulent, transition to the laminar state will occur with the decay of the vortex motion. It is clear that with all these complexity one will……… (The modern style is more compact, terse, to the point and less personal.) VKB MDD

13 Brevity is the soul of wit.
William Shakespeare “This report, by its very length, defends itself against the risk of being read” Winston Churchill "I'm sorry this letter is so long. I didn't have time to write a shorter one." Pascal VKB MDD

14 Fiction Technical Be Concise Be Complete Conciseness BUT Information
Emotion “In the interests of clarity, it seemed necessary to constantly remind myself to pay not the slightest attention to the elegance of the presentation; I adhered conscientiously to the rule of the brilliant theoretician, Ludwig Boltzmann, to leave elegance to tailors and shoemakers.” --Albert Einstein Mood Image Word Play Be Concise BUT Be Complete VKB MDD

15 Patiently search. Proof Read.
Basic Requirements Good Vs Bad writing: This is subjective. No one is perfect. ‘writing’ should meet minimum acceptable standard. Avoid spelling errors (like bad notes in music) “Load and boundary conditions applied on the model is shown in the figure bellow” “The following steps are used in preparing FE model for thermal analysisodal analysis” Use built-in Dictionary but don’t rely wholly on it. “Following procedure followed for performing model analysis” “There are too birds on the tree” Select appropriate version of “English” for spell checking Patiently search. Proof Read. VKB MDD

16 Avoid grammatical errors (like a bad tune) – Study and practise.
“The operating speed of the impeller is rpm (revolutions per minute) that is the exiting frequency of the impeller system is the operating speed in per second. Hence the exciting frequency in revolution per second is 4500 rps (Hz)”. Maintain a good flow of language. (like a good song) – This comes by practice. Write and re-write. Change the sequence of sentences. Write in several ways. Read loudly. Select what you feel as the best. Some Guidelines regarding Flow: Use appropriate words. Avoid verbose and bombastic language. Each sentence must have a main verb (action). Use simple declarative sentences. Let the sentences be inter-connected. Each paragraph contains one main idea. Paragraphs must be inter-connected. (Explain with 1,2,3 above as an example.) VKB MDD

17 Avoid phrases like: Use Simple declarative sentences. Note the irony:
“He should be especially careful to shun the long, meandering sentence that is crammed with obscurely related phrases and clauses, in which the subject and predicate seem hopelessly to be searching for each other and the verb has a kind of floating object.” - from Dwight E Gray, “So you have to write a technical report”, ARP, Washington, Ch.1, p.3. Avoid phrases like: Coming to the point… It is important to note… All in all… To reiterate… It can’t be overemphasized that … We have to note especially that … Can I ask you a question? – This itself is a question. VKB MDD

18 Some examples of bad usage:
Ex. 1: ‘The number of tasks are …’ (noun in singular, verb in plural) ‘Data’: is it singular or plural? Ex. 2: ‘although the pressure was very high, it is within acceptable limits’; (tense mismatch) Ex. 3. It was aim to study the characteristics of the comparator response… The aim was to study … Ex.4. “It was also verified for it’s various building blocks were studied for their designed values, which was satisfactory for the output response.” Too many verbs in a single sentence. (sentence too long, too-many verbs with mixed number) It was verified if ( a ) the building blocks meet the design specifications and (b ) the output gives a satisfactory response. VKB MDD

19 --Kong Fu Zi/Confucius
If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant. If what is said is not what is meant, then what ought to be done remains undone. --Kong Fu Zi/Confucius VKB MDD

20 Elements of Technical Writing
Purpose: Convey Information in clear, precise, un-ambiguous, and technically sound language. Technical writing consists of technical terms. Vocabulary of technical terms. A student of distinction scores because he/she uses technical terms precisely. Technical terms in Cricket: “Lindwall is having a fast run-up for his bowling. He has one long-leg, one short-leg, one square-leg.” Maintain a Handbook for Glossary of Technical Terms. Whenever you come across a new technical term, enter it with definition, example of usage with Figure, symbol, unit, cross reference to related words. Examples: Understand the subtle difference between similar technical terms. sound, acoustic, vibration; ultra-sound, super-sonic. Is this a valid question: ‘What is the velocity of sound waves?’ time, duration, interval, delay; Force, pressure, stress, Strain, elongation, displacement, deformation, amplitude VKB MDD

21 Elements of Technical Writing
Vocabulary of technical terms (cont.) Multi-dimensional Vs multi-channel Factorization Vs Decomposition; ‘The factors are…’ Vs ‘The components are…’ Analog Vs Continuous; Analog Vs Analogue; Discrete Vs Digital; Convolution Vs Correlation ‘waveform of an amplifier is…’; ‘motor is reversed…’; ‘logarithmic bandwidth’ – is this a valid technical term?’ …which keeps the residual echo minimum; - is this correct? ‘with certain assumptions on certain circumstances and constraints’; (too vague) Use the appropriate word based on the context. 50% of the learning/teaching effort goes towards building the technical vocabulary. Knowledge of the technical terms must be available at finger tips. A student’s level of confidence depends on this knowledge. VKB MDD

22 Elements of Technical Writing
Use of Unit. What is the time? six twenty It makes sense. what is the speed? what? 600 mph or 600 kmph or 600 rpm? Always specify the Unit along with the number. Use appropriate unit based on the context. In place of meter, use 3 mm for easy readability. But while solving problems use appropriate unit. While entering data as input into a program, use the appropriate unit. Units are always in singular (exception ‘feet’?). In case of Units having proper names the first letter is capitalized (convention varies). Ex: Hz, dB. Abbreviations for ‘milli’, ‘kilo’ etc are always in lower case. Ex: kHz, 3 mm. Sometimes a subtle distinction is made between meter-squared Vs sq-meter (area). When a sequence of numbers is given, specify unit only ones: 100, 1000 and 4000 Hz not 100 Hz, 1000 Hz and 4000 Hz. ( is the previous sentence correct?) Dimension: Dimension of speed is the same (L/T) irrespective of the Unit. A knowledge of Dimension helps in verifying the correctness of a formula. Which formula is correct: f=cl (?) or c = fl (?). f: frequency = 1/T. c = L/T. l = L. VKB MDD

23 Elements of Technical Writing
Symbols and Mathematical Formulae: Mathematics is the queen of science. It is a short hand notation. Physical situation > Mathematical model > Solution > Interpretation in physical terms. (Give example here: Grand father’s age is the square of grand-son’s age; 2*GF+GS=78.) Define the symbol the very first time it is used. Use symbols consistently through out the presentation. Ex: frequency is represented by the symbol ‘f’ ( or n). Note the difference between the angular frequency w (radians per sec) and the linear frequency f (Hz). Use appropriate symbols for Scalars, Vectors, Matrices. Define the convention. Transforms are generally shown in Upper case. F(w), T(s), H(z). Take care of sub-scripts and super-scripts. Use parenthesis to properly group the terms. Numerator and denominator are to be properly separated. VKB MDD

24 Elements of Technical Writing
Tables: are used to show experimental data where ( a ) one or more of the variables is non-mathematical or ( b ) there are too many variables or ( c ) the dependence amongst the various variables is not obvious (no underlying theory) or ( d ) the data is too sparse. Ex: Frequency of occurrence of different letters; Confusion matrices in listening tests; Velocity of acoustic waves in different media. Generalization can’t be drawn from the results presented in a Table. Sometimes Bar graphs, pie-charts are used to visualize data in a Table. Medium Velocity air clear-water Sea-water oil Alphabet Frequency e 20% t 18% s 12% r 6% VKB MDD

25 Elements of Technical Writing
Graphs: are used where the variables (a) take on numerical values and (b) are grouped as dependent and independent. Example: Filter response. Independent variable, frequency, is shown on x-axis. Dependent variable, gain, is shown on the y-axis. Proper units and range must be chosen to illustrate the functionality. Use ‘log’ scale when the range is very large. Ex: Frequency range over 10 to 100,000 Hz. Sometimes a family of curves is shown. Filter response also depends on the ‘order of the filter’. This is shown as a ‘parameter’. Throughout the experiment the value of the parameter remains the same. Experimentally measured data are to be shown as discrete points along with the fitted curve. The following graphs represent filter responses of first order LPF and 2nd order HPF. What is wrong? VKB MDD

26 Elements of Technical Writing

27 Elements of Technical Writing

28 Elements of Technical Writing

29 Elements of Technical Writing
Chapters Sections Sub-Sections: When the size of the document is long it is usually divided into Chapters, Sections and sub-sections. There are standard ways for identifying these. Ch. I, II, … or Ch. 1, Ch.2 …; Sec. 1.1; Sub-Section: 1.1a, 1.1b etc or 1.1.1, etc. References: are the sources of information that were ‘actually’ referred during the preparation of the work. See Staff-Student Handbook for details. Abstract: will be discussed later. Title: will be discussed later. VKB MDD

30 Writing a Project Report
Order of items as it appears / Size Order of items as it is written /Effort Title & Title Page Introduction 30% Table of Contents Body of the Report 30% List of Tables, Figures, Symbols Conclusions and Recommendations 10% Abstract one page Appendixes, References 10% Introduction 15% Table of Contents Body of the Report 60% Abstract & Title % Conclusions 10% Acknowledgement Recommendations Appendixes References IMRAD+C: Introduction - Materials and Methods (or Experimental details) - Results and Discussion (“Analysis” in some journals) - Conclusions (“Conclusions and Recommendations”) VKB MDD

31 Selecting a Project Don’t be too ambitious - selecting a big project that can’t be handled within the available time reflects badly – (give examples) - Don’t select a trivial project either – Discuss with various persons – What Employers look for in a project? Important Points to remember: DEPTH – QUALITY – COMPLETENESS – KNOWLEDGE ACQUIRED – SKILLS ACQUIRED – PRESENTATION SKILLS (Oral and Written) Depth: Thoroughly familiar with all the terms / concepts /formulae used. Quality: Work must show the ability to solve a problem – know the difference between reality and model: Resistor Vs Resistance? (More about it later). Completeness: Making a big claim in the Title of the project, but within the report stating that due to lack of time only a part could be done - not a good practice. Knowledge/Skills Acquired: Employers are going to test the knowledge relating to the problem area – You must become an expert in the chosen problem area (sub-area) – be able to teach /guide / lecture - VKB MDD

32 Composing the Title Wrong Titles for a Project:
Data Acquisition System, Image Processing, Digital Communication System, Network Control System, Analysis of an IC Engine More appropriate Title: A high speed analog-to-digital converter based on … Human Face Verification for Security Clearance based on … An adaptive delta modulation system for speech Software for delay reduction in Network traffic Calculation of Stress induced in the casing of a four stroke engine based on simulation studies VKB MDD

33 Abstract VKB MDD

34 Thought of or stated without reference to a specific instance
ABSTRACT Difficult to understand Not applied or practical Apart from concrete Thought of or stated without reference to a specific instance Having an intellectual and affective artistic content that depends solely on intrinsic form rather than on narrative content or pictorial representation A written summary of the key points especially of a scientific paper Mini Version of the paper Summary of a body of information in a paragraph Condensed version of a longer piece of writing that highlights the major points covered VKB MDD

35 Concise Complete ABSTRACT
Quickly and accurately identify basic contents of the paper Check if the related research is of interest To attract the interest and curiosity of the non-specialist reader Quickly acquaint the reader of current research Generate interest and curiosity of the non-specialist reader Entice potential readers into obtaining a copy of the full paper To be remembered long after the paper has been read Because on-line search databases typically contain only abstracts Concise Complete VKB MDD

36 ABSTRACT Descriptive Informative
Communicate specific information from the report, article, or paper Include the purpose, methods, and scope of the report, article, or paper Provide the report, article, or paper's results, conclusions, and recommendations Are short -- from a paragraph to a page or two, depending upon the length of the original work being abstracted. Usually informative abstracts are 10% or less of the length of the original piece Allow readers to decide whether they want to read the report, article, or paper. What Information is contained. Purpose (Why?), Method (How?) and scope (What?) of the report/article/paper Short, usually under 100 words. Without results, conclusions, or recommendations. Organization not contents Generates interest in the reader to go and look up the results, conclusions and recommendations in the paper VKB MDD

37 ABSTRACT The Effect of Injection Pumps on Cold Starting of Diesel Engines. Descriptive Abstract: Results are presented of a series of cold-room tests on a diesel engine to determine the effect on starting time of (1) fuel quantity delivered at cranking speed, and (2) type of fuel injection pump used. The tests were made at a temperature of -100 Fahrenheit; engine and accessories were chilled to -100 F at least 8 hrs before the experiment began. Informative Abstract: Cold weather tests were made to determine the effect of cold starting of the quantity of fuel injected at cranking speed for two types of injection pump. The diesel engine of the energy cell-Lanova type that was used had 3.75”bore, 5” stroke and 331 cubic inch displacement. The cold room was maintained at -100 F ; engine, batteries, fuel and lubricating oils, and all equipment were chilled to -100 F for at least 8 hours before the engine was started. …. VKB MDD

38 ABSTRACT Contents: Problem Statement What has been done? Methodology
How was it done? Results What was found? Conclusions What do the findings mean? What are the advantages? How well it works? uses one or more well developed paragraphs: these are unified, coherent, concise, and able to stand alone. uses an introduction/body/conclusion structure which presents the article, paper, or report's purpose, results, conclusions, and recommendations in that order. follows strictly the chronology of the article, paper, or report. provides logical connections (or transitions) between the information included. adds no new information, but simply summarizes the report. is understandable to a wide audience. oftentimes uses passive verbs to downplay the author and emphasize the information. Check with your teacher if you're unsure whether or not to use passive voice. Background: A simple opening sentence or two placing the work in context. Aims: One or two sentences giving the purpose of the work. Method(s): One or two sentences explaining what was done. (Described at length only if it is unusual) Results: One or two sentences indicating the main findings. (Absolutely essential) Conclusions: One sentence giving the most important consequence of the work. (Telling what the results mean). The conclusions provide a concise statement of the outcomes of the investigation. They should be written in non-technical language and be related directly to the hypothesis. The conclusions should identify unsolved aspects of the original problem or any new problems identified. The title should be brief and descriptive. The statement of the problem tells the reader what specific questions are addressed in the study. The variables and limitations are identified. The intent and objectives of the research effort are made explicit in this statement. The purpose states the usefulness of the study. It answers the question why the project was undertaken.The hypothesis is an educated guess that shows the relationship between a set of observed facts and a theory. The hypothesis limits the scope of the investigation and unifies the research design. The procedure provides a brief summary of what was done. Complete Covers the major parts of the project. Concise Contains no excess wordiness or unnecessary information. Clear Readable, well organized, and not too jargon-laden. Cohesive Flows smoothly between the parts. VKB MDD

39 ABSTRACT Structure: Purpose of the study/paper: Primary objectives and scope of the study Reasons why the document was written Rationale for your research. Techniques/Approaches used: Experimental Analysis Sources . Results/Collected Data/Observations: Experimental Theoretical New Findings/Contradictions Accuracy/Reliability Conclusions: Why are the results of this study important How do they relate to the purpose? Suggestions/Recommendations Rationale: Why did you do the research? Is the topic you are researching an ignored or newly discovered one? Sources: For papers concerned with non-experimental work (such as those in the humanities, some social sciences, and the fine arts) describe your sources and your use/interpretation of the sources Explain the purpose of your study/paper. Ideally in one sentence, state the primary objectives and scope of the study or the reasons why the document was written. Also state the rationale for your research. Why did you do the research? Is the topic you are researching an ignored or newly discovered one? In terms of methodology (research methods), clearly state the techniques or approaches used in your study. For papers concerned with non-experimental work (such as those in the humanities, some social sciences, and the fine arts) describe your sources and your use/interpretation of the sources. Describe your results (the findings of your experimentation), the data collected, and effects observed as informatively and concisely as possible. These results may be experimental or theoretical, just remember to make note of that in your abstract. Give special priority in your abstract to new and verified findings that contradict previous theories. Mention any limits to the accuracy or reliability of your findings. Your conclusions should in essence describe the implications of the results: Why are the results of your study important to your field and how do they relate to the purpose of your investigation? Often conclusions are associated with recommendations, suggestions and both rejected and accepted hypotheses. VKB MDD

40 ABSTRACT Hints: Reread the article, paper, or report with the goal of abstracting in mind Look at main parts of each section of the paper Use the headings, outline heads, and table of contents as a guide Write first draft (No Cheating) Don't merely copy key sentences Summarize information in a new way Revise the rough draft Improve Organization Improve Transitions Drop Unnecessary Information Add Important Information Eliminate wordiness Check spelling, grammar and punctuation VKB MDD

41 ABSTRACT Hints: Clear and concise results/conclusions but adequate description of project Proper word choice for conciseness Use Key words Be Specific (-10° F versus ‘very low temperature’) Drop unnecessary information “this paper will look at....” , “This Paper…”, “…is described/reported” “It is believed that….”, Do not repeat or rephrase the title Do not refer to things not in the paper Assume good Technical vocabulary -- Avoid highly specialized words/abbs. Past tense to describe the work already done, Present tense for existing facts Use primarily active voice. Use passive voice if it reduces word count VKB MDD

42 Introduction VKB MDD

43 Writing the Introduction
Introduction has three principal parts A Scope and subject matter Amplification of the Title – What the report is all about – Limits of coverage B Purpose, Audience amplification of the preface if there is one - Purpose of the report not the purpose of the experiment – Is it a user’s manual, is it a technical report; what background is assumed on the part of the reader – what are the limits of the study - C Plan of the work amplification of the Contents - an overview of the report – how things are organized and why so – Length of the Introduction: 10 to 15%. DON’T: Start with a long history, very general discussion about the subject matter. DO: Let the reader to know the subject matter of the report immediately. VKB MDD

44 Writing the Introduction
Example 1: Hindi Movies Scope / Subject: Narrow down: Critical review of Hindi Movies; Critical review of Love stories in Hindi Movies; Critical review of triangular love stories in Hindi Movies Purpose / Audience: Reading material during travel - Entertainment – Written for Students of Social Science Plan: selection criteria – case by case presentation - factors considered for analysis – conclusions    How to expand? from one page to one chapter or even several chapters the above topic. See Next Slide. VKB MDD

45 Writing the Introduction
Example 1: Hindi Movies: ‘Critical review of triangular love stories’ After the broad introduction – Types of Hindi Movies – Statistics – Types of love stories – Love marriage Vs arranged marriage – Influence of religion, financial status, age factor – are the stories realistic? Do they reflect social values – Specialty about triangular love stories – Statistics – Popularity –  Purpose: can range from entertainment to a PhD thesis in sociology  VKB MDD

46 Writing the Introduction
Example 2: Cricket Match Scope / Subject: Critical review of cricket match; Critical review of close-finish matches ( one ball, one run, one wicket) (one-day match or test match) Purpose / Audience: Reading material during travel - Entertainment- or written for serious fans Plan: selection criteria – case by case presentation - analysis – conclusions VKB MDD

47 Writing the Introduction
Wrong styles of Introduction  “VLSI is an exciting and important area in electronics. Over the past decade it has emerged as …”    “Security is a vital issue of national importance. Today’s technology has advanced …”  Instead, use direct approach: “This report presents in detail the VLSI design of a first order Butterworth analog filter for audio applications.” “A digital image processing algorithm is presented that verifies the image of the human face recorded using a web camera against images stored in an existing database. The algorithm is based on …” VKB MDD

48 Answer the following questions:
Body of the Report Answer the following questions: What did you do? The Problem (one or two chapters) How did you do it? The Method and the Tools (2 or 3 chapters) What did you find out? Results (one chapter) (Don’t include conclusions and recommendations in the Body of the Report) VKB MDD

49 Problem Problem is broadly specified by the Programme Manager.
But narrow down the problem. Ex: where do you live? – In solar system, on earth, in India, in Karnataka, … Subject > Area > Topic > Problem (Area )> Your Problem (sub-area) Electronics > Digital Signal Processing > Image Processing > Face Recognition Face Recognition: Is it identification or Verification? Technique: What Features are used? What is the Classification strategy? Situation: Input Image: Passport photographs, web camera, movie clippings etc. Setting-up performance criteria is a part of the problem statement – Is it to improve the speed or accuracy? – Is it hardware implementation or simulation study etc? What is the size of database? Relevance: Application.Why have you selected this problem? What are the engineering challenges that are addressed in the problem? Literature Survey: How similar problems have been solved? Put your work in the contemporary context. VKB MDD

50 Problem #2 State the Problem (PHYSICS/REALITY). Start from the broad area and narrow down to the specifics. Engineering design is a trade-off between Performance and Cost. What are the performance criteria? What are the goals? What are the costs involved? NARROW DOWN. State the various approaches available to solve the problem. Literature Survey. Justify the particular approach you are going to use. Give both the theoretical basis and the basis for selecting particular tools. If you are good at coding (programming), nothing like writing your own code. VKB MDD

51 Methodology and Tools Generally a software tool is available. Based on the problem proper software tool has to be used. Proper input has to be specified. The tool also generates graphs. What is the difference between a Technician and an Engineer? A Technician knows how to use the tools. An Engineer can DESIGN a system. An Engineer can solve a problem, meet the challenges of a new situation. Master the tool, but know its pit falls – Some designs of automobiles, aircraft, computers have been withdrawn from the market because of bad design. This situation arises due to improper use of tools. Three examples of Pit Falls: a) The spectrum of a sine wave computed using the FFT showed the spectrum of an exponentially damped resonance. b) Pole-zero estimation was made while the input signal that was made-up of only poles. c)Phase response showed a large range while theoretically it has to be within 2p. WARNING: Understand clearly the Physics of the problem and the limitations of the tool. VKB MDD

52 Collecting the Results
Validate using simplified models. Solve it analytically. Estimate the expected results and compare them with those generated by the tools. Then apply to a complex situation. Replicate an earlier study. How are you going to test the results? Generate test cases like a test dose of an injection for possible allergic reaction. Validate the results – Cross check the results to ascertain that the tools are being used properly, check if appropriate inputs have been given - in millimeter or meter, Temperature in Degree F or C, proper polarity ( + or -) etc. Run the Experiment for Repeatability, Consistency. One Single Run is no experiment. No conclusion can be drawn. Collect the Results in a systematic manner. Some of the experiments may be time consuming. Proper planning is required. VKB MDD

53 Presentation of Results
How to present the results? Prepare a menu card. Serve item by item. The presentation must cover the following: 1 Tools or equipments used. Model No., Version No. , Manufacturer or Developer. Actual set-up. Additional details can be given in Appendix. 2 Testing of the tool on a smaller scale before the actual presentation of the results or Calibration of the instruments used to make the measurements. 3 Testing on data where results are predictable or replication - for validation. 4 Scope of the experiments regarding the range of the input parameters and what are the output parameters that are being measured. 5 Present one experiment at a time with a clear objective for the experiment. Present the results and discuss the main findings. Use Tables, Graphs etc for proper illustration. Use proper scale and legend for the Graphs. 6 Show the link between one experiment and another. Present the results in a graded manner. VKB MDD

54 Conclusions and Recommendations
Conclusions are convictions based on (experimental) evidence. Results are measurements. What you infer from the results are the conclusions. Exmp: Data on Rain fall Vs month of the year. Conclusion: Usually there is no rain fall in Bangalore during the month of March. Recommendations: Suggested action. Do’s and Don’ts. Exmp: Conclusion: Delayed Submission of Assignment. Recommendation: Deduction of marks. List the Conclusions. For each item in the list provide the supporting evidence by referring to the Figures or Tables in the main body of the report. Problem Formulation: begins with reality or Physics of the process - Modeling (theory). Experiments are conducted using the model. Why? To deal with a wide range of input parameters, situations etc. Working with real systems is time consuming, expensive. Results are generated using simulation tools or experimental setups. Conclusions take us back to the reality or physics of a process. VKB MDD

55 Explanatory material that would interfere with the logical continuity.
Appendix Explanatory material that would interfere with the logical continuity. Avoids congestion of the report. Pertinent but too detailed – to be seen later if required Not directly contributing to the report – not that of the author - Supporting material not critical and may be of interest only to a few readers. Supplementary calculations; detailed derivations; charts, maps, graphs as additional information; detailed experimental results; description of equipment; description of software tool; Each item has to have an identifying tag and a title. VKB MDD

56 Where is the innovation?
How can a student bring-in an innovation into his/her project work? In the selection of the problem. In the methodology used to solve the problem. In the presentation of results and ability to draw interesting conclusions. In visualizing new applications. In the presentation of the report. VKB MDD

57 General Hints Whole to Part: Going from broad area or overview into details is a better approach. Master Plan to fine details. (Four walls and a roof; later interiors) Do the work in several rounds. First round: Assume that you are preparing one page assignment to be submitted within one day. Propose a tentative title, write a crude report. Second round add some more details etc. Look for information sources. Prioritize: Text Books, Journals (review articles) and Web browsing. Write down the reference immediately. Be FOCUSSED while browsing. Don’t go too deep during the first round of reading. Don’t try to understand all aspects. Just establish links between the problem and the sources. Several rounds of light reading is better than one round of deep reading. Categorize the reading material: Definition, Concept, Illustration, Formula, Details, Case Study etc. Xerox parts and build-up a crude report. Then write it in your own words. VKB MDD

58 Referencing Harvard Reference Oxford Reference APA Reference
“All statements, opinions, conclusions etc. taken from another writer’s work should be cited, whether the work is directly quoted, paraphrased or summarized”. A restatement of a text or passage in another form or other words, often to clarify meaning. Harvard Reference Presenting the substance in a condensed form; concise Oxford Reference APA Reference VKB MDD

59 Harvard Reference In the Harvard System cited publications are referred to in the text by giving the author’s surname and the year of publication and are listed in a bibliography at the end of the text. In the book by Ln1 and Ln2 / Ln1 et al. (1995) ..... There are indications that passive smoking is potentially threatening to the health ( Ln1 and Ln2, Yr; Ln, Yr) Ln1 and Ln2 (Yr) state that "networking is no longer solely within the male domain . . ."(p.XX). Ln1 and Ln2 (Yr) in discussing staff development state that: "Development is infectious, and staff who previously have recoiled from undertaking a degree or conversion course have been encouraged by the success of others"(p.XX). VKB MDD

60 Harvard Reference In the Harvard System, the references are listed in alphabetical order of authors’ names. Book Ln,Fn / Ln,Fn and Ln,Fn /Ln,Fn et al. (Yr) Title of the book, Edition, Place of publication, Publisher. Edited Book Ln,Fn / Ln,Fn and Ln,Fn /Ln,Fn et al. (eds) (Yr) Title of the book, Edition, Place of publication, Publisher. Chapter in a Book Ln, Fn (Yr) Chapter Title. In: Fi. Ln et al. (eds) Title of the book. Place of publication, Publisher. p. xx- yy. Article in a journal Ln, Fi. (Yr) Article Title. Journal Title, V(N), XX-YY. VKB MDD

61 Harvard Reference From published conference proceedings
Ln1, Fi. et al (Yr) Article Title: Proceedings of the Conference held at the Location. Place From published conference proceedings Ln, Fn. (1998) Article Title. In: Ln, Fi. et al. Proceeding Title: Conference held at the Conference Location. Place. p.XX - YY. Dissertation Ln, Fn (1995) Dissertation title. Unpublished Degree dissertation, University. VKB MDD

62 Harvard Reference * Oxford System Sequential: In this system each citation is given a unique number in the order in which it appears in the text, either in brackets or superscripted. VKB MDD

63 Electronic References
WWW Ln, Fi. Mi. (Pub. Date). Title. Site. URL (Date Accessed). Ln, Fi. (Msg. date) subject Line   Discussion or Newsgroup list. List address (Date Accessed). Online Reference Source Ln, Fi. Title. (1993). In Title of complete work.     Online resource. Path to the source (Date Accessed). Electronic Publication/Database Ln, Fi. Title. (1993). Title of complete work Version No.     Name of the DB, Online resource. Access Info. (Date Accessed). VKB MDD

64 Resources Oxford English Dictionary (for subscribers only) Merriam Webster (Dictionary and Thesaurus) Roget’s (Dictionary/Thesaurus/language Ref./Other Language ……..) William Strunk’s “Element of Style” Writing Guidelines for Engineering and Science Students Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) Site Map Grammar Handbook VKB MDD

65 “Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it, and above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light.” -- Joseph Pulitzer VKB MDD

66 Philosophy Honesty is the best policy.
You cannot write a good report / paper unless you have something to say. First decide what is that you want to say. Then say it boldly, clearly and briefly. Technical writing is a boring job. Doing an experiment or computation or observing the sky is more exciting. (They involve new tasks!) But technical reporting is an equally important job. Hence it has to be done properly. It does not necessarily mean we have to spend more time. Poor technical writing makes one suspect about the care taken in your technical work itself. VKB MDD

67 Floods in the Kaveri Basin
EXAMPLE for the TITLE Floods Floods in the Kaveri Basin Floods in the Kaveri Basin during the Years 1990 – 2005 A Detailed Fluid Mechanical Study of Floods in the Kaveri Basin during the Years and Suggestions for their control A Fluid Mechanical Study of Floods in the Kaveri Basin during the Years and Suggestions for their control A Study of Floods and their control in the Kaveri Basin during the Years 1990 – 2005 A Study of Floods and their control in the Kaveri Basin VKB MDD

68 From: The Origin of the Species by Charles Darwin (1859)
EXAMPLES From: The Origin of the Species by Charles Darwin (1859) Page “Thus, on the theory of descent with modification, the main facts with respect to the mutual affinities of the extinct forms of life to each other and to living forms, are explained in a satisfactory manner. And they are wholly inexplicable on any other view.” Notice the confident summary from a Master. Also notice the word “wholly” in the last sentence: How precise and guarded he is! VKB MDD

69 From: The Origin of the Species by Charles Darwin (1859)
EXAMPLES From: The Origin of the Species by Charles Darwin (1859) Page “Although I am fully convinced of the truth of the views given in this volume …. I by no means expect to convince experienced naturalists whose minds are stocked with multiple of facts all viewed, during a long course of years, from a point of view directly opposite of mine. It is easy to hide our ignorance under such expressions as the ‘plan of creation’ ‘unity of design,’ &c., and to think that we give an explanation when we only re-state a fact.” Feel the pressure and pain under which he is writing. Also notice how he has used the word “stocked”. (Is it complimentary?) How clearly he points out the mistake of other naturalists. VKB MDD

70 EXAMPLES CURRENT SCIENCE Volume April 2005 ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Dark energy: The cosmological challenge of the millennium Authors: Abstract: Recent cosmological observations suggest that nearly seventy per cent of the energy density in the universe is unclustered and has negative pressure. Several conceptual issues related to the modelling of this component (‘dark energy’), which is driving an accelerated expansion of the universe, are reviewed with special emphasis on the cosmological constant as the possible choice for the dark energy. VKB MDD

71 EXAMPLES CURRENT SCIENCE Volume May 2005 ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Monsoon prediction – Why yet another failure? Authors: Abstract: The country experienced a deficit of 13% in the summer monsoon of As in 2002, this deficit was not predicted either by the operational empirical models at India Meteorological Department (IMD) or by the dynamical models at national and international centres. Our analysis of the predictions generated by the operational models at IMD from 1932 onwards suggests that the forecast skill has not improved over the seven decades despite continued changes in the operational models. Clearly, new approaches need to be explored with empirical models. The simulation of year-to-year variation of the monsoon is still a challenging problem for models of the atmosphere as well as the coupled ocean–atmosphere system. We expect dynamical models to generate better prediction only after this problem is successfully addressed. VKB MDD

72 EXAMPLES CURRENT SCIENCE Volume April 2005 ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Cratering and spall simulation of Pokhran-1 event with three-dimensional transient finite element analysis Abstract: Three-dimensional transient numerical simulation of coupled gas cavity and geological medium problem resulting from underground nuclear explosion events is complex due to the gas cavity growth, resulting into the large deformations and large strains of the geological medium and shock-induced high strain-rate dependence of the response. However, it is important to establish the effects of local inelastic and nonlinear behaviour due to crushing and cracking of the geological medium, on the shock-waves near the source and the seismic signals beyond the elastic radius. This study also helps simulate the shock-wave reflection effects from the free surface near the ground zero, mound growth, spall near the free surface and the subsequent free fall of the mound due to gravity effect resulting in crater formation. The impacting spalled rock layers give rise to secondary seismic signals in addition to the primary signals that are observed in the near field which in turn are known to influence the far-field seismic signals. The present article describes the capabilities of a three-dimensional transient finite element code, SHOCK-3D, for the shorttime cavity growth, shock-wave propagation, mound growth and its free fall along with the settlement of the mound observed after a longer duration for the composite layer medium. The code predictions are benchmarked for the near-source experimental observations of the first Indian nuclear explosion event of 1974, carried out at the Pokhran test site. VKB MDD

73 CURRENT SCIENCE Volume 88 Number 7 10 April 2005 EDITORIAL
EXAMPLES CURRENT SCIENCE Volume 88 Number 7 10 April EDITORIAL ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Women, Science and the X-Chromosome International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on 8th March. The day has been institutionalized by the United Nations, although various dates in March have been previously associated with the struggle for equality of women. The women’s rights movement has its origins in the struggle to vote by women in the United States in the latter half of the 19th century, most dramatically highlighted by the 1873 trial of Susan B. Anthony in the United States for illegal voting, Women’s Day appears to have firmly rooted beginnings in Europe. March 8 presumably commemorates the famous strike in St. Petersburg organized by Russian women in 1917, a spontaneous uprising for ‘bread and peace’ in a Russia ravaged by war and ripe for revolution. Today, Women’s Day is used to focus attention on the many issues that ensure that women continue to live in an unequal world. This year, I received an invitation ……… P. Balaram VKB MDD

74 We will be glad to help you any time.
Best Wishes Wish you all an enjoyable stay. Wish you all a stimulating educational programme. Wish you all an excellent future. Be Professionals. Become Professionals. Derive satisfaction from your work. Enjoy doing your work. Money/wealth automatically follows you if you are good professionals. We will be glad to help you any time. VKB MDD

75 Happy Writing Happy Reading VKB MDD

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