The Craft of Scientific Writing:
A Workshop on Technical Writing




Michael Alley
Penn State
Phone: (814)867-0251
Email: malley@engr.psu.edu

Supporting Slides:
First session
Second session
Form


Described here is a workshop that is designed to help you (the engineer, scientist, or technical professional) improve your writing. The workshop has three goals: (1) to teach you the major differences between strong and weak technical writing; (2) to make the process of writing technical documents more efficient for you; and (3) to help you begin a technical document that you have to write. The workshop consists of lectures, discussions, and exercises.



Course Schedule

The following schedule presents the topics, exercises, and readings for the workshop on scientific writing. The readings are from The Craft of Scientific Writing.

Session Topic Exercise Corresponding Reading
First Style Errors 1-4 Format Exercise
Grammar Exercise
Punctuation Exercise
Usage Exercise
Exercise 1 on Headings
Exercise 2 on Headings
Chapters 1-5, 16-17
Second Style Errors 5-8
Form
Avoiding Ambiguities
Being Fluid
Editing Language
Illustration Exercise
Chapters 6-11



Recommended Texts and Web Resources

Alley, Michael, The Craft of Scientific Writing, 3rd edition (New York: Springer-Verlag, 1996), 282 pages.

Writing Exercises for Engineers and Scientists, ed. by M. Alley, L. Crowley, J. Donnell, and C. Moore (Blacksburg, VA: Virginia Tech, 2006), free resource.

Writing Guidelines for Engineering and Science Students, ed. by M. Alley, L. Crowley, J. Donnell, and C. Moore (Blacksburg, VA: Virginia Tech, 2006), free resource.


Last updated 03/2007
http://writing.eng.vt.edu/courses/writing.html