The MIT Guide to Science and Engineering Communication
290 pp., 6 x 9 in,
- Published: January 30, 1997
- Publisher: The MIT Press
Good communication makes a difference. Any successful scientist or engineer will have multiple communication tasks connected with any project. Drawing on their considerable experience teaching both college students and science professionals, James Paradis and Muriel Zimmerman have written a handbook that treats four kinds of literacy—written, oral, graphic, electronic—as crucial and inseparable to science and engineering communication.The MIT Guide emphasizes processes and forms that will help in creating documents and includes numerous realistic examples. A special feature of the book is its acceptance of the fact that most work in science these days is collaborative and that writing is often a group rather than a solitary activity. There is also a strong emphasis on the central role of the computer in creating and disseminating technical materials.First, Paradis and Zimmerman observe, it is essential to consider science and engineering as communication. The most effective engineers and scientists are skilled writers, and the first chapter shows how important good communication is to a successful career in science. The chapters that follow address such topics as: defining your audience and aims; organizing and drafting documents; revising for organization and style; developing graphics; conducting meetings; memos, letters, and e-mail; proposals; progress reports; reports and journal articles; instructional materials; electronic texts; oral presentations; job search strategies; document design for page and screen; strategies for searching the literature; and citation and reference styles.
The MIT Guide contains an abundance of useful information onpractically every facet of contemporary technical communication. I enjoyed reading it immensely. The information is succinct and to thepoint, and the supporting graphics are not only relevant but oftenadmirable in the amount of information they convey.
David F. Beer, Ph.D., Director of Technical Communication,Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Texasat Austin