Engineering Process Analysis

Engineering Writing by Dorothy Winsor

As one reads the above article, it comes out rather obvious that the author’s main point is to discredit the common idea perceived by many engineers that language is but a means of knowledge transportation and not a means of discovering knowledge. According to Winsor, engineers do require good writing skills if they are to effectively analyze the physical data that they encounter in their profession, to convert such data into easy-to-understand knowledge that can be easily shared with other individuals, and even record such data to be utilized in conducting further experiments. Winsor further states that language enables engineers to express themselves as engineers. She illustrates this point by observing that the language used by engineers in their reports enables them to transform their non-linear yet creative decisions during experiments to logical sequences of choices given that engineering entails the analysis of data and fact and not just implicit knowledge.

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Winsor’s study of writing about engineering illustrates how her conception applies practically. In her article, after interviewing an engineering report writer, Winsor concludes that articles, such as the engineering report, are more than just practical compositions and can be better described as works that illustrate just how much the writer respects actions taken with regards to facts. Such reports, therefore, identify their writers as belonging to the engineers’ community. Simply put, instead of enlightening their readers, these reports are vital in creating a community with which both the reader and writer can identify with.

Winsor is right in more ways than one. Good language skills are among the most vital skills that every human should possess given the need to constantly convey information to one another. As much as engineering mostly deals with technical data, there are many instances when engineers have to deal with other professionals and to effectively do this they need good language skills. Engineers, therefore, just like other professionals, also require good language skills to effectively carry out their duties. Two discussion questions that arise from this article are:

  1. It is obvious that language is crucial for communication, but to what extent is does language skills contribute to the engineering profession?
  2. Can one become an excellent engineer without possessing excellent language skills?

The Composing Process of an Engineer by Jack Selzer

As one reads Jack Selzer’s article, it can be noticed that the larger issue in his article is his suggestion that in some cases, it is possible for writers to effectively write without having to refer to their drafts to guide them in editing or polishing their articles. In this article, it can be observed that Selzer’s engineer is not only confident but also well prepared for the report he was about to compose given that he produced detailed outlines, linearly composed his report, and spend only about five percent of his time going through his report. One of the issues that cannot go without being noticed is that the engineer spent more than three-quarters of the time he spends composing on planning. It can also be noticed that the engineer’s audience may have changed, but most of the other elements he come across as he composed his report remained more or less the same. Selzer notes that the engineer has over time written a myriad of documents, and this could be the main reason why he is that confident as he writes this report. He has become so familiar with such kinds of documents that he does not need to pause and go through his work.

In Selzer’s article, he convinces his readers that he has scrupulously researched his work by listing the method he used to collect his data. In this essay, the method he uses more is the observation of an engineer, Keneth Nelson, who records the engineer’s thoughts and answers to the questions he asks him during the report writing. He even provides details of the engineer’s background, in particular, certain events such as the engineer having previously composed his own1200 words.

When one does the same thing over some time, it reaches a time when the individual gets very used to the routine and carries out the duties with a lot of ease. The engineer in Selzer’s article best illustrates this point from the way he approaches the article with confidence without having to revise his work. The preparation stage also contributes to making the composting process much easier. Once one makes adequate preparations, it is easy to organize oneself as an engineer in Selzer’s article.

As one reads Selzer’s article, Selzer’s document illustrates that he thoroughly observed the engineer. From this article, two discussion questions that arise are:

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  1. What is the main factor that can enable one to confidently compose good articles without the need to constantly go through the article?
  2. Given that preparation is very important if one is to have an easy time composing articles, what are some of the important activities that should be included in the preparation process?


Selzer, J. (1983). The composing processes of an engineer. College Composition and Communication, 34(2), 178. Web.

Winsor, D. A. (1990). Engineering writing/Writing engineering. College Composition and Communication, 41(1), 58. Web.

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