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Engineering 190W - Spring 2024 - Harnick-Shapiro Section

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There are many hints about how to become a more effective communicator, writer and presenter.  Remember that this first and foremost is an advanced technical writing class.  You have to submit several technical reports.  Some ideas include:

1.  Write from an outline

2.  Expect to write several drafts

3.  Use Tracking function in MS Word to enter and see revisions

4.  Create Bibliography as you write - consider using Bibliographic Management Software -

5.  For a research paper, you may find the following outline helpful:


Background/ Description of Problem or Question/Context/Importance

Research Methodology


Summary of Literature Review


Acceptance or rejection of the hypothesis

6.  Read paper aloud - see cadences and length of sentences - shorten when possible for clarity

7.  Create your portfolio.

Working in Groups

Some hints for achieving success in group projects or ones in which collaboration is central to the assignment:

  1. establish a group leader to keep everyone focused and on task
  2. contract with one another about what each will deliver
  3. share information widely
  4. work from an outline
  5. try and establish one common voice that reflects everyone's input
  6. remember that group effort contributes to defining everyone's outcome
  7. utilize MS Word Tracking - in MS Word use Review tab to initiate tracking software to note editorial revisions - particularly relevant when revising or commenting on drafts
  8. consider forming a shared/collaborative work space such as in Google Drive ( which is coordinated through gmail and other eMail addresses; use editing software so you can see each other's comments

Gantt Charts

A Gantt Chart is a type of bar chart that illustrates a product schedule and is more fully described in the wikipedia entry,

There are many ways to develop a Gantt Chart.  Without investing in special software you may want to try using Excel and follow the directions noted at  There are some free software packages that you can download which appear to create the Gantt Chart for you to populate - see

Overall Assignments

You have several assignments in this class.  They include writing essays, group collaboration, presentations, research papers, technical papers. 

Journal Article Summary

Make sure that you include the full citation of the article about which you are summarizing or writing.

A summary is different than an abstract which states the hypothesis, findings & conclusion with an acceptance or rejection of the hypothesis.  A summary provides more discussion and analysis with input from the reader - a more interpretive essay that can offer commentary and criticism.  The reader can state whether they agree with the methodology, findings and conclusions and whether they will stand up to the test of time or what impact they may have.  Basically a short critique.  You can measure the number of words in MS Word by highlighting the text of what you have composed.



Peer Review

The criteria for participating in peer review suggests an open mind and objectivity.  It also includes the ability to answer some of the following quedstions:

  • if a study was conducted, can it be replicated based on the information provided
  • was the foundation of the work ethically sound and based
  • can the article's data and methodology be described as accurate
  • how does research paper contribute to the overall body of literature on topic
  • is it in understandable, grammatical and correct English
  • are opinions and information properly and consistently cited
  • is there sufficient evidence for conclusions