The goal of this seminar is to help advanced PhD students with writing and editing technical documents, such as papers and dissertations. We will cover basics of good English composition, organization of sentences, paragraphs, and sections, and other topics. Our initial plan is to follow Norman Ramsey's course on Technical Writing Using the Engineering Method, but the exact topics and emphases will depend on the students' needs.
Enrollment is limited to 10 students, first come first served.
It is not restricted to students from the PL group.
It is my
understanding that you can enroll in the course for either 2 credits
or 4 credits. You will be expected to do the same work either way.
You should consult with your advisor and/or Prof. Rajaraman to decide
whether to enroll for 2 credits or for 4. The course is 2
credits, and does not count toward any specialty area.
Students should be working on papers or dissertations that we can discuss and analyze. If you enroll in this course, you should send me a short paper that you have written (5-10 pages is preferred), so that I can begin to tailor the course to your needs.
We will have a group meeting approximately weekly, and students will have 1-on-1 sessions with the instructor as appropriate.
Meeting TimeOur scheduled meeting time is
Wednesdays, 2:50-4:30, SL 045
Our CRN is 18122.
CommunicationWe will set up a communications forum. That might be via Piazza, Gchat, or Slack-- we can decide that as a group at our first meeting.
One or more of these will be designated as our official textbook and ordered through the Bookstore.
- Joseph M. Williams and and Joseph Bizup, Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace (12th Edition).
- steven Pinker, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century.
- Simon Peyton-Jones's advice on How to write a great research paper
- Important Editing Principles
- Norman Ramsey's Course Notes
- Gopen and Swan, The Science of Scientific Writing (American Scientist, 1990). Many great examples of sentences to analyze and fix.
- Cheat Sheet for "The Science of Scientific Writing" (not half so good, but still a useful summary)
- Michael Alley, The Craft of Scientific Presentations (2nd ed, Springer). A manual covering the entire process from organization, preparation, slides, and delivery.
- My Guidelines for writing slides (synthesized from Alley's book and from other people far more expert than me).
- Homework Assignment 1: Critiquing a Published Paper
- Homework Assignment 2: Editing a Paragraph
- Homework Assignment 3: Editing and Cutting a Paper
- Homework Assignment 4: Editing a Presentation
- Homework Assignment 5: End-Term Reflection
All material on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, unless otherwise indicated. A summary of license terms may be found here. Copies of papers used in class are copyright by their respective owners, and used here under the Fair Use doctrine.