Course: Basics of Technical English (9409)
Semester: Autumn, 2021
Assignment no 2
Question no 1..
Define the following terms with appropriate examples. Read Unit 6 of your textbook (Appendix-A) for guidance.
An appendix contains supplementary material that is not an essential part of the text itself but which may be helpful in providing a more comprehensive understanding of the research problem or it is information that is too cumbersome to be included in the body of the paper. A separate appendix should be used for each distinct topic or set of data and always have a title descriptive of its contents.Appendices are always supplementary to the research paper. As such, your study must be able to stand alone without the appendices, and the paper must contain all information including tables, diagrams, and results necessary to understand the research problem. The key point to remember when including an appendix or appendices is that the information is non-essential; if it were removed, the reader would still be able to comprehend the significance, validity, and implications of your research.
It is appropriate to include appendices for the following reasons:
Including this material in the body of the paper that would render it poorly structured or interrupt the narrative flow;
Information is too lengthy and detailed to be easily summarized in the body of the paper;
Inclusion of helpful, supporting, or useful material would otherwise distract the reader from the main content of the paper;
Provides relevant information or data that is more easily understood or analyzed in a self-contained section of the paper;
Can be used when there are constraints placed on the length of your paper; and,
Provides a place to further demonstrate your understanding of the research problem by giving additional details about a new or innovative method, technical details, or design protocols.
Appendices contain material that is too detailed to include in the main report, such as long mathematical derivations or calculations, detailed technical drawings, or tables of raw data. The content should be summarised and referred to at the appropriate point in the the body of the report. The conventions for appendices are as follows:
each appendix must be labelled with a number (or letter) and title
the appendix numbers and titles must be listed on the Contents page under the heading Appendices (if more than one) or Appendix (if only one)
each appendix must be referred to by number (or letter) at the relevant point in the text.
Apostrophe – when a character in a literary work speaks to an object, an idea, or someone who doesn’t exist as if it is a living person. This is done to produce dramatic effect and to show the importance of the object or idea.
Examples of Apostrophe:
- Oh, rose, how sweet you smell and how bright you look!
- Car, please get me to work today.
- Oh, trees, how majestic you are as you throw down your golden leaves.
- Dear love, please don’t shoot me with your Cupid’s bow.
Run On Sentences Modifiers
A run-on sentence occurs when two or more independent clauses (also known as complete sentences) are connected improperly.
Example: I love to write papers I would write one every day if I had the time.
There are two complete sentences in the above example:
Sentence 1: I love to write papers.
Sentence 2: I would write one every day if I had the time.
One common type of run-on sentence is a comma splice. A comma splice occurs when two independent clauses are joined with just a comma.
Example of a comma splice: Participants could leave the study at any time, they needed to indicate their preference.
Sentence 1: Participants could leave the study at any time.
Sentence 2: They needed to indicate their preference.
Some comma splices occur when a writer attempts to use a transitional expression in the middle of a sentence.
Example of a comma splice: The results of the study were inconclusive, therefore more research needs to be done on the topic.
Sentence 1: The results of the study were inconclusive
Transitional expression (conjunctive adverb): therefore
Sentence 2: More research needs to be done on the topic
To fix this type of comma splice, use a semicolon before the transitional expression and add a comma after it. See more examples of this on the semicolon page.
Revision: The results of the study were inconclusive; therefore, more research needs to be done on the topic.
Subject Verb Agreement
Subjects and verbs must agree in number. In addition to the explanations on this page, also see the post on Subject—Verb Agreement.
If the subject is singular, the verb must be singular too.
Example: She writes every day.
Exception: When using the singular “they,” use plural verb forms.
Example: The participant expressed satisfaction with their job. They are currently in a managerial role at the organization.
If the subject is plural, the verb must also be plural.
Example: They write every day.
Sometimes, however, it seems a bit more complicated than this.
When the subject of the sentence is composed of two or more nouns or pronouns connected by and, use a plural verb.
Example: The doctoral student and the committee members write every day.
Example: The percentage of employees who called in sick and the number of employees who left their jobs within 2 years are reflective of the level of job satisfaction.
When there is one subject and more than one verb, the verbs throughout the sentence must agree with the subject.
Example: Interviews are one way to collect data and allow researchers to gain an in-depth understanding of participants.
Example: An assumption is something that is generally accepted as true and is an important consideration when conducting a doctoral study.
When a phrase comes between the subject and the verb, remember that the verb still agrees with the subject, not the noun or pronoun in the phrase following the subject of the sentence.
Example: The student, as well as the committee members, is excited.
Example: The student with all the master’s degrees is very motivated.
xample: Strategies that the teacher uses to encourage classroom participation include using small groups and clarifying expectations.
Example: The focus of the interviews was nine purposively selected participants.
When two or more singular nouns or pronouns are connected by “or” or “nor,” use a singular verb.
Example: The chairperson or the CEO approves the proposal before proceeding.
When a compound subject contains both a singular and a plural noun or pronoun joined by “or” or “nor,” the verb should agree with the part of the subject that is closest to the verb. This is also called the rule of proximity.
Example: The student or the committee members write every day.
Example: The committee members or the student writes every day.
The words and phrases “each,””each one,””either,””neither,””everyone,””everybody,””anyone,””anybody,””nobody,””somebody,””someone,” and “no one” are singular and require a singular verb.
Example: Each of the participants was willing to be recorded.
Example: Neither alternative hypothesis was accepted.
Example: I will offer a $5 gift card to everybody who participates in the study.
Example: No one was available to meet with me at the preferred times.
An antecedent is the thing represented by a pronoun. The antecedent of a pronoun is a noun.
antecedent easy example
Easy Examples of Antecedents
In each example, the pronoun is in bold and its antecedent is shaded.
Gail said she will be late.
(“Gail” is the antecedent of the pronoun “she.”)
Tell the professor I’ll see him tonight.
(“The professor” is the antecedent of the pronoun “him.”)
Question no 2..
Visual aids are an essential part of technical writing eg. they can be of great help in summarizing data, in generating discussion etc. Make a list of the important visual aids used by the technical writers and discuss any two in detail with appropriate examples.
Visual aids are items of a visual manner, such as graphs, photographs, video clips etc used in addition to spoken information. Visual aids are chosen depending on their purpose, for example, you may want to:
Reduce the amount of spoken words, for example, you may show a graph of your results rather than reading them out.
Clarify and show examples.
Create more of an impact, for example, if your presentation is on the health risks of smoking, you may show images of the effects of smoking on the body rather than describing this. You must consider what type of impact you want to make beforehand – do you want the audience to be sad, happy, angry etc?
Emphasise what you’re saying.
Make a point memorable.
Enhance your credibility.
Engage the audience and maintain their interest.
Make something easier for the audience to understand.
Using a flipboard during a presentation
Preparation and use of visual aids
Once you have decided that you want to use a visual aid, you must ensure that the audience is able to quickly understand the image – it must be clear. They can be used throughout your speech but try to only use visual aids for essential points as it can be tiring for the audience to skip from one visual to another.
Think about how can a visual aid can support your message. What do you want the audience to do?
Ensure that your visual aid follows what you’re saying or this will confuse the audience.
Avoid cluttering the image as it may look messy and unclear.
Visual aids must be clear, concise and of a high quality.
Keep the style consistent, such as, the same font, colours, positions etc
Use graphs and charts to present data.
The audience should not be trying to read and listen at the same time – use visual aids to highlight your points.
One message per visual aid, for example, on a slide there should only be one key point.
Use visual aids in moderation – they are additions meant to emphasise and support main points.
Ensure that your presentation still works without your visual aids in case of technical problems.
Practice using the visual aids in advance and ask friends and colleagues for feedback. Ask them whether they can clearly see the visual aid and how they interpret it.
Types of visual aids
There are a variety of different types of visual aids, you must decide which will suit your presentation and your audience.
Microsoft PowerPoint is widely used for presentations because it’s easy to create attractive and professional presentations and it’s simple to modify and reorganise content compared to other visual aids. You can insert a range of visual items into the slides which will improve the audience’s focus. Also, the audience can generally see slideshows better than other visual aids and you don’t have to face away from them. However, your presentation can look unprofessional if this software is used poorly.
Have a clear and simple background.
Avoid using too many different types of fonts or font sizes.
Only use animations for a purpose, such as, to reveal the stages of a process, otherwise this can be distracting and look amateurish.
Use a large font size – a minimum of 24pt.
Use bullet points to summarise key points.
Consider providing handouts of diagrams because the audience will find the diagrams easier to read.
Avoid putting too much text on a slide.
Avoid using red or green text as it’s difficult to read.
There should only be one key point for each slide.
Always have a back-up plan in case there is a technical issue and you cannot show the visuals on the day, for example, bring handouts or a poster.
Whiteboards are great for providing further explanations, such as, showing the order of a process, creating diagrams or explaining complex words or phrases. They’re often used to display headings and write down audience suggestions. Whiteboards are also ideal for displaying important information for the entire duration of the presentation, such as, key definitions, because the audience can just glance at the whiteboard for a reminder.
Handouts are papers that contain key information from your presentation or they may provide further information. They prevent you from overwhelming the audience as there will be less information on the slides and therefore less information they need to write down.
Using videos are a great wait to engage the audience and increase their interest. Use video to bring motion, images and audio into your presentation.
Flip charts offer a low cost and low tech solution to record and convey information as you speak. They’re more beneficial for smaller audiences and they are favoured for brainstorming sessions as you can gather ideas easily. Flip charts are also widely used for summarising information and, like with a whiteboard, you can use them to show permanent background information.
Product, objects or artefacts
Objects can be useful tools for making an impact or even for making a dull topic more interesting. Sometimes they’ll be needed for technical and practical reasons, such as, showing a model or conducting an experiment.
Key points for using visual aids
Try to find out what the presentation room is like beforehand, such as, the layout of the room, the equipment etc, so you can see if your visual aids are appropriate and whether they will work there but always have a contingency plan regardless. Also remember that the audience should be able to understand an image almost immediately.
Question no 3..
Q.3 In Unit 8 of your textbook, you have learnt that one has to plan, draft and edit documents throughout his/her career. Suppose you are working as a head of the primary school. You are not satisfied with the performance of the teachers you want to bring a change in their style of teaching, time. schedule and duties. Write a document proposing that change.
Becoming a better teacher isn’t just about the students you teach, it’s also about increasing your own work satisfaction. That’s why so many educators constantly strive to improve their teaching skills not only as a way of doing a better job producing well-educated members of society, but to build their own self-esteem through improved work quality. Below are 6 things teachers and educators can do to enhance their personal professional development practices…
- Focus on the Subject Matter and the Students’ Learning
The main idea of your job is to transfer your knowledge to students in a way that enables them to retain that same knowledge. The best way to improve this is to remember that this work is about the student. Make sure every lesson is focused on each individual child.
- Try Something New
Don’t restrain yourself from trying a new approach or a new method of teaching. Your students’ reactions will help you determine if your approach is working or not. Not only is it the simplest form of enhancing your teaching performance, but it’s also another great way to show your students a side to you they didn’t know existed, keeping things lively and fresh in the classroom.
- Make Use of Tutoring
Teachers don’t have unlimited time to teach. So relying on good tutors to supplement a student’s educational career can be critical for parents, teachers, and students alike. Finding a quality tutor or tutoring job to supplement your work is always a worthwhile investment.
- Improve Your Performance
Three ways you can improve your performance include:
Reading & participating – Just as students learn through reading homework assignments, so too should teachers strive to do homework by picking up a good book of their own. Even the best teachers can learn new things through reading and testing various approaches to find what works best for them!
Joining a group to observe & BE observed by your peers – Do you know what fellow teachers at your school are doing? Observation can be key to professional development. Sometimes the best feedback comes directly from the people who know the students in your community best…your peers. Don’t underestimate this essential feedback.
Sharing – Don’t have the opportunity to join an observation group? Simply talking to other teachers, tutors, and professors about your experiences and challenges can reap great rewards. Take advantage of staff meetings and lunch breaks to share what’s working in your classroom to help create a collaborative environment among your colleagues!
- Don’t Be Afraid of Taking Risks
Loosen up. If you never try something new and exciting, you will never be able to improve your teaching skills. Stepping outside of your comfort zone can be scary, but with great risk comes great rewards. Take a lesson from Thomas Edison when he said, “I didn’t fail…I just found 2000 ways NOT to make a lightbulb!”
- Present Better Content
The last tip in today’s blog is to focus on how you show and explain the knowledge that you want to transfer to your students. Don’t just rely on the same outdated powerpoint you’ve used year after year. Instead, opt for more hands-on activities or a more modern approach that incorporates the technology they’re already captivated by.
These may not be revolutionary tips that we’ve never heard before, but they’re tips many of us strive to work on in our classrooms day in and day out. Challenge yourself to be a better teacher every single day, and then, tell AAE your success stories so that we can share them with our growing community of professionals.
To teach all students according to today’s standards, teachers need to understand subject matter deeply and flexibly so they can help students create useful cognitive maps, relate one idea to another, and address misconceptions. Teachers need to see how ideas connect across fields and to everyday life. This kind of understanding provides a foundation for pedagogical content knowledge that enables teachers to make ideas accessible to others (Shulman, 1987).
Shulman (1986) introduced the phrase pedagogical content knowledge and sparked a whole new wave of scholarly articles on teachers’ knowledge of their subject matter and the importance of this knowledge for successful teaching. In Shulman’s theoretical framework, teachers need to master two types of knowledge: (a) content, also known as “deep” knowledge of the subject itself, and (b) knowledge of the curricular development. Content knowledge encompasses what Bruner (as cited in Shulman, 1992) called the “structure of knowledge”–the theories, principles, and concepts of a particular discipline. Especially important is content knowledge that deals with the teaching process, including the most useful forms of representing and communicating content and how students best learn the specific concepts and topics of a subject. “If beginning teachers are to be successful, they must wrestle simultaneously with issues of pedagogical content (or knowledge) as well as general pedagogy (or generic teaching principles)” (Grossman, as cited in Ornstein, Thomas, & Lasley, 2000, p. 508).
Shulman (1986, 1987, 1992) created a Model of Pedagogical Reasoning, which comprises a cycle of several activities that a teacher should complete for good teaching: comprehension, transformation, instruction, evaluation, reflection, and new comprehension.
Question no 4..
What is the difference between summary and abstract? And who are the audience for summary and abstract?
SUMMARIES and ABSTRACTS
THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN A SUMMARY AND AN ABSTRACT
The terms summary and abstract are often used interchangeably resulting in some confusion. This problem arises because there are two distinct types of abstracts – descriptive and informative. The informative abstract is another name for a summary; the descriptive is not. The descriptive abstract is usually only 2 or 3 sentences in length, hence it is not a summary or very informative. An informative abstract (summary) is an abbreviated version of the most significant points in a book, article, report or meeting. It is usually about 5% to 15% of the length of the original. It is useful because it condenses material, informing the reader of the original’s most important points.
THE CONTENTS OF AN INFORMATIVE ABSTRACT
The most obvious problem in writing this abstract is deciding what to include and what to omit.
Following are some suggestions to help you to overcome this problem.
T Purpose: An abstract should identify why the article was written. A brief introduction should
reveal the main purpose of the article.
T Important Specifics: Include only those names, dates, places or costs that are essential to
understanding the original.
T Conclusions or results: Emphasize outcomes of surveys/tests, research conclusions, and
proposed solutions to the problem.
T Recommendations or implications: Include important recommendations, along with other
— Opinion: Don’t include your own opinions.
— New Data: Don’t compare the work with other articles, books or conferences; stick only to that
information included in the original.
— Irrelevant Specifics: Don’t include biographical data about the author.
— Examples: Illustrations, explanations and descriptions are unnecessary in an abstract.
— Background: Material in introductions to articles provides information and anecdotes that are of little importance to understanding the article.
— Reference Data: Exclude information from footnotes, tables and bibliographies.
— Jargon: Technical language or jargon may confuse the reader.
THE SEVEN STEPS TO PREPARING AN INFORMATIVE ABSTRACT
- Read through the material completely to get a general idea of its content.
- Re-read the material as often as is necessary to locate all of the main points. Pay special attention to the first and last sentences of each paragraph. The first usually identifies the topic and the last usually summarizes the paragraph. Look for these types of key words to identify the main points:
- Words the enumerate: first, second, third; next; initially, finally.
- Words that express causation: thus, as a result, because, therefore.
- Words that express contrasts and comparisons: however, although, despite, furthermore, in
- Organize the information you have gathered into an initial rough draft. At this point your draft will contain more information that will appear in your final version. Feel free to use the
language of the original now.
- Read through your rough draft and delete whatever information you can. Condense or eliminate main points if possible. Make sure that you have accurately maintained the emphasis of the
- Put the edited version into your own words. Make sure you’ve eliminated unneeded words.
Once again, compare your version with the original to double-check facts.
- Don’t include remarks that repeatedly call attention to the fact that you are writing a summary.
For example, “On page 7 of the article, the author discusses sexual discrimination in the workplace.”
- Identify the source you’ve just summarized.
Evaluative summaries differ from other abstracts and summaries in only one way: your opinion of the material is included in the evaluative summary. You should blend your assessment throughout the entire summary and not just lump all of your opinions at the end. This lets the reader know what you thought of each point addressed in the article. These are some questions that you should answer for readers of your evaluative summary.
< How carefully is the subject researched? Is the material accurate and up-to-date?
< Is the writer or speaker objective?
< Does the work achieve the goal? Did the writer cover the topic adequately? Are there irrelevant materials in the work?
< Is the material relevant to the audience for whom you are writing your evaluative summary?
< Is the material readable? Is it easy to follow?
< What kind of vocabulary does the writer use? Are there technical terms or jargon?
Question no 5..
When we write a report or an article, we are required to read a few books or examples. relevant literature for clarity on the issue and to pick up new ideas. For this purpose, we have to mention the names of the authors and the resources we make use of. There are two famous methods of documenting sources. Write in detail some of the significant features of each one of them.
A literature review surveys books, scholarly articles, and any other sources relevant to a particular issue, area of research, or theory, and by so doing, provides a description, summary, and critical evaluation of these works in relation to the research problem being investigated. Literature reviews are designed to provide an overview of sources you have explored while researching a particular topic and to demonstrate to your readers how your research fits within a larger field of study.
Fink, Arlene. Conducting Research Literature Reviews: From the Internet to Paper. Fourth edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2014.
Importance of a Good Literature Review
A literature review may consist of simply a summary of key sources, but in the social sciences, a literature review usually has an organizational pattern and combines both summary and synthesis, often within specific conceptual categories. A summary is a recap of the important information of the source, but a synthesis is a re-organization, or a reshuffling, of that information in a way that informs how you are planning to investigate a research problem. The analytical features of a literature review might:
Give a new interpretation of old material or combine new with old interpretations,
Trace the intellectual progression of the field, including major debates,
Depending on the situation, evaluate the sources and advise the reader on the most pertinent or relevant research, or
Usually in the conclusion of a literature review, identify where gaps exist in how a problem has been researched to date.
The purpose of a literature review is to:
Place each work in the context of its contribution to understanding the research problem being studied.
Describe the relationship of each work to the others under consideration.
Identify new ways to interpret prior research.
Reveal any gaps that exist in the literature.
Resolve conflicts amongst seemingly contradictory previous studies.
Identify areas of prior scholarship to prevent duplication of effort.
Point the way in fulfilling a need for additional research.
Locate your own research within the context of existing literature [very important].
Fink, Arlene. Conducting Research Literature Reviews: From the Internet to Paper. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2005; Hart, Chris. Doing a Literature Review: Releasing the Social Science Research Imagination. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1998; Jesson, Jill. Doing Your Literature Review: Traditional and Systematic Techniques. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE, 2011; Knopf, Jeffrey W. “Doing a Literature Review.” PS: Political Science and Politics 39 (January 2006): 127-132; Ridley, Diana. The Literature Review: A Step-by-Step Guide for Students. 2nd ed. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE, 2012.
Types of Literature Reviews
It is important to think of knowledge in a given field as consisting of three layers. First, there are the primary studies that researchers conduct and publish. Second are the reviews of those studies that summarize and offer new interpretations built from and often extending beyond the primary studies. Third, there are the perceptions, conclusions, opinion, and interpretations that are shared informally that become part of the lore of field.
In composing a literature review, it is important to note that it is often this third layer of knowledge that is cited as “true” even though it often has only a loose relationship to the primary studies and secondary literature reviews. Given this, while literature reviews are designed to provide an overview and synthesis of pertinent sources you have explored, there are a number of approaches you could adopt depending upon the type of analysis underpinning your study.
Types of Literature Reviews
This form examines literature selectively in order to support or refute an argument, deeply imbedded assumption, or philosophical problem already established in the literature. The purpose is to develop a body of literature that establishes a contrarian viewpoint. Given the value-laden nature of some social science research [e.g., educational reform; immigration control], argumentative approaches to analyzing the literature can be a legitimate and important form of discourse. However, note that they can also introduce problems of bias when they are used to make summary claims of the sort found in systematic reviews [see below].
Considered a form of research that reviews, critiques, and synthesizes representative literature on a topic in an integrated way such that new frameworks and perspectives on the topic are generated. The body of literature includes all studies that address related or identical hypotheses or research problems. A well-done integrative review meets the same standards as primary research in regard to clarity, rigor, and replication. This is the most common form of review in the social sciences.
Few things rest in isolation from historical precedent. Historical literature reviews focus on examining research throughout a period of time, often starting with the first time an issue, concept, theory, phenomena emerged in the literature, then tracing its evolution within the scholarship of a discipline. The purpose is to place research in a historical context to show familiarity with state-of-the-art developments and to identify the likely directions for future research.
A review does not always focus on what someone said [findings], but how they came about saying what they say [method of analysis]. Reviewing methods of analysis provides a framework of understanding at different levels [i.e. those of theory, substantive fields, research approaches, and data collection and analysis techniques], how researchers draw upon a wide variety of knowledge ranging from the conceptual level to practical documents for use in fieldwork in the areas of ontological and epistemological consideration, quantitative and qualitative integration, sampling, interviewing, data collection, and data analysis. This approach helps highlight ethical issues which you should be aware of and consider as you go through your own study.
This form consists of an overview of existing evidence pertinent to a clearly formulated research question, which uses pre-specified and standardized methods to identify and critically appraise relevant research, and to collect, report, and analyze data from the studies that are included in the review. The goal is to deliberately document, critically evaluate, and summarize scientifically all of the research about a clearly defined research problem. Typically it focuses on a very specific empirical question, often posed in a cause-and-effect form, such as “To what extent does A contribute to B?” This type of literature review is primarily applied to examining prior research studies in clinical medicine and allied health fields, but it is increasingly being used in the social sciences.
The purpose of this form is to examine the corpus of theory that has accumulated in regard to an issue, concept, theory, phenomena. The theoretical literature review helps to establish what theories already exist, the relationships between them, to what degree the existing theories have been investigated, and to develop new hypotheses to be tested. Often this form is used to help establish a lack of appropriate theories or reveal that current theories are inadequate for explaining new or emerging research problems. The unit of analysis can focus on a theoretical concept or a whole theory or framework.
Consider the following issues before writing the literature review:
If your assignment is not very specific about what form your literature review should take, seek clarification from your professor by asking these questions:
- Roughly how many sources should I include?
- What types of sources should I review (books, journal articles, websites; scholarly versus popular sources)?
- Should I summarize, synthesize, or critique sources by discussing a common theme or issue?
- Should I evaluate the sources?
- Should I provide subheadings and other background information, such as definitions and/or a history?
Use the exercise of reviewing the literature to examine how authors in your discipline or area of interest have composed their literature review sections. Read them to get a sense of the types of themes you might want to look for in your own research or to identify ways to organize your final review. The bibliography or reference section of sources you’ve already read are also excellent entry points into your own research.
Narrow the Topic
The narrower your topic, the easier it will be to limit the number of sources you need to read in order to obtain a good survey of relevant resources. Your professor will probably not expect you to read everything that’s available about the topic, but you’ll make your job easier if you first limit scope of the research problem. A good strategy is to begin by searching the USC Libraries Catalog for books about the topic and review the table of contents for chapters that focuses on specific issues. You can also review the indexes of books to find references to specific issues that can serve as the focus of your research. For example, a book surveying the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may include a chapter on the role Egypt has played in mediating the conflict, or look in the index for the pages where Egypt is mentioned in the text.