TECHNICAL WRITING TIPS

LITERATURE SEARCH: Your literature search for a technical report should begin before you write the paper. Choose a general topic followed by more narrow, specific issues within that topic. As you research articles, books, and website, narrow the general and refine the specific topics. Take notes so that you can cite your sources later without having to search for materials you recall as useful. The material you compile can consist of summaries, paraphrased quotes, or direct quotations. When your paper is complete, assemble the citations and review their MLA format for the paper’s Bibliography.

LITERATURE REVIEW: A formal Literature Review begins by describing your general topic and the process of research including using the internet, data bases at the university library, books, journals, etc. Structure the list of publications by first addressing the general topic and its relevant publications and then organize the remainder of the list into 3-4 specific themes or categories with the relevant publications in each case. Provide a summary of each publication on the list. The summary should include a brief analysis with the following information: What are the main points of the material? How is the material relevant to your topic? How does the material relate to other listed materials?

STRATEGIES:

• If your Literary Review or your Bibliography is more than the required length, the issue may be a lack of focus.
• If you do not have the required number of sources, examine Literature Reviews published on your general topic for additional research possibilities.
• Narrow the general and specific topics of your paper and restructure your paper.
• If your sources are older than 2-3 years, search for more current materials.

© Deborah Levine

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