STUDY PLAN How to Make Your Writing Flow

First download the guide to engineering research writing:
Read 3.11. Variety of sentence types and lengths

Analyze a long paragraph of your writing. Color or use the highlighter function to color each different type of sentence in your paragraph: Simple, Yellow; Compound, blue; Complex, Green; Compound-complex, pink. You can do this on paper or on the computer

Then analyze a paragraph from the introduction or discussion section of a published journal article and then compare a paragraph of your own writing with it. A well-written paragraph should be a colorful mix, but not too much pink! However, these are general guidelines. You may find some paragraphs in published papers that are not necessarily easy to read. You may also find that methods or experimental sections are more likely to have shorter simple sentences and a smaller average sentence size. Remember that you can copy and paste from most PDF files. How to do this is explained in Chapter 2.

Sentence length

Use the “ Word Count” function in MS WORD to count the average number of words in each sentence of a paragraph. Highlight a sentence and then use the word count function. It will then only count that sentence. Then take a color pencil or highlighter or write in your WORD DOCUMENT and analyze a single paragraph of your writing by looking at the length by counting the number of words: short (under 15), medium (15-24), or long (25+ words). Write down the number at the end of the sentence. Is there variety? What is the average length?

Do the same exercise on a paragraph from a published article that seems to read very well. See what the difference is.

Read 3.12.1 English information in sentences is generally organized in a Given to New information pattern

This is one of the most important concepts in the way that information is organized in most paragraphs in English.

Choose a paragraph from a well-written article in your field. Analyze how the information changes from Old to New information in the paragraph. Note that not all paragraphs may follow this pattern but it is a basic principle of English writing style.

Read 3.13.2 Repeat key words rather than risk unclear pronouns

Compared to regular English writing, scientific writing uses less pronouns like “it” or “they” in order to be more precise.

Read 3.13.3 Use short forms of terms to link to previous words

Analyze a paragraph from a well-written article to locate this pattern.

Read 3.13.4 Use words that summarize key words of previous sentences

Analyze a paragraph from a well-written article to locate this pattern.