Engineering Better Writers—with Help from Librarians

There’s no shortage of engineering journals in the world—it’s a broad field, encompassing aerospace, civil, electrical, mechanical, and petroleum engineering, among others—but persuading engineering students to write for them can be challenging. At the College of Engineering at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, librarians stepped in to help bridge the divide between research and publication by assisting with the development and delivery of technical writing workshops for engineering graduate students.

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The workshops, now in their fifth year, bring together librarians, subject matter experts, and other specialists to help students learn to organize, write, and edit manuscripts, use reference tools and databases, conduct literature reviews, and evaluate information sources (among other skills). One of the librarians, Sue Wainscott, teamed with Julie Longo, the technical writer for the College of Engineering, to create a poster about the workshops that was presented at the SLA 2016 Annual Conference & INFO-EXPO. They later agreed to write a summary of the poster and workshops for Information Outlook.

“A consistent theme ties all of the workshops together—engineers must write in order to communicate their research findings and recommendations to others,” the authors write in the July-August issue. “Through their theses, dissertations, conference presentations, and journal articles, the students are entering into the dialogue of their scientific community. They are participating in a conversation that is being captured within the scholarly and technical literature.”

The workshops have become more popular over time and are now open to graduate students from across the campus. To learn more about the workshops and what makes them so effective, read the article.

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