Selzer's Methodology

Blog » Selzer's Methodology

Posted on 19 Apr 2013 01:16

In his piece entitled The Composing Process of an Engineer, Jack Selzer attempts to uncover what goes on behind the scenes of the writing processes of scientists and engineers. He begins his piece by citing a study that analyzed the composing processes of twelfth graders, a document which started a trend of studying various writers’ writing habits. He goes on to acknowledge that although much is known about what scientists and engineers do, little has been done to research how they plan out their writing. It is with this in mind that he goes on to propose his own unique study to uncover how engineers write and plan in the workplace.

For his methodology, Selzer chose to study the habits of one individual engineer, Kenneth Nelson, in depth rather than attempting to study a large collective group of engineers as a whole. Nelson served as a suitable subject because he was an experienced engineer who spent more than half of his time on the job writing proposals, reports, and letters of correspondence. Selzer began by looking at the temporary writing materials that contributed to Nelson’s final products such as outline notes, drafts, and revisions. He then asked Nelson to answer a series of question both before and after the designated writing exercises. He also visited Nelson’s workplace to better understand his physical environment and interviewed Nelson with questions about his workplace following these visits.

From the study, Selzer was able to look really in depth into writing processes of Nelson; however, even he admits that one actions of one person cannot describe the actions of such a large and diverse group of people. Therefore, I feel that rather than following Selzer’s model for our own project, I feel that the discoveries of Selzer would be a useful source to compare our own findings to if we decide to investigate the writing techniques of engineers.

Leave a comment

Add a New Comment
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License