The Composing Process of an Engineer

Blog ยป The Composing Process of an Engineer

Posted on 18 Apr 2013 19:39

Stefanie Reichman
Jack Selzer, "The Composing Process of an Engineer"

In Jack Selzer's piece "The Composing Process of an Engineer", Selzer describes his methodology for study by doing a case study on Nelson. Selzer find that little is known about the way that engineers and scientists attack a writing project. People know little about the uses of writing and the usage of the English language in the life of an engineer and or scientists. Because of this sparse knowledge, Selzer does a case study on Kenneth Nelson in order to investigate the composing process of this engineer. In this way he hopes that what he learns will be able to help teachers, teach future engineers the right English skills that they will need for their careers. Selzer investigates in the life of Nelson and engineer from Chicago that works in transportation. Selzer collected all the materials that Nelson needed to write his report. Amongst these are his notes, outlines, drafts, and revisions. Nelson was also instructed to speak into a tape recorder before and after each writing session he had. Selzer pours over all this material in order to get a good idea of Nelson's writing style.

Through this methodology Selzer tries to discover the way that engineers and scientists approach a project. Selzer's ultimate goal though is to see what parts of the writing process is implemented by Nelson and therefore what is important for students to know. What was found though was that Nelson spends most of his time planning out his report and therefore spends less time revising. And the little he does revise, usually includes minor changes. Selzer's approach makes things really hard to really learn from since it proves that every one has there own writing style. Nelson is very confident in his writing and can finish reports in two hours where as others would need more time, and would revise more.

The methodology used here can help for my own studies not because of what this piece accomplished but rather what this piece didn't achieve. This piece focused on one case study which took away a lot of the validity that this study may have had, had there been several more case studies done as in depth as this one about Nelson was done. This piece helped me realize that for whatever study I decide to do, it is impossible to start making statistics or assumptions about the way a group of people do something based on what one person does. Even Selzer agrees that his study cannot lead to accurate or adequate conclusions since only one study was really done. I will use what Selzer said in order to make sure that my pool of candidates for my study are strong enough to make decent assumptions about them as a group and there way of doing things.

overall, though I do think that Selzer brings up some interesting points, I question the validity of his study. The fact that he questions the validity of it as well is quite questionable, since how are we supposed to trust what someone says if they don't believe in it. I do think the model set forth by Nelson is an interesting one, and doing that for several people would yield some very interesting results.

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