While the importance of being able to communicate effectively in writing is widely understood, nevertheless there are persistent differences between the writing styles of students and professionals working in the same discipline. This work further explores a hypothesis by the authors that the presence of distinct written “dialects” in different engineering communities is a source of mixed messages for students, who can be confused by the often-conflicting writing advice presented in various core and discipline-specific courses. Quantitative methods verified this hypothesis, as the results show that author voice, development, style, and diction vary significantly between electrical, civil, and mechanical engineering journal articles. As a result, neither the “STEM writing style” nor the “Engineering writing style” can be considered to be a homogeneous entity. Equipped with this awareness, those personnel responsible for teaching writing to undergraduate students can hopefully be more effective in the delivery of their instruction. Extensions which propose the investigation of engineering writing style among non-academic practitioners and students are included.
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