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INDOT Annotated Sample Documents

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Media File: INDOT Annotated Sample Documents

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Annotated Civil Engineering Documents


The resources contained in this section of the Purdue Writing Lab-INDOT Workshop Series area of the OWL represent near-finished documents that illustrate many of the guidelines covered in the INDOT PowerPoint presentations and handouts. The documents here were annotated by Allen Brizee. These annotations overview why certain elements of the documents are successful, and they reference specific OWL materials you can use to help you write research reports, cover sheets, and technical summaries.

We have organized document annotation into three general areas:

  • Sentence-level clarity (grammar and mechanics: abbreviated as GM in the documents)
  • Visual elements (document design and graphics: abbreviated as DD in the documents)
  • Organizational clarity (how the document is structured on a macro level: abbreviated as ORG in the documents).

Other notes are provided where necessary.

The three documents contained here grew out of a single research project involving pavement improvement in the state of Indiana. The first document, a technical research report, is detailed and extensive, and it explains most aspects of this complex research project conducted by the INDOT Office of Research and Development in West Lafayette, Indiana.

The report’s audience is fellow researchers and civil engineers working with pavement design. The purpose of the report is to convey the technical research details to subject matter experts and to persuade readers that the research methods and test results are credible and should be used to justify further research and application to improve roads in Indiana and elsewhere.

The second document, the report’s cover sheet, works as an aid to help categorize and store the report so that researchers and engineers can find and access the details of the research project. At first glance, it may not seem as if we need to pay attention to such documents; they are merely cover sheets after all. However, the information included in such documents is important for subject matter experts and decision makers alike because the information contained in cover sheets will also be entered in databases and will help staff organize and file the report.

Information is useless if users can find it, and with so much information available to us today, it is authors’ responsibility to make their work easy to find, access, and understand. This responsibility is especially important when our stakeholders include people driving their families on roads we help design and maintain.

The third document, a technical summary, overviews the research conducted by INDOT and highlights conclusions and recommendations. The article’s audience is subject matter experts and fellow civil engineers working in pavement design.

The article is meant to provide an overview of the research rather than to explain in detail the background, methods, and data. The article is a technical summary meant for quick consumption to keep readers up-to-date on the latest work conducted at the INDOT Office of Research and Development.

The Purdue University Writing Lab and Professional Writing Program would like to thank the Purdue School of Civil Engineering for their help in coordinating this workshop series. We would also like to thank the employees at the INDOT Office of Research and Development for their time and their kind permission to use these documents on the Purdue OWL.

Project Overview, Justification, and Application

As we moved into the final phase of the Purdue Writing Lab-INDOT Workshop Series, I asked Tommy Nantung, the section manager at the INDOT Office of Research and Development in West Lafayette, Indiana, to write a little about the project. He was kind enough to explain why he thinks writing is important for engineers, why he wanted to work with our lab, and how he thinks posting these materials on the Purdue OWL may help other professional writers and engineers.

Writing is important for engineers because, just as in other professions, communication is a fundamental element for transferring ideas to other people. If an engineer cannot communicate well in writing, especially communicating specifications and design, a project will most likely become a failure.

We wanted to work with the Purdue Writing Lab because it provides excellent services for the needs that we have. It maintains complete areas of expertise in fulfilling the needs and goals for our engineers, that is to improve communication skills in writing specifications, designing manuals, reports, and testing procedures.

I believe the materials posted on the Purdue OWL are generic enough to be used by other engineers and that they can be adapted to other engineering fields. The principles and concepts of communication are similar in other engineering fields, though the specific content might be slightly different.

Tommy Nantung, Ph.D., PE

Section Manager

INDOT, Office of Research and Development