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October 11, 2017

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The Weekly Writer

Complex Ideas and Clear Language in Technical Writing

By Henry S., Tutor

The purpose of a technical report is to communicate something sophisticated using succinct and transparent language. The best technical writing transforms complicated ideas into something digestible and interesting for multiple audiences: stakeholders, the general public, peers, your professor.

Because technical fields have so many terms that non-experts may find difficult to understand, it's important that the jargon you use is necessary and not there for the sake of making the report sound more academic. Your report's credibility is not measured by its use of impressive vocabulary or sharp grammar, it's measured by the effectiveness of its delivery of sound ideas: the substance. A Writing Lab tutor can help with limiting jargon to what is essential for communicating the facts.

Students in technical fields often construct sentences that contain multiple complicated statements, descriptions, and ideas; a root of this issue lies in inherent complexity of concepts particular to technical fields. You might be decribing a concept that possesses several stipulations, dependencies, relationships, or definitions. Writing Lab tutors can help make sure core information is not blocked by a wall of text.

An example of a suggestion your tutor might make is to use comparisons to explain complex ideas. During your session, you and your tutor can formulate creative, but effective, metaphors that will add personality and voice to your technical report while upholding professionalism.

If you want more information and one-to-one guidance about the language in your technical report, you can schedule an appointment with a Writing Lab tutor.

Writing Lab News & Events

Workshop: Integrating Sources into Writing Assignments
October 18th, 1:30 - 2:30 PM
Do you know how to compose and incorporate evidence-based paragraphs into your academic prose? Do you know what counts as good evidence? If not, this workshop may be your answer. "Integrating Sources into Writing Assignments" provides you with methods for integrating sources into your writing assignments through quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing. Additionally, this workshop illustrates the ins and outs of credible source selection. Learn more »

Staff Spotlight

By Hadi B., Tutor

I am Hadi, one of the Writing Lab crew members, who try to reach out to the bigger community at Purdue. I am originally from Lebanon. Arabic is my first language, English is my second, and I have been taking French language classes here on campus. I moved to the US to pursue my PhD degree in Second Language Studies in 2015. I am not very nerdy all the time—I enjoy doing fun activities and exploring social networks hoping to exchange life experiences, conversations, and compassion. Through my encounters, I have come to reflect upon my own identity as it intersects and/or clashes with the identities of my tutees and students. To get to know more about my tutoring strategies and style, all you have to do is come visit us at the Writing Lab and work with me on your writing.

From Our Partners


NAECC Visiting Artist: DG House
October 12, 2017, 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
NAECC, 903 5th St

DG House (Cherokee Nation of Northeastern Alabama) is a contemporary painter and focuses on Native people and wildlife of the Rocky Mountain west. Her workshop will focus on ledger art and historic Plains Indian narrative hide paintings. Advance registration is required at http://bit.ly/2uMX4hX. House is the featured artist for the fall 2017 Eiteljorg Museum's Artist-in-Residence program. Sponsored by NAECC in collaboration with the Eiteljorg Museum. More information »


Lunch and Learn: Conversation with Cesar Conde
October 13, 2017, 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Patti and Rusty Rueff Galleries (PAO)

Filipino-American artist Cesar Conde paints to celebrate humanity. Conde considers his work to be an homage to the oppressed, to those who suffer inequity and injustice. Conde believes art can serve as a platform for dialogue and debate, creating a safe space for reflection and a starting point for action and social justice. Though primarily self-taught, Cesar Conde has studied under master Patrick Betaudier at the Atelier Neo-Medici in France and Master John Michael Angel at the Angel Academy of Art in Italy. His paintings have been shown internationally, including exhibitions in the U.S., Italy, Taiwan, Austria, and the Philippines. Free and open to the public. More information »

Hours of Operation

Fall 2017

Aug 21 – Dec 13

Main Location

Heavilon Hall, Room 226

Mon – Thurs
9 AM – 6 PM

9 AM – 1 PM

Evening Satellites

HSSE Library
6 PM – 9 PM

6 PM – 9 PM

ME Building
6 PM – 9 PM

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Writing Tip of the Week

"Reading books expands your vocabulary to use when writing."

-Mackenzie C., Tutor

Book of the Week

Controversies in Second Language Writing by Dana Ferris

Recommended by Taylor B., Tutor: "Instructors (and tutors) will find this book effectively discusses common issues found while learning the English Language, as well as the best paths for improvement."

You can find this book in the Writing Lab's library. Just ask the front desk.

Writing Consultations

Schedule a writing consultation/tutoring appointment at any location or register for our group programs with our online schedulerFace-to-face (in-person), online (live video chat), and etutoring (emailed feedback) appointments available.

Please note: You must be a Purdue student, staff, or faculty member of the West Lafayette campus to use our writing consultation services or attend our group programs. For assistance scheduling your first appointment, we've prepared a helpful guide to using our online scheduler, WCO. 


2nd floor Krach leadership center (KRCH) 

Monday-Friday 9:00 am - 6:00 pm

HSSE Library Stewart Center

Monday-Friday 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


Evening and weekend hours may be available at our satellite locations or virtually as late as 9:00 pm, please check our online schedule for details on current availability.

Contact us

Phone: (765) 494-3723
Fax: (765) 494-3780

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