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Communication Patterns of Engineers

Cover Image Copyright Year: 2004
Author(s): Carol Tenopir; Donald W. King
Book Type: Wiley-IEEE Press
Content Type : Books
Topics: General Topics for Engineers
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Abstract

Communication Patterns of Engineers brings together, summarizes, and analyzes the research on how engineers communicate, presenting benchmark data and identifying gaps in the existing research. Written by two renowned experts in this area, the text:

  • Compares engineering communication patterns with those of science and medicine
  • Offers information on improving engineering communication skills, including the use of communication tools to address engineering departments' concerns about the inadequacies of communication by engineers
  • Provides strong conclusions to address what lessons engineering educators, librarians, and communication professionals can learn from the research presented

  •   Click to expandTable of Contents

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      Frontmatter

      Page(s): i - x
      Copyright Year: 2004

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      The prelims comprise:
      Half Title
      Editorial Board
      Title
      Copyright
      Contents
      Preface View full abstract»

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      Introduction

      Page(s): 1 - 9
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      This chapter presents the focus and structure of the book. View full abstract»

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      Communication Models

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      In this chapter we describe a few of the many models that depict engineering communication. The principle models presented here attempt to illustrate the complexity of communication processes, which consist of many interpersonal or oral channels and written or recorded channels.

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      A Communications Framework for Engineers

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      This chapter discusses the interrelationships among the engineering professions and work performed, resources used to perform engineering activities, and the output from those work activities. Information is an essential input resource to the work process, as well as a tangible output from the work process. We emphasize that receiving and using information requires substantial amounts of engineers' time, as well as, the use of information seeking tools such as technologies and library resources.

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      The Engineering Profession and Communication

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      This chapter deals with the engineering profession and how engineers go about their work. Examples are given for the amount of time engineers (in industry and government) spend in various work activities and the relative importance of information resources used by engineers to perform these activities. We also discuss engineers' general communication practices and how well they adapt to communication innovations. We then investigate how engineers assimilate new information into the work process, how they revise their work to take advantage of it and what the outcomes are of using the information. We also examine how new technology might improve how engineers communicate in the workplace.

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      Engineers' Information Seeking and Use

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      In this chapter, we examine information seeking and use by engineers. There are three stages to this process: information seeking, information receiving, and reading/listening. We also describe the extent to which channels are used and how much time is spent in information seeking and use.

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      Factors Affecting Information Seeking and Use

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      This chapter gives particular attention to factors that affect engineers' communication channels, such as geographic or cultural differences among engineers; differences among branches of engineering; nature of the work performed; organizational policies; and personal characteristics such as gender, age, and so on.

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      Information Output by Engineers

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      This chapter explores the facets of output and communicating information. The two major aspects in this chapter are writing and presentations. We explore trends in how engineers communicate information in writing, verbally, in conferences or presentations, or in formal education settings, such as classrooms. We provide estimates of the amount of communication (e.g., presentations made, proposals written, etc.) and the time spent communicating.

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      Engineering Education and Communication Skills

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      This chapter discusses how education and training are changing in order to improve the communication skills of engineers.

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      The Engineering Scholarly Journal Channel

      Copyright Year: 2004

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      Because of the importance of engineering journals and the changes due to electronic publishing this channel is devoted to the engineering journal channel. We examine the trends in authorship, reading, information seeking patterns, and publishing of engineering scholarly journals. We also present specific readership data: How articles are identified and where they are obtained. In particular, we present survey results for engineers' reading patterns before and after electronic journals became available.

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      Engineers' Journal InformationSeeking and Reading Patterns in an Emerging Electronic Era

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      Since electronic publishing is making a profound impact on information seeking and reading patterns, we devote all of this chapter to survey evidence of these changes. We examine current (2000 to 2003) observations of the use, usefulness, and value of journals; where engineers now obtain their articles; how they learn about the articles they read; the format read (print or electronic); issues concerning the age of articles read; and factors that affect choices from among journals read, sources used, and means of identifying articles.

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      Engineering Communication Patterns Compared with Science and Medicine

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      This chapter examines differences in engineers' communication patterns and also differentiates between engineers and scientists and medical professionals.

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      The NASA/DOD Aerospace Knowledge Diffusion Research Project

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      This chapter elaborates on the extensive work performed by Pinelli and colleagues, which was discussed in previous chapters.

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      Summary

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      This chapter summarizes the findings and provides conclusions about the communication patterns of engineers.

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      Bibliography

      Page(s): 187 - 252
      Copyright Year: 2004

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      Index

      Page(s): 253 - 263
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      About the Authors

      Page(s): 265 - 266
      Copyright Year: 2004

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