I am currently on a committee looking to set some standards for technical writing in the introductory engineering sequence (which means the first two terms of physics, as they constitute 50-67% of the classes common to all first-year engineers). One of our jobs is to come up with a list of skills that we want to particularly emphasize in student writing in the first year.
I’ve already sent this query to my colleagues, who are the votes that really matter, but this seems like a worthy subject for a blog poll. If nothing else, it will be interesting to see if my wise and worldly readers prefer to emphasize different things than my colleagues on campus.
The following is a (condensed) list of characteristics of technical writing. Which of these do you think is the most important for students in the intro physics/engineering sequence to learn?
While these are all important, I’m looking for your opinion of the most important single item, so choose only one answer. Unless you’d like to vote multiple times from different computers…