Math 235, Spring 2015: Comments on Report 1

Here are some comments on Report 1:

Comments about content

  • In general, it is better to state the assumptions leading to a model right away, even before giving the equation for the model.
  • The general formula for Euler’s method needs to be stated.
  • There seemed to be a lot of confusion about who the target audience is. Write as if writing to another faculty member in our department. Thus you can expect that the audience has reasonable math skills, but may not know the specifics of what’s happening in this course. This means that you need to describe technical terms that are specific to this course, but you don’t need to show details of an algebraic computation.
  • Clear communication is always a goal for technical writing. You don’t need to add lots of fluffy words where simple ones will do, but you do need to include enough words to communicate the ideas at hand. You should strive to strike a balance between words and symbols.
  • The purpose of an abstract, if you include one, is to communicate what the content of the paper is.
  • Captions should include a substantial amount of detail. If someone flipped open your paper and looked only at a picture, they should get a good idea of what’s happening just from reading the caption of the figure.

Comments about LaTeX and Mathematica

  • All math must be between dollar signs, or in a displayed equation. Thus if you have a sentence which references a variable name, that letter should be between dollar signs.
  • In you want large parentheses, use the commands \left( and \right).

    For example:
    \displaystyle \left( 1-\frac{P}{K}\right)
    is written with the command \left( 1-\frac{P}{K}\right)

  • Do give your graphics files names which have spaces in them. This will make LaTex do weird things.

Comments about writing

  • Try to write in the present tense.
  • All content must be part of a complete sentence that is properly punctuated. This includes math content.
  • Avoid starting sentences with math symbols, and avoid having too many commas around math symbols. Here is a a great example sentence:

    The population P is increasing so long as it is less than 7.

    Notice that I added the words “The population” in front of the P, and that I did not put commas around the letter P.

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