The overview section contains certain classes of information. All but the shortest writing has some overview section, though the overview may take different forms, such as an abstract, introduction, or executive summary. Some of these forms may omit one or more classes of information. Problem – What is the issue of concern to the organization that this writing is about Significance – How important is the problem Task/Role – What aspect of the problem is this about, and if a task was given, is it complete? Purpose – What is the purpose of this piece of writing Actions taken – What was done in response to the task/role Findings – What were the immediate results (should also respond to the task or role) Implications – What do the findings imply that might not be immediately obvious Recommendations – If appropriate, what does the writer recommend based on the findings Here is an example of a two-paragraph overview from a lab report. The first paragraph is background or context (mostly) separate from you. The second paragraph is your response.
The Real Blowers, Inc., has received an urgent request from NASA to determine if miniature blowers could be used to cool circuitry on their spacecrafts. Due to the tight time constraints, you have asked us to test and analyze the performance of an existing large prototype blower and scale the results to the needs of NASA. Specifically, you have asked that we determine the dependence of the pressure rise on blower speed and flow rate, determine how the flow rate affects the head coefficient and efficiency, and determine what flow rate would be possible from a blower operating at the same speeds as tested, but with a diameter of 1 inch rather than 5 inches. We have completed these tasks. The purpose of this report is to provide the results, conclusions, and supporting documentation of our tests on your large prototype blower, and to provide the scaled down performance for NASA’s requested miniature blowers.
We have found all of the requested information on the dependency of the pressure rise across the blower on blower speed and flow rate, the effect flow rate has on head coefficient and efficiency, and the maximum flow rate possible through a 1 inch blower of the same configuration as the tested unit. The pressure rise initially increases with increasing flow rate, peaks, and then decreases. Increasing blower rotation speed also results in the pressure rise increasing. The head coefficient initially increases with flow coefficient, reaches a peak, and then decreases. Blower efficiency increases with flow coefficient. The maximum achievable
flow rate in a 1 inch impeller diameter blower is 858 ± 31 cm3/s. A sampling of calculated values can be seen in Table 1 below. [With Table 1 following]
Here is a task letter:
————————— To: Interns From: Paul Kominsky, Director Ann Arbor Association Advancing STEM Subject: Suggestions for engineering outreach Date: 7 September 2021 OVERVIEW AAAASTEM is interesting in supporting outreach to K-12 and is looking for ideas to encourage students to engineering. We are interested to know two things: first, what interested or motivated you to go into a STEM field in college, and second, what you think an outside organization could do in a K-12 environment to help motivate or support students like you to go into STEM fields and engineering in particular. Please provide a brief response by 15 September 2021. ————————— For this assignment, you are ONLY writing the header (to/from/subject/date) and the overview. The overview should contain two paragraphs following the example earlier (involving Real Blowers, Inc.). The first paragraph uses information from the task letter. The second paragraph provides any actions taken, findings, implications and recommendations. Format: Please try to follow the format of the task letter as an example. Specifically, I prefer single spaced block paragraphs, no indenting, left justified, right ragged. (MS Word defaults to 1.5 spacing and that will be OK, but not double spacing.) Also use a “serif” font such as Times or Times New Roman. Serifs are the squiggles on letters. Practically every textbook you will see has the body written in a serif font because prevailing wisdom and past research indicated that was easier to read on paper. On the other hand, websites commonly use fonts without the squiggles – sans-serif fonts – like Arial. Some textbooks also use sans-serif fonts for chapter and section headings. Because many documents are read on screens (as PDFs for example), the preference for serif fonts may be less compelling than it used to be, but you should still use a serif font for this class.