Writing Across the Curriculum An abstract is a brief summary, usually no more than 125 words. 182 · Use jargon.Yes, I know that I advised you earlier in this book (in Chapter 4, "Words, Words, Words," to be exact) that jargon should be avoided like stiletto heels and spandex. Here's the prime directive: Always use the language that suits your audience and purpose. When you're writing papers in a specific subject area, use the technical words you need to convey your precise shade of meaning. This means you'll be dealing with some jargon. · Suit the tone to the subject and audience.Papers in engineering and science are impersonal, even dry, for example. Before you start to write, read a number of documents in the field to catch the tone. You can find models in technical journals, books, and monographs. · Consider voice.The active voice is usually preferable to the passive because it is more vigorous and concise. However, many science papers are written in the passive voice to place the subject in the foreground and the writer in the background. Often, business documents are written in the passive voice for the same reason (and to avoid having to take the fall for a deal that goes south). Writer's Block Warning:Don't cite too many outside experts when you're writing outside your area of expertise. This dimin- ishes the trust you've built with your readers. Using some or all of these suggestions can help you produce brilliant writing no matter what the subject. Start small, with perhaps one or two ideas at first. Then experiment with other ideas to see which ones work best for you. Full Credit You must document or credit any information you pick up that's not common knowledge. Usually, this is done in footnotes, endnotes, bibliographies, and Works Cited pages. Writer's Block To document is to give credit to outside sources. Failure to document results in plagiarizing, which is literary theft. This is covered in detail in Part 4, "Just Shoot Me Now: Research Papers and Term Papers."