It is dangerous to give a ‘formula’ or algorithm for technical communication. Rigid approaches will probably result in bad writing. Some venues expect extremely standardized writing, schematics, etc. (IEEE ISSCC for example)

The best advice: Read many many examples (both good and bad).

Good sources:

Strunk Jr, W., & White, E. B. (2007). The Elements of Style Illustrated. Penguin.

Pinker, S. (2015). The sense of style: The thinking person’s guide to writing in the 21st century. Penguin Books.

Here are some general guidelines to consider:

  1. Almost always, USE FEWER WORDS. (Strunk & White)
  2. Focus on clarity and directness.
  3. Usually active voice is better. (maybe not always)
  4. Avoid needing to use I or We. Even if you are the sole author, most physics and engineering venues prefer the use of We.
  5. Plan or outline your paragraphs before you write them.
  6. Be mindful of symbols. For example dashes, minuses, and hyphens.
  7. If sections of material seem dense, move them to an appendix.

Here are some questions/writing prompts to think about that may help get started:

  1. What is the the critical issue or problem you are addressing?
  2. How are you solving or making essential steps to solving a critical problem?
  3. Are you or do you aim to introduce any new techniques or methodologies with significant impact?

Many manuscripts have formats like:

  1. Title
  2. List of authors
  3. Abstract
  4. Keywords
  5. Introduction
  6. Background
  7. Methodology/approach/design
  8. Results/measurements
  9. Discussion/interpretation/comparison to the state-of-the-art
  10. Conclusion
  11. References/bibliography
  12. Appendices
  13. Supplemental material

Abstract: In my opinion, the abstract of an article categorizes the work. In reality, most of the final abstracts that I have authored happen as the last step. However, some venues require an abstract (or at least an abstract draft) near the beginning of the submission process. The following questions will go on to form a draft of an abstract:

  1. What has been done by others/what do you plan to do?
  2. What are the important details?
  3. Why is it novel or what is the issue at hand?
  4. What is presented/included in this work?
  5. What is the big picture of the contribution? Where does it fit in with the community?

Introduction: In my opinion, the introduction of an article orients the reader and communicates the value of the manuscript. Sometimes, value is communicated with (tasteful) salesmanship, however, this salesmanship can quickly lead an audience to disbelief. It must be direct, honest, and limited to reasonable boundaries. The following questions will go on to form a draft of an abstract:

  1. What has been done? (Big picture by others)
  2. What is the big motivation?
  3. What are the important details, issues or problems?
  4. Why is it novel?
  5. Where does it fit in with the community?
  6. Why is this work valuable?
  7. What is presented?
  8. What is the big picture of the contribution?