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Paper Guidelines

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The content and format of the ME Undergraduate Symposium paper is at the discretion of your ME instructor.

While the content and format will vary, based on the nature of the work and professional protocol followed by the RISE instructor, it is expected that the quality and quantity of the content is equivalent to other upper-level 3 credit hour technical courses.

Below are some helpful guidelines adopted from ASME for their professional conferences:


Unless otherwise indicated by your ME instructor, your paper should be

  • 12 point font
  • Times New Roman
  • Single-spaced and single column
  • 1 inch margins
  • Page number should be provided in the lower right corner.
  • Headings can vary in size to emphasize sections.
  • Table headings should be 12 point font and provided at the top of the table with a number followed by a period.
  • Figure headings should be 12 point font and provided at the bottom of the figure with a number followed by a period.

Paper Title

The title of the paper should be concise and definitive. The title should be all uppercase, with the exception of units of measure or other specialty terms that are recognized and used in lowercase form.

Authors Names And Affiliations

Author name should consist of first name, middle initial, last name, followed by affiliations.


A short abstract should open the paper.
The purpose of an abstract is:

  • to give a clear indication of the project objective, scope, approach and results of the paper so that readers may determine whether the full text will be of particular interest to them; The abstract should not attempt to condense the whole subject matter into a few words for quick reading.
  • to provide key words and phrases for indexing, abstracting, and retrieval purposes. Keywords should be included on a separate line at the end of the abstract text.

The abstract should be one paragraph and should be no more than 250 words.

Body Of The Paper

Outline. A proper outline is the framework upon which a good paper is written. In the process of making the outline, ideas are classified and thoughts are ordered into a logical sequence such that by the time the information is ready to be transformed into complete sentences, a good overall mental picture has been formed. In outline form, the sequence of the various items and the progression of thought can easily be adjusted and readjusted until the desired order is obtained; therefore, much writing and rewriting is saved.

Organization. The text should be organized into logical parts or sections. The purpose of the paper, or the author's aim, should be stated at the beginning so that the reader will have a clear concept of the paper's objective. This should be followed by a description of the problem, the means of solution, and any other information necessary to properly qualify the results presented and the conclusions. Finally, the results should be presented in an orderly form, followed by the author's conclusions.

Style. The chief purpose of the work is to convey information to others, many of whom may be less familiar with the general subject than the author. Care should be taken, therefore, to use simple terms and expressions and to make statements as concise as possible. If highly technical terms or phraseology are necessary, they should be adequately explained and defined. The use of the first person and reference to individuals should be made in such a manner as to avoid personal bias.
All papers should be concise regardless of length. Long quotations should be avoided by referring to sources. Illustrations and tables, where they help clarify the meaning or are necessary to demonstrate results properly, are desirable, but they should be kept to a practicable minimum. Detailed drawings, lengthy test data and calculations, and photographs that may be interesting, but which are not integral to the understanding of the subject, should be omitted. Equations should be kept to a reasonable minimum, and built-up fractions within sentences should be avoided whenever possible to enhance readability.

Accuracy. It is of the greatest importance that all technical, scientific, and mathematical information contained in the paper be checked with the utmost care. A slight error may result in a serious error on the part of anyone who may later use that information.

Use of SI Units. Authors are encouraged to include SI units of measurement in all papers. When U.S. customary units are given preference, the SI equivalent should be provided in parentheses or in a supplementary table. And vice versa, when preference is given to SI units, the U.S. customary units should be provided in parentheses or in a supplementary table.

Headings. Headings and subheadings should appear throughout the paper to divide the subject matter into logical parts and to emphasize the major elements and considerations. These headings assist the reader in following the trend of thought and in forming a mental picture of the points of chief importance. Parts or sections may be numbered, if desired, but paragraphs should not be numbered.

Tabulations and Enumerations. Where several considerations, conditions, requirements, or other qualifying items are involved in a presentation, it is often advantageous to put them in tabular or enumerative form, one after the other, rather than to run them into the text. This arrangement, in addition to emphasizing the items, creates a graphic impression that aids the reader in accessing the information and in forming an overall picture. It is customary to identify the individual items as (1), (2), (3), etc., or as (a), (b), (c), etc. Although inclusion of such elements makes the text livelier, care should be taken not to use this scheme too frequently, as it can make the reading choppy and invalidate their purpose and usefulness.

Figures. All figures (graphs, line drawings, photographs, etc.) should be numbered consecutively and have a caption consisting of the figure number and a brief title or description of the figure. This number should be used when referring to the figure in text. Figures should be referenced within the text as "Fig. 1." When the reference to a figure begins a sentence, the abbreviation "Fig." should be spelled out, e.g., "Figure 1."
Figures may be inserted as part of the text, or included on a separate page immediately following or as close as possible to its first reference — with the exception of those figures included at the end of the paper as an appendix.

Tables. All tables should be numbered consecutively and have a caption consisting of the table number and a brief title. This number should be used when referring to the table in text. Tables may be inserted as part of the text, or included on a separate page immediately following or as close as possible to its first reference — with the exception of those tables included at the end of the paper as an appendix.

Mathematics. Equations should be numbered consecutively beginning with (1) to the end of the paper, including any appendices. The number should be enclosed in parentheses (as shown above) and set flush right in the column on the same line as the equation. It is this number that should be used when referring to equations within the text. Equations should be referenced within the text as "Eq. (x)." When the reference to an equation begins a sentence, it should be spelled out, e.g., "Equation (x)."
Formulas and equations should be created to clearly distinguish capital letters from lowercase letters. Care should be taken to avoid confusion between the lowercase "l'' (el) and the numeral one, or between zero and the lowercase "o.'' All subscripts, superscripts, Greek letters, and other symbols should be clearly indicated.
In all mathematical expressions and analyses, any symbols (and the units in which they are measured) not previously defined in nomenclature should be explained. If the paper is highly mathematical in nature, it may be advisable to develop equations and formulas in appendices rather than in the body of the paper.

Nomenclature. Nomenclature should follow customary usage. The nomenclature list should be in alphabetical order (capital letters first, followed by lowercase letters), followed by any Greek symbols, with subscripts and superscripts last, identified with headings.