Introduction to Tech Writing

Report
Introduction
to
Technical Writing
Why Technical Writing?
 In industry, 20-40% of your time will be writing
 Career advancement
 People judge by communication skills
 Many job profiles requires versatility
(more varied responsibilities)
Definition of Technical Writing
 Different from literary writing and from normal
speech
 Normal speech: “I”, “we”
 Literary writing: flowery description, quoted speech
 Writing with the purpose of communicating a
technical idea / process to a specific audience
i.e., “Writing to get work done”
Characteristics of Technical Writing
 Targeted to particular readers
 Helps solve problems
(e.g., instruction manual)
 Often created collaboratively
 Words + graphics
 Uses design to increase readability
(headings, white space, etc.)
 Involves high-tech tools
(e.g., CAD snapshots, Powerpoint, Photoshop)
Examples of Technical Writing
In House
Out-of-House
 Letters, memoranda,
 Letters of inquiry,
e-mail
 Reports (project,
progress, trip, etc.)
 Proposals (to
manager, to another
department)
sales, etc.
 Reports (to Client)
 Articles for publication
Technical Writing Process
Planning
and
Prewriting
-Purpose?
- Audience?
-Research
- Outline
Writing
(drafting)
- Write a draft
Following the
outline
Revise and
Edit
-Proofread
- Finalize
Process and Guidelines
Process
 1. Focus on Why
 2. Focus on Readers
 3. Accurate Info
 4. Outline
Guidelines
 Effective Communication
 Time is $$$
Step One- Focus on WHY
What is the message?
 What do you want
audience to do with
info?
 Inform
 Request
 Instruct
 Propose
 Recommend
 Persuade
 Record
Document Specifications
 Expected format
e.g., report, email, memo
 Specified details:
 Length
 Headings
 Spacing
 Margin
 font type/size, etc.
Step Two- Focus on READERS
Who is intended audience?
 Knowledge / ability
 Interest
 Write at level of audience
e.g., technical, layperson,
management, in-house,
client, general public
Step Three- Collect Accurate Info
 “Content is still king”
 Do research, check facts
 Proof-read
 Facts v. opinions
Example:
 FACT: The Porsche 911 has a
power-to-weight ratio of 0.13, making it one of
the fastest cars in its class.
 OPINION: The Porsche 911 is undoubtedly
the best car in its class.
Step Four- Create an Outline
Logical Flow
 Generates ideas
 Comprehensive
coverage of topic
 Like a Table of
Contents
 Re-arrange as
needed
Accessible Document
 Sections /subsections
 Avoid overly long
paragraphs
 Use lists (numbered,
bulleted, checklist)
 Help skimmers!
In Class Activity
 1) Complete General Project #1 on page 15 in your




text.
2) Complete the Area 51 worksheet on Fact v.
Opinion
-Be sure your name and CRN is on your work
-Turn in your work when you are done
-See you next week!

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