General Guidelines by 7Ee5b68B

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									The Craft of Technical
   Communication
          Mark Isham,
  Hanson Writing Consultant,
 Professor, English Department
            The Craft
     of Technical Writing (1)

   Simplicity and precision result from making good
    choices.
   To make good choices, you must go through a
    writing process.
   A good writing process requires drafts, feedback,
    and revisions.
   There are no shortcuts to good writing.
            The Craft
     of Technical Writing (2)

●   Precise writing establishes your credibility as
    an engineer. Therefore…

●   Technical writing is a no-ambiguity zone:
    • Ambiguity (defined as “doubtfulness or
      uncertainty as regards interpretation) can often
      lead to serious misinterpretations.
          Proposals and Reports
              in a Nutshell

Proposals convince readers a     Reports communicate the
plan of action is plausible      purpose, methods, results,
and that the writer (or team)    and conclusions of your
is qualified to accomplish it.   experiments or research. In
In short, they spell out—        short, they spell out —

    what you intend to do,         what you did,
    how you intend to do it,       how it was done,
    what you hope to learn.        what you discovered .
          How Paragraphs Work
   Effective paragraphs possess—

       Unity: singleness of purpose
       Coherence: one point of view, one attitude,
        one tense
       Focus: a strong topic sentence and supporting
        evidence
       Flow: transitions from one sentence
        to the next, from familiar to new information
        Example of an Effective
             Paragraph
“The design of any device is fraught with failure.
Indeed, the way engineers achieve success in their
designs is by imagining how they might fail. If gases
escaping from a booster rocket can lower efficiency or
cause damage, then O-ring seals are added. If the
friction of re-entry can melt a spacecraft, then a heat
shield is devised.”

     Petroski, H. (2003, August 29). Failure is always an option. New York
     Times. Retrieved September 11, 2003, from http://www.nytimes.com
Ask Yourself These Questions

   Is title specific and clear?
   Does the abstract prompt the reader’s interest?
   Does the introduction clarify and forecast your
    objectives?
   Does each paragraph include a topic sentence
    that expresses a central idea?
   Are all other sentences in the paragraph related
    the main topic?
   Is the level of formality (tone) appropriate to
    your audience?
           Criteria for Success:
                   Overview

   You facilitate decision-making, emphasize
    conclusions, use supporting data.

   A broad audience can read and understand
    your report.

   You clarify the problem, emphasize merits
    of the study, and show practical results.
            Criteria for Success:
         Writing for Multiple Audiences

   You write a clear, concise, non-technical Abstract
    so that a top executive can review and act on the
    report.

   Your Introduction and Background and Discussion
    and Conclusion sections give detail but remain
    clear, concise, and non-technical so that your
    immediate boss can understand your main points
    even if the boss is not an expert.

   Professionals in your field will understand your
    Experimental Methods, Results, and Appendices.
            Criteria for Success:
                 Crediting Sources

   You use quotation marks around authors’ original
    words or paraphrase the authors’ ideas in your own
    words.

   You include citations for quotes or paraphrases of
    information borrowed from your sources.

   You include references for your sources on a
    separate References page.
                   Ouch!

—Your report is both good and original, but
the part that is good is not original, and the
     part that is original is not good.*


                            *Samuel Johnson, 1709-1784
Credibility and Depth of Research—
    Striking the Right Balance

   Cite enough sources so that your audience
    trusts your conclusions and recommendations.

   Don’t overload your reports with cited material
    at the expense of your own insights.
      Does the Conclusion—

   Restate objectives of report?
   Assert the significance of your findings?
   Provide recommendations?
   Confirm or contradict an established
    principle or theory?
   Answer the question, "So what?"
                   Summing Up
Successful Technical Communicators—

         Write to multiple audiences.
         Write unified and coherent paragraphs and use
          strong subjects and verbs in sentences.
         Cite sources as needed and include a reference
          page.
         Visit the Hanson Center.

      Tell what you did, how you did it, and why you did it.
      Your audience wants both clarity and analysis.
      A Few Thoughts on Technical
           Presentations (1)
   Give yourself enough time to plan adequately.

   Use an attention-getting introduction.

   Clearly mark a road map to your presentation.

   Use clear and well-organized explanations.
      A Few Thoughts on Technical
           Presentations (2)
   Conclude dramatically.

   Use effective visual aids.

   Practice an understandable delivery.

   Always remind us of your credibility.
      A Few Thoughts on Technical
           Presentations (3)
   Create audience rapport.

   Learn to handle questions.

   Overcome nervousness.

   Make an appointment at the Hanson Center.
      CTC Office Hours
         1:30 to 4:30 p.m.,
       Monday through Friday

Sign up sheet posted outside of room
2224 SC (near the Engineering Library)
Thank You

								
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