Mechanism Description

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					      Mechanism Description
• Description of a tool, machine, or other
  mechanical device—usually with moving
  parts—designed to perform a specific kind
  of work

• Examples: ballpoint pen, flush toilet, copy
  machine, press, radio, camera, etc.
Process/Procedure Description
• Description of an unvarying series of
  events producing a predictable outcome

• Process—a natural phenomenon
  governed by physical laws
• Procedure—events that occur under
  human control
• Examples:

  – Process—photosynthesis, erosion, water
    cycle

  – Procedure—balancing a checkbook,
    operating a machine, purifying water, taking a
    temperature, filing a grievance
              Instructions
• Explanation of how to perform a particular
  procedure, enabling a reader to duplicate
  a process

• Example: computer manuals, assembly
  instructions, policy manual
    Mechanism Descriptions

• General Description—description accurate with
  respect to all such mechanisms, regardless of
  variables
• Specific Description—description accurate for
  one particular mechanism

• Examples: camera, Nikon One Touch Zoom
            ballpoint pen, Ajax Super Ballpoint
            Sony Z-16 Color TV, television
             Components

• Brief introduction defining mechanism and its
  purpose
• Precise description of appearance
• List of major parts
• Explanation of how mechanism works
• One or more visuals (esp. exploded, cutaway)
• Conclusion (history, availability, manufacturer,
  cost, etc.)
• List of outside sources
          Order of Description
•   Top to bottom, or bottom to top
•   Left to right, or right to left
•   Inside to outside, or outside to inside
•   Most important to least important, or least
    important to most important
           Other Guidelines
• Use specific, concrete wording
  – Piece of paper vs. 8.5 by 11-inch piece of
    paper
  – Colorful vs. red, hard lead vs. 2h lead

• Use present tense, active verbs
  – The machine stamps. . . vs. The machine
    stamped OR The parts are stamped by the
    machine
• Add evaluative comments
  – The quick release reduces change time by
    33%.
  – The most useful feature is the cancel option.
• Use analogy (comparison)
  – A-frame, C-clamp, T-square, claw hammer
  – . . . a disk about the size of a typical CD
            Instructions

• General Instructions—instructions that
  explain how to perform a generic
  procedure

• Specific Instructions—instructions that
  explain how to perform a procedure
  under conditions involving particular
  equipment, surroundings, or other
  variables
• Examples:

• Trimming a hedge, using a Black & Decker Auto
  Shop electric hedge trimmer
• Braking a vehicle, braking in wet conditions
• Installing an electrical outlet, installing a GFCI
  outlet
             Components
• Brief introduction explaining the purpose and
  importance of the procedure
• List of materials, equipment, tools, and skills
  required
• Actual instructions: numbered, step-by-step,
  detailed explanation of how to perform
• One or more visuals for clarification
• Brief conclusion
• List of outside sources, if any
                 Guidelines

• Use short, simple commands; start with a verb
• Separate steps unless closely related or
  simultaneous
• If important, provide reason for step
• Include WARNING, CAUTION, and NOTE
  – Warning—alerts to possible injury or death
  – Caution—alerts to possible equipment damage
  – Note—alerts to information that will make the
    procedure easier or more efficient
• If necessary, use separate series of steps.

• Include no more than 9 steps in a series.

• Provide introduction/transition to each
  series.

				
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