Terms and Norms in Technical Writing

Author: Philip Vassallo - Ed.D
Technical writing is the process that subject-matter experts use to compose industry-specific documents for expert or non-expert audiences to perform tasks safely, effectively, and efficiently; understand theory, methodology, events, or results; or make informed decisions on business-critical issues.
1. Technical Writers
Technical writers include Scientists, Engineers, Software Designers, Business Analysts and Technicians.
2. Technical Write Ups
Technical write ups include proposals, reports, procedures, analyses and descriptions.
3. Purpose of Technical Writing
The main purpose of technical writing are to persuade decision-makers, review project statuses, clarify tasks, explain theory, detail causes and effects, justify decisions and actions, document testing results, uncover investigative findings, reveal problems and solutions and to highlight meetings.
4. Types of Technical Writing
The three types of technical writing are descriptive, analytical and persuasive. The chief qualities of good technical writing comprises complete details, focus on readers, helpful interpretation, excellent organization, useful visual design, clear sentences, concise phrasing, precise diction, proper grammar and correct mechanics.
5. Common Errors
The most universal fault in technical writing, is not wearing the reader’s shoes. In technical writing, every sentence must be written for the reader. The writer must put him/herself into the reader’s shoes and read it back to look out whether it is conveying the actual message. Anticipate questions and revise the draft as and when required.
6. Best practices
The best practices in technical writing are 1) planning ahead, 2) writing a good abstract and conclusion after every report, 3) use figures and illustrations, 4) the writing must focus on results rather than methods.

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