Lesson 2: Attributes of Technical Writing1, clarity complete guide

2.1. Clarity

Technical writing is all about being crystal clear. Imagine you’re telling a friend how to make a sandwich. You wouldn’t use fancy words or confusing sentences, right? Technical writers aim for the same clarity. They use simple language, active sentences, and give you all the

details you need.

Explanation:

When technical writers do their job, they make sure the information is crystal clear, just like telling your friend about making a sandwich. Here’s how they do it:

 

–   Simple Language: Technical writers use simple, everyday language Instead of big, hard-to- understand words. They want you to understand without any trouble.

–  Active Sentences: Technical writers prefer using active sentences. This means they say who is doing the action. For example, “I made a sandwich” is active, while “A sandwich was made by me” is not as clear.

–  All the Details: They don’t leave out important stuff. Just like you’d tell your friend about every step of making a sandwich, technical writers include all the necessary information.

 

So, in technical writing, clarity is like being a good friend, explaining things simply and clearly, and making sure you get all the details you need. It’s all about helping you

understand without any confusion.

 

Let’s move on to the second element of technical writing: Conciseness

2.2. Conciseness

Conciseness is like saying a lot with just a few words. Think about Twitter – you have to make your point in a short space. In technical writing, we do the same. We use short words, sentences, and avoid repeating stuff. We want to give you the information you need

without making it too long

Explanation:

 

Conciseness is a bit like trying to say a lot using very few words. Think about Twitter, where you have to make your point in a super short

message. Well, in technical writing, we do something similar.

 

 

Here’s how we do it:

–   Short Words: We use short and to-the-point words. Instead of long and complicated words, we choose ones everyone can easily understand.

–   Short Sentences: Our sentences are brief and clear. We don’t make them longer than

 
   

 

1 Gerson, S. M. (n.d.). Writing that works: A teacher’s guide to technical writing. Kansas Competency-Based Curriculum Center, Washburn University.

 

they need to be.

Avoiding Repetition: We don’t keep saying the same thing over and over. Once we’ve explained something, we move on. We want to give you all the important information without making it too long or boring.

 

So, in technical writing, conciseness is like being a Twitter pro. We want to convey our message using as few words as possible, ensuring you get all the important stuff without any extra fluff. It’s about being efficient and to the point.

 

Let’s move on to the third attribute of technical writing: Accessibility

2.3. Accessibility

Imagine reading a book with no chapters or headings. It would be confusing, right? Accessibility is about making our documents easy to read and navigate. We use headings, lists, tables of contents, and other tricks to help you find what you need quickly.

Explanation:

Think about reading a book with no chapters or headings. It would be like wandering in a big maze without a map, right? Well, that’s where

accessibility comes in.

In technical writing, we want our documents to be like well-organized books with clear chapters and headings.

 

Here’s how we make it happen:

–   Headings: We use headings to show you what each section is about. It’s like having signposts in a big building so you can find your way.

–   Lists: Instead of long paragraphs, we sometimes use lists. Lists make information easy to follow, like a checklist of things to do.

–   Table of Contents: Just like a book has a table of contents at the beginning, some technical documents have one, too. It’s like a roadmap that tells you where to find specific information.

–   Other Tricks: We also use things like glossaries (lists of important words with explanations) and indexes (like a super-detailed map) to help you quickly find what you’re looking for.

 

So, in technical writing, accessibility is like ensuring you have a clear map when exploring a big place. We want you to easily find the information you need, without getting lost or confused. It’s all about making our documents reader-friendly and easy to navigate.

The fourth attribute of technical writing is Accuracy

2.4. Accuracy

Accuracy is all about being right. We don’t want mistakes in technical writing because they can cause problems. We use spell check, but we’re careful because it doesn’t catch everything. We also get feedback from others and read our work aloud to make sure it’s

perfect

Explanation:

Imagine building a puzzle, and some pieces don’t fit correctly.

 

It would be frustrating, right?

 

 

Technical writing accuracy is like ensuring all the puzzle pieces fit perfectly.

 

 

 

 

Here’s how we do it:

–   Being Right: Accuracy means we don’t make mistakes. We want everything to be correct, like getting all the answers right in a test.

–   Spell Check: Like a digital helper, we use spell check to catch spelling mistakes. But we don’t rely on it completely because it can miss some errors.

–   Feedback: We ask others to check our work. It’s like having a buddy look at your puzzle to make sure all the pieces are in the right place.

–   Reading Aloud: Sometimes, we read our writing out loud. It helps us catch mistakes we might have missed by seeing them with our eyes.

So, in technical writing, accuracy is like ensuring every piece of the puzzle is properly

placed. We don’t want mistakes because they can cause confusion or even big problems. It’s about being extra careful to make sure everything is correct and perfect.

Conclusion

By mastering these four qualities – clarity, conciseness, accessibility, and

accuracy – you’ll become a fantastic technical writer. You’ll be able to explain complex things in a simple way, using just the right words. This skill will open doors for you in your career.

 

 

Now, it’s time to show what you’ve learned. Get ready for some activities and assessments to reinforce your understanding. Let’s go!

 

 

Formative Assessment:

To verify that you have understood this part of the course, you must take:

–   activity 2.1. : In this activity, we will review and answer multiple-choice questions related to the attributes of technical writing. Take your time to answer these questions. If you need to review the lesson material again, please do so before proceeding to Activity 2.2.

–   activity 2.2. : In this activity, you will practice simplifying long words by replacing them with shorter, more concise words.. Once you’ve completed this activity, you can proceed to Activity 2.3.

–   activity 2.3. : In this activity, your task is to revise the provided paragraph from a case note to make it more concise and less wordy while retaining its clarity and essential meaning.

 

Self-Assessment: How to Determine Your Mastery

To evaluate your mastery of the activities, you can consider the following key aspects:

  1. 1.   Correct Answers: Check if your responses to the multiple-choice questions in Activity

2.1 are correct based on the provided key answers. A

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