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Technical Descriptions. Technical descriptions are usually a description of one of the following: An object (aka a product) A process Technical descriptions describe either what something is (exactly), or how something works. Observational Strategies. Do background research Use your senses

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technical descriptions
Technical Descriptions

Technical descriptions are usually a description of one of the following:

  • An object (aka a product)
  • A process

Technical descriptions describe either what something is (exactly), or how something works.

observational strategies
Observational Strategies
  • Do background research
  • Use your senses
  • Take measurements
  • Describe motion and change
  • Describe the context
  • Collect visuals
  • Ask subject matter experts
organizational strategies
Organizational Strategies
  • Spatial
    • What does it look like?
    • What parts and material is it made of?
    • Use to describe what something looks like
  • Functional
    • How does it work?
    • Use to describe a mechanism in action
  • Chronological
    • How is it put together?
    • How does it happen?
    • Use to describe an item best visualized in terms of its order of assembly
which organizational strategy would seem to work best
Which organizational strategy would seem to work best?
  • A 15-passenger van’s cruise control system
  • A digital camera
  • A bag of Cheetos
  • A piece of furniture from Ikea
use concrete details and precise and informative language
Use concrete details and precise and informative language

Subjective: adorably cute

Objective: resembles a cartoon cow wearing a pink ruffled skirt

Indefinite: a sleek-looking Web server

Definite: the Hush Mini PC

how to organize an object description
How to organize an object description
  • Introduction
    • Include a formal definition of the object
    • Define the scope and purpose of the document
  • Description and Function of Parts
    • Organized spatially, functionally, or chronologically
    • Proceeds by part one, part two, part three . . .
  • Summary and Operating Description
    • Bring the parts back together in a brief recapping summary and explain how the object’s design reinforces its use
introduction example
Introduction Example

One of the greatest environmental threats to our nation\'s agriculture is the growing acid rain problem. 

Acid rain is one of the greatest environmental threats to our nation\'s agriculture.

Acid rain is an environmentally harmful precipitation that forms after the combustion of fossil fuels releases nitrogen and sulfur oxides into the atmosphere. This document describes the process in general terms, in order to demonstrate the necessity for increased government regulation in sensitive areas. This paper cites recent studies by Smith and Jones (1997, 1998) to assist EPA officials with their efforts to determine which parts of the country should be designated "at risk" or "potentially at risk" over the next five years.

how to organize an object description1
How to organize an object description
  • Introduction
    • Include a formal definition of the object
    • Define the scope and purpose of the document
  • Description and Function of Parts
    • Organized spatially, functionally, or chronologically
    • Proceeds by part one, part two, part three . . .
  • Summary and Operating Description
    • Bring the parts back together in a brief recapping summary and explain how the object’s design reinforces its use
all together now
All Together Now
  • Think of an object that could require a description.
  • Write the name of that object on a piece of paper to give to me.
  • We’ll work together to figure out how to write a document that would describe that object.
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