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Methods of Development. Strategies for Relevance and Readability. Methods of Development. Assist in organizing technical information appropriately for various purposes May be designed entirely to suit a particular audience and purpose

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Methods of development

Methods of Development

Strategies for Relevance and Readability

Methods of development1
Methods of Development

  • Assist in organizing technical information appropriately for various purposes

  • May be designed entirely to suit a particular audience and purpose

    • A definition, for example, may be different from that appearing in the dictionary if the “class” and “differences” used are more familiar or pertinent to the audience and purpose

  • Help to keep entire documents relevant and readable

Three classes of methods of development
Three Classes of Methods of Development

  • Definitions Within a Text

  • Document-Length Definitions

  • Research-Related Methods of Development

Part i definitions within a text
Part I: Definitions Within a Text

  • Formal Sentence Definitions

  • Informal Definitions

  • Extended Definitions

Formal sentence definition
Formal Sentence Definition

  • {Term defined} “is” {class under which the thing may be included - genus} “that” or “of” {differences between the defined thing and the other things of the class - differentia}

  • Some technical terms are formed this way

    • Linguitis is

      {an inflammation of the lining - itis} of

      {the tongue - lingua}

  • For other terms, do not repeat any elements of the term in the definition

    • “A file separator is a device that separates files”

Informal definition
Informal Definition

  • A noun phrase or other part of a sentence inserted in brackets after the term

    • Linguitis (an inflammation of the lining of the tongue)

  • A “formal definition without the elements that would make it a complete sentence”

Extended definition
Extended Definition

  • An entire paragraph devoted to defining a term

  • First sentence - a formal sentence definition

  • Succeeding sentences - appearance to the senses

  • Last sentence or two - a list of essential parts and processes

Part ii document length definitions
Part II: Document-Length Definitions

  • Descriptions

  • Classifications/Divisions


  • An entire document devoted to defining a technical term

  • Introduction = extended definition

  • Body sections = descriptions of major parts or processes composed of paragraph extended definitions of minor parts or processes

  • Conclusion = treatment of defined thing as a part of a wider phenomenon or process

Classification division

  • Simultaneous definitions of higher- and lower-order groupings of technical objects of study

    • Although “computer” could be the object of a definition, so could “personal computer”, “Macintosh”, and “iMac”, for example

  • Classification - from particular to general terms; division - from general to particular

Part iii research related methods of development
Part III: Research-Related Methods of Development

  • Analysis

  • Comparison/Contrast

  • Argument


  • Unlike definitions, an analysis seeks conclusions not already drawn or generally known about the object of study

  • The points or criteria of an analysis answer a particular research purpose beyond general familiarity with the object of study

  • Otherwise, analysis is similar to description

    • A “critique” is actually an analysis, in this sense, of another’s work

Comparison contrast

  • Analysis : Comparison/Contrast :: Description : Classification/Division (sort of)

  • A comparison/contrast analyzes more than one object of study with the application of the same criteria or points of analysis (also in the same order from one object to the next in the document)


  • May or may not use any or all other methods of development

  • Regardless of combination of methods of development used:

    • Begins each paragraph with a topic sentence

    • Derives main finding as a deductive inference from the combination of paragraph topic sentences


  • The technique for creating definitions - classes and differences relevant to a document’s audience and purpose - is common to all methods of development

  • Every technical document as a whole is an “argument”

  • Methods of development help documents to inform or persuade their readers and listeners