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Purpose / Audience and Content Organization. Follow the Writing Process Know your Audience Use an organizational strategy. The Writing Process. Know your Purpose. Provide facts or information about a product or service? Data sheet White paper (report) Proposal Website content

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Purpose / Audience and Content Organization


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purpose audience and content organization

Purpose / Audience and Content Organization

Follow the Writing Process

Know your Audience

Use an organizational strategy

know your purpose
Know your Purpose
  • Provide facts or information about a product or service?
    • Data sheet
    • White paper (report)
    • Proposal
    • Website content
  • Provide instructions to use a product or service?
    • User Manual
    • Tutorial
    • Procedures
know your audience
Know your audience
  • Who will read the document?
  • What do they know about the subject?
  • Why will they read the document?
  • How will they read the document?
who will read the document
Who will read the document?

What attitude is your reader likely to have?

Busy Adults

  • Self-directed
  • Want a reason
  • Have prior experience
  • Goal oriented
  • Internally motivated
what do they know about the subject
What do they know about the subject?
  • Are you writing to…..
    • High-tech readers?
    • Low-tech readers?
    • Lay readers?
    • Multiple readers with varied levels of knowledge?
why will they read the document
Why will they read the document?
  • Too many…. you put readers to sleep
  • Too few…. you leave readers uninformed
  • In the wrong order…. readers are confused

Determines the level of detail….

  • How much detail will you include?
  • Which words will you define?
  • What kind of illustrations will you use?

How effective and informative your technical writing is depends on how you select, reject, and arrange your details.

how much detail
How much detail….
  • Inverse relation between size of group and amount of detail
  • Largest audience gets the least amount of detail
how much detail2
How much detail…
  • Have a specific person in mind as your audience
  • Place yourself in his/her position
  • Ask: what does he/she want to know?
how will they read the document
How will they read the document?
  • How will the content be delivered?
  • How should the document be organized?
how will the content be delivered
E-mail

Cell phone e-mail

PDA e-mail

Letter/memo

User Manual

Report

Brochure

Newsletter

Website

PowerPoint

How will the content be delivered?
  • Which communication channel will you use?
how will the content be delivered1
How will the content be delivered?
  • The type of communication channel determines the size and shape of the content.
  • The communication channel determines the technological requirements of the writer and reader(s).
how should the document be organized
How should the document be organized?
  • Sequential / Chronological—good for instructions
  • Order of Importance—good for reports, presentations
  • General to Specific—good for “big picture”
  • Division/Spatial—good for technical descriptions
  • Task analysis—good for user manuals
  • Problem/Solution—good for proposals
  • Comparison/Contrast—good for showing alternatives

Organize the draft according to some logical sequence that your readers can follow easily

sequential chronological
Sequential / Chronological

Reader moves through information from beginning to end in a linear fashion

  • Numbered lists to indicate sequence
  • Transitional words to identify movement through the sequence – first, next, finally
  • Sequence guide words – step, part, phase, segment
  • Numbers
  • Images to clarify sequence
  • Chronological – use of a timeline or flowchart

Good for instructions

order of importance
Order of Importance
  • Place most important point last. Leaves audience with most important information fresh in mind – PowerPoint presentation.
  • Start with the most important point. Presenting numerous points and want to ensure reader is attentive to most important information.
    • Memos, reports, emails
    • Websites (pyramid approach)

Allows you to emphasize or de-emphasize information. What do you want the reader to remember?

general to specific
General to Specific
  • General information provides background, scope and context for more specific information.
  • Make general statements, then support them with specific facts.
  • Introduction, Overview

Provides the reader with the “big picture” first.

Gives them something to relate the specifics to.

division
Division
  • Divide and subdivide a whole idea, object or phenomenon into its various parts.
  • Documents that:
    • Include a parts lists – specification or data sheet
    • Describe the parts of a process, procedure, policy or event.

Some things can best be understood by treating them as a series of smaller parts.

spatial
Spatial
  • Helps reader visualize what you see
  • Layout of the land, placement of components within a system

Describe what you see as it appears in space ─ left to right, top to bottom, inside to outside, clockwise.

Good for technical descriptions

spatial description
Spatial Description

At the basements north wall, I will build a window seat 7’ long by 2’ wide by 2’ high. To the right of the seat, on the east wall, I will build a desk 4’ high by 5’ long by 3’ wide.

On the south wall, to the left of the door, I will build an entertainment unit the height of the wall including four, 4’ high by 4’ wide by 2’ deep shelving compartments.

The west wall will contain no built-ins. You can use this space to display pictures and to place furniture.

task analysis
Task Analysis
  • What tasks do they need to accomplish?
  • What types of information do they need to make a decision?
  • First step in most technical writing projects.

Focuses on what kind of information the reader needs.

Good for User Manuals

slide23

Use headings to reveal your strategy.

Parallel: Headings should be alike. If first section is a noun phrase, all should be; if participle phrase all should be.

Descriptive: Not vague. Allows reader to scan through and jump to information of interest. Headings indicate where information can be found.

slide24

They should be descriptive and parallel.

Parallel and Descriptive

Non-Parallel

Non-Descriptive

Introduction

Past Designs for Particle Beam Fusion

New Design for Particle Beam Fusion

Charging Marx Generators

Forming Line Pulse

Generating Particle Beam

Transporting Particle Beam

Irradiating Deuterium-Tritium Pellets

Results of New Design

Conclusions and Recommendations

Introduction

Background

Marx Generators

Line Pulse

Beam Generation

Transporting Beam

Pellets

Results

Conclusions

slide25

Organization is hidden without secondary headings

Performance of

the Solar One Receiver

Introduction

Receiver’s Efficiency

Steady State Efficiency

Average Efficiency

Receiver’s Operation Cycle

Start-Up Time

Operation Time

Operation During Cloud Transients

Receiver’s Mechanical Wear

Panel Mechanical Supports

Tube Leaks

Conclusion

Performance of

the Solar One Receiver

Introduction

Steady State Efficiency

Average Efficiency

Start-Up Time

Operation Time

Operation During Cloud Transients

Panel Mechanical Supports

Tube Leaks

Conclusion

format to provide easy access
Format to provide easy access
  • Use highlighting techniques, such as
    • White space
    • Headings
    • Bullets
    • Graphics
    • Font changes
    • Color
rewriting
Rewriting
  • Revise
    • Add missing details
    • Delete wordiness
    • Simplify word usage
    • Enhance the tone of your communication
    • Reformat your text for ease of access
    • Practice the speech or review the text
  • Proofread
    • Correct errors