TECHNICAL DEFINITION EXPLAINING TERMS TO YOUR AUDIENCE
Introduction • Definition and purpose • Types and locations of definitions • Format for definitions • Topic handout • Professional example • Definition exercise
Definition and Purpose • Definition : • Explains the meaning or denotation of an unfamiliar word or phrase • Acts as entire focus of a report, or clarification of an object, process, or concept in a larger report.
Types of Definitions • Parenthetical: a word or phrase definition immediately following the term • Ex. Summit Books announced its intention to create a new colophon (emblem or trademark). • Form: definition may appear in parentheses, in a phrase, or in a dependent clause • Ex. People often choose to have roofs of slate, the metamorphic rock formed from shale or volcanic ash.
Types of Definitions 2 • Sentence: term to be defined, the class the term belongs to, the features that distinguish the term from other members of that class. • Term • Brief • Class: category term belongs to • Legal document • Distinguishing features: differences between term and other terms in that category • All facts and points of law pertinent to a case Ex. A brief is a legal document that contains all the facts and points of law pertinent to a case.
Types of Definitions 3 • Expanded/extended: • A fully detailed definition that gives the audience a complete picture of the term being defined • Formal sentence definition plus support from expansion techniques appropriate to the report’s purpose to teach readers an entire concept rather than just a meaning.
Locations of Definitions • In the text: for reports without glossaries and for audiences who need information immediately • In footnotes/endnotes: for definitions whose inclusion would disrupt the flow of the report • In a glossary: for reports that have 5 or more terms to define
Format for Expanded Definitions • Headings for each section • Sections: • Audience/purpose • Introduction • Expansion techniques (3 minimum) • Conclusion (optional)
Format for Expanded Definitions 2 • Audience/purpose • 1-2 sentence explanation of audience’s identity and reason for presenting them with this report • Introduction • Sentence definition + background information or first expansion technique
Format for Expanded Definitions 3 • Expansion techniques • Etymology: origin/history of term • List of parts: discussion of all parts of term • Graphics: picture or diagram of term • Example: explanation of term’s uses • Operating principle: explanation of how term works
Format for Expanded Definitions 4 • Expansion techniques • Process: directions for using the term • Comparison/contrast: examining term that is similar and familiar to audience • Classification: discussion of category that term belongs to • Negation: explanation of what term is not
Topic Handout • Guidelines
Professional Example • Scabies
Definition Exercise • Definition Exercise Instructions • Send exercise to me via the Blackboard Discussion Board.