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Prof. Wozencraft

Prof. Wozencraft
ENG227

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Ch20 slides Ch20 slides Presentation Transcript

  • What are definitions, descriptions, and instructions?• A definition is typically a brief explanation of an item or concept using words and (sometimes) graphics.• A description is typically a longer explanation, usually accompanied by graphics, of an object, mechanism, or process.• A set of instructions is a kind of process description intended to enable a person to carry out a task. Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 1
  • Definitions have two main uses:• Definitions clarify a description of a new development or a new technology in a technical field.• Definitions help specialists communicate with less knowledgeable readers. Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 2
  • Use these four strategies when definingterms for readers from another culture:• Add a glossary (a list of definitions).• Use Simplified English and easily recognizable terms in definitions.• Pay close attention to key terms.• Use graphics to help readers understand a term or concept. Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 3
  • There are three types of definitions:• parenthetical• sentence• extended Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 4
  • Sentence definitions follow a typical pattern: Item = category + distinguishing characteristics Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 5
  • Follow these four guidelines to write effective sentence definitions:•Be specific in stating the category and thedistinguishing characteristics.•Don’t describe a specific item if you are defining ageneral class of items.•Avoid writing circular definitions.•Be sure the category contains a noun or a noun phraserather than a phrase beginning with when, what, orwhere. Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 6
  • Eight techniques are used in extended definitions:• graphics• examples• partition• principle of operation• comparison and contrast• analogy• negation• etymology Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 7
  • Decide where to place the definition:• in the text• in a marginal gloss• in a hyperlink• in a footnote• in a glossary• in an appendix Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 8
  • Descriptions are verbal and visual representations of three items:• objects• mechanisms• processes Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 9
  • Follow these four principles when writing descriptions:• Clearly indicate the nature and scope of the description.• Introduce the description clearly.• Provide appropriate detail.• Conclude the description. Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 10
  • Answer these five questions to introduce object or mechanism descriptions:• What is the item?• What is the function of the item?• What does the item look like?• How does the item work?• What are the principal parts of the item? Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 11
  • Answer these six questions to introduce process descriptions:• What is the process?• What is the function of the process?• Where and when does the process take place?• Who or what performs the process?• How does the process work?• What are the principal steps of the process? Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 12
  • Provide appropriate detail in mechanism and object descriptions:• Choose an appropriate organizational principle:  functional  spatial• Use graphics.Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 13
  • Provide appropriate detail in process descriptions:• Structure the step-by-step description chronologically.• Explain causal relationships among steps.• Use the present tense.• Use graphics. Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 14
  • An example of a process description based on a graphicChapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 15
  • Consider five questions when designing a set of instructions:• What are your reader’s expectations?• Do you need to create more than one set of instructions for different audiences?• What languages should you use?• Will readers be anxious about the information?• Will the environment in which the instructions are read affect the document design? Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 16
  • Follow these two guidelines to design clear, attractive pages:• Create an open, airy design.• Clearly relate the graphics to the text. Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 17
  • Examples of cluttered and attractive page designsSource: Slide- Source: Anthro,Lok, 2005 2005<www.slide- <www.anthro.com/lok.com/ assemblyinstructioassembly/P246 ns/300-5237-00.pdf8/P2468.pdf>. >. Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 18
  • Understand the four signal words used in manuals and instructions:• Danger indicates an immediate and serious hazard that will likely be fatal.• Warning indicates the potential for serious injury or death or serious damage to equipment.• Caution indicates the potential for anything from moderate injury to serious equipment damage or destruction.• Note indicates a tip or suggestion to help readers carry out the procedure successfully Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 19
  • An example of a safety labelChapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 20
  • A typical set of instructions includes these four elements:• title• general introduction• step-by-step instructions• conclusion Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 21
  • Write effective titles for instructions:Effective titles:• How-to. “How to Install the J112 Shock Absorber”• Gerund. “Installing the J112 Shock Absorber”Ineffective titles:Noun strings. “J112 Shock Absorber Installation Instructions” Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 22
  • Consider answering these six questionswhen drafting introductions for instructions: • Who should carry out this task? • Why should the reader carry out this task? • When should the reader carry out this task? • What safety measures or other concerns should the reader understand? • What items will the reader need? • How long will the task take? Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 23
  • Follow these six guidelines when drafting steps in instructions:• Number the instructions.• Present the right amount of information in each step.• Use the imperative mood.• Don’t confuse steps and feedback statements.• Include graphics.• Do not omit articles (a, an, the) to save space. Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 24
  • Typical elements in the front matter of a manual:• introduction or preface• overview of the contents• conventions section• “where to get help” section• list of trademarksChapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 25
  • Typical elements in the back matter of a manual:• set of specifications• list of safety regulations and industry standards• tips on maintenance and servicing• copyright page• index• glossaryChapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 26
  • Consider these three questions whenwriting instructions for multicultural readers: • In what language should the information be written? • Do the text or graphics need to be modified? • What is the reader’s technological infrastructure? Chapter 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions © 2012 by Bedford/St. Martins 27