Language: The Way Words are Use (Technical Writing CS212))

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Consistency of Writing
The 5 C’s
Basic Technical Overview
Professionalism & ethics in reporting
Knowing Your Audience

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Language: The Way Words are Use (Technical Writing CS212))

  1. 1. Lecture 2 Language: The Way Words are Used (Technical Writing CS212) Abdisalam Issa-Salwe Taibah University College of Computer Science & Engineering Computer Science DepartmentTopic list Consistency of Writing The 5 C’s Basic Technical Overview Professionalism & ethics in reporting Knowing Your Audience 2 College of Computer Science & Engineering, Taibah University 1
  2. 2. Consistency of Writing When writing about technical information, it is important to be concise and exact about the subject matter. The task assigned may be in the form of a help document for a piece of software or a machine or it may concern a process or way of performing a task. User manuals, assembly instructions, analysis reports or summaries of lengthy reports are all types of technical writing. 3 College of Computer Science & Engineering, Taibah UniversityConsistency of Writing (cont…) Comprehensiveness -- all of the necessary information is present For precise language, you should avoid over-specifying details For precision, you must choose the appropriate level of detail Complex wording buries ideas Complex sentences misdirect 4 College of Computer Science & Engineering, Taibah University 2
  3. 3. Consistency of Writing (cont…) The more muddled the original, the more revisions are needed to streamline it Avoid ambiguity: Ambiguity is a group of words that can have more than one meaning. 5 College of Computer Science & Engineering, Taibah UniversityConsistency of Writing (cont…) Word choice is a factor in clarity: use simple language wherever possible to counteract the abstract, highly specialized terms of science and technology. Enumeration: a powerful way to establish a series of observations and to emphasize each element. Stylistic clarity: promotes simple, direct language using simple sentences Overloaded sentences: Avoiding overloaded sentences and excessive normalization also contribute to clarity. 6 College of Computer Science & Engineering, Taibah University 3
  4. 4. Consistency of Writing (cont…) Structural Clarity: makes easy for the reader to get the large picture. Contextual clarity: contributes to ease of understanding. Simplicity: Simplicity in language is obtained with directly worded sentences Transitional words and phrases: to clarify and smooth the movement from idea to idea. 7 College of Computer Science & Engineering, Taibah UniversityVarying sentence openers allows for morekinds of transitions between sentences Sentence #1 Sentence #2 Sentence #3Topic of Sentence SubjectTime of action Prepositional PhraseLocation of action Prepositional PhraseManner of action AdverbSubordinate action Dependent ClauseReason for action Infinitive Phrase 8 College of Computer Science & Engineering, Taibah University 4
  5. 5. Vary sentence openers to vary rhythmsubject-verb Mount St. Helens erupted on May…prepositional phrase In minutes, the mountain emitted…adverb Recently, debate has arisen...dependent clause Although the exact time of the eruption surprised scientists, evidence had been collected...infinitive phrase To understand the eruption, we have to... 9 College of Computer Science & Engineering, Taibah University The 5 C’s 1. Clarity: Clarity it is easily understood by your intended audience. 2. Comprehensiveness: all of the necessary information is present 3. Conciseness: it is clear without excess verbiage 4. Coherence: it is the quality of hanging together. 5. Correctness: grammatical and follows conventions 10 College of Computer Science & Engineering, Taibah University 5
  6. 6. Clarity A characteristic of a speech or a prose composition that communicates effectively with its intended audience Clarity is a special problem in technical and professional writing Clarity can be increase by: Structural Clarity Stylistic Clarity Contextual Clarity 11 College of Computer Science & Engineering, Taibah UniversityComprehensiveness Comprehensiveness means that all of the necessary information is present; It has three main aspects: Document Accuracy Stylistic Accuracy Technical Accuracy Document accuracy is generally cultivated by a clear problem statement and by a preliminary outline. 12 College of Computer Science & Engineering, Taibah University 6
  7. 7. Conciseness Conciseness has a special value in technical fields. Writers are often tempted to include everything that could be relevant to their subject, rather than merely everything that is relevant to the communication task at hand. The concise document is a piece of writing that conveys only the needed material. 13 College of Computer Science & Engineering, Taibah UniversityCoherence Coherence is the quality of hanging together, of providing the reader an easily followed path. Coherence is especially valued in technical communication and writing because of the inherent complexity of the subjects. Things which can promote coherence: Abstracts Clear titles Introductions Problem statements 14 College of Computer Science & Engineering, Taibah University 7
  8. 8. CorrectnessThe state or quality of making correctapproach to writing;Correctness in writing or speaking;the correctness of a text or copy. 15 College of Computer Science & Engineering, Taibah UniversityTechnical Basics 1. Professionalism and ethics in reporting 2. Knowing your audience 3. Outline writing 4. Report writing (rigid structure) 16 College of Computer Science & Engineering, Taibah University 8
  9. 9. Professionalism & ethics in reporting Different individuals have different personalities, and different modes for communicating. If you apply a canned formula to your technical communications, the result may be awkward. Within the general structure of formal technical communication, there is room for your personality to show through. 17 College of Computer Science & Engineering, Taibah UniversityKnowing Your Audience At the very beginning… think about your likely audience. To whom you are presenting your work? What do I want the audience to get out of this work/document? The word selection, level of motivation, and background required for a report (or a presentation) depends greatly on the background of the audience. 18 College of Computer Science & Engineering, Taibah University 9
  10. 10. Reference How to Write a Technical Report from Alan Smithee - A format using single column.pdf, http://www.zaipul.com/download/tdp Mohammad Alsuraihi, Technical Writing, CS212 Course notes, Taibah University, Madinah, KSA Abdisalam Issa-Salwe, lecture notes, Taibah University. 19 College of Computer Science & Engineering, Taibah University 10

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