This presentation is intended for students in Prof. Holly Johnson's ENG 112 - Basic Composition II With Speech at Mercer County Community College in Trenton, NJ. This is an overview of what constitutes technical writing.
What is Technical Writing? ENG 112 Prof. Holly Johnson
Technical Writing is also called Business WritingTechnical writing refers to the kind of writing that is commonlydone in the workplace. Common technical documents include: • resumes and cover letters • memos • instructions and directions • manuals • reports and proposals • research papersEach of these documents follows very specific rules for formatand composition.
The primary goal of alltechnical writing is to makewhatever information you areconveying as clear and easilyunderstood as possible.To do this, specific formats are followed.
Who is my audience?Before you begin any technical document, youmust always figure out who your audience is. • Is this an audience of experts who will easily understand highly technical terms that may be used? - highly technical • Is this audience somewhat familiar with the subject but not expert level? - semi technical • Is this audience completely new to this subject? - non-technical
Once you have determined who your audienceis, you then know what kind of language to use! Highly technical audience -- such as scientists, doctors, lawyers, engineers etc. You can use technical terms and specific jargon without explaining what each term means. Semi-technical audience -- such as a college level reader with some familiarity with the subject, but not a professional in that field. You can use technical terms, but you will need to explain what they mean as you go along. Layperson - someone who is new to the subject. You should avoid using technical terms. Keep descriptions as simple as possible.
I know my audience and what level language to use, now what?
The next step is figuring out what kind of document you need for the situation.
Ask yourself: What is the purpose of this document? Answer DocumentI want people at the office to Memodo/know somethingI want a job Resume and cover letterI want to provide information that Menu, advertisement, poster,combines visual and text info basic text documentI want to explain the steps for a Instructions, directions orprocedure manualI want to request permission for Proposalsome sort of research or activity*Bear in mind, these are only some of the possible technical documents you might write.There are many more. See the table of contents of your text book to find out about them.
I know what kind of document I am going to write, now what?
Once you know: your audience, the level of language to use, and the type of document neededThe final step is to learn exactly how to write that kind of document.You have to learn the You have to learn theFORMAT - i.e. how it & CONTENT - i.e. what info should look. to include and where.
Learning the correct format and content for a variety of technical documents takes time and practice.We will be learning how to write several different technical documents in the remaining weeks of the semester.