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Technical Writing


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Published in: Education, Business

Technical Writing

  1. 1. Maria Martha Manette A. Madrid, Ed.D. Professor Panpacific University North Philippines Urdaneta City, Pangasinan, Philippines
  2. 2. 1. Explains and discusses a subject matter in a factual and in a straightforward style.2. Characterized by certain formal elements such as its scientific and technical vocabulary, its use of graphic aids, and its use of conventional report form.3. Characterized by the maintenance of attitude of impartiality and objectivity by extreme care to convey information accurately and concretely by the absence of any attempt to arouse emotion.4. There is a relatively high concentration of certain complex and important writing techniques-in- particular definition, description of mechanism, description of process, classification and interpretation.
  3. 3.  Gives information that leads to the accomplishment of specific tasks and in the making of needed decisions. Ex: information on what to do during an earthquake, how to use saftey devices to avoid fire and burns Analyzes events and their implications, the failure of certain systems as educational, socio- economic, political, etc., and the needed changes. Ex: how to save the dying rivers of the country, in particular, the Pasig River Persuades and influences decision by showing how a business or an industry suceeds because of just and fair treatment of labor, how the educational system can be improved through the implementation of the recommendations of the Educational Commission.
  4. 4. Fundamental Characteristics (Conway, 1987)1. Concrete Language- Use of concrete word than of an abstract one2. Denotative Language- Utilization of the dictionary or lexical meaning of a word3. Objectivity- An impartial, impersonal or unemotional weighing of evidence of information4. Targeted or Defined Audience- Defining the audience helps the writer know what to write and how to write it5. Style- Adopts a different style from a literary writing, must be economical , clear, concise and concrete6. Common Format- Adhere to the practice of using standard layouts or formats
  5. 5.  Is a writer’s way of writing, a manner by which he expresses his thoughts and feelings in language. How the material is written. The way by which information is carried across to the reader.Ex. a) Time flies b) Time is infinite movement without one moment of rest.
  6. 6. Analyses:a) Simple, but emotional, a little sentimental. It avoids the word “died” and substitutes a softer, gentler, less unpleasant expression.b) Is a plain, brief statement in which the writer’s feelings are not directly indicated.
  7. 7.  Clarity- the single most importnat aspect of good technical writing. It enables the readers to understand what the information means to convey. Readers need facts, not hazy or imprecise terms, to make decisions and accomplish tasks. ◦ Use of specific and concrete words ◦ Appropriate verbs (use action verb and active voice of the verb)
  8. 8.  Conciseness –means every word counts, is very important, it saves time and increases the forcefulness of writing.Ex: Please repeat the sentence again. (5 words) Please repeat the sentence. (4 words)Preferred Not Preferred Preferred Not PreferredBegin initiate before prior toPay compensation about with reference toFire conflagration consider give consideration toTrue veracious conflicts comes in conflict withWordy verbose operates is in operationTotal aggregate now/currentlyat this point in timeQuestion interrogate because/since in view of the fact thatFind out ascertain despite in spite ofTry endeavor
  9. 9. Overworked words:Appropriate ( fitting, suitable)Assist ( help)Cognizant Authority (proper authority)Consider(think)Discontinue(stop)Endeavor (try)Investigate(study)Subsequent to (later, after)Transmit (send)
  10. 10.  Coherence – the smooth flow of ideas and data - transitional words prepare readers for the next point or a change in directionTo indicate Time To Add To ContrastFinally In addition HoweverBefore Furthermore On the other handAfter Also ButSoon Wherever In Contrast
  11. 11. To Compare To Indicate SpaceSimilarly BeyondIn the same way BehindIn comparison ForwardIn the same manner In Front ofTo indicate Cause To ConcludeBecause On the wholeFor that reason To summarizeSince In conclusionDue to the fact that In summary
  12. 12.  Conventions of Standard English ◦ Common sentence errors as sentence fragments, comma splices, and run-on(fused) sentences should be avoided Sentence Structure and Length – natural word order, simple sentence structure and fairly short sentences
  13. 13. Guide to Technical Writing1. Accuracy – tactful in the recording of data, statement or calculating mathematical figures . A writer must always aim to be understood.2. Brevity – enhance understanding on the main purpose of the report, having a brief report.3. Confidence – to be decisive or sure of what he is writing about.4. Dignity – development the ring of authority, this is one of the ethical standards. See to it that all grammatical constructions must be complete, ideas well organized, simplified , summarized and expressed in straightforward manner.5. Emphasis- stressing the major points and subordinating them.6. Facility – makes report easy to read and understand. It depends on pacing, sequence, arrangement and continuity.7. Grammatical Correctness – application of grammatical rules.
  14. 14. 8. Honesty – acknowledge borrowed statements.9. Illustration – employ illustration to concretize either thoughts or ideas.10. Judgment – quality the information gathered and collected by considering its ampleness, relevance, simplicity and collaboration with the rest of the data.11. Knowledge – limited for a mere collection of data or information because it involves analysis, interpretation and formulation of conclusion.12. Logic – process of showing the relations among groups of things and classes of groups.13. Mechanical Neatness – appearance of the report, perfect in shape.14. Normal Procedure – follow acceptable arrangement of the different parts of a report.
  15. 15. 15. Objectivity – third person point of view is preferred.16. Planning – basic step, gives purpose and direction to what he has to write.17. Qualification – chose statements that have direct relationship to the topic being discussed.18. Revision – more than checking spelling, punctuation marks, spacing and margins, it cater to the diction, organization of ideas and subject fully treated or not.19. Straight Sentences – sentences must be limited to only one idea or two closely related ideas.20. Thoroughness – writer must treat well his subject matter and objectives are realized.21. Unity – every idea should have correlation to the main topic.22. Viewpoint – written from a certain viewpoint of a writer.23. Word Choice – employ fitted words to the reader’s ability and background.
  16. 16.  Definition ◦ Informal definition- use a familiar word or phrases for an unfamiliar word or phrase ◦ Formal Sentence Definition – conists of three parts: word, the class and the differentiate ◦ Expanded Definition – amplify a definition by a general discusssion of an object, process or concept  Explanation of use or function (ex: fork, amplify by adding the function)  Description of parts  Comparison and contrast  Origin of the word  Giving Examples  Negation  Basic Operating Principles
  17. 17.  Decription of a Mechanism – simply and consist of three kinds of information: 1) what it is, 2) what its purpose is, and 3) what it looks like. ◦ Part-by-part description –after listing down the principal parts of a mechanism, the detailed description follows: Focused on the aspects. (shape, size, relationship to other parts, methods of attachment, and material and finish) Description of a Process (organizational pattern)- using a time sequence to show how something occurs or how to perform a certain task. The process can be natural or mechanical. ex: taking a sunbath, new technology for organic wastewater
  18. 18.  Classification and Partition ◦ Classification-the orderly, systematic arrangement of related things following a governing principle or basis. Initial step: brings together related items, its froms groups from individual items. (ex: genus and species) ◦ Partition or division- breaks down a unit into its component parts. (ex: a house can be divided into its parts: foundation, floors, walls, ceiling, roof, etc.) Interpretation – the art of establishing a meaningful pattern of relationships among a group of facts ◦ Statement of the Problem – the first task is to state what the writer wanted to find out when he began the work
  19. 19. ◦ Background◦ How the evidence was obatined –the reliability of interpretation is dependent on how data were obatained. The Method of Gathering Data or Information is explained.◦ Presentation of Data (Results and Discussion) – introduce the mass of data without cluttering it up and withou burying his discussion with raw data. Tables and graphs are vivid ways of presenting information. They show clearly how facts relate to one another. The text point out teh significant relationships revealed by the table or chart.
  20. 20. Outputs or End Products of Technical Writing1. Abstract – summarized form or a resume of any longer piece of writing.2. Brochure – a pamphlet or printed information material given to a customer in order to convince or persuade him to take an action on the companys services.3. Business Letter – written communication used to transact business which cannot be conveniently conducted orally.4. Contract – formal arrangement made between two or more persons, organizations or parties to do something on mutually agreed terms.5. Feasibility Report – intended to examine the advantages and disadvantages of a certain project for determining the possibility of going into it.
  21. 21. 6. Graphic Aids – pictures, graphs, diagrams, and other printed materials used in illustrating important details in a report.7. Instructional Manual – describes the procedures on how to install, maintain and operate an equipment or gadget.8. Memorandum – written communication circulated within the company and its branches which is used to disseminate a message of information.9. Monograph – textbook treatment that requires a full illustration a thorough documentation.10. Policy – course of action adopted or pursued by an individual, party business and industry.
  22. 22. 11. Printed Action Memo – this prepared form requires only a checkmark in an appropriate square to indicate its message.12. Proposal – merely suggests an activity or project to be pursued for a change or an improvement.13. Specification – contains detailed information about performance courses, materials for construction needed, theory of operations, sample calculations, tables and operating data or information.14. Technical Report – provides useful information about a complete program of work, for reference and permanent record.15. Article for Technical jargon – information published in a journal reporting an achievement or discussing a certain problem.
  23. 23. 1. Upward communication ( to supervisors) – usually addressed to mangers and supervisors who are often busy.2. Lateral communication ( to peers) – addressed to peers who may share the writer’s expertise in a field.3. Downward communication ( to subordinates) – addressed to employees and technicians who are most concerned with how to increase productivity and their incomes.4. Outward communication (to customers, public interest groups, stockholders, the government and others) – goes outside the company and so the techniques of upward communication is used.
  24. 24. 1. A good memo passes between departments, between individuals in different departments, between management and staff, and others.2. Most firms provide printed forms and restrict and restrict inter-office correspondence to one subject only in order to encourage conciseness and clarity and to facilitate filling and reference.3. Should always be courteous, complete and direct to the point (tone).4. The length varies. Some memos such as those announcing a shortened work , may be only a sentence or two in length. Others such as those announcing a change in policy may be several pages long. Whatever their length, memos should always be clear and direct to the point.
  25. 25. Main parts of the Inter-office Memo1. Heading- printed on the top of the top. It includes the name of the company, date, sender, receiver and subject. Note: Memo To is used only when the writer is addressing to his subordinates or an individual or a group of people who have lower positions than him. While Memo For is used when the writer is addressing to his superior or someone who has a higher position than him.2. Subject- brief statement about the content of the message.3. Message - includes the following: a. statement why the memorandum is written b. a detailed information c. suggestions for future action
  26. 26. Estoque and Sons Co. Inter-Office Memo TO: Mr. Robert Cads FROM: Pat EstoqueSUBJECT: NEW PRICE LIST On June 3, 2009, our new price list goes in effect.Copies should be in the hands of the salesmen beforethe end of the week and in the hands of the dealers byJune 30. Copies can be obtained from my secretary. For your information. (SGD) Pat Estoque Product Manager
  27. 27. INTER-OFFICE MEMO From the Desk of Jeffery Gwapo TO: Miss Evelyn GandaSUBJECT: July 12 Holiday Since July 12 – this year falls on a Sunday, theoffice will be closed on Monday, July 13, to allow afull holiday weekend. For your guidance. Jefferey Gwapo HRD Officer
  28. 28. ROXAS HOUSE OF FASHION FROM: Cristy Rey TO: Miss Evelyn Go Supervisor Sales Department SUBJECT: Advertising Campaign This weekend, our special advertising campaign on our new LAROXAS Fashion Magazine will begin. This will be opened with fullpages in the magazine supplements of Metropolitan papers. Mostof the advertisements will carry keyed coupon. Your departmentshould be prepared for the special load of mail that will com in.just a reminder. (SGD)Carlos Gracia
  29. 29. INTER-OFFICE MEMO10 May 2009 FOR: Jose A. Reyes, President FROM: Cynthia SoSUBJECT: Distribution of Mid-year Bonus This is in reference with the minutes taken during the meetingof the Accounting Department last April 30, 2009. It was agreedthat the Mid-year bonus which is usually given in June, should bedistributed earlier.. The main reason for this is that most of ouremployees and staff need money for the tuition fees of theirchildren. For your information.Cynthia SoAccounting Department
  30. 30.  Progress Report Annual Report ◦ Project Report ◦ Letter Report Analytical Report Feasibility Study Proposals Position Paper
  31. 31. - Aims at presenting “information about the work done on a particular project at a particular period of time.” The Transitional Introduction- Relates the present report to a previous one as background info. States the nature and scope of the subject matter and perhaps a brief summary as well as recommendation. The Body of the Report- Presentation of the mass of information maybe chronological or logical
  32. 32. - Figures are needed to support a narration or facts; hence, the need for tables The Conclusion- Gives a more detained form and in a manner that will spur action- Ending is a “prophetic” conclusion (it is forward looking, the reader is made to anticipate, for example, the completion of the project)
  33. 33. -Or Executive Reports are made on a yearly basis to show the performance of a company at the end of the period.- Contains 1) company profile, 2) financial highlights, 3) the president’s report, 4) Board of Directors and Officers and 5) Auditor’s Report.
  34. 34. -Progress, annual and project reports give information; hence, they are classified as informational reports.- Some reports, are classified as analytical reports, they include assessment, evaluation or feasibilty study. Projects completed are usually assessed or evaluated. A project to be undertaken is the subject of a feasibility study.
  35. 35. - Is made to determine whether or not a project is likely to succeed, or not will be economically viable.- It comprises: 1)the plan, 2) the cost, 3) source of funding, 4) the manpower/personnel requirements, 5) the market, and 6) profitability.1. Plan – the project, inclduing the rationale, has to be described in detail. A sketch should accompanyy the description if necessary. It answer the questions: what, why and how. Includes a time-frame-the appropriate time neeeded to complete the project.
  36. 36. 2. The Cost – estimated cost of the equipment and facilities entails a canvassing of the market. What models are available and where? Are they second hand or brand new?3. Source of Funding – if there is a provision in the school or company budget, the approval of the project is 50 % sure.- If there is no allocation for the project, or if the allocation is not sufficient, is there a possibility of getting loans from banks? How much is the interest? Would the income from the project be able to pay amortization on the loans when they are due?
  37. 37. - Other source of funding is grants from funding agencies.- Another is fund drives, usually by church and charitabel organizations.4. Manpower or personnel- How many persons are needed for the project?- What are their job titles and job description?- What salary is recommended for each?- A time table for the recruitment of personnel is advisable and helpful.
  38. 38. 5. The Market- to whom will the commercial venture cater? Will there be enough clients or customers? This part should be supported with a survey. The viability of the project rests primarily on the stability of the market.6. Profitability – the acceptability of the project will depend or not it is profitable to be undertaken. Economic profitability will call for a certain amount of return (10 to 20%) on investment. If its commercial, there is a need to discuss how the project will benefit a community or a specific group of people.
  39. 39. I. IntroductionII. Marketing StudyIII. Technical StudyIV. Financial StudyV. Socio-Economic StudyVI. Conclusion
  40. 40. - Written offer to solve a technical problem in a particular way, under a specific plan of management, for a certain sum of money- The solution offered is discussed in detail, supported by designs or plans with alternative plans or designs is known as technical proposals- The management explains to the prospective client the way a project is to be carried out, teh pserons wjo will direct it, and the time schedule for the different phases of the project is called management proposal.
  41. 41.  Bear in mind that “the objecive of a proposal is to communicate clearly the facts about a proposed technical design or program plan. Convince that his design or plan is superior to those submitted by competition. Accdg. To John A. Walter (Univ. Of Texas) – a good proposal consist of : preliminary study, drafting a plan or outline, writing a rough draft and planning illustrations and lay-out and review and revision.
  42. 42. - Intended to prove a point, to justify a position.- Intended to persuade the reader or the person to whom it is addressed or directed.- Aims at establishing a point or a position in the form of an active disagreement with a known argument, refutation of an anticipated argument, a presentation of both of an issue with a conclusion following one side.- Its is supported through facts, reference to authority, both printed and unprinted, and reasoning.
  43. 43.  Permanent Record Written Contract Public Relations Material
  44. 44. Major parts1. Heading2. Dateline3. Inside Address4. Salutation5. Body/text6. Complimentary Close7. Signature8. Reference Initials
  45. 45. Optional Parts1. Attention Line2. Subject Line3. Enclosure Notation4. Carbon Copy Notation5. Blind Copy Notation6. Postscript
  46. 46.  Heading or Letterhead –place and date of the message, contains company name, logo, office, email address, phone, fax and mobile numbers. Dateline –typed under the letterhead, accepted formats: July 4, 2009 or 4 July 2009 Inside Adress – typed below dateline, contains name of the receiver, his position/title/company division or dept., mailing address. ◦ If the gender of the person can not be ascertained, use the single letter M (Ex. M. Loiuse R. Ramos)
  47. 47. ◦ Observe the fff abbrevaited titles:  Mr. For a man  Messrs. For more than one man  Mrs. For a married woman  Mmes. For more than one woman  Ms. For a married or single woman Salutation –greetings signal the beginning of the letter. Typed two lines below the inside address. Body- message of the letter. Typed single or double. Double-space is used between paragraphs. Complimentary Close-typed double space below the body.
  48. 48. ◦ Formal: Yours truly, Truly yours, Yours very truly ◦ Informal: Sincerely, Sincerely yours, Yours sincerely ◦ Personal/Friendly: Cordially, Yours cordially, Cordially yours Signature-typed name of the writer keyed on the fourth line below the complimentary close. May include writer’s position which follows the typed name, separated from it with a comma, or may be keyed on the next line. ◦ Elizabeth B. Keys, Manager Elizabeth B. Keys St. Joseph Drug Store Manager St. Joseph Drugstore Reference Initials –also known as stenographic reference, refer to the sender of the letter or the typist. Sender’s or typist’s initials typed in capital letters followed by a colon or slash: (ex: MM: fr . or MM/fr.
  49. 49.  Attention Line - - assures the writer that his letter will reach a particular person he really has in mind. Typed tw spaces below the inside adress and maybe centered or left margin. Subject Line – summarizes the topic of the letter in a few words. Centered two lines below the salutation.__________________________________________________________________ Attention: Mr. Ben E. AurelienDear Sir: Subject: Collection of Past Dues
  50. 50.  Enclosure Notation – used as reference check by both the recipient and the sender to make sure everything included in the letter is actually sent. Use the word “Enclosure” or “Encl” Al: fr Encl: SM Credit Card Carbon Copy Notation- if the reader to know who else is receiving a copy of the letter, type “Copy to,” or “CC” then add the naem or names of the other recepients. Some companies use Cf(Copy Furnished) instead of CC. Al/fr Cc: Mrs. Lourdes C. Sales
  51. 51. Physical Appearance of a Business Letter1. Stationery- unruled, firm-textured paper, standard size is 8.5 in. by 11 in.2. Picture Format Guide- position your message in order to make the margin frame even. Side and bottom should be the same.3. Envelope Address- letter envelope should indicate the following info.: a. Name of the individual b. Department or division c. Company name d. Street address with number, suite number, flo0r number or apartment number.
  52. 52. 1. Full Block2. Modified Block3. Semi-block4. Simplified Style
  53. 53.  Full Block_____________________________________________(2 spaces)____________________(3 to 4 spaces)________________________________________________________________________(2 spaces)_________________(2 spaces)_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________(2 spaces)__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________.(2 spaces)Sincerely,(4 spaces)Jose dela CruzJose dela Cruz(2 spaces)MA: Fr.
  54. 54.  Modified Block _______________ _______________ _______________ (2 spaces) ____________________(2 spaces)________________________________________________________________________(2 spaces)_________________(2 spaces)_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________(2 spaces)__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________.(2 spaces) Sincerely, (4 spaces) Jose dela Cruz Jose dela Cruz(2 spaces)MA: Fr.
  55. 55.  Semi- Block _______________ _______________ _______________ (2 spaces) ____________________(2 spaces)________________________________________________________________________(2 spaces)_________________(2 spaces) _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________(2 spaces) __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________.(2 spaces) Sincerely, (4 spaces) Jose dela Cruz Jose dela Cruz(2 spaces)MA: Fr.
  56. 56.  Simplified Style _______________ _______________ _______________(6 spaces)____________________(4 spaces)________________________________________________________________________(3 spaces)_________________(3 spaces)_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________(2 spaces)__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________.(2 spaces)(5 spaces)Jose dela CruzJose dela Cruz(2 spaces)MA: Fr.
  58. 58.  Adjustment Letter- reply to a complaint (claim letter) Content: 1. Appreciation for the customer’s thoughtfulness in writing; or agreement to the writer’s comment as expressed in the complaint. (Orientation), 2. Explanation of the cause of the mistake (Information), 3. Statement of what is to be done with the complaint(Action), 4. Attempt at keeping the customer’s goodwill. Application Letter Resume
  59. 59.  Letter of Inquiry – inquiries about products manufactured or service rendered. They may ask about persons, or money matters, too. Follow the strategy below: ◦ His reason for the request or the questions he seeks to be answered (Orientation) ◦ The actual questions seeking for answers or the request itself (Information) ◦ The action he would like the reader to take (Action)
  60. 60.  Letter of Request – uses the same strategy as that of the letter of inquiry Claim Letter – actually a complaint letter. Sent when customer disssatisfaction with a product, service or policy exists. Take note of the ff: 1. State the reason for writing the letter (orientation). 2. Tell what is wrong with the merchandise or service rendered. State in positive language the inconvenience experienced on account of the error (information). 3. Indicate what you would like the manager to do about the complaint (action). 4. Express belief in the reader’s sense of fair play. This serves as a buffer(refers to sentences that can ease the strain between the sender and the receiver of the letter).
  61. 61.  Letter of Order ◦ Description of merchandise- name of the product, quantity, price per piece/unit, size, color or any other detail that distinguishes it from others. ◦ Shipment of goods ordered (where, how, when)- complete name and address of the buyer, how goods are to be sent, date goods are to be delivered. ◦ Payment of goods ordered-manager’s check, personal check, postal money order, C.O.D., charge account or credit card. ◦ Special instructions, if any.
  62. 62.  Letter of Remittance – payments made by mail should be accompanied by a short letter. Contains the ff: ◦ What is the remittance for? Give the particulars about the shipment being paid for. ◦ The amount being remitted should be written in words and in figures. ◦ If remittace is by check, managers check or postal money order, give particulars like issuing bank, check number or PMO number. Letter of Acknowledgement – acknowledgement of orders and remittances are generally done with the use of form letters.
  63. 63.  Selling a poduct through letters Strong beginning may be in a form of question; a news item about an anniversary sale, a clearance sale, a midnight sale, a slogan, an epigram and a maxim, an amusing anecdote, a striking parallel or the use of famous names. Just like an application letter, it should catch the attention of the reader, create desire and interest, convince the reader/customer and induce him to act.
  64. 64.  Congratulatory Letter –occasions like opening a new businesss, receiving an award, remarkable performance, family events like graduation and birth of a child, etc. Letter of Gratitude/Appreciation- thank you letters for one-time kindness or for favors extended over a period of time. Letter of Invitation- may or may not require persuasion. News announcement and info about significant events calling for a celebration do not require persuasion. Letter of invitation expressing persuasion require the inclusion of the 5 W’s (who, why, where, when, how) and other details that the readers will need to appreciate).
  65. 65.  Letter of Sympathy –those who suffered from may be comforted by messages of sympathy from business associates as well as from personal friends.
  66. 66.  Composing the Materials for the Research Report Expository Type of Writing Rules for Effective Writing of the Research Report Writing, Revising, Editing for Proper Documentation and Finalizing the Report Footnotes Bibliography