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Principles of composition: structured vs. unstructured writing


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This presentation compares and contrasts traditional paragraph writing with structured writing aka Information Mapping.

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Principles of composition: structured vs. unstructured writing

  2. 2. About this session This session gives a brief introduction about how to develop modular technical content. After completing this session, you should be able to: Compare and contrast structured and unstructured writing List the benefits of structured writing Explain the principles of composition of structured writing
  3. 3. Structured vs. unstructured writing
  4. 4. What is structured writing?  “Structured writing is the process of creating and systematically organizing independent units of information so they are easily accessible, manageable and reusable.”
  5. 5. Differences and similarities Structured Block is the unit of composition. A block should have only one purpose or function. Topic sentences are absent or irrelevant. Unstructured Paragraph is the unit of composition. A paragraph should have only one thought. A paragraph has a topic sentence that comes at or near the beginning.
  6. 6. Differences and similarities (2) Structured There is no "transitional" phrase in the information block. Each block is labeled. A block contains 3-5 sentences – can have up to 9 sentences. Unstructured Paragraphs often require a transition phrase.  Each paragraph is not necessarily labeled. A traditional paragraph does not have a recommended number of sentences.
  7. 7. Differences and similarities (3) Structured A block may contain a bullet list, diagram, or table about a specific topic. 7 + or - 2 relevant blocks create a map. Unstructured A paragraphs does not have such requirements. No such recommendation for paragraphs.
  8. 8. Example (before)
  9. 9. Example (after)
  10. 10. Benefits of structured writing  Users/learners can significantly reduce the time required to find information or learn a skill as specific information is easy to find.  Content developers can save time in developing the content. Also, they can easily spot missing data during the development phase.
  11. 11. Principles of structured writing  The Chunking Principle  The Relevance Principle  The Labeling Principle  The Consistency Principle  The Integrated Graphics Principle
  12. 12. Six information types  Procedure  Process  Principle  Concept  Structure  Fact
  13. 13. References  Principles of structured writing  Before and after example mapping/examples  Elementary principles of composition (Elements of Style, William Strunk)