Thursday, March 18, 2010

Techniques of Technical Writing (Definition)

Techniques of Technical Writing (Definition)

Four techniques are of special importance in technical writing: definition, description of a mechanism, description of a process, and classification. These techniques are not types of reports and it is important to remember that these techniques usually appear in a single report. It would be exceptional to find an entire report, even a short one, containing only one of these techniques. For example, two or more techniques might be closely interwoven as a writer described the design, construction, and operation of a mechanism. The intermingling of these techniques, however, does not alter the basic principles of their use. These techniques can be studied most effectively by taking one technique at a time. The treatment of these techniques will stress the practical rather than the theoretical, particularly in the subjects on definition and classification.
In technology, words have precise, specific meanings; therefore there is a need for defining a technical term clearly. The extent to which a term should be defined or the length of a definition depends on the writer's purpose and the knowledge level of the reader. Before going to the problem of "how to define", it is better to "think about what should be defined first." It is not possible of course, to set up an absolute list of terms and ideas that would require definition, not even for a specific body of readers, but it is possible and desirable to clarify the point of view from which the problem of definition should be attacked. The relationships of words to the ideas and things for which they stand can become very complex. However, there is a simple and helpful way of classifying words, as they will appear to your reader. The words will fall into one of the following categories:
1. Familiar words for familiar things2. Familiar words for unfamiliar things3. Unfamiliar words for familiar things4. Unfamiliar words for unfamiliar things

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