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introduction to technical writing

Think about the many types of writing you do,for example,writing for school,to family and friends,or on your job?what kind of writing would you consider to be technical writing? How would you define technical writing? Hello!I‘m chen meihua from Southeast University.In this section,I will provide you with an overview of technical writing and will focus on its definetion,main featutes and purposes.

Defintion:what is technical writing?

Technical writing is a form of written document providing technical information that helps readers to solve complex problems.

Then you may ask how will technical information be relevent to me since I am not a technician?

Actually almost every day,We make decision or take actions that depend on technical information.When we install or operate any new device,from a washing machine to a new laptop.it’s the setup information that we look for.Then how can you become a good technical writer?In the following lessons,we will discuss instruction,reports,memos,procedures,etc.And although there are various forms of technical writing,almost any form of technical deocuments shares cetain common features.

the sample picture

Features:how many features have the technical writing?

Let’s look at the following technical document.This documents is written and designed to guide readers to use a programmable thermostat properly.

Being reader-centered is the first main feature for technical writing.The documents focus on what people need to learn,do,or decide.Here all the information is presented to help readers to choose the right thermostat,and nothing else.

The second feature of technical writing is clear organization and page design.In this sample,right after the title,these is an overview to introduce the main poins of the document.The heading here is phrased as the main question reader will ask.In the following parts,paragraphs and sentences are listed using color to highlight key items.At the end,a table is used to make it easy to read the comparative data.As for page design,we can see the headings,lists,type styles,white space work tegether to provide easy information navigation.

Thrid,readable style and effective visuals.And in this sample,a clear table with easy-to-read data is provided as a subsititute for words describing the data,so that a nontechnical audience can read,compare and choose the right thermostat.This is an effective visual.

Purposes:what is technical writing for?

Most forms of technical writing address one of three primary purposes:to anticipate and answer questions,that is,to inform your readers;to enable people to perform a task or follow a procedure,that is,to instruct your readers,or to influence people’s thinking,that is,to persuade your readers.

often,these purposes will overlap.Now we will analyze the sample document from these three purposes respectively.

Documents that inform:

The sample technical writing you read just now is primarily informational.It’s designed for a wide audience of readers who may be asking the question which thermostat is most suitalbe but know little about the technical details.

Documents that instruct:

Instructional documents help people do something.Action verbs and phrases,such as “think about” and “decide” are clear and direct.There different models,”7-day models”,”5+2-day models” and “5-1-1 models” are listed for readers to choose the right thermostat.

Documents that persuade:

Persuasion encourages people to take a desired action,or to make a decision.Let’s read the sample document again.The first paragraph,for example, encourages readers to use a programmable thermostat by pointing out how much people coule save in yearly energy bills.Nothing is more persuasive than data.

Ok,so far we have talked about what technical writing is,its main features and its primary purpose.Have you got it? That’s all for this lesson,thanks you.