Characteristics of Effective Technical Writing

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Characteristics of Effective Technical Writing

Technical writing is meant to get a job done. Everything else is secondary. If the writing style is interesting, so much the better. There are 6 basic characteristics of technical writing:

1. Clarity: The written document must convey a single meaning that the reader can easily understand. Unclear technical writing leads to wasted time, money and resources. 2. Accuracy: This means to not only be careful to avoid errors in recording facts; it also means freedom from bias or subjectivity. If readers suspect you are slanting information by overstating the significance of a particular point, they have every right to doubt the validity of the entire document. 3. Comprehensiveness: A comprehensive technical document provides all the information its readers will need. Readers who must act on a document need to be able to apply the information efficiently and effectively. 4. Accessibility: This refers to the ease with which readers can locate the information they seek. Topic sentences should be used at the beginning of paragraphs. Thesis Statement should be identifiable in the introductory paragraph. 5. Conciseness: To be useful, technical writing must be concise. The longer a document is, the more difficult it is to use, for the obvious reason that it takes more of the reader’s time. A document must strive to balance the claims of clarity, conciseness, and comprehensiveness; it must be long enough to be clear-given the audience, purpose, and subject –but not a word longer. 6. Correctness: Good technical writing observes the conventions of grammar, spelling, punctuation, and usage. Leaving sloppy grammar errors in your writing is like wearing a soup-stained shirt to a business meeting: it will distract your readers, and may make them doubt the importance of your information.
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