The Description in a Technical Report
The majority of technical reports include some type of description, either of objects, processes or ideas. A description can be physical, functional or both. Good descriptions are crucial to creating good documents and they should utilise the Outside-In approach, a technique discussed in a previous blog (January 2018)
The following are 15 points to consider when writing descriptions in a technical report:
- Consider the technical level of the intended reader
- Begin with the name of the object followed by its definition.
- Include a labelled diagram or photograph.
- Describe the most obvious details first and then go on to specific details.
- Sequence the details of the descriptions to make the picture complete and understandable.
- Describe how things work and how to perform certain actions.
- Identify process steps and human interaction.
- Explain how things look before, during, or after the process.
- Provide examples of what you are explaining.
- Compare the process to something familiar to help readers understand.
- Check, with the device in front of you, for completeness, logical order; and word choice.
- Anticipate questions
- Avoid abstract words such as pretty, really or very.
- Use precise, concrete adjectives or terms such as parallel, smooth, one metre high.
- Define any technical terms.
Technical Writing Skills Training Course
Northridge Quality & Validation and our training partners, SQT Training are running a comprehensive training course on Technical Writing Skills. Note: This course will be delivered via a Virtual Classroom (not in person).
Course Title: Technical Writing Skills
Course Date and Booking: Course booking and future course dates can be found on the SQT Training website.
Course Content: Our structured, practical programme will help you to identify the key message you need to deliver in your written document and to deliver it clearly and concisely in a way that will ensure it is understood.