Comparing Informal & Formal Technical Reports Video

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Usability Testing on Technical Documents

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:00 What Is Technical Writing?
  • 0:56 Informal Technical Reports
  • 2:28 Formal Technical Reports
  • 4:06 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed Speed
Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught middle and high school history, and has a master's degree in Islamic law.

Being able to compose both formal and informal technical reports is a crucial part of any role with an organization. In this lesson, we look at the difference, focusing on both oral and written reports.

What Is Technical Writing?

When you were in school, chances are you read literature. From poetry to novels, the language is supposed to be pretty. In fact, you probably learned that some writers wrote most clearly when they really wanted to drive home a visceral point that the reader would not forget. Now, that's something we can use in technical writing! Technical writing refers to all forms of writing that exist to simply inform someone how to do something. Most often, we think of it as writing manuals for engineers or doctors, but the truth is that everything from a recipe to a resume is considered technical writing. In this lesson, we'll take a look at the two major sub-fields of technical writing: formal technical writing and informal technical reports, as well as examples of each.

Informal Technical Reports

Let's say that you work in a test kitchen figuring out if cookbook recipes are really all that easy to follow. You like your job, as you get to cook all day and, best of all, you get to eat anything that turns out well. However, recipes are rarely perfect. While you're eating whatever cake you've made for a particular recipe, you are expected to write a brief report to the chef about what went well and what didn't. In other words, you are performing informal technical writing. Informal technical writing is that writing that gets to the point of a situation without regard to it being read by individuals outside of whom it is addressed. So, what does that actually mean? When the chef receives your report, she isn't going to publish it. Instead, she will make the required changes and simply file it away. The report itself didn't have to be perfect - in fact, sometimes they are written in bullet points! It is simply the easiest way to get information from one person to another.

Most often, this sort of user report is the common form of informal technical writing that we think of, but the truth is that most writing that the average person does for their jobs is really informal technical writing. Many schools, for example, require teachers to record the events of any parent-teacher conference. These are an excellent example of informal technical writing. Additionally, informal technical reports don't even have to be written! Calling a client to give them an update on the progress of a project is an example of an informal technical report - just the same as sending them a quick e-mail.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support