About This Chapter
Prewriting for Technical Documents - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives
The prewriting phase of developing technical documents may include a combination of planning, outlining, researching, diagramming, clustering and storyboarding. Many of these aspects are rather hidden in the end, but without this step being carefully executed, the success of your final product is questionable. In this chapter, well-informed instructors will fill you in on the various crucial steps involved in the research process. Once your research is completed, you can learn how to put the results to the most effective use in your writing. As you complete this chapter, you should be familiar with the following topics:
- Writing purpose
- Channels of communication
- Types of research
- Sources for technical writing
- Avoiding plagiarism in technical writing
|Determining the Purpose of Your Message: Inform, Persuade & Good Will||Outline ways to choose an appropriate purpose for your writing.|
|Analyzing Your Audience and Adapting Your Message: Purpose, Process & Strategy||Explain how to determine your audience and adapt your writing accordingly.|
|Choosing Your Channel of Communication: Oral, Written, Visual & Electronic||Discuss ways to decide on the best method of communication for a given piece of writing.|
|Supporting Your Message With Primary and Secondary Research||Compare primary and secondary research and their uses in professional writing.|
|Tips for Locating Research Materials||Explore the use of journals, books and periodicals in research.|
|Assessing the Reliability and Validity of Sources||Explain how to decide whether research sources are credible.|
|Practice Finding and Evaluating Sources for Technical Writing||Identify various locations for sources, such as databases, archives, wikis, blogs and other points on the Internet.|
|Conducting Surveys and Interviews: Explanation & Purpose||Detail the reasons and methods for using surveys and interviews in research.|
|Observation, Inspections, Experiments, and Focus Groups||Address the use of the various types of primary research.|
|Quoting, Paraphrasing and Summarizing Your Research||Explain when it is appropriate to quote, paraphrase or summarize in professional writing.|
|Analyzing, Applying, and Drawing Conclusions From Research to Make Recommendations||Discuss how to make a recommendation after analyzing, applying and coming to a conclusion.|
|How and Why to Avoid Plagiarism in Technical Writing||Detail how to correctly document sources.|
1. Determining the Purpose of Your Message: Inform, Persuade & Good Will
Determining the purpose of your message is the first step in deciding what you want to say and how you want to say it. It is essential to choose whether to inform, persuade or offer goodwill via a message in the workplace.
2. Analyzing Your Audience and Adapting Your Message: Purpose, Process & Strategy
In order for a message to be effective, it has to be impactful, clear and relatable to an audience. Learn about some key steps to analyzing an audience in order to identity the correct way to deliver and write a message.
3. Choosing Your Channel of Communication: Oral, Written, Visual & Electronic
Sometimes how you deliver information is just as important as what information you deliver to an audience. It is important to understand the advantages and disadvantages to the four different types of communication channels: oral, written, visual and electronic.
4. Supporting Your Message With Primary and Secondary Research
An individual's ability to support messages with primary and secondary research for business communication is a much needed skill. There are some key differences between primary and secondary research and how the information can be acquired, utilized, and help create an effective message.
5. Tips for Locating Research Materials
The process of preparing a research paper for academic or employment purposes can be a difficult task. There are some basic tips for how to locate research materials such as online, books, periodicals, etc.
6. Assessing the Reliability and Validity of Sources
In the business world, any research material must have support that can provide validity and reliability. The support must be credible and have documentation to show that it is well-researched, professional, peer-reviewed and recent.
7. Finding & Evaluating Sources for Research
Not everything you read on the Internet is true. This video will help you navigate through different online sources and evaluate the validity of those sources to ensure that you can trust the information you use as part of your research.
8. Conducting Surveys and Interviews: Explanation & Purpose
Conducting surveys and interviews can help many companies solve business problems by the creation of helpful primary data. Qualitative data is meaningful as it allows more detailed opinions, observations and information that allow better insight into making the best decisions.
9. Research Methods: Observation, Focus Groups & More
Primary research methods allow you to go beyond the general information you can obtain through secondary sources. This video provides explanations of several primary research methods, including observations, inspections, experiments, surveys, and interest groups.
10. Quoting, Paraphrasing and Summarizing Your Research
Quoting, paraphrasing and summarizing are three important skills to master for writing in the academic and business world. These skills will help support claims and add credibility to your work.
11. Analyzing, Applying, and Drawing Conclusions From Research to Make Recommendations
In this lesson, we'll explore how companies analyze, apply and draw conclusions from research to solve problems. Learn how effective recommendations can help a business survive and thrive.
12. How to Avoid Plagiarism: When to Cite Sources
Plagiarism is a very serious matter in both academia and professional writing. Plagiarism in an academic setting can lead to you failing a course or being removed from school completely. Plagiarism in professional writing can lead to being fired from a job or finding yourself in court being sued. Let's figure out how to avoid this issue!
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Other chapters within the English 305: Advanced Technical Writing course
- Basics of Technical Writing
- Writing Technical Documents
- Technical Editing & Rewriting
- Elements of Technical Documents
- Usability Testing & Technical Writing
- Informal Technical Reports
- Formal Technical Reports
- Business Reports and Proposals
- Technical Correspondence
- Technical Writing in Business Correspondence
- Technical Resumes & Cover Letters
- Technical Instructions
- Writing Technical Manuals
- How to Write Proposals
- Required Assignments for English 305
- Studying for English 305