technical-writing - Sentence Structure of Technical Writing...

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Sentence Structure of Technical Writing Nicole Kelley Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies @ MIT 2.671, Fall 2006 Lecture materials derived from The Craft of Scientific Writing © Michael Alley and “The Science of Scientific Writing” by Gopen and Swan
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“The fundamental purpose of scientific discourse is not the mere presentation of information and thought but rather its actual communication . It does not matter how pleased an author might be to have converted all the right data into sentences and paragraphs; it matters only whether a large majority of the reading audience accurately perceives what the author had in mind .” --George Gopen and Judith Swan The Science of Scientific Writing
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3 Good Tech Writers Practice • Planning • Clarity • Brevity • Simplicity • Word Choice •A c t i v e V o
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4 Planning: Before You Begin Identify your audience and their expectations Know your purpose Know your material Understand the writing task at hand Organize your thoughts and materials Budget adequate time to write, review, revise and edit
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5 Clarity: Avoid Jargon • Jargon: a vocabulary particular to a place of work (abbreviations, slang) Audience familiarity with the topic determines appropriate use of jargon Ex. 1: For the first year, the links with SDPC and the HAC were not connected, and all required OCS input data were artificially loaded. Thus CATCH22 and MERWIN were not available. Ex. 2: Because some of the links in the computer system were not connected the first year, we could not run all the software codes.
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6 Clarity: Define the Unfamiliar • If you must abbreviate, define the term in its first occurrence, and put abbreviations in parentheses Ex: Edgartown Great Pond (EGP) is a vital body of water. Unfortunately, due to an unpredictable influx of saltwater, the delicate ecosystem is in danger of destabilizing. Italicize first occurrence of unfamiliar terms and define them right away Ex: Retina is a light-sensitive tissue, found at the back of the eye, that converts light impulses to nerve impulses.
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7 Brevity: Use Words Efficiently Never use two words when one word will do . Ex. 1: The relationship between the nature of salt water to
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technical-writing - Sentence Structure of Technical Writing...

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