Online Technical Writing - yasnetwork Perfect Solutions in Computer

Online Technical Writing - yasnetwork Perfect Solutions in Computer
Online Technical Writing:
Online Textbook—Contents
Introduction: Technical Writing and This Course
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About technical writing
About technical-writing courses
About the instructor/author
Examples, Cases & Models: Index
Applications of Technical Writing
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Business correspondence and resumes
Technical reports: structure and process
Types of technical reports: an overview
Business plans
Proposals
Progress reports
Instructions
User guides
Organizational policies and procedures
Recommendation and feasibility reports
Abstracts, introductions, and conclusions
Oral presentations
Document Design
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Book design overview
Page design overview
Headings
Lists
Special notices
Graphics and tables
Report format and final packaging
Highlighting and emphasis
Indexing
Processes and Guidelines in Technical Writing
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Writing process: from audience to rough draft
Audience analysis
Task analysis
Power-revision techniques
Libraries, documentation, cross-referencing
Basic patterns and elements of the sentence
Common grammar, usage, punctuation problems
Common spelling problems
Strategies for peer-reviewing and team-writing
Information structures
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Introduction:
About Technical Communications, Technical-Writing Courses, and
the Author
Technical-writing courses introduce you to some of the most important aspects of
writing in the world of science, technology, and business—in other words, the kind of
writing that scientists, nurses, doctors, computer specialists, government officials,
engineers, and other such people do as a part of their regular work.
To learn how to write effectively for the world of work, you'll study common types of
reports, special format items such as lists and headings, simple techniques for putting
graphics into reports, and some techniques for producing professional-looking final
copy.
Technical-writing courses build on what you've learned in other writing courses. But
there's lots that is new to learn! If you currently have a job in which you do some
writing, you'll discover that you can put what you learn in your technical-writing
course to immediate use.
About Technical Writing
You're probably wondering what this "technical writing thing" is. Someone may even
have told you, "it's this course where they make you write about rocket science and
brain surgery." Well, not really . . . . Actually, the field of technical communications
is a fully professional field with degree programs, certifications, and—yes!—even
theory. It's a good field with a lot of growth and income potential; and an introductory
technical-writing course for which this book has been developed is a good way to start
if you are interested in a career in this field.
However, the focus for technical-writing courses is not necessarily career as a
technical writer but an introduction to the kinds of writing skills you need in
practically any technically oriented professional job. No matter what sort of
professional work you do, you're likely to do lots of writing—and much of it technical
in nature. The more you know about some basic technical-writing skills, which are
covered in this guide and in technical-writing courses, the better job of writing you're
likely to do. And that will be good for the projects you work on, for the organizations
you work in, and—most of all—good for you and your career.
Technical communications—or technical writing, as the course is often called—is not
writing about a specific technical topic such as computers, but about any technical
topic. The term "technical" refers to knowledge that is not widespread, that is more
the territory of experts and specialists. Whatever your major is, you are developing an
expertise—you are becoming a specialist in a particular technical area. And whenever
you try to write or say anything about your field, you are engaged in technical
communications.
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Another key part of the definition of technical communications is the receiver of the
information—the audience. Technical communications is the delivery of technical
information to readers (or listeners or viewers) in a manner that is adapted to their
needs, level of understanding, and background. In fact, this audience element is so
important that it is one of the cornerstones of this course: you are challenged to write
about highly technical subjects but in a way that a beginner—a nonspecialist—could
understand. This ability to "translate" technical information to nonspecialists is a key
skill to any technical communicator. In a world of rapid technological development,
people are constantly falling behind and becoming technological illiterates.
Technology companies are constantly struggling to find effective ways to help
customers or potential customers understand the advantages or the operation of their
new products.
So relax! You don't have to write about computers or rocket science—write about the
area of technical specialization you know or are learning about. And plan to write
about it in such a way that even Grandad can understand!
About Technical-Writing Courses
In technical-writing courses, the main focus is typically the technical report, due
toward the end of the semester. Just about everything you do in the course is aimed at
developing skills needed to produce that report. Of course, some technical-writing
courses begin with a resume and application letter (often known as the cover letter),
but after that you plan the technical report, then write a proposal in which you propose
to write that report. Then you write short technical papers where you get accustomed
to using things like headings, lists, graphics, and special notices—not to mention
writing about technical subject matter in a clear, concise, understandable way that is
appropriate for a specific audience.
Warning: You should be aware that technical-writing courses are writing-intensive.
You will probably write more in your technical-writing course than in any other
course you have ever taken. If you are taking physics, calculus, and intermediate
accounting and are expecting a baby this semester—well, maybe, this is not exactly
the right semester for technical writing.
About the Instructor and Author
My name is David A. McMurrey. I grew up in Baytown, Texas, went to the
University of Texas-Austin as an undergraduate and graduate student (BA 1971 in
English with minors in French and Spanish; Ph.D. 1980 in Comparative Literature)
and to Indiana University-Bloomington (MA 1972 in English). I began teaching
writing courses in 1975 and have done so every year except 1984-1988.
I spent two years (1977-1979) at Baker University in Kansas where I did a lot of
things: taught freshman composition, worked in the Writing Lab, taught Spanish and
western civilization as well as sophomore literature and technical writing.
Returning to Austin, I finished my doctorate, set up and ran a Writing Lab, and taught
technical writing. In the lab, I began using and developing computer-assisted
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materials for the teaching of writing and have been vitally interested in how we can
use computers to teach writing ever since. While at the university, I published two
books with Macmillan, Writing Fundamentals and Processes in Technical Writing
along with a writing diagnostic text for Scott, Foresman. The online textbook that is
available from this same site is based on a text I have written and am currently using
at Austin Community College in my technical writing courses. This document uses
standard HTML tags for text and gif images for the graphics.
In 1984, I left the University of Texas-Austin for IBM where I stayed until August
1995. I worked in Information Design and Development where my primary job was
editor and maintainer of the Information Design Guide, a sort of blueprint for how our
publishing group wants our customer documentation to look. My best years at IBM
were my last four: I worked in the AIX (IBM's UNIX operating system), RISC
System/6000, and the PowerPC areas. We used FrameMaker and Interleaf publishing
software, the latter of which we used to develop one of the early full hypertext
computer-documentation libraries (specifically, our 30,000-page customer
documentation set for AIX and RISC products).
Since 1988, I have been teaching a course per semester at Austin Community College
(ACC), mostly technical writing. In 1992, I introduced a computer-based program to
my introductory technical writing course. This program, developed with PC Pilot and
later with Microsoft Visual Basic, provided most of the course information to students
taking my technical-writing courses. Students copied the program, took it home, and
loaded it on their own computers; or they used it at any of the ACC labs. The program
described the course goals and policies, provided a semester schedule, contained a
diagnostic test, and provided study materials for each unit (specifically, pointers to
reading assignments, interactive exercises focused on key concepts for the unit, and
assignment details). In my last year at IBM, I was completing a textbook with David
Beer of the University of Texas at Austin, published by John Wiley & Sons
publishers, entitled A Guide to Writing as an Engineer (ISBN 0-471-11715-3).
I left IBM in August 1995 to join the full-time faculty at Austin Community College.
I work with Dr. Katherine Staples in the Technical Communications Department,
teaching various courses in technical communications, organizing continuing
education seminars in our field, writing computer-assisted instructional materials in
Visual Basic, and developing this Internet- and Web-based approach to technicalwriting instruction along with related materials. During this time I have taught writing
and hypertext seminars at Wayne Dresser, Tivoli Systems, Texas Natural Resource
Conservation Commission, Texas Department of Human Services, and Samsung
Austin Semiconductor. Also, I have led the development of the Webmaster Certificate
Program at Austin Community College. With Dr. Staples, I have developed a resource
website for students, teachers, and practitioners of technical communication at Allyn
& Bacon's TechCommunity. Current projects include getting our department's
advanced courses—Designing Online Documentation, Designing Print
Documentation, and Technical Editing—online.
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Business Correspondence and Resumes
This chapter focus on business correspondence-general format and style for business
letters as well as specific types of business letters. Specifically:
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Overview of business correspondence: format and style
Inquiry letters
Complaint and adjustment letters
Application letters
Resumes
You can access examples of these types of business correspondence from the
individual sections in which they are discussed.
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Business Correspondence:
Overview
This section discusses general format of business letters, shows you the four common
business-letter formats, and discusses some basic guidelines for writing style in
business letters.
For related matters:
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See the section on resumes.
See the section on application letters.
See the section on inquiry letters.
See the section on complaint and adjustment letters.
Common Components and Formats
The following is concerned with the mechanical and physical details of business
letters. (All of the components discussed in the following are illustrated in Figure 11.)
Heading. The heading contains the writer's address and the date of the letter. The
writer's name is not included and only a date is needed in headings on letterhead
stationery.
Inside address. The inside address shows the name and address of the recipient of the
letter. This information helps prevent confusion. Also, if the recipient has moved, the
inside address helps to determine what to do with the letter. In the inside address,
include the appropriate title of respect of the recipient; and copy the name of the
company exactly as that company writes it. When you do have the names of
individuals, remember to address them appropriately: Mrs., Ms., Mr., Dr., and so on.
If you are not sure what is correct for an individual, try to find out how that individual
signs letters or consult the forms-of-address section in a dictionary.
Salutation. The salutation directly addresses the recipient of the letter and is followed
by a colon (except when a friendly, familiar, sociable tone is intended, in which case a
comma is used). Notice that in the simplified letter format, the salutation line is
eliminated altogether. If you don't know whether the recipient is a man or woman, the
traditional practice has been to write "Dear Sir" or "Dear Sirs" — but that's sexist! To
avoid this problem, salutations such as "Dear Sir or Madame," "Dear Ladies and
Gentlemen," "Dear Friends," or "Dear People" have been tried — but without much
general acceptance. Deleting the salutation line altogether or inserting "To Whom It
May Concern" in its place, is not ordinarily a good solution either — it's impersonal.
The best solution is to make a quick, anonymous phone call to the organization and
ask for a name; Or, address the salutation to a department name, committee name, or a
position name: "Dear Personnel Department," "Dear Recruitment Committee," "Dear
Chairperson," "Dear Director of Financial Aid," for example.
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Figure 1-1. Standard components of a business letter. In this example, the block letter
format is used.
Subject or reference line. As shown in the order letter, the subject line replaces the
salutation or is included with it. The subject line announces the main business of the
letter.
Body of the letter. The actual message of course is contained in the body of the letter,
the paragraphs between the salutation and the complimentary close. Strategies for
writing the body of the letter are discussed in the section on business-correspondence
style.
Complimentary close. The "Sincerely yours" element of the business letter is called
the complimentary close. Other common ones are "Sincerely yours," "Cordially,"
"Respectfully," or "Respectfully yours." You can design your own, but be careful not
to create florid or wordy ones. Notice that only the first letter is capitalized, and it is
always followed by a comma.
Signature block. Usually, you type your name four lines below the complimentary
close, and sign your name in between. If you are a woman and want to make your
marital status clear, use Miss, Ms., or Mrs. in parentheses before the typed version of
your first name. Whenever possible, include your title or the name of the position you
hold just below your name. For example, "Technical writing student," "Sophomore
data processing major," or "Tarrant County Community College Student" are
perfectly acceptable.
End notations. Just below the signature block are often several abbreviations or
phrases that have important functions.
Initials. The initials in all capital letters in Figure 1-1 are those of the writer of the
letter, and the ones in lower case letters just after the colon are those of the typist.
Enclosures. To make sure that the recipient knows that items accompany the letter in
the same envelope, use such indications as "Enclosure," "Encl.," "Enclosures (2)." For
example, if you send a resume and writing sample with your application letter, you'd
do this: "Encl.: Resume and Writing Sample." If the enclosure is lost, the recipient
will know.
Copies. If you send copies of a letter to others, indicate this fact among the end
notations also. If, for example, you were upset by a local merchant's handling of your
repair problems and were sending a copy of your letter to the Better Business Bureau,
you'd write this: "cc: Better Business Bureau." If you plan to send a copy to your
lawyer, write something like this: "cc: Mr. Raymond Mason, Attorney."
Following pages. If your letter is longer than one page, the heading at the top of
subsequent pages can be handled in one of the following ways:
Examples of following-page header format.
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If you use letterhead stationery, remember not to use it for subsequent pages.
However, you must use blank paper of the same quality, weight, and texture as the
letterhead paper (usually, letterhead stationery comes with matching blank paper).
Business Letter Formats
if you are writing a business letter, select one of the common formats as shown in the
example letters listed below. These include the block letter, the semi-block letter, the
alternative block letter, and the simplified letter.
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See the block letter.
See the semi-block letter.
See the alternative block letter.
For the simplified letter.
Which of these formats to use depends on the ones commonly used in your
organization or the situation in which you are writing. Use the simplified letter if you
lack the name of an individual or department to write to.
Style in Business Correspondence
Writing business letters and memos differs in certain important ways from writing
reports. Keep the following advice in mind when you write and especially when you
revise your business letters or memos.
State the main business, purpose, or subject matter right away. Let the reader
know from the very first sentence what your letter is about. Remember that when
business people open a letter, their first concern is to know what the letter is about,
what its purpose is, and why they must spend their time reading it. Therefore, avoid
round-about beginnings. If you are writing to apply for a job, begin with something
like this: "I am writing to apply for the position you currently have open...." If you
have bad news for someone, you need not spill all of it in the first sentence. Here is an
example of how to avoid negative phrasing: "I am writing in response to your letter of
July 24, 1997 in which you discuss problems you have had with an electronic
spreadsheet purchased from our company." Figure 1-2 shows an additional example.
Figure 1-2. State the main purpose or business of the letter right away. The problem
version just starts flailing away from the very outset. The revised version at least
establishes the purpose of the letter (and then starts flailing).
If you are responding to a letter, identify that letter by its subject and date in the
first paragraph or sentence. Busy recipients who write many letters themselves may
not remember their letters to you. To avoid problems, identify the date and subject of
the letter to which you respond:
Dear Mr. Stout:
I am writing in reponse to your September
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1, 19XX letter in which you
describe problems that you've had with one
of our chainsaws. I regret
that you've suffered this inconvenience
and expense and....
Dear Ms. Cohen:
I have just received your August 4, 19XX
letter in which you list
names and other sources from which I can
get additional information
on the manufacture and use of plastic
bottles in the soft-drink
industry....
Keep the paragraphs of most business letters short. The paragraphs of business
letters tend to be short, some only a sentence long. Business letters are not read the
same way as articles, reports, or books. Usually, they are read rapidly. Big, thick,
dense paragraphs over ten lines, which require much concentration, may not be read
carefully — or read at all.
To enable the recipient to read your letters more rapidly and to comprehend and
remember the important facts or ideas, create relatively short paragraphs of between
three and eight lines long. In business letters, paragraphs that are made up of only a
single sentence are common and perfectly acceptable. Throughout this section, you'll
see examples of the shorter paragraphs commonly used by business letters.
"Compartmentalize" the contents of your letter. When you "compartmentalize"
the contents of a business letter, you place each different segment of the discussion —
each different topic of the letter — in its own paragraph. If you were writing a
complaint letter concerning problems with the system unit of your personal computer,
you might have these paragraphs:
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A description of the problems you've had with it
The ineffective repair jobs you've had
The compensation you think you deserve and why
Study each paragraph of your letters for its purpose, content, or function. When you
locate a paragraph that does more than one thing, consider splitting it into two
paragraphs. If you discover two short separate paragraphs that do the same thing,
consider joining them into one.
Provide topic indicators at the beginning of paragraphs. Analyze some of the
letters you see in this section in terms of the contents or purpose of their individual
paragraphs. In the first sentence of any body paragraph of a business letter, try to
locate a word or phrase that indicates the topic of that paragraph. If a paragraph
discusses your problems with a personal computer, work the word "problems" or the
phrase "problems with my personal computer" into the first sentence. Doing this gives
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recipients a clear sense of the content and purpose of each paragraph. Here is an
excerpt before and after topic indicators have been incorporated:
Problem: I have worked as an electrician in
the Decatur, Illinois,
area for about six years. Since 1980
I have been licensed by
the city of Decatur as an electrical
contractor qualified to
undertake commercial and industrial
work as well as
residential work.
Revision: As for my work experience, I have
worked as an electrician
in the Decatur, Illinois, area for
about six years. Since
1980 I have been licensed by the city
of Decatur as an
electrical contractor qualified to
undertake commercial and
industrial work as well as
residential work.(Italics not in the
original.)
List or itemize whenever possible in a business letter. Listing spreads out the text
of the letter, making it easier to pick up the important points rapidly. Lists can be
handled in several ways, as explained in the section on lists. For examples of lists in
business correspondence, see Figure 1-1, the inquiry letter, and order letter.
Place important information strategically in business letters. Information in the
first and last lines of paragraphs tends to be read and remembered better. Information
buried in the middle of long paragraphs is easily overlooked or forgotten. Therefore,
place important information in high-visibility points. For example, in application
letters which must convince potential employers that you are right for a job, locate
information on appealing qualities at the beginning or end of paragraphs for greater
emphasis. Place less positive or detrimental information in less highly visible points
in your business letters. If you have some difficult things to say, a good (and honest)
strategy is to de-emphasize by placing them in areas of less emphasis. If a job requires
three years of experience and you only have one, bury this fact in the middle or the
lower half of a body paragraph of the application letter. The resulting letter will be
honest and complete; it just won't emphasize weak points unnecessarily. Here are
some examples of these ideas:
Problem: In July I will graduate from the
University of Kansas with a
Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and
Dietetics. Over the
past four years in which I have
pursued this degree, I have
worked as a lab assistant for Dr.
Alison Laszlo and have
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been active in two related
organizations, the Student
Dietetic Association and the American
Home Economics
Association. In my nutritional
biochemistry and food science
labs, I have written many technical
reports and scientific
papers. I have also been serving as a
diet aide at St.
David's Hospital in Lawrence the past
year and a half. (The
job calls for a technical writer;
let's emphasize that first,
then mention the rest!)
Revision: In my education at the University of
Kansas, I have had
substantial experience writing
technical reports and
scientific papers. Most of these
reports and papers have
been in the field of nutrition and
dietetics in which I will
be receiving my Bachelor of Science
degree this July. During
my four years at the University I
have also handled plenty
of paperwork as a lab assistant for
Dr. Alison Laszlo, as a
member of two related organizations,
the Student Dietetic
Association and the American Home
Economics Association, and
as a diet aide as St. David's
Hospital in Lawrence in the
past year and a half.
Problem: To date, I have done no independent
building inspection on
my own. I have been working the past
two years under the
supervision of Mr. Robert Packwood
who has often given me
primary responsibility for walkthroughs and property
inspections. It was Mr. Packwood who
encouraged me to apply
for this position. I have also done
some refurbishing of
older houses on a contract basis and
have some experience in
industrial construction as a welder
and as a clerk in a
nuclear construction site. (Let's not
lie about our lack of
experience, but let's not put it on a
billboard either!)
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Revision: As for my work experience, I have
done numerous building
walk-throughs and property
inspections under the supervision
of Mr. Robert Packwood over the past
two years. Mr.
Packwood, who encouraged me to apply
for this position, has
often given me primary responsibility
for many inspection
jobs. I have also done some
refurbishing of older houses on
a contract basis and have some
experience in industrial
construction as a welder and as a
clerk in a nuclear
construction site.
Find positive ways to express bad news in your business letters. Often, business
letters must convey bad news: a broken computer keyboard cannot be replaced, or an
individual cannot be hired. Such bad news can be conveyed in a tactful way. Doing so
reduces the chances that business relations with the recipient of the bad news will end.
To convey bad news positively, avoid such words as "cannot," "forbid," "fail,"
"impossible," "refuse," "prohibit," "restrict," and "deny" as much as possible. The first
versions of the example sentences below are phrased in a rather cold and unfriendly
negative manner; the second versions are much more positive, cordial and tactful:
Problem: Because of the amount of information
you request in your
letter, simply cannot help you
without seriously disrupting
my work schedule.
Revision: In your letter you ask for a good
amount of information
which I would like to help you
locate. Because of my work
commitments, however, I am going to
be able to answer only a
few of the questions....
Problem: If you do not complete and return
this advertisement
contract by July 1, 19XX, you will
not receive your
advertising space in this year's
Capitol Lines. If we have
not heard from you by this deadline,
we will sell you your
advertisement space to some other
client.
Revision: Please complete the enclosed contract
and return it to us by
July 1, 19XX. After this deadline, we
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will begin selling any
unrenewed advertisement space in this
year's Capitol Lines,
so I hope we hear from you before
then.
Problem: While I am willing to discuss changes
in specific aspects of
this article or ideas on additional
areas to cover, I am not
prepared to change the basic theme of
the article: the
usability of the Victor microcomputer
system.
Revision: I am certainly open to suggestions
and comments about
specific aspects of this article, or
any of your thoughts on
additional areas that you think I
should cover. I do want,
however, to retain the basic theme of
the article: the
usability of the Victor microcomputer
system.
Focus on the recipient's needs, purposes, or interests instead of your own. Avoid
a self-centered focusing on your own concerns rather than those of the recipient. Even
if you must talk about yourself in a business letter a great deal, do so in a way that
relates your concerns to those of the recipient. This recipient-oriented style is often
called the "you-attitude," which does not mean using more you's but making the
recipient the main focus of the letter.
Problem: I am writing you about a change in
our pricing policy that
will save our company time and money.
In an operation like
ours, it costs us a great amount of
labor time (and thus
expense) to scrape and rinse our used
tableware when it
comes back from large parties. Also,
we have incurred great
expense on replacement of linens that
have been ruined by
stains that could have been soaked
promptly after the party
and saved.
Revision: I am writing to inform you of a new
policy that we are
beginning, effective September 1,
19XX, that will enable us
to serve your large party needs more
often and without
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delay. In an operation like ours in
which we supply for
parties of up to 500, turn-around
time is critical;
unscraped and unrinsed tableware
causes us delays in
clean-up time and, more importantly,
less frequent and less
prompt service to you the customer.
Also, linens ruined by
stains that could have been avoided
by immediate soaking
after the party cause you to have to
pay more in rental
fees.
Problem: For these reasons, our new policy,
effective September 1,
19XX, will be to charge an additional
15% on unrinsed
tableware and 75% of the wholesale
value of stained linens
that have not been soaked.
Revision: Therefore, in order to enable us to
supply your large party
needs promptly and whenever you
require, we will begin
charging 15% on all unrinsed
tableware and 75% of the
wholesale value of stained linens
that have not been soaked.
This policy we hope will encourage
our customers' kitchen
help to do the quick and simple
rinsing and/or soaking at
the end of large parties that will
ensure faster and more
frequent service.
Avoid pompous, inflated, legal-sounding phrasing. Watch out for puffed-up,
important-sounding language. This kind of language may seem business-like at first;
it's actually ridiculous. Of course, such phrasing is apparently necessary in legal
documents; but why use it in other writing situations? When you write a business
letter, picture yourself as a plain-talking, common-sense, down-to-earth person (but
avoid slang). Check out Figure 1-3 for a serious dose of bureaucratese.
Figure 1-3. Avoid pompous, officious-sounding writing. Not only is the tone of the
problem version offensive, it is nearly twice as long as the revised version!
Give your business letter an "action ending" whenever appropriate. An "actionending" makes clear what the writer of the letter expects the recipient to do and when.
Ineffective conclusions to business letters often end with rather limp, noncommittal
statements such as "Hope to hear from you soon" or "Let me know if I can be of any
further assistance." Instead, or in addition, specify the action the recipient should take
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and the schedule for that action. If, for example, you are writing a query letter, ask the
editor politely to let you know of his decision if at all possible in a month. If you are
writing an application letter, subtlely try to set up a date and time for an interview.
Here are some examples:
As soon as you approve this plan, I'll
begin contacting sales
representatives at once to arrange for
purchase and delivery
of the microcomputers. May I expect to
hear from you within
the week?
I am free after 2:00 p.m. on most days.
Can we set up an
appointment to discuss my background
and this position further?
I'll look forward to hearing from you.
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Business Correspondence — Inquiry Letters
This section focuses on the inquiry letter. The inquiry letter is useful when you need
information, advice, names, or directions. Be careful, however, not to ask for too
much information or for information that you could easily obtain in some other way,
for example, by a quick trip to the library.
Note: Students enrolled in the Online Technical Writing are encouraged to take the
optional reading quix on this chapter and the chapter on complaint letters. (Anybody
else is welcome to try it as well.)
See the following example inquiry letters:
The frames and nonframes versions work only on Netscape version 3 or later. If you
are using Microsoft Internet Explorer, click Plain (or download Netscape).
Example inquiry letter 1: Questions about
blood glucose monitoring systems
Frames
Nonframes Plain
Example inquiry letter 2: Questions about
hardware support for Red Hat Linux
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Page 17 of 609
1102 West 30th
Lawrence, KS 66321
August 4, 19XX
Dr. Maria Gomez-Salinas
Director of the Diabetes Clinic
St. David's Hospital
1000 Greenberg Lane
Wichita, KS 66780
Dear Dr. Gomez-Salinas:
I am writing you in hopes of finding out more about how the new Glucoscan II blood
glucose monitoring system, which a representative at Lifescan informed me that your
clinic is currently using.
Originally, I saw Lifescan's advertisement of this new device in the January 19XX
issue of Diabetes Forecast and became very interested in it. I wrote the company and
got much useful information, but was recommended to write several current users of
the system as well.
For a technical report that I am writing for a technical writing class at Johnson County
Junior College, I need some help with the following questions :
1. How often does the Glucoscan II need to be calibrated in practical, everyday
use conditions?
2. How accurate is the Glucoscan II compared to other similar systems that your
patients have used?
3. What problems do your patients experience with this new device?
The Lifescan representative indicated that your clinic is one the leaders in
implementing new technology for diabetics, and therefore I am eager to hear from
you. In the report I will acknowledge your contributions, and I will send you a copy of
the completed report if you wish.
Thank you for your time, and I hope to hear from you soon.
Sincerely,
Anita Teller
Student, Medical Technology
Johnson County Junior College
Online Technical Writing
Page 18 of 609
0000 Paul's Path
Austin, TX 78700
July 12, 1998
Technical Support
Red Hat Software, Inc.
4201 Research Commons, Suite 100
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
Dear Technical Support Department:
I am writing this letter to ask you some technical questions about hardware support in
version 5.1 of Red Hat Linux. I saw Red Hat Software's advertisement for version 5.1
of Linux in the August, 1998, issue of Linux Journal. I was quite impressed with the
capabilities as listed in the advertisement, and I would like to learn some more about
the product. Before I make the decision to purchase the software, I need to be certain
that it will work properly on my computer.
I have three hardware support questions that I would like you to answer. I have
reviewed the technical support information at Red Hat Software's home page
(www.redhat.com), but I have not been able to find answers to my questions. The
three hardware-related questions that I have are as follows:
1. Does the latest release of Red Hat Linux support the Diamond Viper 330 PCI
video card? This card uses the Riva chipset released by NVIDIA Corporation.
2. If Red Hat Linux does not currently have a driver for this card, is there a
timetable for when the card will be supported?
3. Is there an online site for the latest list of supported hardware. This would be a
great aid to me in the future, as I often upgrade my machine.
I am aware that some of the early versions of Red Hat Linux were not able to support
some of Diamond Multimedia's products, and I hope that new drivers have been
created in this latest software release. If the latest release of Red Hat Linux can
support my video hardware, I will definitely purchase the product. I feel that the price
on the product is exceptional, and the range of features is outstanding.
For your convenience, you can respond to me by e-mail. My e-mail address is
[email protected] If you prefer to respond by telephone, you can reach me at (512)
000-0000. I appreciate any assistance that you are able to provide me.
Sincerely,
W. Gary NNNNN
Online Technical Writing
Page 19 of 609
Inquiry Letters: Types and Contexts
There are two types of inquiry letters: solicited and unsolicited.
You write a solicited letter of inquiry when a business or agency advertises its
products or services. For example, if a software manufacturer advertises some new
package it has developed and you can't inspect it locally, write a solicited letter to that
manufacturer asking specific questions. If you cannot find any information on a
technical subject, an inquiry letter to a company involved in that subject may put you
on the right track. In fact, that company may supply much more help than you had
expected (provided of course that you write a good inquiry letter). If you need to find
the names and addresses of businesses related to your report project, see the section
on finding information in libraries.
Your letter of inquiry is unsolicited if the recipient has done nothing to prompt your
inquiry. For example, if you read an article by an expert, you may have further
questions or want more information. You seek help from these people in a slightly
different form of inquiry letter. As the steps and guidelines for both types of inquiry
letters show, you must construct the unsolicited type more carefully, because
recipients of unsolicited letters of inquiry are not ordinarily prepared to handle such
inquiries.
Inquiry Letters: Contents and Organization
1. Early in the letter, identify the purpose — to obtain help or
information (if it's a solicited letter, information about an
advertised product, service, or program).
2. In an unsolicited letter, identify who you are, what you are
working on, and why you need the requested information, and
how you found out about the individual. In an unsolicited letter,
also identify the source that prompted your inquiry, for
example, a magazine advertisement.
3. In the letter, list questions or information needed in a clear,
specific, and easy-to-read format. If you have quite a number of
questions, consider making a questionnaire and including a
stamped, self-addressed envelope.
4. In an unsolicited letter, try to find some way to compensate the
recipient for the trouble, for example, by offering to pay
copying and mailing costs, to accept a collect call, to
acknowledge the recipient in your report, or to send him or her
a copy of your report. In a solicited letter, suggest that the
recipient send brochures or catalogs.
5. In closing an unsolicited letter, express gratitude for any help
that the recipient can provide you, acknowledge the
inconvenience of your request, but do not thank the recipient
"in advance." In an unsolicited letter, tactfully suggest to the
recipient will benefit by helping you (for example, through
future purchases from the recipient's company).
Online Technical Writing
Page 20 of 609
Business Correspondence — Complaint and
Adjustment Letters
This section covers two closely related types of business letters: complaint letters,
which request compensation for problems with purchases or services, and adjustment
letters, which are the responses to complaint letters.
Note: Students enrolled in the Online Technical Writing are encouraged to take the
optional reading quiz on this chapter and on the chapter on inquiry letters. (Anybody
else is welcome to try it as well.)
See the following example complaint letters:
The frames and nonframes versions work only on Netscape version 3 or later. If you
are using Microsoft Internet Explorer, click Plain (or download Netscape).
Example complaint letter 1: Microwave
problems
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Nonframes Plain
Example complaint letter 2: Printer problems
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Example complaint letter 3: Cosmetics
problems
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Example complaint letter 4: Digital
multimeter problems
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Example complaint letter 5: Garden polymer
sprayers
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Example adjustment letter: Compensation for
damaged freight
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Nonframes Plain
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Page 21 of 609
111 White Horse Lane
Austin, TX 78728
8 October 1994
Director of Consumer Relations
Cincinnati Microwave
One Microwave Plaza
Miami, TX 75249
Dear Director:
I am writing you concerning the purchase and subsequent return of a Waveport 5000 I
made on 10 August 1994 in the amount of $225.
On 10 August 1994, I purchased a Waveport 5000 from your company in the amount
of $225. This price included a two-day delivery and a 60-day money-back trial offer.
The $225 was immediately charged to my Ritz card. However, this product did not
perform satisfactorily, and on 15 August, I decided to return the Waveport 5000 to
your company. When I spoke to one of your company's representatives by phone, I
was informed that the shipping and handling charges, as well as the price of the
Waveport 5000, would be credited to my account. I shipped the item by UPX and was
notified 19 August of its receipt. Today, October 7, I received a statement for my Ritz
card. And as of today, no credit has been applied to my account for either the
Waveport 5000 or the shipping and handling charges.
If the Waveport 5000 was charged to my account immediately when I ordered it, I fail
to understand why the same promptness was not used in crediting my account
immediately upon receipt of the returned item. There is no real excuse for this delay
other than someone not wanting to take the necessary time in crediting my account.
These finance charges, as well as this letter, could have been avoided if your
employees had been as prompt in crediting my account as they were in charging to it.
It is not my responsibility to pay for your company's lack of promptness and I
rightfully deserve a refund to any and all finance charges that may be applied during
this time period.
Your company's quick detection products have greatly helped me in the past, and I
would like nothing more than a quick solution for my problem so that I may be a
customer of yours in the future.
Sincerely,
John A. Somebody
Encl.: Copies of sales receipt and credit card statement
Online Technical Writing
Page 22 of 609
0000 McDougal Rd, #123
Del Valle, TX 78000
February 12, 1994
Magnon Computer Systems, Inc.
P.O. Box 3919
El Camino, AZ 80006
Gentlemen:
This letter is in reference to my purchase of a Magnon JX-200 inkjet printer from Best
Price #104 in Austin, Texas on November 11, 1993. Specifically, I am writing about
your company's rejection of my request for a rebate as advertised for JX-200 printer.
I originally paid $269.97 (excluding tax) for the Magnon JX-200 inkjet printer and
have since been waiting for the promised $30 Magnon rebate which was advertised by
your company. I just received your letter and was surprised to find you had rejected
my rebate claim. I believed I had made it clear as to the reason why I could not
provide you with all of the material requested on the rebate coupon, particularly the
serial number label from the shipping box, in the original letter (January 15) I sent
you with the claim.
Once again, let me emphasize that there were no coupons available at the time when I
purchased the BJ-200. Even after repeated visits to Best Price, I did not receive
coupons until three weeks later. Unfortunately I had already disposed of the shipping
box and consequently the serial number label attached to it and was unable to provide
it as requested by the rebate instructions.
This was the reason that I sent a photocopy of the purchase receipt in the original
letter even though it was not required. I am now including the original letter with the
photocopy of the purchase receipt and a photocopy of the serial number located at the
rear of the printer.
Although I am quite happy with the printer, I am very concerned about the problems I
am having with this rebate. Especially disturbing is the fact that you stamped MUST
BE RESUBMITTED AND POSTMARKED BY JANUARY 31, 1994 on the letter
you sent me while the envelope (photocopy included) clearly shows that it was not
mailed until February 4, 1994.
In the interest of fair play and in keeping a future customer satisfied, I hope there will
be no further delays in resolving this problem. I expect to receive the rebate within the
month and thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
Sincerely,
Maria S. Alguien
Encl.: Copies of original letter, sales receipt, serial number
Online Technical Writing
Page 23 of 609
Nancy Aletho
P.O. Box 2572
Austin, TX 78720
November 19, 19XX
Ms. Suzanna Maywine
Marcella Brindisi Manager, Frailey's
1001 Airport Blvd.
Buda, TX 78700
Dear Ms. Maywine:
I am writing you concerning a problem that has arisen from the purchase of one of
you cosmetic products on August 16, 1994 at the Frailey's Mainland Mall Store. The
item is your Brindisi Ultra Sable Mascara priced at $64.95. The sales girl sold me this
mascara, two shades of blush and a jar of Fango masque on this date.
The problem developed shortly after applying this mascara for the first time. Within
one hour, my eyelids became puffy and red and began to itch. After two hours, my
entire eye area was swollen and remained so for two days. No other cosmetic product
had been applied to my eye area, and I feel sure that this mascara caused an allergic
reaction for my skin. I have used various brands of mascara including Estee Lauder,
Channel and Maybeline and have never experienced this sort of reaction before. My
dermatologist advised not to use your Brindisi product again. I had purchased this
new tube of mascara in preparation for a head shot which was scheduled for the day
on which I first used your product. I was unable to keep this appointment for which I
had paid a nonrefundable deposit of $150.00. I also incurred a dermatologist fee of
$95.00. Copies of receipts for these services and the mascara purchase are included in
this letter.
I would appreciate being compensated in the amount of $319.95 immediately for the
discomfort and trouble the use of your product has caused me. This sum is to
reimburse me for the doctor's visit, for the $150.00 photographer's fee, and for the
purchase price of the mascara.
I have used many of your products in the past without any problems and hope to
continue a positive relationship with your company and its products in the future.
Sincerely,
Nancy Natho
Encl: Receipts: Foley's, $64.95
Dr. Gary Zelazney, $95.00,
Rick Patrick, photography, $150.00
(Photograph of swollen eyes)
Online Technical Writing
Page 24 of 609
1313 Horse Trail Rd.
Buda, Texas 78610
6 June, 1996
Customer Relations/Claims Company
John Duke Manufacturing Company
1104 Sutton Drive Suite #112
Cairo, MI 45006
Dear Representative:
I am writing in regards to a Digital Multimeter (DMM) that I recently purchased by
mail-order from your company. Because the DMM only functions partially, I am
requesting repairs, another DMM with comparable features, or a refund equal to the
purchase price + C.O.D. charges, and shipping and handling.
I purchased the meter for $250.00 by calling the 1-800 number listed in an
advertisement. My phone order occurred on August 20th. The meter was delivered on
August 23rd via UPX C.O.D. The total purchase price was $282.50. The following
items were included with the DMM: one set of meter leads, one power supply cord,
and one black nylon-fiber carrying case.
The DMM (Duke Model 8012A) will not register an accurate voltage or current
reading. The other features function exactly as intended, and the fuse that protects the
AC circuitry is in good operating condition. However, when a regulated AC voltage
or current is applied to the meter leads, the only reading displayed is a low negative
value. This is true whether the function switch is set to measure either AC voltage or
current.
When I received the DMM, I inspected the packaging in which the meter was
shipped, and there was no evidence of damage. Styrofoam inserts were used to protect
the meter from any shock during the shipping process. Because I saw no loose
components upon inspection of the primary fuse, I am led to believe the problem
somehow occurred during manufacture. No doubt, there is a temporary malfunction
that can easily be fixed.
Your prompt attention and response would be greatly appreciated as I intend to use
the meter in conjunction with my job.
Sincerely,
Terry Ward
Enclosed: 1 Duke 8012A DMM, Lot #3308-WIC4
1 Set of Meter Leads
1 Power Supply Cord
1 Black Nylon-fiber carrying case
1 Purchase Receipt
Original Packaging
Online Technical Writing
Page 25 of 609
774 Keokuk Court
Manor, Texas 78602
04 September 1993
Mr. Mack Simons
Manager of Merchandise
High-Mart Stores, Inc.
2400 Highway 81 East
P.O. Box 95
Elgin, Texas 73602
Dear Mr. Simmons:
I am writing you concerning three polymer lawn and garden sprayers that I have
purchased within the last two months from the High-Mart Store in Elgin. The polymer
sprayers are XXL Spray-Master two-gallon hand held sprayers, model number 1992,
and cost $18.96 each. I purchased the first sprayer on June 28, 1993.
All three of these sprayers had a faulty flow control. The handle control that regulates
the amount of spray by the amount of pressure applied in the handle is made of
plastic. After about two hours of use, the plastic lever controls wear out. I have
followed the instructions that came with the merchandise. All three sprayers have had
the same problem. I have exchange the first two sprayers a week after each sale. The
third one I have on hand. I have a copy of the receipt and the instructions/parts
manual enclosed.
Since this is the only type of sprayer High-Mart Stocks and since High-Mart is the
only store in Bastrop that carries sprayers, your customers are forced to either buy this
faulty sprayer, or go out of town to meet their needs. I am requesting that you and
High-Mart Stores confront the manufacturer to correct this problem and that you stock
a different name brand sprayer. I am also requesting a refund of $18.96 (for the third
sprayer) and a follow up with a letter (either from High-Mart personnel of from the
product's manufacturer) indicating progress on this problem.
I choose to do my business in Elgin and to back High-Mart's belief in buying products
from American manufacturers to help the local and national economy. Stocking
below-standard American products forces customers to seek other sources of
merchandise, which foreign markets and out of town businesses are only eager to
provide.
Sincerely,
J. Raymond Rink
Triple TNJ Ranch
JRN
Encl.: copy of receipt, operation and service instructions
Online Technical Writing
Page 26 of 609
Green Tree Freight Co., Inc.
Columbus, Ohio 45453
(315) 565-6789
March 26, 19XX
Mrs. Phoebe F. Hughes
Complete Table, Inc.
P.O. Box 3132
Austin, TX 78703
Subj.: March 24 letter about damaged freight
Dear Mrs. Hughes:
I have just received your March 24 letter about the damaged shipment you received
through Green Tree Freight and regret the inconvenience that it has caused you.
From your account of the problem, I am quite sure that your request for the $240
adjustment on the damage to the 2 crates of Valjean Cristal stemware will be granted.
A certain amount of breakage of this sort does unavoidably occur in cross-country
shipping; I am sorry that it was your company that had to be the one to suffer the
delay.
I must remind you to keep the damaged crates in the same condition in which you
received them until one of our representatives can inspect them. That inspection
should take place within 2 weeks.
If all is in order, as it sounds to be in your letter, you can expect the full
reimbursement within 2 weeks after our representative's inspection. I hope this
unfortunate accident will not keep you from having merchandise shipped by Green
Tree Freight in the future.
Sincerely,
David F. Morgan, Customer Relations
Green Tree Freight Co., Inc.
Columbus, Ohio 45453
(315) 565-6789
Online Technical Writing
Page 27 of 609
Complaint Letters
A complaint letter requests some sort of compensation for defective or damaged
merchandise or for inadequate or delayed services. While many complaints can be
made in person, some circumstances require formal business letters. The complaint
may be so complex that a phone call may not effectively resolve the problem; or the
writer may prefer the permanence, formality, and seriousness of a business letter. The
essential rule in writing a complaint letter is to maintain your poise and diplomacy, no
matter how justified your gripe is. Avoid making the recipient an adversary.
1. In the letter, identify early the reason you are writing — to
register a complaint and to ask for some kind of compensation.
Avoid leaping into the details of the problem in the first
sentence.
2. State exactly what compensation you desire, either before or
after the discussion of the problem or the reasons for granting
the compensation. (It may be more tactful and less antagonizing
to delay this statement in some cases).
3. Provide a fully detailed narrative or description of the problem.
This is the "evidence."
4. Explain why your request should be granted. Presenting the
evidence is not enough: state the reasons why this evidence
indicates your requested should be granted.
5. Suggest why it is in the recipient's best interest to grant your
request: appeal to the recipient's sense of fairness, desire for
continued business, but don't threaten. Find some way to view
the problem as an honest mistake. Don't imply that the recipient
deliberately committed the error or that the company has no
concern for the customer. Toward the end of the letter, express
confidence that the recipient will grant your request.
Adjustment Letters
Replies to complaint letters, often called letters of "adjustment," must be handled
carefully when the requested compensation cannot be granted. Refusal of
compensation tests your diplomacy and tact as a writer. Here are some suggestions
that may help you write either type of adjustment letter:
1. Begin with a reference to the date of the original letter of
complaint and to the purpose of your letter. If you deny the
request, don't state the refusal right away unless you can do so
tactfully.
2. Express your concern over the writer's troubles and your
appreciation that he has written you.
3. If you deny the request, explain the reasons why the request
cannot be granted in as cordial and noncombative manner as
possible. If you grant the request, don't sound as if you are
doing so in a begrudging way.
Online Technical Writing
Page 28 of 609
4. If you deny the request, try to offer some partial or substitute
compensation or offer some friendly advice (to take the sting
out of the denial).
5. Conclude the letter cordially, perhaps expressing confidence
that you and the writer will continue doing business.
Online Technical Writing
Page 29 of 609
Business Correspondence — Application Letters
This section focuses on the application letter (sometimes called a "cover letter"),
which together with the resume is often called the "job package." You may already
have written one or both of these employment-seeking documents. That's okay. Read
and study this section, and then apply the guidelines here to the resumes and
application letters you have created in the past.
Note: Students enrolled in Online Technical Writing are encouraged to take the
optional reading quiz on this chapter. (Anybody else is welcome to try it as well.)
This section presents many different ways to design and write application letters.
Nothing here is trying to force you into one design. You design your own letter using
whatever you find here that is useful and any other sources you know of.
In many job applications, you attach an application letter to your resume. Actually,
the letter comes before the resume.
The role of the application letter is to draw a clear connection between the job you are
seeking and your qualifications listed in the resume. To put it another way, the letter
matches the requirements of the job with your qualifications, emphasizing how you
are right for that job. The application letter is not a lengthy summary of the resume —
not at all. It selectively mentions information in the resume, as appropriate.
Be sure to check out the example application letters accompanying this chapter:
The frames and nonframes versions work only on Netscape version 3 or later.
If you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer, click Plain (or download
Netscape).
Example application letter 1: Technical
writing intern
Frames
Nonframes Plain
Example application letter 2: Science
editorship
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Example application letter 3: Database
programmer
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Example application letter 4: Quality
assurance manager
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Example application letter 5:
Programmer/analyst
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Page 30 of 609
Carol N. Brand
501 Silvermead Lane
Austin, Texas 78722
January 21, 1997
Susan Lesser
AndroCode
901 East 16th Street
Austin, TX 78703
Dear Mrs. Lesser:
I am writing in response to your ad in the Austin American-Statesman for a Technical
Writer/Intern. I have attached a copy of my resume for your review.
During the past five years, I have gained valuable experience in various types of
technical writing, documentation, and graphic design. I have written technical
specifications, government contracts, and white papers for International Software
Systems, Inc., in conjunction with several branches of the United States Army and
Navy. I have also edited several ads that were published in major magazines for
Object International (such as PC World, PC Weekly, and ORACLE). In my current
position at Dell Computer Corporation, I have written and illustrated an employee
handbook and documented and flowcharted several corporate processes (such as
hiring processes, EMI procedures and flowchart maps for engineering reviews and
checkpoints).
I am currently in the process of completing my Associate Degree in Communication
at Austin Community College. Once I achieve this degree, I plan to transfer to The
University of Texas (at Austin) to complete a Bachelors Degree in Journalism. While
my studies at UT have been invaluable to my career goals, your intern program
provides an important element. I have been searching for an employment opportunity
like this one that combines my continuing education with practical experience in
technical writing.
In the past, several team members from your organization have assisted me in
completing projects on a contract basis. They were instrumental in enhancing
documents and the work reflected a strong sense of pride and professionalism. Since
these are the same business ethics I strive for personally, I can think of no better
learning environment than joining an organization such as yours.
I look forward to having the opportunity to further discuss my qualifications with you.
Sincerely yours,
Carol N. Brand
(000) 000-0000
Enclosure: resume
Online Technical Writing
Page 31 of 609
8008 Montclaire Cove
Austin, Tx 78721
January 24, 1997
Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc.
Attn: HR Dept, Req #56234
9209 Capital of TX Hwy S.
Austin, TX 78733-6337
Dear Sir or Madame:
I am writing in response to your ad in the Austin American-Statesman for a position
listed as Science Editorial. I believe my broad-based scientific knowledge and writing
skills make me an excellent candidate for this position.
My education includes a B.S. in Zoology with honors, and two years of medical
school. Through these studies, I have gained in-depth knowledge of many scientific
subjects which include biology, chemistry, anatomy, physiology, and genetics. As an
Advanced Placement English student, a participant in University Interscholastic
League writing contests, and the daughter of an English teacher, I have a good
working knowledge of English as well as strong writing skills. Currently, I am
enrolled in a technical communications course to further augment my writing skills.
Concerning my related experience, I have been employed as a Science Consultant and
Technical Writer for Education Networks Corporation. In that position, I was the sole
writer on scientific subjects (life and earth sciences) for a project involving
development of software for Compton’s Children’s Encyclopedia on CD-ROM. My
teaching experience includes tutoring medical and nursing students in human
anatomy, physiology, and histology. Positions working in the medical field have
allowed me to develop superior interpersonal skills.
I plan to use my employment in the medical field and my technical writing experience
to find full-time employment as a writer on technical subjects and more fully utilize
my scientific knowledge. I will also continue evening coursework in technical
communications and desktop publishing.
Enclosed is a resume that provides more detail about my background. I am excited by
an opportunity such as the one you advertised, and I believe I would be a creative and
energetic asset to Holt, Rinehart and Winston. I can be contacted at (512) 301-2447.
Sincerely,
Catherine Daniellson
Enclosure: resume
Online Technical Writing
Page 32 of 609
1103 West Glen Cove
Round Rock, Texas 78677
August 5, 1990
Personnel Assistant
TG Employee Credit Bank of Texas
P.O. Box 112335
Austin, Texas 78715
Dear Personnel Assistant:
I am writing about your newspaper ad in the August 1 Austin-American Statesman
concerning your need for an experienced programmer in the database environment. I
believe that I have the qualifications and experience that you are looking for.
As for my experience with database programming, I have worked for the past year as
a programmer/analyst in the Query database environment for Advanced Software
Creations. In that capacity, I have converted a large database that was originally
written in a customized C language database into the Query database environment. I
am currently working on a contract with Texas Parks and Wildlife to make major
modifications to its existing Query database application. On both of these
assignments, I have also served as customer contact person.
Related to this database-programming experience is the work I have been doing to
write and market an automated documentation utility for Query database applications.
This product was written using a combination of C, Pascal, and Query programming
languages. I was responsible for the authorship of the Pascal and Query programs.
The Pascal programs are completely responsible for the user interface and system
integration management.
Enclosed you will find a resume, which will give you additional information on my
background and qualifications. I would welcome a chance to talk further with you
about the position you are seeking to fill. I can be reached by phone between 9:00
a.m. and 6:00 p.m. at (513) 545-1098.
Sincerely,
Virginia Lopez
Encl.: resume
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Page 33 of 609
7600 Ed Bluestein
Austin, TX 78723
19 November 19XX
Director of Personnel
TriDiv Aerospace, Inc.
7600 TriDiv Ln.
Austin, TX 78775
Dear Mr. Carraway:
Please consider me as an applicant for the position of Quality Assurance Manager in
the Military Division there at TriDiv Aerospace. I have extensive knowledge of
military contracting and substantial Quality Assurance background.
I have spent the last 12 years with the Department of Defense administering
contractual quality requirements at Defense contractor facilities such as TriDiv
Aerospace. In this position, I have had the opportunity to function in all areas of
Quality Assurance.
In December 1995, I will receive an Associates degree in Applied Science from
Austin Community College with a major in Quality Assurance Technology. I passed
the American Society for Quality Control certification exam for Quality Engineering
and am certified as a Quality Engineer as December 1995. In the Department of
Defense, I am certified in the Quality Assurance area including Electronic
Commodity, Mechanical Commodity, Nuclear Commodity, and NASA. Additionally,
I am certified in all of the nondestructive test disciplines.
Enclosed is a resume that provides a more detailed listing of my background and
qualifications. I am confident that I possess all the necessary qualifications for the
position and am ready to meet with you at your convenience. You can reach me at
(512) 292-0220 between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Sincerely yours,
Juan Morales
Encl.: resume
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Page 34 of 609
83 Capitol of Texas Highway
Suite 1102
Austin, Texas 78719
August 4, 1995
Personnel Department
Travis County
P.O. Box 178
Austin, Texas 78733
Dear Personnel Assistant:
I am writing in regard to your newspaper ad in the August 2 edition of the Austin
American-Statesman concerning your need for a Programmer/Analyst III. I believe
that I have the qualifications, experience, and enthusiam that you are looking for.
As for my work experience, I have been employed with two organizations over the
past three years that have drawn on my computer-programming skills. My work at
Loganis Mortgage Corporation involved the setup of new software, training of
personnel, and the direct use of AutoCAD on a 10-user LAN. I worked as an assistant
programmer at HydroLogics Corporation, doing much of the same design, code, and
test work as the regular programmer/analysts.
In December, I will graduate with a Bachelor of Science from Southwest Texas State
University. My overall grade point average is 3.125. In my degree program, I have
studied and developed a thorough understanding of the following programming
languages: Pascal, Assembler, COBOL, RPG, and C.
You will find enclosed with this letter a copy of my resume which provides a much
more detailed description of my education and employment history. I would welcome
any opportunity to talk with you further about the Programmer/Analyst position.
Please do not hesitate to contact me at any time at the numbers listed on my resume.
Sincerely,
Jerry H. Fruend
Encl.: resume
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Business Correspondence — Resumes
A resume is a selective record of your background — your educational, military, and
work experience, your certifications, abilities, and so on. You send it, sometimes
accompanied by an application letter, to potential employers when you are seeking
job interviews.
Note: Students enrolled in Online Technical Writing are encouraged to take the
optional reading quiz on this chapter. (Anybody else is welcome to try it as well.)
The focus of the resume assignment is readability, effective design, and adaptation to
audience expectations. If you make up a few details in your resume, that's okay.
However, if you're just starting your college education and have little work
experience, try using the techniques and suggestions here to create a resume that
represents your current skills, abilities, and background. Developing a decent-looking
resume based on what you are now is a challenge that you have to deal with at some
point — so why not now?
Resume Design — An Overview
Before personal computers, people used one resume for varied kinds of employment
searches. However, with less expensive desktop publishing and high-quality printing,
people sometimes rewrite their resumes for every new job they go after. For example,
a person who seeks employment both with a community college and with a softwaredevelopment company would use two different resumes. The contents of the two
might be roughly the same, but the organization, format, and emphases would be quite
different.
You are probably aware of resume-writing software: you feed your data into them and
they churn out a prefab resume. You probably also know about resume-writing
services that will create your resume for you for a hundred dollars or so. If you are in
a time bind or if you are extremely insecure about your writing or resume-designing
skills, these services might help. But often they take your information and put it into a
computer database that then force it into a prefab structure. They often use the same
resume-writing software just mentioned; they charge you about what the software
costs. The problem is that these agencies simply cannot be that sensitive or perceptive
about your background or your employment search. Nor are you likely to want to pay
for their services every month or so when you are in the thick of a job search. Why
not learn the skills and techniques of writing your own resume here, save the money,
and write better resumes anyway?
There is no one right way to write a resume. Every person's background, employment
needs, and career objectives are different, thus necessitating unique resume designs.
Every detail, every aspect of your resume must start with who you are, what your
background is, what the potential employer is looking for, and what your employment
goals are — not with from some prefab design. Therefore, use this chapter to design
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your own resume; browse through the various formats; play around with them until
you find one that works for you.
Be sure and check out the example resumes accompanying this chapter:
The frames and nonframes versions work only on Netscape version 3 or later. If you
are using Microsoft Internet Explorer, click Plain (or download Netscape).
Example resume 1: Veterinary assistant
Frames
Nonframes Plain
Example resume 2: LAN system
administrator
Frames
Nonframes Plain
Example resume 3: Maintenance technician
for high-tech systems
Frames
Nonframes Plain
Example resume 4: Science writer, editor,
researcher
Frames
Nonframes Plain
Example resume 5: Computer service and
sales representative
Frames
Nonframes Plain
Example resume 6: Case management nurse
Frames
Nonframes Plain
Example resume 7: Technical writing intern
Frames
Nonframes Plain
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Darnell Wiseman
P.O. Box G
Manard, Texas 78355
(999) 292-5343
OBJECTIVE:
To obtain a part-time position as a veterinary assistant that offers
experience in the care and treatment of various animals.
EXPERIENCE:
Sunrise Valley Veterinary Clinic
Veterinary assistant



Assisted in treatment of large and small
animals
Helped with operating room procedures
Supervised daily maintenance of the
facilities
George Smith Construction
Construction worker



EDUCATION:
Pflugerville, TX
1993 to 1995
Assisted in remodeling construction
Drove truck to move client's furnishings
Travis County 4-H
Local, county and state participant

Dripping Springs,
TX 1995 to 1996
Pflugerville, TX
1985 to 1994
Raised various animals for livestock
shows
Served as officer at local and county level
Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine
Applied for admission to Texas A&M School of
Veterinary Medicine for the Fall Semester 1997.
Pursuing a degree in veterinary medicine
Southwest Texas State
Animal Science Major
Relevant coursework in anatomy, nutrition, and
genetics with a 3.6 grade point average.
San Marcos, TX
1994 to present
Austin Community College
Part-time student
Completed 29 hours of prerequisites to veterinary
school acceptance with a grade point average of
3.8.
Austin, TX 1994
to present
Pflugerville High School
Graduate of 1994
Pflugerville, TX
1990 to 1994
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Graduated with honors in top 10% in a class of
412.
ACTIVITIES:
Fishing, hunting, softball, tennis
REFERENCES: Available upon request
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Sharon
Hutchinson
00000 Oakhurst
Austin, TX 78000
512/000-0000
WORK HISTORY
May 1988—Present
TeleDynamics, L.L.P.
Job titles



System Administrator (1993-Present)
Data Processing Manager (1989-1993)
Data Entry/Computer Operator (1988-1989)
Accomplishments





Assisted controller with conversion of manual purchase
order and accounts payable systems to a software program
and linked all modules to the general ledger module.
Linked all modules to the general ledger module.
Instrumental in decision to interface Windows applications
with Novell network and accounting system.
Assisted Controller and outside auditors with two bank
audits.
Upgraded shipping system to integrate with accounting
system - project on-line on schedule.
Responsibilities






May 1986—Mar.
1988
Administer the day-to-day operations of a Novell 3.12 LAN
with 23 PCs using MS-DOS and Windows applications.
Close accounting system for month and year end processing.
Assist employees with questions on customer service,
company procedural issues and computer operations.
Coordinate hardware and software upgrades.
Assist controller with month-end reconciliation of inventory,
accounts receivable, and accounts payable.
Train users on Windows applications, new shipping system,
and custom enhancements to accounting software.
Smith Produce—Computer Operator



Assisted in conversion of manual order entry and inventory
systems to computerized system.
Reconciled cash and made daily back deposits.
Responsible for all system administration and monthly
backups and generating monthly reports to be sent to parent
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company in Houston.
1985—1986
Other Part-Time Employment

Held part-time and temporary positions as sales clerk,
clerical and receptionist/courier to help finance my
education.
TECHNICAL SKILLS






Novell 3.12
MS-DOS
Microsoft Windows 3.1 & 3.11
Excel 5.0
Word 6.0
Working knowledge of Foxpro for MS-DOS
EDUCATION
Jan. 1996—Present
Austin Community College (ACC)
Area of study: Computer Information Systems—Local Area
Network
Sept. 1985—Aug.
1987
Jun. 1988—May
1989
University of Texas at Austin
Area of study: Business Administration
REFERENCES
Furnished upon request
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DANIEL E. PEIRSEN
1023 Sargeant Dr.
Home 512-000-0000
Austin, Texas 78700
Pager 1-800-000-0000
PROFESSIONAL SUMMARY
Over seven years of training and experience in repair, maintenance, and operation of highend electronics systems including targeting and weapons control equipment for the United
States Navy and medium current ion implant systems for Varian Semiconductor equipment.
EXPERIENCE
Field Service Engineer
Sep 1995 - Present
Varian Semiconductor Equipment
4210 S. Industrial Dr. Suite 160
Austin, Texas 78744
Maintain multiple service contracts on site including: Motorola, Advanced Micro Devices, and
Samsung. Compile data and evaluate equipment performance trends on monthly basis.
Perform corrective and preventative maintenance on high voltage, digital fiber optic,
pneumatic, toxic gas, and high vacuum systems. Maintain customer relations through
effective presentation of technical expertise.
Specific accomplishments include:



Maintain average of over 92% up time for all contracted systems.
Completed two major factory level upgrades in the field.
Assisted in reducing return inventory to zero.
Radar Technician
Oct 1991 - Sep 1995
US Navy, USS Scott, Norfolk, Virginia
Supervised and performed preventative and corrective maintenance on monopulse doppler
tracking radars, continuous wave illuminators, modulated continuous wave uplink devices,
antenna drive servo units, and demineralized water cooling systems. Troubleshot power
supply, analog, digital, synchro, and radio frequency equipment to the component or module
level. Performed quality control inspections. Supervised, trained, and scheduled work for a
work group of five Missile Guidance Radar Technicians.
Specific accomplishments include:



Received letter of appreciation from Commanding Officer for timely repairs on
missile fire control equipment during major system failure and refurbishing of
antenna assemblies.
Created command wide user's guide outlining proper procedures for
operation of missile guidance radar systems.
Trained 15 operators and technicians on operation of missile control and
guidance systems.
EDUCATION
Oct. - Dec. 1995
Varian E220HP/E500HP Electronics and Maintenance
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Sept. 1995
Basic Vacuum Theory and Maintenance
Mar. 1993
Alignment and Collimation Theory
Jul. - Sept. 1991
MK 74 MOD15-MOD 14 Missile Guidance Radar Systems
Differences
Dec. 90 - Jul. 1991
Operation and Maintenance MK74 MOD14 Missile Guidance
Radar System
Mar. - Nov. 1990
Fire Control Electronics Technician School
Jan. - Mar. 1990
Basic Electricity and Electronics
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Kathyrn Boone
4078 Negramont Cove
Austin, TX 78700
512-000-0000
P R O F E S S I O N A LxxxE X P E R I E N C E
Drug Research Study Monitor and Coordinator
CLINICOR, INC. Plan, organize, and implement ophthalmic drug studies. Monitor
accuracy and completeness of data, ensuring adherence to study protocols and
submitting appropriate completed documents to pharmaceutical companies. Perform
miscellaneous tasks associated with successful completion of studies. 1994 - present
BARTON RESEARCH, INC. Conducted pharmacological clinical research trials.
Responsible for adherence to protocols, recruitment and enrollment of qualified
patients, data collection and quality assurance of documentation. Assisted Director of
Clinical Research in clinical operations, specializing in ophthalmic procedures. 1991 1993
Science Consultant and Technical Writer
EDUCATION SYSTEMS CORPORATION. Science writer and expert consultant,
producing text for Compton’s Children’s Encyclopedia on CD-ROM on various
scientific subjects including human anatomy, entomology, zoology, astronomy,
paleontology, and chemistry. 1988 - 1989
Certified Ophthalmic Technician
AUSTIN REGIONAL CLINIC, TEXAN EYE CENTER, EYE CLINIC OF
GALVESTON. Developed diverse skill base in ophthalmic procedures, specializing
in internal ocular photography and visual field testing for ocular pathology. Organized
inpatient surgical schedules, assisted in surgical procedures, and maintained excellent
patient relations. 1985 - 1991
Tutor and Lab Assistant
UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS MEDICAL BRANCH, AUSTIN COMMUNITY
COLLEGE. Tutored medical and nursing students in lecture and lab material for
human anatomy, microanatomy, and histology classes, emphasizing identification of
both gross and microscopic specimens. Developed lab curriculum. 1981 - 1984
EDUCATION
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Medical School, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston
Cumulative GPA of 87.0, ranked in top sixth of 210 member class. Acquired excellent
working knowledge of pharmacology, biochemistry, cytology, human anatomy,
histology, physiology, microbiology, genetics, endocrinology, and neurology. 1982 1984
University of Texas at Austin
B.S. Zoology with Honors. Beta Beta Beta Biology Honor Society, Dean’s Honor List
Spring 1978 and Fall 1980, Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity. 1977 - 1980
ORGANIZATIONS
Ophthalmic Medical Assistant Society
Joint Commission of Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology
INTERESTS
Mountain biking, camping, gardening, African violets, reading.
REFERENCES
Available upon request
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Mark Lloyd
1100 Zenith Dr.
Austin, TX. 78700
(512) 000-0000
Qualifications
Summary
Over fifteen years experience providing total customer service
through selling, servicing, and training of electronic office
equipment and computer software and hardware.
Experience
Crawford Business Machines, Austin, TX (1982-Present)
Service and Sales Representative






Build and test complete computer systems.
Service customer equipment on site and in house.
Provide training on equipment and software.
Inside sales of supplies and equipment.
Maintain supply and parts inventory.
Manage daily office operations.
Precision Methods, Inc. Austin, TX (1981-1982)
Field Service Representative


Inspected and evaluated computer storage media at
customers' facilities.
Responsible for seven state area.
Home Craftsman Company, Austin, TX (1979-1981)
Installation Technician

Measured and installed custom windows and doors.
Part Time Jobs (1977-1979)
Grocery clerk


Education
Bergstrom Air Force Base Commissary, Austin, TX
Tom Thumb Grocery Store, Austin, TX
Austin Community College, Austin, TX
Major: A.S. Physical Science
Estimated completion date: Fall 1997
61 hours completed, 3.9 out of 4.0 grade point average.
Southwest School of Electronics, Austin, TX
Electronic Technician Certificate
Del Valle H.S., Del Valle, TX
Activities and
interests
Computers, basketball, running, movies
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REFERENCES PROVIDED UPON REQUEST.
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Lisa Helena Candelaria
1307 San Marcos St. #905
Austin, TX 787005
OBJECTIVE
(000) 000-0000
[email protected]
A case management position offering potential for training in a
medical setting.
EDUCATION
Bachelor of Social Work
University of Texas at Austin
Minor: Psychology & Biology
GPA: 3.5/4.0
EXPERIENCE
HIGHLIGHTS
United Cerebral Palsy of the Capital Area, Inc.
Austin, Texas
BSW Intern




May 1998
January 1998
May 1998
Case managed individuals with physical
and developmental disabilities with nonprogrammatic services as needed to insure
maximum independence.
Co-facilitate the Community Activity
Group in recreational activities.
Conducted a follow-up survey relating to
the Texas Home of Your Own application
process and produced a written report
based on the results.
Serve on an interdisciplinary team
providing services to program participants,
taking a facilitating and coordinating role
in the process.
June 1996
June 1997
Cypress Creek Hospital
Houston, Texas
Psychiatric Technician, Float Pool



Delegated tasks and responsibilities for the
patients in group activities.
Supervised and analyzed behaviors of
patients for medical records.
Conducted group sessions pertaining to
drug issues and self-boundaries.
Capital Easter Seals Society/Rehabilitation Center
Austin, Texas
Teacher's Aide Volunteer

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August 1995
December
1995
Supervised children with disabilities
enrolled in the Early Childhood
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

WORK
EXPERIENCE
Intervention Program.
Interacted with children with disabilities
and developmental delays.
Assisted with daily educational objectives.
St. David's Hospital
Columbia Aquatics Technician, PRN
ESR Electronics, Inc.
Temporary Clerical Assistant
Baylor University
Backstage Director's Assistant
AFFILIATIONS,
CERTIFICATIONS,
& HONORS






Online Technical Writing
June 1997
present
December
1995
December
1996
Fall 1994
Spring 1995
Member, Alpha Phi Omega (National Service
Fraternity)
Member, Physical Therapy Organization
CPR and First Aid Certification and Red Cross
Lifeguard Certification
Alpha Phi Omega, Hall of Fame (50 volunteer hours in
a semester)
Member, Golden Key National Honor Society
Member, Phi Alpha Honor Society (Social Work
Fraternity)
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Carol N. Brand
2201 Silvermine Lane
Austin, Texas 78700
(000) 000-0000
Objective
Summary
To utilize my writing and graphic illustration skills and
experience to pursue a career in Graphic Design or Technical
Writing.



Over three years of diverse technical writing and
graphic illustration experience
Excellent business writing and communication skills
Extremely detail-oriented and organized
Professional Experience
Oct 1994 to present
Mar - Sept 1994
Jan 1992 - Mar 1994
Sept 1989 - Dec 1991
Project Administrator—Austin, Texas
Dell Computer Corporation (Portables Industrial Design &
Product Development): Establish company processes through
analysis, development and implementation. Draft budgets and
schedules for various programs and projects (Excel and MS
Project). Track and audit products as they move through the
phase review process. Maintain technology roadmaps for
Portables Department (drafted in Powerpoint).
General Manager/Office Manager—Austin, Texas
Object International (object-oriented software company):
Managed small software company including product
marketing, generating copy and artwork for magazines (8
publications) in PageMaker software, human resources,
supervision of employees, coordination of all aspects of trade
shows and conferences.
Office Manager/Technical Writer—Austin, Texas
International Software Systems Inc. (computer software
company): Managed facility of 65 people including human
resources, benefits, facilities, security, and produced white
papers, government contracts and documentation. Also served
as a member of the technical writing team in creating software
manuals and "how to" guides in FrameMaker.
Administrative Secretary—Austin, Texas
Fluid Conservation Systems (high-tech engineering firm):
Drafted documentation and presentations (in Word Perfect),
coordinated training schedules (for customers), supported 15
people, maintained databases and elaborate utility files.
Education
Dec 1997
1997-1999
AA in Communications at Austin Community College
Pursuing Bachelor's Degree in Communications at the
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University of Texas
Seminars and Courses in Project Management
May - July 1996
Apr 1996
Feb 1996
Project Management Institute Certification Courses (PMI)
(includes budgets, contracts, risk assessment, schedules and
communication)
Project Management Fundamentals (Dell University) (includes
Dell-specific budget, schedule, and project information)
Planning and Managing Projects (IPS/Dell University)
(advanced version of previous seminar)
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Sections in Resumes
Resumes can be divided into three sections: the heading, the body, and the conclusion.
Each of these sections has fairly common contents.
Heading. The top third of the resume is the heading. It contains your name, phone
numbers, address, and other details such as your occupation, titles, and so on. Some
resume writers include the name of their profession, occupation, or field. In some
examples, you'll see writers putting things like "CERTIFIED PHYSICAL
THERAPIST" very prominently in the heading. Headings can also contain a goals and
objectives subsection and a highlights subsection. These two special subsections are
described later in "Special Sections in Resumes."
Body. In a one-page resume, the body is the middle portion, taking up a half or more
of the total space of the resume. In this section, you present the details of your work,
education, and military experience. This information is arranged in reverse
chronological order. In the body section, you also include your accomplishments, for
example, publications, certifications, equipment you are familiar with, and so on.
There are many ways to present this information:


You can divide it functionally — into separate sections for
work experience and education.
You can divide it thematically — into separate sections for the
different areas of your experience and education.
Conclusion. In the final third or quarter of the resume, you can present other related
information on your background. For example, you can list activities, professional
associations, memberships, hobbies, and interests. At the bottom of the resume,
people often put "REFERENCES AVAILABLE ON REQUEST" and the date of
preparation of the resume. At first, you might think that listing nonwork and personal
information would be totally irrelevant and inappropriate. Actually, it can come in
handy — it personalizes you to potential employers and gives you something to chat
while you're waiting for the coffee machine or the elevator. For example, if you
mention in your resume that you raise goats, that gives the interviewer something to
chat with you about during those moments of otherwise uncomfortable silence.
Resumes — Types and Design
To begin planning your resume, decide which type of resume you need. This decision
is in part based on requirements that prospective employers may have, and in part
based on what your background and employment needs are.
Type of organization. Resumes can be defined according to how information on
work and educational experience is handled. There are several basic, commonly used
plans or designs you can consider using.

Functional design: Illustrated schematically in Figure 1-6, the
functional design starts with a heading; then presents either
education or work experience, whichever is stronger or more
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relevant; then presents the other of these two sections; then
ends with a section on skills and certifications and one on
personal information. Students who have not yet begun their
careers often find this design the best for their purposes. People
with military experience either work the detail in to the
education and work-experience sections as appropriate; or they
create separate section at the same level as education and work
experience.
Figure 1-6. Two basic organizational approaches to resume design — the
functional and the thematic. (The "hanging-head" format is used in the
functional-design version.)

Thematic design: Another approach to resumes is the thematic
design, illustrated schematically in Figure 1-6. It divides your
experience and education into categories such as project
management, budgetary planning, financial tracking, personnel
management, customer sales, technical support, publications —
whichever areas describe your experience. Often, these
categories are based directly on typical or specific employment
advertisements. If the job advertisement says that Company
ABC wants a person with experience in training, customer
service, and sales, then it might be a smart move to design
thematic headings around those three requirements. If you want
to use the thematic approach in your resume, take a look at
your employment and educational experience — what are the
common threads? Project management, program development,
troubleshooting, supervision, maintenance, inventory control?
Take a look at the job announcement you're responding to —
what are the three, four, or five key requirements it mentions?
Use these themes to design the body section of your resume.
These themes become the headings in the body of the resume.
Under these headings you list the employment or educational
experience that applies. For example, under a heading like
"FINANCIAL RECORDS," you might list the accounting and
bookkeeping courses you took in college, the seminars on
Lotus 123 or EXCEL you took, and the jobs where you actually
used these skills.
Type of information. Types of resumes can be defined according to the amount
and kind of information they present:

Objective resumes: This type just gives dates, names, titles, no
qualitative salesmanship information. These are very lean, terse
resumes. In technical-writing courses, you are typically asked
not to write this type. The objective-resume style is useful in
resumes that use the thematic approach or that emphasize the
summary/highlights section. By its very nature, you can see
that the thematic approach is unclear about the actual history of
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
employment. It's harder to tell where the person was, what she
was doing, year by year.
Detailed resumes: This type provides not only dates, titles, and
names, but also details about your responsibilities and
statements about the quality and effectiveness of your work.
This is the type most people write, and the type that is the focus
of most technical-writing courses. The rest of the details in this
section of this chapter focus on writing the detailed resume.
General Layout and Detail Formats in Resumes
At some point in your resume planning, you'll want to think schematically about the
layout and design of the thing. General layout has to do with the design and location
of the heading, the headings for the individual sections, and the orientation of the
detailed text in relation to those headings. Detail formats are the way you choose to
arrange and present the details of your education and work experience.
General layout. Look at resumes in this book and in other sources strictly in terms
of the style and placement of the headings, the shape of the text (the paragraphs) in
the resumes, and the orientation of these two elements with each other. Some resumes
have the headings centered; others are on the left margin. Notice that the actual text
— the paragraphs — of resumes typically does not extend to the far left and the far
right margins. Full-length lines are not considered as readable or scannable as the
shorter ones you see illustrated in the examples in this book.
Notice that many resumes use a "hanging-head" format. In this case, the heading
starts on the far left margin while the text is indented another inch or so. This format
makes the heading stand out more and the text more scannable. Notice also that in
some of the text paragraphs of resumes, special typography is used to highlight the
name of the organization or the job title.
Detail formats. You have to make a fundamental decision about how you present
the details of your work and education experience. Several examples of typical
presentational techniques are shown in Figure 1-7. The elements you work with
include:




Occupation, position, job title
Company or organization name
Time period you were there
Key details about your accomplishments and responsibilities
while there.
Figure 1-7. Examples of detail formats. Use combinations of list or paragraph format,
italics, bold, all caps on the four main elements: date, organization name, job title, and
details.
There are many different ways to format this information. It all depends on what you
want to emphasize and how much or how little information you have (whether you are
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struggling to fit it all on one page or struggling to make it fill one page). Several
different detail formats are shown in Figure 1-7.
Special Sections in Resumes
Here are some ideas for special resume sections, sections that emphasize your goals or
qualifications.
Highlights, summary section. In Figure 1-8, you'll notice the "Highlights"
section that occurs just below the heading (the section for name, address, phone
number, etc.) and just above the main experience and education sections. This is an
increasingly popular section in resumes. Resume specialists believe that the eye
makes first contact with a page somewhere one-fourth to one-third of the way down
the page — not at the very top. If you believe that, then it makes sense to put your
very "best stuff" at that point. Therefore, some people list their most important
qualifications, their key skills, their key work experience in that space on the page.
Actually, this section is useful more for people who have been in their careers for a
while. It's a good way to create one common spot on the resume to list those key
qualifications about yourself that may be spread throughout the resume. Otherwise,
these key details about yourself are scattered across your various employment and
educational experience — in fact, buried in them.
Objectives, goals. Also found on some resumes is a section just under the heading
in which you describe what your key goals or objectives are or what your key
qualifications are. Some resume writers shy away from including a section like this
because they fear it may cause certain employers to stop reading, in other words, that
it limits their possibilities. A key-qualifications section is similar to a highlights
section, but shorter and in paragraph rather than list form.
Figure 1-8. Special sections in resumes — the summary or highlights of
qualifications, and the goals and objectives section.
Amplifications page. Some people have a lot of detail that they want to convey
about their qualifications but that does not fit well in any of the typical resume
designs. For example, certain computer specialists can list dozens of hardware and
software products they have experience with — and they feel they must list all this in
the resume. To keep the main part of the resume from becoming unbalanced and less
readable, they shift all of this detail to an amplications page. There, the computer
specialist can categorize and list all that extensive experience in many different
operating systems, hardware configurations, and software applications. Similarly,
some resume writers want to show lots more detail about the responsibilities and
duties they have managed in past employment. The standard formats for resume
design just do not accommodate this sort of detail; and this is where the amplifications
page can be useful.
Figure 1-9. Amplifications page in a resume. If you have lots of detail about what you
know, this approach on page 2 of the resume may work. On the first page of this
resume, the writer divides the presentation into experience and education sections and
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takes a chronological approach to each. On the first page, he only provides company
names, job titles, dates, and discussion of duties.
Resume Design and Format
As you plan, write, or review your resume, keep these points in mind:
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Readability: are there any dense paragraphs over 6 lines?
Imagine your prospective employer sitting down to a two-inch
stack of resumes. Do you think she's going to slow down to
read through big thick paragraphs. Probably not. Try to keep
paragraphs under 6 lines long. The "hanging-head" design
helps here.
White space. Picture a resume crammed with detail, using only
half-inch margins all the way around, a small type size, and
only a small amount of space between parts of the resume. Our
prospective employer might be less inclined to pore through
that also. "Air it out!" Find ways to incorporate more white
space in the margins and between sections of the resume.
Again, the "hanging-head" design is also useful.
Special format. Make sure that you use special format
consistently throughout the resume. For example, if you use a
hanging-head style for the work-experience section, use it in
the education section as well.
Consistent margins. Most resumes have several margins: the
outermost, left margin and at least one internal left margin.
Typically, paragraphs in a resume use an internal margin, not
the far-left margin. Make sure to align all appropriate text to
these margins as well.
Terse writing style. It's okay to use a rather clipped, terse
writing style in resumes — up to a point. The challenge in most
resumes is to get it all on one page (or two if you have a lot of
information to present). Instead of writing "I supervised a team
of five technicians..." you write "Supervised a team of five
technicians..." However, you don't leave out normal words such
as articles.
Special typography. Use special typography, but keep it under
control. Resumes are great places to use all of your fancy wordprocessing features such as bold, italics, different fonts, and
different type sizes. Don't go crazy with it! Too much fancy
typography can be distracting (plus make people think you are
hyperactive).
Page fill. Do everything you can to make your resume fill out
one full page and to keep it from spilling over by 4 or 5 lines to
a second page. At the beginning of your career, it's tough filling
up a full page of a resume. As you move into your career, it
gets hard keeping it to one page. If you need a two-page
resume, see that the second page is full or nearly full.
Clarity of boundary lines between major sections. Design and
format your resume so that whatever the main sections are, they
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are very noticeable. Use well-defined headings and white space
to achieve this. Similarly, design your resume so that the
individual segements of work experience or education are
distinct and separate from each other.
Reverse chronological order. Remember to list your education
and work-experience items starting with the current or most
recent and working backwards in time.
Consistency of bold, italics, different type size, caps, other
typographical special effects. Also, whatever special
typography you use, be consistent with it throughout the
resume. If some job titles are italics, make them all italics.
Avoid all-caps text — it's less readable.
Consistency of phrasing. Use the same style of phrasing for
similar information in a resume — for example, past tense
verbs for all work descriptions.
Consistency of punctuation style. For similar sections of
information use the same kind of punctuation — for example,
periods, commas, colons, or nothing.
Translations for "inside" information. Don't assume readers
will know what certain abbreviations, acronyms, or symbols
mean — yes, even to the extent of "GPA" or the construction
"3.2/4.00." Take time to describe special organizations you
may be a member of.
Grammar, spelling, usage. Watch out for these problems on a
resume — they stand out like a sore thumb! Watch out
particularly for the incorrect use of its and it's.
Producing the Final Draft of the Resume
When you've done everything you can think of to finetune your resume, it's time to
produce the final copy — the one that goes to the prospective employer. This is the
time to use nice paper and a good printer and generally take every step you know of to
produce a professional-looking resume. You'll notice that resumes often use a heavier
stock of paper and often an off-white or non-white color of paper. Some even go so
far as to use drastically different colors such as red, blue, or green, hoping to catch
prospective employers' attention better. Proceed with caution in these areas!
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Technical Reports
The assignment in this unit is to learn about technical reports, their different types,
their typical audiences and situations, and then to plan one of your own (due toward
the end of the semester). Specifically, your task in this unit is to pick a report topic,
report audience and situation, report purpose, and report type. The planning you do
in this unit leads directly into the proposals chapter. There, you write a proposal that
proposes to write the report you planned in this unit.
Note: Students enrolled in Online Technical Writing are encouraged to take the
optional reading quiz on this chapter. (Anybody else is welcome to try it as well.)
About the Technical Report
The major focus of this technical writing course is the technical report. Just about
everything you study, everything you write, is geared toward preparing you to write
this final report. The early, short assignment involving instructions or descriptions and
the like give you practice using headings, lists, notices, and graphics; in handling
numbers and abbreviations; and of course in producing good, clear, well-organized
writing.
For many students, the technical report is the longest document they've ever written. It
normally involves some research; often the information comes not only from
published sources in the library, but also sources outside the library, including
nonpublished things such as interviews, correspondence, and video tapes. It may also
be the fanciest document: it uses binding and covers and has special elements such as
a table contents, title page, and graphics.
As you think about what you want to write about for this project, don't shy away from
topics you are curious about or interested in, but don't know much about. You don't
need to do exhaustive research; normally, you can pull together information for an
excellent report from several books and a half-dozen articles. Our real focus is the
writing: how well adapted to a specific audience it is, how clear and readable it is,
how it flows, how it's organized, how much detail it provides. We are also focused on
format: how well you use headings, lists, notices; how well you incorporate graphics;
how well you handle the front- and back-matter elements; and how nice a job you do
of turning out the final copy of the report.
You don't need a fancy laser printer and you don't need to be a trained graphic artist to
produce a fine-looking report. A simple typewriter or dot-matrix printer, scissors,
tape, whiteout, a good-quality photocopier, and access to nice (but inexpensive)
binding are all you need. Plan on doing a first-rate job on the report; remember that
past students have shown prospective employers their reports and have benefited by
doing so.
Your job in this unit then is define the following:

Report topic: Decide what subject you are going to write on;
narrow it as much as possible.
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Report audience: Define a specific person or group of people
for whom you are going to write the report. Define the
circumstances in which this report is needed.
Report purpose: Define what the report will accomplish--what
needs of the audience it is going to fufill.
Report type: Decide on the type of report--for example,
technical background report, feasibility report, instructions, or
some other.
Figure 2-1. Front cover of a final report--Do a great job on your final report, and then
put a copy of it in your fancy briefcase when you go job-interviewing.
You can do these in any order: for some people, it helps to start by defining an
audience or a report type first. For others, beginning by picking a topic is more
stimulating. Once you have defined these elements, you can start testing your reportproject ideas by asking yourself these questions:
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
Is there hard, specific, factual data for this topic?
Will there be at least one or two graphics?
Is there some realistic need for this report?
Types of Technical Reports
In our course, you can choose to write one of the following types of reports (details on
contents, organization, and format for some of these reports can be found in Appendix
C):
Technical-background report. The background report is the hardest to define but the
most commonly written. This type of technical report provides background on a topic-for example, solar energy, global warming, CD-ROM technology, a medical
problem, or U.S. recycling activity (see Figure 2-2 for more topic ideas). However,
the information on the topic is not just for anybody who might be interested in the
topic, but for some individual or group that has specific needs for it and is even
willing to pay for that information. For example, imagine an engineering firm bidding
on a portion of the work to build a hemodialysis clinic. The engineers need to know
general knowledge about renal disease and the technologies used to treat it, but they
don't want to have to go digging in the library to find it. What they need is a technical
background report on the subject. (For details on contents, organization, and format,
see the section on technical-background reports.)
Instructions. These are probably the most familiar of all the types of reports.
Students often write backup procedures for the jobs they do at their work. Others
write short user manuals for an appliance, equipment, or program. If there is too much
to write about, they write about some smaller segment--for example, instead of
instructions on using all of WordPerfect, just a guide on writing macros in
WordPerfect. (See the details on contents, organization, and format of instructions.)
Feasibility, recommendation, and evaluation reports. Another useful type of report
is one that studies a problem or opportunity and then makes a recommendation. A
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feasibility report tells whether a project is "feasible"--that is, whether it is practical
and technologically possible. A recommendation report compares two or more
alternatives and recommends one (or, if necessary, none). An evaluation or
assessment report studies something in terms of its worth or value For example, a
college might investigate the feasibility of giving every student an e-mail address and
putting many of the college functions online. The same college might also seek
recommendations on the best hardware and software to use (after the feasibility report
had determined it was a good idea). In practice, however, it's hard to keep these two
kinds of reports distinct. Elements of the feasibility and recommendation report
intermingle in specific reports--but the main thing is to get the job done! (For further
details on contents, organization, and format, see the section on feasibility and
recommendation reports.)
Primary research report. Primary research refers to the actual work someone does
in a laboratory or in the field--in other words, experiments and surveys. You may
have written a "lab report," as they are commonly called, for one of your previous
courses. This is a perfectly good possibility for the technical report as well. In this
type of report, you not only present your data and draw conclusions about it, but also
explain your methodology, describe the equipment and facilities you used, and give
some background on the problem. You can modify this type by summarizing other
primary research reports. For example, you could report on the research that has been
done on saccharine. (For further details on contents, organization, and format, see the
section on primary research reports.)
Technical specifications. In this report type, you discuss some new product design in
terms of its construction, materials, functions, features, operation, and market
potential. True specifications are not much on writing--the text is dense, fragmented;
tables, lists, and graphics replace regular sentences and paragraphs whenever possible.
Thus, specifications are not a good exercise of your writing abilities. However, you
can write a more high-level version--one that might be read by marketing and
planning executives. (For details on contents, organization, and format, see the section
on technical specifications.)
Report-length proposal. As you may be aware, proposals can be monster documents
of hundreds or even thousands of pages. (Please, not this semester.) Most of the
elements are the same, just bigger. Plus elements from other kinds of reports get
imported--such as feasibility discussion, review of literature, and qualifications; these
become much more elaborate. The problem with writing a proposal in our technicalwriting class is coordinating it with the proposal you write at the beginning of the
semester (a proposal to write a proposal, come on!). Several students have set up
scenarios in which they proposed internally to write an external proposal, in which
they went after some contract or grant. (For on contents, organization, and format, see
the section on proposals.)
Business prospectus. If you are ambitious to run your own business, you can write a
business prospectus, which is a plan or proposal to start a new business or to expand
an existing one. It is aimed primarily at potential investors. Therefore, it describes the
proposed business, explores the marketplace and the competition, projects revenues,
and describes the operation and output of the proposed business. (For details on
contents, organization, and format, see the section on business prospectuses.)
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Don't feel constrained by this list; if there is a type of technical document you want to
write not listed here, talk to your instructor. It may be that we are using different
names for the same thing.
Audience and Situation in Technical Reports
A critical step in your early report planning is to define a specific audience and
situation in which to write the report. For example, if you wanted to write about CD
audio players, the audience cannot be this vague sort of "anybody who is considering
purchasing a CD player." You have to define the audience in terms of its knowledge,
background, and need for the information.
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
Why does the audience need this information?
How will readers get access to this information?
You also have to define the audience in terms of who they are specifically: that means
things like names, organization or company, street address and phone numbers, and
occupation or position.
Just as critical to the planning process is defining the situation. When you define
audience, you define who the readers are, what they know or don't know in relation to
the topic, what experience or background they have in relation to the topic, and why
they want or might need the information. Sometimes this leaves out a critical element:
just what are the circumstances that bring about the need for the information.
See the section on analyzing and adapting to audiences.
Topics for Technical Reports
Just about any topic can be worked into a good technical-report project. Some are a
little more difficult than others; that's where your instructor can help. And, that is why
there is the proposal assignment: it gives your instructor a chance to see what you
want to do and to guide you away from problems such as the following:
Editorializing. For the report project, avoid editorial topics. For example, don't
attempt to write a technical report on the pro's and con's of gun control, abortion,
marijuana, and the like. You can, however, develop these topics: for example,
describe the chemical, physiological aspects of marijuana or the medical techniques
for abortion or the developmental stages of the fetus. These get into substantial
technical areas. But avoid editorializing--there are other courses where you can do
this.
Fuzzy topics. Some topics just don't work, for some reason. For example, dream
analysis can be very fuzzy and nebulous. So can UFOs. You want your report to have
hard factual data in it. The preceding topics are difficult to pin down this way.
However, good reports have been written on the apparatus used in dream research
laboratories. Maybe somebody can even figure out a good way to handle UFOs.
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Tough technical topics. As mentioned earlier, don't shy away from interesting topics
that you don't feel you know enough about. No one expects a doctoral thesis. Use the
report project as a chance to learn something new. Of course, it's common sense that
we often write better about things we know about. If this is a concern for you, look
around you in your work, hobbies, or academic studies.
At the same time, however, don't be concerned that your has to be about computers,
electronics, or some other "technical" topic. Remember that the word technical refers
to any body of specialized knowledge.
Figure 2-2. Brainstorming zone--beware!
Instructors as software. And of course if you are absolutely stumped, get with your
instructor. Use your instructor as a brainstorming device. Here are some areas in
which you can look for topics as well:
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Your major, future courses: Think about some the courses you
have taken or will soon be taking within your major. Browse
through some textbooks used in those courses.
Magazines, journals, periodical indexes: Do some browsing in
magazines and journals that are of interest to you. Indexes are a
terrific way of brainstorming for a topic--they are huge lists of
topics!
Career plans, current work: Consider what sorts of work you
will be doing in your chosen field; you may be able to think of
some topics by this means. Take a look around you at work-there may be some possibilities there as well.
Ideas for improvements: Take a look around your home,
school, neighborhood, or city. What needs to be fixed,
improved? Thinking along these lines can also lead to some
good topics.
Problems: Think about problems--your own, the city's, the
state's, the country's, the world's. Think about problem in
relation to certain groups of people. There are plenty of topics
here as well.
General Characteristics of Technical Reports
You're probably wondering what this technical report is supposed to look like. Ask
your instructor to show you a few example reports. In addition to that, here is a brief
review of some of the chief characteristics of the technical report:

Graphics: The report should have graphics. Graphics include
all kinds of possibilities, as a later chapter in this book will
show. If you can't think of any graphics for your report project,
you may not have a good topic. Get in touch with your
instructor, who can help you brainstorm for graphics. (For
details, see the section on graphics.)
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Factual detail: The report should be very detailed and factual.
The point of the report is to go into details, the kind of details
your specific audience needs.
Information sources: Your report should make use of
information sources. These may include not only books and
articles that can be found in libraries but also technical
brochures, interviews or correspondence with experts, as well
as first-hand inspections. If you don't believe any information
sources are necessary for your report project, contact your
instructor. (See the section on finding information in libraries.)
Documentation: When you use borrowed information in your
technical report, be sure to cite your sources. The style of citing
your sources (also called "documenting" your sources) used in
this course is called the number system. See the section on
documentation.
Realistic audience and situation: The report must be defined
for a real or realistic group of readers who exist in a real or
realistic situation. Most students invent an audience and
situation. And the audience can't merely be something like
"anybody who might be interested in global warming." Instead,
it has to be real, realistic, and specific: for example, "Texas
Coastal Real Estate Developers Association, interested in
reliable information on global warming, to be used to aid in
long-range investment planning." (See the section on analyzing
audiences and adapting to them.)
Headings and lists: The report should use the format for
headings that is required for the course, as well as various kinds
of lists as appropriate. (see the sections on headings and lists.)
Special format: The technical report uses a rather involved
format including covers, binding, title page, table of contents,
list of figures, transmittal letter, and appendixes. These have to
be prepared according to a set standard, which will be
presented in a later chapter. (See the section on report format
for details.)
Production: The technical report should be typed or printed out
neatly. If graphics are taped in, the whole report must be
photocopied, and the photocopy handed in (not the original
with the taped-in graphics). The report must be bound in some
way. (See the section on report format.)
Length: The report should be at least 8 doublespaced typed or
printed pages (using 1-inch margins), counting from
introduction to conclusion. This is a minimum; a report of this
length is rather skimpy. There is no real maximum length, other
than what your time, energy, and stamina can handle. But
remember that sheer weight does not equal quality (or better
grade). If you get into a bind with a report project that would
take too many pages, contact your instructor--there are
numerous tricks we can use to cut it down to size.
Technical content: You must design your report project in such
a way that your poor technical-writing instructor has a chance
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to understand it--in other words, you must write for the
nonspecialist. Also, at some point, you may get concerned
about the technical accuracy of your information. Remember
that this is a writing course, not a course in engineering,
nursing, science, electronics, or the like. Make a good-faith
effort to get the facts right, but don't go overboard.
Checklist for the Technical Report
Use the following questions to ensure that your technical report is structured properly
according to our specifications:
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Do you include all the required components in the required
order, for example, transmittal letter, followed by title page,
followed by figure list, and so on? (See the chapter on report
format for details.)
Do you address your report to a real or realistic audience that
has a genuine need for your report? (See this chapter and the
chapter on audience for details.) Do you identify in the
introduction what background the audience needs to read and
understand your report?
Does your report contain specific, factual detail focused on the
purpose of the report and the needs of the audience and aimed
at their level of understanding?
Does your report accomplish its purpose? Is that purpose
clearly stated in the introduction?
Does your report use information sources and do you properly
document them? (See the chapter on finding information and
the chapter on documenting borrowed information for details.)
Does your report use the format for headings that is standard
for this course? (See the chapter on headings for details.)
Does your report use the format for lists that is standard for this
course? (See the chapter on lists for details.)
Does your report use graphics and tables? Does your report use
the format for graphics and tables that is standard for this
course? Specifically, are your figure titles (captions) to our
class specifications? (See the chapter on graphics and tables for
details.)
Is page 1 of your introduction designed according to the
standard for this course? (See the chapter on report format for
details.)
Does every new section (which starts with a first-level heading)
start on a new page? Have you check for widowed headings
(headings that start at the very bottom of a page)? stacked
headings (two or more consecutive headings without
intervening text)? lone headings (a single heading within a
section)? parallelism in the phrasing of headings? (See the
chapter on headings for details.)
Does the title page of your report include a descriptive abstract,
and is it written according to the specifications in the chapter
on abstracts?
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Do you include an informative abstract in your report; is it
positioned properly in relation to the other report components;
and is it written according to the specifications in the chapter
on abstracts? Specifically, does your informative abstract
summarize the key facts and conclusions of your report rather
than act as just another introduction or descriptive abstract?
Does the introduction of your report include the elements
necessary in good introductions, such as audience, overview,
purpose? Do you avoid the problem of having too much
background in the introduction, or having an introduction that
is all background? (See the chapter on introductions for
details.)
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Online Technical Writing: Resources for Writing
Business Plans
A business plan is a document used to start a new business or get funding for a
business that is changing in some significant way. Business plans are important
documents for business partners who need to agree upon and document their plans,
government officials who may need to approve aspects of the plan, and of course
potential investors such as banks or private individuals who may decide to fund the
business or its expansion.
See you the business plans overview for an introduction to their contents and
organization.
If you are enrolled in a course associated with this page, you are in a writing course,
not a business course. Our focus is on good writing, well-designed documents,
documents that accomplish their purpose, and documents that meet common
expectations as to their content, organization, and format. A business plan is
obviously an important application of writing and one that may contain substantial
technical information about the business operations or products. That's why it's a good
option for the final project in a technical- writing course.
You can write a business plan if you actually are trying to start a business or if you'd
merely like to do some constructive daydreaming about a business you'd like to start.
Beware, however, if you are just playing around with the business-startup notion: the
business plan you write for this course must be every bit as serious, realistic, specific,
factual, well-researched, and well-thought-out as a business plan for a real situation.
Business plans can be very large documents containing information that you may
have no way of getting. Work with your instructor to reach an agreement on the scope
of the business plan you write. Remember too that your instructor is probably not a
professional business-startup consultant and probably won't be able to help you on the
finer points of planning a business.
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Online Technical Writing: Proposals
This chapter focuses on proposals—the kinds of documents that get you or your
organization approved or hired to do a project. While this chapter focuses on
proposals in general, see the section on proposals for documentation projects for the
specifics of getting hired to write tecnical documentation.
Note: Students enrolled in Online Technical Writing are encouraged to take the
optional reading quiz on this chapter. (Anybody else is welcome to try it as well.)
For illustrations of the discussion you are about to read, see:
The frames and nonframes versions work only on Netscape version 3 or later. If you
are using Microsoft Internet Explorer, click Plain (or download Netscape).
Example proposal 1: Employee Wellness
Program
Frames
Nonframes Plain
Example proposal 2: Proposal to Write the
Operation and Maintenance Manual for the
M-16A2 Rifle
Frames
Nonframes Plain
Example proposal 3: Academic Proposal
Frames
Nonframes Plain
Example proposal 4: Nursing Staff Handbook
on Communication and Swallowing
Disorders in the Elderly
Frames
Nonframes Plain
Example proposal 5: Corporate Standards
Manual
Frames
Nonframes Plain
Example proposal 6: Student Guide for
Solving Engineering Mechanics Problems
Frames
Nonframes Plain
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March 1, 1990
Explanation of Who You Are
No, I'm not being metaphysical here. I'm just attaching a note explaining who you will
pretend to be as you read my proposal.
You will imagine that you are the personnel manager of the Automation Division of
the Highway Department. The Automation Division employs approximately three
hundred people. As you can tell from the name, the Automation Division employs
mostly sedentary workers: analysts, programmers, managers, opertors, and
technicians.
The personnel manager is the liaison between the Human Resources Division of the
Highway Department and the employees of the Automation Division. This person is
responsible for informing employees of any changes in departmental policy that will
affect employees' health, safety, or finances.
MEMORANDUM
TO: Dr. David David McMurrey
FROM: Joan A. Student
DATE: March 1, 1990
RE: Proposal to Write a Feasibility Report for an Employee Wellness Program
The following is a proposal to conduct a feasibility study for the personnel section on
the need for, and the benefits to be expected from, instituting an employee wellness
program for the Automation Division of the Highway Department. The following
proposal contains background on the need for and benefits from a wellness program,
an outline of the work I plan to do, my qualifications, and a schedule. This study may
have to be expanded to include the entire department. I understand that the
Automation Division cannot arbitrarily effect such a drastic policy change. I look
forward to hearing your ideas on the scope of this feasibility report.
Need for a Wellness Program
Current work and home schedules prevent employees from exercising enough.
Current health insurance policies focus on curing illnesses rather than prventing them.
Medical research has proven that healthy choices can prevent many diseases. The
current system has resulted in steeply increasing group health insurance costs. Also,
current budget restrictions force us to think of new ways to increase employee
productivity.
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Benefits of a Wellness Program
In the report, I will document the following: (1) wellness programs produce healthier
employees, (2) healthy employees are more productive, (3) healthy employees file
fewer health insurance claims, (4) healthy employees live longer, and (5) employee
group health insurance costs will decrease.
Report Audience
I will address the report to you. However, I will target the report to the administration
of the Highway Department and to the directors of the Employees Retirement System.
As you know, the ERS negotiates and administers our group health insurance plans.
My Qualifications
I have worked for the Highway Department for thirteen years. I have been in the
Automation Division for eight years. I have an eleven-year old son. I go to night
school at Austin Community College. Therefore, I have personal experience with how
difficult it is to find enough time during the day to exercise or to prepare healthy,
nutritious meals. I have no experience in the medical or actuarial fields. However, I
know that I can find documentation to support the establishment of a wellness
program. Please review the tentative bibliography.
Plan for Feasibility Report
I will deliver the report to your office on April 26, 1990. Here is my plan for
completing the project:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
Library research
Correspondence
Review correspondence received
Conduct interviews
Write preliminary draft
Produce graphics
Finalize preliminary draft
Deliver preliminary draft
through March 15
through March 5
finish March 23
finish March 30
finish April 18
finish April 23
finish April 25
on April 2
Costs
There will be no costs involved in producing this study, other than the minimal costs
of an hour a day for the next four weeks to do the study and write the report, and costs
for typing, binding, and duplicating the report.
List of Graphics
A list of graphics I plan to use is presented here:
1. Health and longevity relationship
Graph
2. Health and absenteeism relationship
Graph
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3. Reduction in health insurance costs by
companies that have wellness programs
Table
4. Cost of wellness programs versus cost of
health insurance
Graph
5. Recent increases in group health insurance
rates
Graph
Tentative Outline
I. Introduction
A. Description of wellness programs
B. History of wellness programs
II. Need for a Wellness Program
A. Need to contain rising health insurance costs
1. Private sector costs
2. Public sector costs
B. Need to increase productivity
1. Budget restrictions
2. Workplace constraints
3. Employee-related problems
III. Benefits of a Wellness Program
A. Healthier employees
B. More productive employees
C. Lower health costs
IV. Instituting a Wellness Program
A. Workplace changes
B. Education needs
1. Nutrition education
2. Exercise education
3. Substance abuse counseling
C. Cost
D. Policy changes
V. Conclusion
A. Summarize benefits
B. Summarize costs
C. Recommend action
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Technical Writers, Inc.
1234 Center Lane, Suite 301
Austin, TX 78758
February 28, 1990
John Jackson, Marketing V. P.
Colt Manufacturing
456 Altimont Road
Vicksburg, TN 66780
SUBJ: Proposal to Write the Operation and Maintenance Handbook for Purchasers of
the M-16A2 Rifle
Dear Mr. Jackson:
The following proposal outlines the details discussed in our prior conversation on the
proposal. It also gives information deadlines, our bid, the graphics, and a tentative
outline of the handbook. This report also includes our sources for information on the
rifle. Thank you for your time and you may contact me during business hours at the
following number: 512-259-3930.
Sincerely,
Elena Stokes, Vice President
Technical Writers, Inc.
Attached: proposal
PROPOSAL: HANDBOOK FOR THE M-16A2
RIFLE
The following is a proposal to develop a handbook that will cover the operation and
maintenance of the M-16A2 rifle. This proposal contains information on the contents
of the proposed manual, the audience level we are assuming, our schedule to complete
this project, our costs and charges, and our qualifications to produce a high-quality
finished handbook.
Audience and Purpose
The handbook will be written primarily to purchasers but may also be used by
gunsmiths, gun enthusiasts, the military, gun clubs, and anyone else wishing to train
people in operation and maintenance of this rifle. No technical knowledge about
firearms on the readers' part will be assumed. It will assume that readers have never
used any firearm previously. Also, we will develop the handbook at the standard 8thgrade reading level.
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Description of the Handbook
This handbook should enable any person with a high school diploma to operate and
perform preventive maintenance on the M-16A2. This handbook will contain
graphics; technical background; firing techniques; and information on how to clean,
disassemble, and reassemble the rifle. We project the length of the handbook to be 98
pages in standard 8-inch by 5-inch format.
Graphics. The graphics used in this report will consist of tables, drawings, and
pictures. The tables will show the reader technical characteristics such as bullet size,
chamber pressure, muzzle velocity, types of ammunition, and information on the
sighting of the weapon for different distances such as 200 m, 300 m, and 500 m. Also,
many pictures or drawings will be used to illustrate the varius stages of disassembly,
assembly and cleaning of the rifle.
Technical Background. The handbook will give technical background on the rifle in
the form of all the information involving the firing of the weapon, such as muzzle
velocity, maximum effective range for different size target and other technical
information that is of value to an owner, operator, or collector. This handbook will
have information on how to clean and do preventive maintenance on the weapon but
will not contain any information on major maintenance such as bent barrels, bent
sights, and worn-out firing pins. For all major repairs, the owner will be directed to
take the rifle to an authorized dealer.
Handbook outline. The instruction in the handbook will focus mainly on
disassembly, reassembly, and cleaning instructions. These instructions will be in
detail so as to give a first time gun buyer enough instructions to clean the rifle
properly. Following is a working outline describing how the handbook will be
produced and laid out. This outline will include enough detail to explain the major
sections and any minor sections that may not be obvious.
I.
II.
III.
IV.
Introduction: will contain information on the history of the rifle and its
manufacturer. It also will have illustrations of rifle parts.
A.
Technical characteristics: will contain information on the technical
characteristics of the rifle and this information will be backed up with
charts.
B.
Ammunition: will contain information on different types of
ammunition that can be used with this weapon and their technical
characteristics.
Operation
A.
Loading: procedure to load the weapon and safety warnings will be
included.
B.
Firing: will include what to do in a case of a misfire or jamming.
Safety warnings and how to adjust sights will also be included.
Maintenance
A.
Cleaning the weapon: will include disassembly and assembly.
1.
disassembly
2.
cleaning
3.
assembly
Proper Storage: how to store rifle for long periods
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V.
Repairs and Warranty: where to get a rifle repaired whether or not warranty is
in effect.
Qualifications
Technical writers, Inc. (TWI) qualifications for this handbook are as follows:




The corporation has eighty years combined experience among six partners.
TWI has won ten other contracts for weapons handbooks from Colt
Manufacturing.
Experienced typesetters and artists who can do drawings and charts.
Five of six partners are experienced with this weapon through military
experience.
Detailed resumes of our staff are available upon request.
Costs
We calculate the cost to develop this 98-page manual by assuming 4 hours of writing
time per page at $50.00 per hour. Editing, graphics, and supervision we calculate at 1
hour per 10 pages at $25.00 per hour:
Writing (4 hrs/pg @ $50.00/hr)
Editing, graphics, supervision (1 hr/10pgs @ $25.00/hr)
TOTAL
18,800
245
$19,045
Our company will write, edit, and correct any errors found in the initial draft or in
later drafts. This includes correcting technical errors or improving comprehension as
requested by your technical staff and developers.
Information Sources
The bibliography will consist of many military pamphlets. The partners of our
corporation have written to friends, who are still in the military, for the latest
information and pamphlets. Following are some books we have found to use for
research:
1. Ezell, Edward Clinton. The Great Rifle Controversy. Harrisburg: Halsted
Press, 1984.
2. Ezell, Edward Clinton. Small Arms Today. Harrisburg: Halsted Press, 1984.
3. Ferber, Steve, ed. All About Rifle Hunting and Shooting in America. New
York: Winchester Press, 1977.
4. O'Neill, Richard, ed. An Illustrated Guide to U. S. Army. New York: Arco,
1984.
More books will be obtained for this research.
Project Checkpoint Dates
The time schedule for this project will be as follows:
March
Proposal returned, begin work.
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5
March
12
Outline section on Introduction completed. Sent to Mr.
Jackson for review.
March
19
Outline section on Operation completed. Sent to Mr.
Jackson for review. Correct problems in introduction
section.
March
26
Outline section on Maintenance completed. Sent to Mr.
Jackson for review. Correct problems in other sections.
April
12
Meeting with Mr. Jackson to review possible corrections.
April 9
Completed copy sent to Mr. Jackson.
April
16
Meeting with Mr. Jackson for final review.
April
23
First order sent to Mr. Jackson.
These dates are not set, but are tentative around Mr. Cook's and Mr. Jackson's
schedules.
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PROPOSAL: HANDBOOK FOR THE M-16A2
RIFLE
The following is a proposal to develop a handbook that will cover the operation and
maintenance of the M-16A2 rifle. This proposal contains information on the contents
of the proposed manual, the audience level we are assuming, our schedule to complete
this project, our costs and charges, and our qualifications to produce a high-quality
finished handbook.
Audience and Purpose
The handbook will be written primarily to purchasers but may also be used by
gunsmiths, gun enthusiasts, the military, gun clubs, and anyone else wishing to train
people in operation and maintenance of this rifle. No technical knowledge about
firearms on the readers' part will be assumed. It will assume that readers have never
used any firearm previously. Also, we will develop the handbook at the standard 8thgrade reading level.
Description of the Handbook
This handbook should enable any person with a high school diploma to operate and
perform preventive maintenance on the M-16A2. This handbook will contain
graphics; technical background; firing techniques; and information on how to clean,
disassemble, and reassemble the rifle. We project the length of the handbook to be 98
pages in standard 8-inch by 5-inch format.
Graphics. The graphics used in this report will consist of tables, drawings, and
pictures. The tables will show the reader technical characteristics such as bullet size,
chamber pressure, muzzle velocity, types of ammunition, and information on the
sighting of the weapon for different distances such as 200 m, 300 m, and 500 m. Also,
many pictures or drawings will be used to illustrate the varius stages of disassembly,
assembly and cleaning of the rifle.
Technical Background. The handbook will give technical background on the rifle in
the form of all the information involving the firing of the weapon, such as muzzle
velocity, maximum effective range for different size target and other technical
information that is of value to an owner, operator, or collector. This handbook will
have information on how to clean and do preventive maintenance on the weapon but
will not contain any information on major maintenance such as bent barrels, bent
sights, and worn-out firing pins. For all major repairs, the owner will be directed to
take the rifle to an authorized dealer.
Handbook outline. The instruction in the handbook will focus mainly on
disassembly, reassembly, and cleaning instructions. These instructions will be in
detail so as to give a first time gun buyer enough instructions to clean the rifle
properly. Following is a working outline describing how the handbook will be
produced and laid out. This outline will include enough detail to explain the major
sections and any minor sections that may not be obvious.
I.
Introduction: will contain information on the history of the rifle and its
manufacturer. It also will have illustrations of rifle parts.
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A.
Technical characteristics: will contain information on the technical
characteristics of the rifle and this information will be backed up with
charts.
B.
Ammunition: will contain information on different types of
ammunition that can be used with this weapon and their technical
characteristics.
Operation
A.
Loading: procedure to load the weapon and safety warnings will be
included.
B.
Firing: will include what to do in a case of a misfire or jamming.
Safety warnings and how to adjust sights will also be included.
Maintenance
A.
Cleaning the weapon: will include disassembly and assembly.
1.
disassembly
2.
cleaning
3.
assembly
Proper Storage: how to store rifle for long periods
Repairs and Warranty: where to get a rifle repaired whether or not warranty is
in effect.
II.
III.
IV.
V.
Qualifications
Technical writers, Inc. (TWI) qualifications for this handbook are as follows:




The corporation has eighty years combined experience among six partners.
TWI has won ten other contracts for weapons handbooks from Colt
Manufacturing.
Experienced typesetters and artists who can do drawings and charts.
Five of six partners are experienced with this weapon through military
experience.
Detailed resumes of our staff are available upon request.
Costs
We calculate the cost to develop this 98-page manual by assuming 4 hours of writing
time per page at $50.00 per hour. Editing, graphics, and supervision we calculate at 1
hour per 10 pages at $25.00 per hour:
Writing (4 hrs/pg @ $50.00/hr)
Editing, graphics, supervision (1 hr/10pgs @ $25.00/hr)
TOTAL
18,800
245
$19,045
Our company will write, edit, and correct any errors found in the initial draft or in
later drafts. This includes correcting technical errors or improving comprehension as
requested by your technical staff and developers.
Information Sources
The bibliography will consist of many military pamphlets. The partners of our
corporation have written to friends, who are still in the military, for the latest
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information and pamphlets. Following are some books we have found to use for
research:
1. Ezell, Edward Clinton. The Great Rifle Controversy. Harrisburg: Halsted
Press, 1984.
2. Ezell, Edward Clinton. Small Arms Today. Harrisburg: Halsted Press, 1984.
3. Ferber, Steve, ed. All About Rifle Hunting and Shooting in America. New
York: Winchester Press, 1977.
4. O'Neill, Richard, ed. An Illustrated Guide to U. S. Army. New York: Arco,
1984.
More books will be obtained for this research.
Project Checkpoint Dates
The time schedule for this project will be as follows:
March
5
Proposal returned, begin work.
March
12
Outline section on Introduction completed. Sent to Mr.
Jackson for review.
March
19
Outline section on Operation completed. Sent to Mr.
Jackson for review. Correct problems in introduction
section.
March
26
Outline section on Maintenance completed. Sent to Mr.
Jackson for review. Correct problems in other sections.
April
12
Meeting with Mr. Jackson to review possible corrections.
April 9
Completed copy sent to Mr. Jackson.
April
16
Meeting with Mr. Jackson for final review.
April
23
First order sent to Mr. Jackson.
These dates are not set, but are tentative around Mr. Cook's and Mr. Jackson's
schedules.
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Sarah Ayer
311 Thornton Drive
Franklin, TX 00000
(000) 000-0000
January 31, 1999
David McMurrey
Elevation Pointe on the Lake
12155 Cole Rd.
Salado, TX 75000
(000) 000-0000
SUBJ: Proposal to develop handbook on communication and swallowing disorders in
the elderly for use by nursing staff and aides.
The following proposal outlines the content of the handbook based on your
announcement in the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association's
newsletter. A description of the handbook, an outline, a list of graphics, information
sources, a schedule for completion, and a bid are included in the proposal. Thank you
for your time and consideration. I may be reached during business hours at (000) 0000000.
Sincerely,
Sarah Ayer
Enclosure
Proposal: Handbook on
Communication and Swallowing Disorders in the
Elderly
The following is a proposal to develop a handbook on communication and swallowing
disorders in the elderly, for use by the nursing staff at Elevation Pointe on the Lake.
The proposal is based on the RFP announced in the January issue of the American
Speech-Language Hearing Association's newsletter. As I know your primary concern
is the well-being of your patients, the information given in the handbook will be a
valuable resource for your staff. The proposal will provide information regarding the
need for the handbook, a description the proposed handbook, and the benefits of the
handbook. An outline, a list of graphics, information sources, a schedule for
completion, qualifications of the author, and costs will also be presented.
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Need for the Handbook
Recent changes in the healthcare industry, specifically changes that affect long-term
care facilities, have resulted in changes in the provision of therapy services. In the
past, most long-term care facilities had access to a speech-language pathologist as a
full-time employee or full-time contractor. Currently, many companies have been
forced to reduce the hours of their therapy staff. As a result, nurses and nurse aides
may not have access to someone who can answer questions about communication and
swallowing disorders. In turn, patients may have more difficulty expressing their
basic wants and needs and may also suffer unnecessarily from swallowing disorders.
Description of the Handbook
The handbook will address communication and swallowing disorders that are
commonly found in long-term care facilities. It will provide basic definitions and a
brief list of causes for each type of disorder. Signs or symptoms will be discussed to
aid the nursing staff in identifying the disorders in their patients. General
recommendations will be given to help the nursing staff to communicate with the
patients and to assist patients during mealtimes. If patients are suspected to have any
of the disorders, it is recommended that a physician and speech-language pathologist
be notified.
Benefits of the Handbook
The proposed handbook can be used as a teaching aid in training nurse aides, and as a
reference for nurses and nurse aides who have completed training. The handbook can
be used as a reference to answer general questions when a speech-language
pathologist is unavailable. In addition, it will provide recommendations on
communication and swallowing that would be beneficial to all residents of Elevation
Pointe on the Lake.
Handbook Outline
The handbook will provide basic definitions of communication and swallowing
disorders that are commonly exhibited by patients in long-term care facilities.
Common causes of those disorders will be discussed. An extensive list of signs and
symptoms will be given with explanations to aid the nursing staff in identifying
patients with these disorders. Finally, general recommendations will be given. A
tentative outline follows:
I.
II.
III.
Disclaimer This handbook is not meant to be a substitute for, or
override a physician's evaluation or recommendations or a speechlanguage pathologist's evaluation or recommendations. It is meant as a
brief introduction to communication and swallowing disorders and to
aid nursing staff in identifying those patients who may require
evaluation by a physician and a speech-language pathologist.
Introduction
A.
Purpose
B.
Overview
Communication Disorders
A.
Expressive Language Disorders
1.
Definition
2.
Common Causes
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IV.
V.
3.
Signs or Symptoms
4.
General Recommendations
B.
Receptive Language Disorders
1.
Definition
2.
Common Causes
3.
Signs or Symptoms
4.
General Recommendations
C.
Voice Disorders
1.
Definition
2.
Common Causes
3.
Signs or Symptoms
4.
General Recommendations
D.
Hearing Loss
1.
Definition
2.
Common Causes
3.
Signs or Symptoms
4.
General Recommendations
Swallowing Disorders
A.
Definition
1.
Normal Swallowing Process
2.
Abnormal Swallowing Process
B.
Common Causes
C.
Signs or Symptoms
D.
General Recommendations
Conclusion
Graphics
A variety of graphics will be used to illustrate the concepts discussed in the handbook.
A tentative list of graphics follows:
Prevalence of Communication Disorders
Pie Chart
in Long-Term Care Facilities
Signs and Symptoms of Communication
Table
Disorders
Recommendations for Communication
with Patients with Communication
Table
Disorders
Prevalence of Swallowing Disorders in
Pie Chart
Long-Term Care Facilities
Anatomy of the Head and Neck as it
Schematic Drawing
Relates to Swallowing
Swallowing Problems in the Healthy and
Table
Frail Aged Adult
Signs and Symptoms of Swallowing
Table
Disorders
Recommendations for Assisting Patients
Table
with Swallowing Disorders
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Tentative Bibliography
The tentative bibliography will consist of textbooks and clinical manuals for speechlanguage pathologists. Pamphlets from the American Speech-Language and Hearing
Association will also be used. Following is a tentative bibliography:
1. Andrews, Moya L. Manual of Voice Treatment: Pediatrics through Geriatrics.
San Diego, CA: Singular Publishing Group 1995.
2. Burns, Martha, ed. Clinical Management of Right Hemisphere Dysfunction.
Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen, 1985.
3. Chapey, Roberta, ed. Language Intervention Strategies in Adult Aphasia.
Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins 1994.
4. Cherney, Leora Reiff, ed. Clinical Management of Dysphagia in Adults and
Children. Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen,1994.
5. Nicolosi, Lucille, Elizabeth Harryman, Janet Kresheck, eds. Terminology of
Communication Disorders: Speech-Language-Hearing. Baltimore, MD:
Williams & Wilkins 1989.
Schedule
The handbook will be completed and delivered to your office on March 16, 1999. The
following schedule is a timeline of milestones for completion of the handbook:
Receive permission to begin
February 1
handbook
through February
Research topics
15
Write first draft
through March 1
Create graphics
finish March 3
Complete first draft
finish March 8
Revise first draft
finish March 15
Deliver Handbook
March 16
Qualifications
As a speech-language pathologist, I have had specialized education and training for
assessing and treating individuals with speech, language, and swallowing disorders. A
brief summary of my education and experience follows:





Texas license to practice Speech-Language Pathology
Certificate of Clinical Competence by the American Speech-Language
Hearing Association
Two years professional experience in long-term care facilities
M.S. Speech Language Pathology GPA 3.85/4.0
B.S. Communication Disorders GPA 3.64/4.0
Cost
The total cost for researching, writing, editing, binding, and printing 100 handbooks is
$4,036. A breakdown of the total expenses follows:
Fee for researching, writing, and editing
$3,500
Spiral binding with card stock cover
211
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Printing
Total Expense
325
$4,036
Conclusion
This proposal is based on the requirements listed in your RFP. If you have any
changes or suggestions, please contact me. The information provided in the proposed
handbook will be a valuable resource for your nursing staff in enabling them to
improve daily communication and safety during mealtimes for all of your residents. I
look forward to sharing the information I have gained through my formal education
and work experience to benefit the nursing staff and residents at Elevation Pointe on
the Lake.
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Explanation of Who You Are:
You are the Director of Marketing at Reyes Corporation. Although you have the
authority to approve the proposed project, it is likely that you will also distribute the
proposal to the VP of Marketing and Communications, one of the controllers in
accounting, and a colleague in the marketing department as well. You requested this
proposal. Most contractors are former permanent employees of Reyes and do all the
marketing projects, tech manuals, graphic design, etc. This is done through the
Creative Services department, which is part of marketing.
The part about me working for Reyes both permanently and as a contractor is true,
and during my last assignment at Reyes, this standards manual was one of the projects
in the queue. However, when a financial situation occurred, priorities shifted and
everything was put on hold. I am writing this proposal under the make-believe
assumption that things are back to normal (they are not) and that the projects that
were in queue are once again being considered.
MEMORANDUM
TO:
FROM:
DATE:
RE:
Dr. David McMurrey, Director of Marketing
Robert A. Freundlich, Contractor - Creative Services Department
January 6, 1998
Proposal to Develop a Corporate Standards Manual for Reyes
Corporation
Thank you for asking me to submit a proposal to develop a corporate standards
manual. I have had this project in mind for some time now and have been eagerly
waiting for the opportunity to work on it. As we discussed in our meeting on
December 7, the changes that Reyes has experienced over the last two years have
strongly impacted its identity. Employees, customers, and the market are all trying to
define the new Reyes and set it apart from the old Reyes. Both the old and the new
Reyes employees are confused about the usage of Reyes brand names, the Reyes logo,
and other formatting and style issues. It is the perfect time to re-establish a strong
identity for Reyes, starting with a new standards manual.
The attached proposal outlines the need for and the benefits of a standards manual. It
also includes the method I will use to develop the manual, the contents of the manual,
costs, schedules, and my qualifications for review by other colleagues if necessary.
Please call me at 770-995-1512 if you have any questions. I look forward to hearing
from you.
Attachment: Proposal
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PROPOSAL
to
Develop a Corporate Standards Manual for Reyes
Corporation
The following is a proposal to develop a Corporate Standards Manual for Reyes
Corporation. After reviewing the literature and the outdated standards manual that you
gave me at our meeting on December 7, 1998, I developed this proposal to describe to
you the process involved in creating your new standards manual. This proposal
contains information on the need for a standards manual, the process of developing
the standards manual, the contents of the standards manual, the schedule to complete
this project, costs to complete this project, and my qualifications to produce a highquality finished manual. Because I am a former full-time employee of Reyes and have
now been working for Reyes on a contract basis for over a year, I am confident that I
can create a standards manual that will accurately reflect the new Reyes image and
will be a valuable resource for Reyes employees.
Need for a Corporate Standards Manual
Since Reyes has used a standards manual before, I know that you understand the
importance of having a corporate identity that establishes a consistent impression
across all media. Because Reyes has undergone so many changes in the last few years,
it is more important then ever to present a consistent image to the media. There has
been a large turnover in personnel since emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in
1996 and the merger with Access Beyond in 1997. Over the past two years, I have
seen numerous examples of inconsistent use of Reyes identity standards. Some of the
incorrect usage is due to the lack of training provided to new employees, and some of
it is because so many things have changed yet no new standards have been set. I
recently saw a copy of a letter sent from a Reyes employee to a customer in which
Reyes is referred to three times in three different ways: first as Reyes Microcomputer,
then as Reyes Corporation and then the third time as Reyes Microcomputer Products,
Inc. Not only can inconsistency confuse the customer; it can also leave an impression
that Reyes doesn't quite have its act together.
Almost everything except the Reyes logo has changed. It is time to re-establish the
Reyes look with new standard formats for logo usage, internal and external
correspondence, business cards, forms, signage, press releases, and all media formats.
There are new product lines, icons associated with those product lines, and Reyes
trademarks that need to be used consistently and accurately. Some of the retail
cartons, technical manuals, and product literature that I have seen recently do not refer
to either the new or the old products consistently. Product names are sometimes
written in all caps, sometimes in upper and lower case, and often they are separated
from other elements that make up the entire brand name. I have seen usage of the
Reyes name with an apostrophe, which has always been unacceptable in any situation.
As you can see, it is more important than ever that Reyes presents a positive and
organized impression, especially after its recent well-known financial and
organizational problems.
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Benefits of a Corporate Standards Manual
How you visually communicate your company to the world, the market, and your
clients is an important part of your success. Consistent usage of style and and identity
gives the world an impression that can be remembered. Once an impression is made
to a potential customer through various media materials such as marketing collateral,
signage, or the World Wide Web, it should be easily recognized a second time. If the
identity elements are not used consistently, the impression may be lost. By creating
and using identity standards, we can make Reyes more easily recognizable and
memorable.
Process of Developing a Corporate Standards Manual
The standards manual that I am proposing to develop will include all identity system
elements. I would like to meet with key Reyes personnel to establish clear
communication objectives. I will then organize and format the manual and design the
cover. No new graphics will need to be created, since all the necessary graphics
already exist and are archived in the Creative Services Department. New designs will
be developed, however, for stationery, presentations, forms and business cards using
the current logo with the new Reyes name. I propose to also manage the production
and distribution of the standards manual and to prepare a presentation for training
employees. A permanent Reyes employee or myself may be considered to conduct the
training session.
I identified three phases in the process of developing the manual: (1) analysis, (2)
design, and (3) production. Below are the steps that will be taken in each phase to
ensure accuracy and efficiency:
Analysis Phase
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Research industry visual standards
Review competition's standards manuals
Attend meetings with key Reyes employees to:
Define requirements and establish clear communication objectives
Identify application items such as stationery, publications, signage, etc.
Design Phase
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Develop the content and organization of the standards manual
Create the format and cover design
Finalize basic identity system such as typefaces, colors, etc.
Present draft of standards manual for review
Incorporate changes as necessary until final approval of standards
manual
6. Create presentation material for training session
Production Phase
1. Choose vendor for print production, determine quantity
2. Prepare camera-ready artwork for printer
3. Review proofs and blue lines
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4. Supervise prepress, printing and manufacturing of the standards
manual
5. Distribute to all employees and set up training session
Description of the Finished Product
This standards manual is for all Reyes employees and Reyes contractors to use. I
propose to use three-ring binders with printed covers and printed tab inserts to
separate sections. This will be very useful later when only particular pages or sections
need to be updated; rather then reprinting an entire book, only the pages that are
changed will need to be reprinted and replaced in the binder. I have estimated that the
book will contain between 60 - 75 pages. Most of the pages will be black and white
text, except for those containing graphics such as logos or icons, examples of
presentation layouts, or any other standard design element that includes color.
Following is an outline of the sections I plan to include in the standards manual. Some
of this may change or sections may be added once I have met with Reyes personnel to
determine the content.
1. Introduction: will contain brief history of Reyes and the proper usage of the
Reyes name
2. Logo Usage: will contain information on proper usage of the Reyes logo and
color schemes
3. Product Lines: will contain subsections with information on each product line
and icons associated with those product lines
4. Formats: will contain subsections with information on memo formats, fax
formats, business stationery, business cards, etc.
5. World Wide Web: will contain information on formatting issues for the World
Wide Web
6. Marketing Literature: will contain information on formatting issues for
promotional items, print and online documentation, signage, etc.
7. Presentations: will contain standard formats for internal and external
presentations
8. Glossary of Trademark names: will contain a list of all trademark names
9. Glossary of Acronyms: will contain a list of Reyes and industry acronyms
Project Schedule
The proposed time schedule for this project will be as follows:
Begin work on project
January 25
Analysis phase complete; begin design work
February 12
Present draft copy of the standards manual to Reyes for review
February 26
Incorporate all changes and present 2nd draft for review
March 8
Obtain approval of final copy; design phase complete
March 15
Begin production; deliver artwork to printer
March 16
Proofs from printer reviewed and approved
March 22
Standards manuals delivered to Reyes and distributed to all
March 31
personnel
Presentations and training sessions begin
April 5
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My Qualifications
My qualifications for this project are as follows:




I have been employed at Reyes in the Marketing and Communications
department as a permanent employee and as a contractor for over five years
combined.
I have extensive experience and knowledge in all design and print production
mediums as well as technical and marketing publications development.
I have successfully completed numerous other contract jobs for Reyes.
I offer competitive pricing.
Costs
I have estimated that it will take approximately 250 hours to complete this project,
starting from the day I begin work until I receive the final print copies of the manual.
As with the last contract I completed for Reyes, my hourly rate is $35 per hour,
making the total cost for my services $8,750.
The cost of materials to produce the finished standards manuals can vary considerably
depending on the vendor we choose and the quality of materials. I have a number of
suggestions and price quotes for the production of the manual which we can discuss
and decide upon during the initial stages of development.
Closing
Thank you for considering me for this project. I hope that you will approve my
proposal and consider beginning this project as soon as possible. I am excited about
creating this standards manual and as always, I enjoy working with Reyes.
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7606 Deerglen Cove
Austin, TX 78000
June 10, 1997
David McMurrey
Texas A&M University
Sterling Evans Library
College Station, TX 77843
SUBJ: Proposal to write a set of instructions for solving Engineering Mechanics 1
problems involving the internal effects of beams
Dear Mr. McMurrey:
I am a current student studying mechanical engineering here at Texas A&M
University. Attached is a proposal to write a set of steps for solving a group of
Engineering Mechanics 1 problems. I saw the need for this guide as a student enrolled
in Engineering Mechanics 1. I believe this guide will aid students in their learning and
help students after they have completed the class and need the information gained in
this course.
The attached proposal outlines the need for and benefits of the guide, my plan,
qualifications, and schedule for producing the guide, and the costs involved with
writing the guide. An outline of the guide and the proposed sources of information are
also included in the proposal. I see the guide as a benefit to many engineering
students.
Please take time to review the attached proposal. Please feel free to contact me during
business hours at 512-000-0000. I appreciate your time and consideration.
Sincerely,
Janice Bauhaus
Enclosures
Proposal: Guide to Solving Problems About the
Internal Effects of Beams
The following is a proposal to write a guide for solving Engineering Mechanics 1
(MEEN 212) problems involving the internal effects of beams. I just completed the
course and saw the confusion and problems that arose when the class reached this
section of the course. The report could be accessible to all students if it was placed in
the Reserve section of the library. This report could help students enrolled in
Engineering Mechanics 1 to learn faster and easier how to solve the internal effects
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problems. This proposal contains background information on the need for the guide,
the benefits of having the guide, and my qualifications.
Need for a Guide to Solving the Problems
Internal effects of beams are a major part of Engineering Mechanics 1. Students
enrolled in the course tend to have difficulties solving the internal effects problems.
Not all of the professors that are teaching the course have time to sit down and help
each student. The schedule for the course does not permit more extensive coverage of
this topic. Nor are the available textbooks helpful in this area.
Benefits of a Guide to Solving the Problems
This guide would provide a reference for students who are having trouble. Having the
guide accessible to all students would enable students who are encountering the
material in classes after Engineering Mechanics 1 to have a reference to look to for
help. Students sometimes need a different way to look at the material in order to grasp
the concepts. This guide will provide a different outlook on solving the problems and
will hopefully enable students to understand the material quicker. The last thing this
guide will provide will be a additional examples for students to look at and to improve
their comprehension.
Audience for the Guide
The audience for the guide will be students enrolled in Engineering Mechanics 1.
However, the guide will not just benefit students currently enrolled in the course, but
also students who have completed the course. The guide will assume that its readers,
engineering students, have completed prerequisite coursework leading up to
Engineering Mechanics 1, but nothing beyond that. I will provide extensive
discussion of concepts, examples illustrating those concepts, and extensive discussion
of the examples. This amount of information should enable all but the most poorly
prepared students to master.
Plan for Writing the Guide
I plan to research some and use the notes and textbook from when I was enrolled in
the class. In the guide I will include an explanation to solving all parts of the
problems. I will provide detail and examples in each step to make the guide easier to
understand. I will write the guide and have it bound and prepared to the specifications
of the library. The guide could then be placed in the library for all students to use. To
notify students about the guide, I will talk to the professors teaching the course and
ask that they either tell the students about the guide or let me come into their classes
and make a short presentation to the class. The method used to inform the students
would be totally up to the professors.
Graphics Included in the Guide
The guide will have pictures of the various beams. The beams will have different
forces on them throughout the length of the beam. The beams will also have two types
of supports on them. The final solution of internal effects problems involve two
graphs. Each problem that is solved will have at least one picture of the beam and two
graphs as the solution.
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Schedule for Writing the Guide
The following is a tentative schedule for the guide:
Research ends
June 25
Rough draft turned in
July 20
Rough draft returned
July 27
Final draft sent to be copied and bound
July 31
Final bound copies given to the library
August 8
Qualifications to Write the Guide
I am qualified to write the report because I have already taken the course. I received a
high A in the course. I made a perfect score on every test taken in the course. Having
been in the course, I know the problems that the students had with the course and
what helped them to improve. I helped many students understand and solve the
problems when I was in class with them and feel that I know what students taking the
class now would need.
Costs Involved in Writing the Guide
I do not anticipate many costs to be involved in writing the guide. I am not seeking a
profit. The only costs I can see involved in preparing the document will be the costs
of coping the document and binding the document. I don’t see the need for more than
two or three copies of the document. There are copiers available to the students if they
would like their own copy. There are normally two or three copies of the documents
in the Reserve in the library and it appears to work well. Therefore, I don’t anticipate
needing more copies.
Guide Outline
I.
II.
Introduction
A.
Explanation of shear and bending moments
B.
Explanation of the maximum moment
C.
Discussion of when the problems are used in the job world
Step 1: Find the reactions
A.
Determine the type of supports used
B.
Determine the strength of the forces at the supports
Step 2: Find characteristic points on the beam
A.
Determine the locations of forces on the beam
B.
Determine the location of any moments on the beam
Step 3: Draw the shear force diagram
Step 4: Draw the bending moment diagram
Step 5: Maximum moment
A.
Determine the maximum moment exerted on the beam
B.
Determine where the maximum moment occurs
Conclusion
III.
IV.
V.
VI.
VII.
Sources of Information
1. Harris, Charles O. Statics and Strength of Materials. New York: John Wiley
and Sons, 1982.
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2. Jackson, John H. and Harold G. Wirtz. Schaum’s Outline of Theory and
Problems of Statics and Strength of Materials. New York: McGraw-Hill,
1983.
3. Kraige, L. G. and J. L. Meriam. Engineering Mechanics: Statics. 4th ed. New
York: John Wiley and Sons, 1997.
4. Kokkinos, Filis T., Mechanical Engineering Professor. Texas A&M
University. Notes given to class. College Station, TX. April 15, 1997.
5. Newman, Donald G. Statics Exam File. San Jose, CA: Engineering Press,
1985.
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Some Preliminaries
As you get started, make sure you understand the definition were using for proposals.
Also, make sure you understand the proposal assignment--not to write just any
proposal but one that, at least in part, proposes to write something.
Real proposals. To begin planning a proposal, remember the basic definition: a
proposal is an offer or bid to do a certain project for someone. Proposals may contain
other elements--technical background, recommendations, results of surveys,
information about feasibility, and so on. But what makes a proposal a proposal is that
it asks the audience to approve, fund, or grant permission to do the proposed project.
If you plan to be a consultant or run your own business, written proposals may be one
of your most important tools for bringing in business. And, if you work for a
government agency, nonprofit organization, or a large corporation, the proposal can
be a valuable tool for initiating projects that benefit the organization or you the
employee-proposer (and usually both).
A proposal should contain information that would enable the audience of that
proposal to decide whether to approve the project, to approve or hire you to do the
work, or both. To write a successful proposal, put yourself in the place of your
audience--the recipient of the proposal--and think about what sorts of information that
person would need to feel confident having you do the project.
It's easy to get confused about proposals, or at least the type of proposal you'll be
writing here. Imagine that you have a terrific idea for installing some new technology
where you work and you write up a document explaining how it works and why it's so
great, showing the benefits, and then end by urging management to go for it. Is that a
proposal? No, at least not in this context. It's more like a feasibility report, which
studies the merits of a project and then recommends for or against it. Now, all it
would take to make this document a proposal would be to add elements that ask
management for approval for you to go ahead with the project. Certainly, some
proposals must sell the projects they offer to do, but in all cases proposals must sell
the writer (or the writer's organization) as the one to do the project.
Types of proposals. Consider the situations in which proposals occur. A company
may send out a public announcement requesting proposals for a specific project. This
public announcement--called a request for proposals (RFP)--could be issued through
newspapers, trade journals, Chamber of Commerce channels, or individual letters.
Firms or individuals interested in the project would then write proposals in which they
summarize their qualifications, project schedules and costs, and discuss their approach
to the project. The recipient of all these proposals would then evaluate them, select the
best candidate, and then work up a contract.
But proposals come about much less formally. Imagine that you are interested in
doing a project at work (for example, investigating the merits of bringing in some new
technology to increase productivity). Imagine that you visited with your supervisor
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and tried to convince her of this. She might respond by saying, "Write me a proposal
and I'll present it to upper management." As you can see from these examples,
proposals can be divided into several categories:


Internal, external. If you write a proposal to someone within
your organization (a business, a government agency, etc.), it is
an internal proposal. With internal proposals, you may not have
to include certain sections (such as qualifications), or you may
not have to include as much information in them. An external
proposal is one written from one separate, independent
organization or individual to another such entity. The typical
example is the independent consultant proposing to do a project
for another firm. (The proposal that begins on page is an
example of an internal proposal; the one beginning on page is
an example of an external proposal.)
Solicited, unsolicited. If a proposal is solicited, the recipient of
the proposal in some way requested the proposal. Typically, a
company will send out requests for proposals (RFPs) through
the mail or publish them in some news source. But proposals
can be solicited on a very local level: for example, you could be
explaining to your boss what a great thing it would be to install
a new technology in the office; your boss might get interested
and ask you to write up a proposal that offered to do a formal
study of the idea. Unsolicited proposals are those in which the
recipient has not requested proposals. With unsolicited
proposals, you sometimes must convince the recipient that a
problem or need exists before you can begin the main part of
the proposal. (The proposal that begins on page is an example
of an unsolicited proposal; the one beginning on page is an
example of a solicited proposal.)
Figure 3-1. Academic proposal: use this format if you cannot define a scenario for
your report project or for your proposal. (Use this approach only if all else fails and if
your instructor agrees!)
Other options for the proposal assignment. It may be that you cannot force your
report-project plans into the proposal context. It may be that you cannot force your
brain into imagining a proposal scenario. There is the option of writing the straight
academic proposal--you address it to your instructor and make no pretence of realism.
An example of this type of proposal is shown in Figure 3-1. Talk about this option
with your instructor--there may be other requirements or a difference in the way it is
evaluated.
Typical Scenarios for the Proposal
It gets a bit tricky dreaming up a good technical report project and then a proposal
project that proposes at least in part to write that report. Here are some ideas:
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



Imagine that a company has some sort of problem or wants to
make some sort of improvement. It sends out a request for
proposals; you receive one and respond with a proposal. You
offer to come in, investigate, interview, make
recommendations--and present it all in the form of a report.
Some organization wants a seminar in your expertise. You
write a proposal to give the seminar--included in the package
deal is a guide or handbook that the people attending the
seminar will receive.
You want to write a business prospectus for the kind of
business you intend to start up. Imagine that you want a topquality prospectus and don't have the time or expertise to
prepare one; therefore, you send out request for proposals to
professional consultants. You change hats and pretend you are
Business Startup Consultants, Inc., and send your other self a
proposal to do the job. Your proposal accepted, you (as
Business Startup Consultants, Inc.) write the prospectus.
Some agency has just started using a fancy desktop-publishing
system, but the documentation is giving people fits. You
receive a request for proposals from this agency to write some
sort of simplified guide or startup guide.
Common Sections in Proposals
The following is a review of the sections you'll commonly find in proposals. Don't
assume that each one of them has to be in the actual proposal you write, nor that they
have to be in the order they are presented here--plus you may discover that other
kinds of information not mentioned here must be included in your particular proposal.
As you read the following on common sections in proposals, check out the example
proposals starting on page . Not all of the sections discussed in the following will
show up in the examples, but most will.
Introduction. Plan the introduction to your proposal carefully. Make sure it does all
of the following things (but not necessarily in this order) that apply to your particular
proposal:




Indicate that the document to follow is a proposal.
Refer to some previous contact with the recipient of the
proposal or to your source of information about the project.
Find one brief motivating statement that will encourage the
recipient to read on and to consider doing the project.
Give an overview of the contents of the proposal.
Now remember: you may not need all of these elements, and some of them can
combine neatly into single sentences. The introduction ought to be brisk and to the
point and not feel as though it is trudging laboriously through each of these elements.
Take a look at the introductions in the first two example proposals listed at the
beginning of this chapter, and try to identify these elements.
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Background on the problem, opportunity, or situation. Often occurring just
after the introduction, the background section discusses what has brought about the
need for the project--what problem, what opportunity there is for improving things,
what the basic situation is. For example, management of a chain of daycare centers
may need to ensure that all employees know CPR (maybe new state guidelines have
been enacted about CPR certification). An owner of pine timber land in east Texas
may want to get the land productive of saleable timber without destroying the
ecology. (The section entitled "Need for a Wellness Program," in example proposal 1
(listed at the beginning of this chapter) is a good example of this.)
It's true that the audience of the proposal may know the problem very well, in which
case this section might not be needed. Writing the background section still might be
useful, however, in demonstrating your particular view of the problem. And, if the the
proposal is unsolicited, a background section is almost a requirement--you will
probably need to convince the audience that the problem or opportunity exists and
that it should be addressed.
Benefits and feasibility of the proposed project. Most proposals discuss the
advantages or benefits of doing the proposed project. This acts as an argument in
favor of approving the project. Also, some proposals discuss the likelihood of the
project's success. In the forestry proposal, the proposer is recommending that the
landowner make an investment; at the end of the proposal, he explores the question of
what return there will be on that investment, how likely those returns are. In the
unsolicited proposal, this section is particularly important--you are trying to "sell" the
audience on the project.
Figure 3-2. Schematic view of proposals. Remember that is a typical or common
model for the contents and organization--many others are possible.
Figure 3-3. Schematic view of proposals--continued. Remember too that each of the
specific sections shown here may not be necessary in your proposal and that the order
shown here may not be entirely right for your proposal.
Description of the proposed work (results of the project). Most proposals
must describe the finished product of the proposed project. In this course, that means
describing the written document you propose to write, its audience and purpose;
providing an outline; and discussing such things as its length, graphics, binding, and
so forth.) In the scenario you define, there may be other work such as conducting
training seminars or providing an ongoing service. Add that too.
Method, procedure, theory. In most proposals, you'll want to explain how you'll
go about doing the proposed work, if approved to do it. This acts as an additional
persuasive element; it shows the audience you have a sound, well-thought-out
approach to the project. Also, it serves as the other form of background some
proposals need. Remember that the background section (the one discussed above)
focused on the problem or need that brings about the proposal. However, in this
section, you discuss the technical background relating to the procedures or technology
you plan to use in the proposed work. For example, in the forestry proposal, the writer
gives a bit of background on how timber management is done. Once again, this gives
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you the proposal writer a chance to show that you know what you are talking about,
and build confidence in the audience that you are a good choice to do the project.
Schedule. Most proposals contain a section that shows not only the projected
completion date but also key milestones for the project. If you are doing a large
project spreading over many months, the timeline would also show dates on which
you would deliver progress reports. And if you can't cite specific dates, cite amounts
of time or time spans for each phase of the project. (See the examples of the schedule
section in the examples proposals listed at the beginning of this chapter.
Qualifications. Most proposals contain a summary of the proposing individual's or
organization's qualifications to do the proposed work. It's like a mini-resume
contained in the proposal. The proposal audience uses it to decide whether you are
suited for the project. Therefore, this section lists work experience, similar projects,
references, training, and education that shows familiarity with the project. (See the
examples of the qualifications section in the examples proposals listed at the
beginning of this chapter.)
Costs, resources required. Most proposals also contain a section detailing the
costs of the project, whether internal or external. With external projects, you may
need to list your hourly rates, projected hours, costs of equipment and supplies, and so
forth, and then calculate the total cost of the complete project. With internal projects,
there probably won't be a fee, but you should still list the project costs: for example,
hours you will need to complete the project, equipment and supplies you'll be using,
assistance from other people in the organization, and so on.
Conclusions. The final paragraph or section of the proposal should bring readers
back to a focus on the positive aspects of the project (you've just showed them the
costs). In the final section, you can end by urging them to get in touch to work out the
details of the project, to remind them of the benefits of doing the project, and maybe
to put in one last plug for you or your organization as the right choice for the project.
Special project-specific sections. Remember that the preceding sections are
typical or common in written proposals, not absolute requirements. Similarly, some
proposals may require other sections not discussed above. Don't let your proposal
planning be dictated by the preceding discussion. Always ask yourself what else
might my audience need to understand the project, the need for it, the benefits arising
from it, my role in it, my qualifications to it What else might my readers need to be
convinced to allow me to do the project? What else do they need to see in order to
approve the project and to approve me to do the project?
Organization of Proposals
As for the organization of the content of a proposal, remember that it is essentially a
sales, or promotional kind of thing. Here are the basic steps it goes through:
1. You introduce the proposal, telling the readers its purpose and
contents.
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2. You present the background--the problem, opportunity, or
situation that brings about the proposed project. Get the reader
concerned about the problem, excited about the opportunity, or
interested in the situation in some way.
3. State what you propose to do about the problem, how you plan
to help the readers take advantage of the opportunity, how you
intend to help them with the situation.
4. Discuss the benefits of doing the proposed project, the
advantages that come from approving it.
5. Describe exactly what the completed project would consist of,
what it would look like, how it would work--describe the
results of the project.
6. Discuss the method and theory or approach behind that
method--enable readers to understand how you'll go about the
proposed work.
7. Provide a schedule, including major milestones or checkpoints
in the project.
8. Briefly list your qualifications for the project; provide a miniresume of the background you have that makes you right for
the project.
9. Now (and only now), list the costs of the project, the resources
you'll need to do the project.
10. Conclude with a review of the benefits of doing the project (in
case the shock from the costs section was too much), and urge
the audience to get in touch or to accept the proposal.
Notice the overall logic of the movement through these section: you get them
concerned about a problem or interested in an opportunity, then you get them excited
about how you'll fix the problem or do the project, then you show them what good
qualifications you have--then hit them with the costs, but then come right back to the
good points about the project.
Format of Proposals
You have the following options for the format and packaging of your proposal. It does
not matter which you use as long as you use the memorandum format for internal
proposals and the business-letter format for external proposals.
Figure 3-4. Excerpts from two proposals, one internal, the other external. These
examples integrate the cover letter (or memo) and the proposal proper into one
continuous document.

Cover letter with separate proposal: In this format, you
write a brief "cover" letter and attach the proposal proper after
it. The cover letter briefly announces that a proposal follows
and outlines the contents of it. In fact, the contents of the cover
letter are pretty much the same as the introduction (discussed in
the previous section). Notice, however, that the proposal proper
that follows the cover letter repeats much of what you see in the
cover letter. This is because the letter may get detached from
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the proposal or the recipient may not even bother to look at the
letter and just dive right into the proposal itself. (This format is
illustrated in Figure 3-5.)
Figure 3-5. Excerpts from a proposal that uses a cover letter. The proposal
proper uses a title at the top of the page and repeats some of the contents of the
cover letter (in case the letter is separated from the proposal). A cover memo
would work the same way as the business letter does in this example.



Cover memo with separate proposal: In this format, you
write a brief "cover" memo and attach the proposal proper after
it. The cover memo briefly announces that a proposal follows
and outlines the contents of it. In fact, the contents of the cover
memo are pretty much the same as the introduction (discussed
in the previous section). The proposal proper that repeats much
of what's in the cover memo. This is because the memo may get
detached from the proposal or the reader may not even bother
to look at the memo and just dive right into the proposal itself.
(See Figure 3-5 and just picture the letter reformatted as a
memo.)
Business-letter proposal: In this format, you put the entire
proposal within a standard business letter. You include
headings and other special formatting elements as if it were a
report. (This format is illustrated in the left portion of Figure 34.)
Memo proposal: In this format, you put the entire proposal
within a standard office memorandum. You include headings
and other special formatting elements as if it were a report.
(This format is illustrated in the right portion of Figure 3-4.)
Special Assignment Requirements
Remember that the assignment for this unit serves several purposes: (1) to give you
some experience in writing a proposal; (2) to get you to start planning your term
report; (3) to give your instructor a chance to work with you on your report project, to
make sure you've got something workable. For the second and third reasons, you need
to include to include certain specific contents in (or with) your proposal, some of
which may not seem appropriate in the proposal proper. If it doesn't fit in the proposal
proper, put it in a memo to your instructor as is done in first example proposal listed
at the beginning of this chapter. Here's a checklist of what to include somewhere in
the proposal or in an attached memo to the instructor:


Audience: Describe the audience of the proposal and the
proposed report (they may be different) in terms of the
organization they work for, their titles and jobs, their technical
background, their ability to understand the report you propose
to write.
Situation: Describe the intended audience of the proposal: who
they are, what they do, what their level of knowledge and
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



background on the proposal topic is. Describe the situation in
which the proposal is written and in which the project is
needed: what problems or needs are there? who has them,
where are they located?
Report type: Explain what type of report you intend to write: is
it a technical background report? a feasibility report? Provide
enough explanation so that your instructor can see that you
understand the type of report.
Information sources: List information sources; make sure you
know that there is adequate information for your topic; list
specific books, articles, reference works, other kinds of sources
that you think will contribute to your report.
Graphics: List the graphics you think your report will need
according to their type and their content. (If you can't think of
any your report would need, you may not have a good topic--do
some brainstorming with your instructor.)
Outline: Include an outline of the topics and subtopics you
think you'll cover in your report.
Revision Checklist for Proposals
As you reread and revise your proposal, watch out for problems such as the following:








Make sure you use the right format. Remember, the memo
format is for internal proposals; the business-letter format is for
proposals written from one external organization to another.
(Whether you use a cover memo or cover letter is your choice.)
Write a good introduction--in it, state that this is a proposal,
and provide an overview of the contents of the proposal.
Make sure to identify exactly what you are proposing to do.
Make sure that a report--a written document--is somehow
involved in the project you are proposing to do. Remember that
in this course we are trying to do two things: write a proposal
and plan a term-report project.
Make sure the sections are in a logical, natural order. For
example, don't hit the audience with schedules and costs before
you've gotten them interested in the project.
Break out the costs section into specifics; include hourly rates
and other such details. Don't just hit them with a whopping big
final cost.
For internal projects, don't omit the section on costs and
qualifications: there will be costs, just not direct ones. For
example, how much time will you need, will there be printing,
binding costs? Include your qualifications--imagine your
proposal will go to somebody in the organization who doesn't
know you.
Be sure and address the proposal to the real or realistic
audience--not your instructor. (You can use your instructor's
name as the CEO or supervisor of the organization you are
sending the proposal to.)
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

Watch out for generating technobabble. Yes, some of your
proposal readers may know the technical side of your project-but others may not. Challenge yourself to bring difficult
technical concepts down to a level that nonspecialists can
understand.
Be sure to include all the information listed in "Special
assignment requirements". If it doesn't logically or naturally fit
in the proposal itself, put it in a memo to your instructor.
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Online Technical Writing: Progress Reports
You write a progress report to inform a supervisor, associate, or customer about
progress you've made on a project over a certain period of time. The project can be
the design, construction, or repair of something, the study or research of a problem or
question, or the gathering of information on a technical subject. You write progress
reports when it takes well over three or four months to complete a project. In the
progress report, you explain any or all of the following:





How much of the work is complete
What part of the work is currently in progress
What work remains to be done
What problems or unexpected things, if any, have arisen
How the project is going in general
Note: Students enrolled in the Online Technical Writing are encouraged to take the
reading quiz on this chapter. (Anybody else is welcome to try it as well.)
Progress reports have several important functions:





Reassure recipients that you are making progress, that the
project is going smoothly, and that it will be complete by the
expected date.
Provide their recipients with a brief look at some of the
findings or some of the work of the project.
Give their recipients a chance to evaluate your work on the
project and to request changes.
Give you a chance to discuss problems in the project and thus
to forewarn recipients.
Force you to establish a work schedule so that you'll complete
the project on time.
Note: Be sure to check out the example progress report:
The frames and nonframes versions work only on Netscape
version 3 or later. If you are using Microsoft Internet
Explorer, click Plain (or download Netscape).
Example progress report 1: Construction
Frames
Handbook for a Mycological Growroom
Nonframes Plain
Example progress report 2: Database
Development
Frames
Nonframes Plain
Example progress report 3: Debugging
Techniques with Scheme
Frames
Nonframes Plain
Example progress report 4: Quartz Etch
Frames
Nonframes Plain
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Rate Project
Example progress report 5: Therapeutic
Electrical Stimulation Therapy (TES)
for Children with Cerebral Palsy
Online Technical Writing
Frames
Nonframes Plain
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Mushroom Mountain Co.
2427 Route 72
Bandera, TX 76520
(210) 445-6223
April 19, 1998
Richard Smoker, Editor in Chief
Power Press
1452 Industry Rd.
San Francisco, CA 94618
Re: Progress report on writing the guidelines and parameters on the
construction of a mycological grow room.
Dear Mr. Smoker:
We are pleased to have the opportunity to discuss the status of our development of
construction plans for a mycological growroom. As you are aware, the market for
exotic mushrooms has increased tremendously over the past several years. Properly
constructing and marketing plans for the mycological grow room will assist your
organization by filling a niche in current publications and provide a necessary
resource for the horticulturist.
The attached progress report outlines Mushroom Mountain Company's status on the
project. In the progress report we include our intended audience, description of the
work, the outline, a list of figures, and our overall appraisal of the project.
We are confident in our ability to produce the highest quality document. Should you
have any questions feel free to call the number above at any time.
Sincerely,
Bradleigh K. Bixford, Proprietor
Mushroom Mountain Co.
Attached: Progress Report
Progress Report: Construction of a Mycological Growroom
As you are aware, our company was hired by the Power Press to design floorplans and
elevations that can be modified by the builder, details of systems, as well as necessary
text, the result will enable your company to produce a high quality detailed
construction manual to market world wide. Following is a progress report on the
project. In it you will find the intended audience a brief description of the proposed
work, the outline for the manual with references, list of figures and our overall status
on the project. The overall status can be determined by breaking up the project into
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three major tasks and discussing what is complete and what remains to be done in
each category. The three major tasks are:



Developing floorplans with elevations.
Developing the detail drawings.
Writing the necessary text.
Audience
This construction manual will assume that the purchaser has prior knowledge of
details in the process of mushroom cultivation. A general overview as well as the
necessary text to bring the builder through the construction will be included, however,
to define the variables utilized in the growroom. Also, no more than basic
construction skills will assumed on the part of the target readers.
Description of the proposed work
The proposed manual will provide enough details that the actual room can be built by
a competent construction company. Floorplans, elevations, details of ducting,
filtering, heating, cooling, and humidification systems are all included graphically and
dimensioned where possible. The individual factors that will be addressed in the
manual as well as where the graphics will be inserted are detailed in the outline
below.
Outline. The floorplans included will have been extensively tested and will provide
near-perfect conditions although a focus of this manual is on the necessary factors to
consider when building the room. This way the individual grower can customize the
included floorplans to fit his/her specific needs or area. Formulas to calculate air
exchange rates and ducting are included to aid in this area. Following is the outline for
the manual:
I.
II.
III.
IV.
Introduction
Overview of general process of mushroom cultivation
A.
Spore collection, germination and isolation of mycelium
B.
Preparation of the inoculum
1.
Expansion of the mycelial mass on agar then grain
2.
Implantation of grain spawn on substrate
C.
Fruitbody initialization and development
Sterile technique
1. Sources of contamination
a. Immediate external environment
b. Culture medium
c. Culturing equipment
d. Cultivator's body and clothes
e. Mushroom spores of mycelium
2. Design of sterile laboratory
. Schematic
a. Tools, accessories
Mycological growroom
0. Structure
0.
Floorplans, elevations
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V.
1.
Insulation
2.
Sealing
3.
Drainage
1. Shelving and trays
2. Environmental control systems
0.
Air
1.
Purification
2.
Filters
3.
Fans
4.
Air exchange formula
5.
Exhaust vents
6.
Ducting formula
7.
Temperature
a.
Heating
b.
Cooling
8.
Humidification
a.
Live steam
b.
Mist
9.
Monitoring equipment
a.
Thermostats
b.
Humidistats
10.
Lighting
Putting it all together (conclusion)
Bibliography. Here are the information sources we have been working with:
1. Atkins, F. "Buildings for Mushroom Holdings." The Mushroom Journal
(November, 1965), 191-204.
2. Austin, Phillip R. Encyclopedia of Cleanrooms, Bio-Cleanrooms, and Aseptic
Areas. New York: Interpharm Press, 1995
3. Bittner, C.W. "The Pathogens of Mushroom Spawn." Mushroom Science
(December, 1972), 601-606.
4. Drake, M.G. "Insulation for the Mushroom Grower." Mushroom Growers
Association Bulletin (March, 1961), 111-126.
5. Edwards, R.L. "Mushroom House Ventilation in Theory and Practice." The
Mushroom Journal (August, 1973), 3-14.
6. Institute of Environmental Science. Federal Standard 209E (Fed-Std-209E:
Airborne Particulate Cleanliness-Classes in Cleanrooms and Clean Zones.
Fed-Std-209E. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1992.
7. Schroeder, M.E., Schisler, L.C., and Wuest, P.J. "A Unitized Forced Air
Ventilation System for Mushroom Growing." Progress Report No. 302
(January, 1970) 1-35.
8. Shiio, T., Okunishi, M., and Okumura, S. "Fundamental Studies on the Large
Scale Cultivation of Edible Fungi." Mushroom Science IX (Part 1) (April,
1974) 17-48.
9. Sinden, J.W. "Disease Problems in Technologically Advanced Mushroom
Farms." Mushroom Science VIII (September, 1972) 125-130.
10. Stamets, P., Chilton, J.S. The Mushroom Cultivator: A Practical Guide to
Growing Mushrooms at Home. Olympia, Washington: Agarikon Press, 1984.
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11. Tschierpe, H.J. "Environmental Factors and Mushroom Growing." The
Mushroom Journal (Jan.-Feb., 1972) 23-30.
12. Wuest, P.J "The Use of Steam for Phase II." Mushroom News (November,
1970) 18-23.
List of Figures. Here are the illustrations we are planning for the project:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Pictorial overview of the general process of mushroom cultivation
Schematic of a simple sterile laboratory
Floorplans and elevations of the mycological grow room
Shelving system schematic
Tray system schematic
Air purification and temperature control system detail
Humidification system detail
Development of Floorplans and Elevations
This task proceeded along smoothly. It has been divided into two categories:
completed, and work to be done, in order to determine the status of the project.
Completed. We were able to make good progress in the development of the
drawings and have completed both the floorplans and the elevations. We have
enclosed them and await your final input. the drawings completed refer to
Figure 2 andFigure 3.
Work to be done. Upon receipt of the final input the revisions will need to be
made to the drawings, they will be made photo-ready and inserted into the
text.
Development of the Detail Drawings
This category has been divided into completed, and work to be done to establish the
status of the task.


Completed. This phase proceeded at a very good pace and we have completed
all the initial detail drawings. We have enclosed them and await your final
input. The corresponding figures they refer to are:
o Figure 1
o Figure 4
o Figure 5
o Figure 6
o Figure 7
Work to be done. The final revisions will be done pending your input. They
will be made photo-ready to save your set up time and inserted into the text.
Writing the Necessary Text
This phase of the project proves the most difficult and more needs to be done. This
section has also been divided into the same two categories.

Completed. We were able to finish a good deal of the text and have enclosed it
for your review. The corresponding sections from the outline are as follows:
o Section I
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o
o

Section II
Section IIIA
Work to be done. Section III proved to be difficult due to the technical nature
of the formulas. We have found errors in our figures and as soon as they are
resolved we will send this and section IV to Mr. Smoker.
Overall Appraisal
The project has come together nicely and looks very professional though we do admit
we will be unable to deliver the finished product by the April 20 deadline. Our figures
for the air exchange and lighting requirements were found to be inaccurate and will be
resolved. The remaining text will be completed soon after and immediately sent to
Mr. Smoker. We apologize for the tardiness and hope that the quality will more than
make up for this delay.
After all final revisions of the drawings and text are completed they will be made
photo-ready, compiled, and immediately sent to Mr. Smoker. The problems we have
incurred have set our final date back two weeks. We urge you to call at our office
number with any problems you might have.
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Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs
Awardee Information Management System:
Progress Report and Information Systems Analysis
The following progress report on the Awardee Information Management System
(AIMS) provides a summary of the activity to date on the project and the remaining
steps needed to create the proposed database system. This document focuses on the
information systems and technical requirements but only briefly describes the
program area issues. The first phase of the implementation of the project only
involves three program areas: Home, HTF, and LIHTC.
Background
In October 1997, David Greenes, Mary Larris, and Gracie Offield formed a work
group to develop a design for a report that would provide information to management
and the public regarding the funding provided by TDHCA. The work group met daily
for several months to determine a report design that would meet the information needs
for the agency. Home, HTF and LIHTC were the initial program areas studied. The
initial design outline was created based on the program activities of these areas.
In January 1998, Gracie Offield was removed from the project to work on the CSAS
PeopleSoft implementation. The PeopleSoft implementation was to have been
completed by March, but did not actually wrap up until the end of June. In the
interim, David Greenes and Mary Larris were removed from the project due to a
conflict with the statutory requirements of their positions in the agency.
The AIMS project team is now composed of Gracie Offield, Juan Garzna, Alex
Maldonado, and Jana Cormier (HTF). Alex Maldonado is the technical project leader.
Jana Cormier is the program area liason. Gracie Offield and Juan Garzna are
programmers on the project. Additional programmers will work on specific tasks
associated with the project.
Project Description
The Awardee Information Management System was initially proposed because
TDHCA currently does not have a central database that contains information on all
awardees who receive funding, tax credits, or other compensation from the agency.
The agency has established that there is a pressing need for a database that will
provide uniform awardee and contract information for all program areas.
The technical goal for the AIMS project is to develop a database that will provide
reporting data for analysis of contract performance to determine which awardees
perform according to the standards set out in their contracts. Analysis of the data will
help program staff determine how well each awardee fulfilled the objectives outlined
in the initial contract or agreement. The database will be used for output purposes
only.
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The AIMS project has the following objectives:



Primary objective. Produce a report that will contain uniform information
about every awardee who receives funds or other compensation from TDHCA.
The report will also contain profiles of each of the awardee's contracts with the
agency. The report will be generated on a regular basis to provide current
information to executive management and program personnel.
Secondary objective. Create a central database that will support the report
described above.
Additional objectives. Identify what information is currently stored on existing
systems and to develop a plan for obtaining the information that is not
currently captured.
Scheduling Considerations
The project can be broken down into four phases.




First Phase (Deadline: January 1, 1999). The current database design includes
22 separate tables. The first phase of the project is to create the six core tables
and create the initial web interface by January 1, 1999. The other tables will be
created for the database but will not be populated with data until after the
initial tables are working smoothly.
Second Phase (Deadline: May 1, 1999). The second phase of the project will
be to populate the remaining tables with data from the three initial program
areas (Home, HTF, LIHTC). The second phase will also include refining any
reports to accommodate the additional data.
Third Phase (Deadline: September 1, 1999). The third phase of the project
will be to begin incorporating the remaining program areas into the system.
The core tables will be populated with data by September 1, 1999.
Fourth Phase (Deadline: January 1, 2000). The fourth phase of the project
will be to finish incorporating the remaining program areas into the system.
Requirements
In order to create a functioning database, the following issues must be addressed:



Data Definition
System Functionality
Technical Specifications
o hardware
o implementation
o information support
o existing system modification
Data Definition. The data definition is a catalog of the specific information that is
required for the database.

Work completed. An extensive data definition has been completed. The data
definition is based on the final proposed reports. The data definition has been
attached to this progress report as Attachment A. A copy of the final proposed
report has been attached as Attachment B.
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
Work remaining. As with any large database project, there will be data
inclusions and deletions in the future, but the impact of these changes will be
negligible. The finalization of the data definition will require 10 hours of
information systems time, mostly in the form of additional communication
between team members and documentation of the new fields, if any.
System Functionality. The functional requirements of the database include what the
database will do and how it will be used.


Work completed. The general functional specifications for the project have
been identified. The database will be created as a data warehouse. The data
will be drawn from existing database systems in the agency through the use of
interfaces. There will be no live data entry into the system. The data will be
imported into the new data warehouse on a monthly basis. The frequency of
data transfer will be increased after the initial system test.
Work remaining. The functions of the project have been expanded. Executive
management would like for the database to be accessible on the web. A web
interface will be developed to allow users to access the data according to their
specific needs.
The additional web functions must be documented. Currently, the database will only
support report writing. If there are additional input or query functions required, those
modifications must be analyzed. The remaining functional considerations will require
input from the program areas and executive management. Completion of the
functional design will require at least 40 hours.
Technical Specifications
The technical specifications for the creation of the database can be divided into four
subparts:




Hardware
Implementation
Information support
Existing system modification
Hardware. The data warehouse will require the purchase of an additional server. Juan
Garzna is researching the cost and availability of suitable servers.
Implementation. The technical requirements for the implementation of the AIMS
project are:






design of the database
creation of interfaces that export data from existing systems
creation of interfaces that insert data into the database
batching and scripting of the interfaces to run automatically
design of reports to display the data
design of web interfaces to access the reports and data in the database.
Database Design. The design of the database is the most important element of the
project.
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

Work completed. The design for the database has been completed. The basic
key structure has been determined for all the tables, the relational links have
been worked out on paper, and a prototype of the major tables has been
worked up in Access. The framework is solid. A copy of the database
definition has been attached as Attachment C.
Work remaining. As with any large database project, there will be
modifications made to the design during the testing phase. There are a few
outstanding data issues that must be resolved. These issues need input from
the program areas and executive management. Completion of the data
definition will require 10 hours of information systems time, mostly in the
form of additional communication between team members and documentation
of the new fields.
Export Interfaces. An export interface is a program that runs on an existing database
to extract data to be loaded in to the AIMS database.


Work completed. The interface design documents have been completed and
reviewed by the programmers working on the project.
Work remaining. There are 22 tables in the AIMS database. Each table will
require a separate interface. The interfaces for the 6 core tables will probably
require 50 hours to create and refine. The remaining 16 tables should only take
20 hours each.
For each program area included in the AIMS project, the minimum time required for
interfaces exporting data is:
6 tables *
50 hrs
=
300 hours
16 tables *
20 hrs
=
320 hours
Total
620 hours
The current estimate of the minimum time required to create export interfaces for the
initial three program areas is 1860 hours.
Import Interfaces. An import interface is a program that loads data into the AIMS
database tables. The import interfaces will take less time to write. Only one interface
is needed for each table.


Work completed. The database was originally going to be created in DB2 but
now it will be created in Oracle. Table definitions and load scripts have been
written for DB2.
Work remaining. There should not be too many changes to the scripts on
Oracle. The minimum time required for finalization of the import interfaces is:
22 tables
*
10 hrs
=
220 hours
Interface Batches. The interfaces that export data from the existing systems and the
interfaces that load the data into the new systems will have to run automatically at
night. The group of processes that run the interfaces are referred to as interface
batches.
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

Work completed. Very little work has been done on this segment of the
project. Copies of the interface batches from the CSAS implementation have
been printed out and reviewed.
Work remaining. The batch scripts need to be written. The batching of the
interfaces will take a significant amount of time. For each system in each
program area, a batch job must be created that will coordinate the execution of
each interface. There will also be a batch job to import data from each area.
The coordination of the batch jobs will be facilitated by use of semaphore
files. The estimated time required to write the batch scripts and fine tune them
is 100 hrs.
Reports. Concerning the reporting functions related to the database design:


Work completed. A draft design of the primary report has been created.
Work remaining. The report design must be translated into actual reports. The
estimated time required to create the report is 100 hrs. I have attached a copy
of the report design.
Web Access. Executive management would like for the database to be accessible on
the web. A web interface will be developed to allow users to access the data according
to their specific needs.


Work completed. The initial design did not consider web access. No work has
been completed.
Work remaining. The web interface will be designed and implemented. The
completed reports can be published as html documents and placed on the web.
When the MHT division web pages were developed, it took one programmer 3
months to get all of the functionality completed. The web development for this
project will most likely have a similar level of complexity. Therefore, the time
estimate for this portion of the project is 400 hours.
Information Support
There is data included in the data definition that is not currently tracked by the agency
programs. This information will need to be obtained by the program areas. David
Greenes asked each program area to determine the amount of time that it will take for
staff to gather and input the information required for the AIMS project. The initial
response indicated that there was a significant time component involved.


Work completed. A plan was devised to try to minimize the amount of time
spent by TDHCA staff gathering the additional data. Essentially, the strategy
adopted was to import the existing information into the AIMS system and then
generate a questionnaire to send to the awardees for them to fill out and return
to TDHCA. A copy of the proposed format of the questionnaire is attached to
this document.
Work remaining. The questionnaire will need to be translated into a report.
The amount of time that will be required for the translation of this
questionnaire into a document that is generated from the database is 40 hours.
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Modification of Existing Systems
In order for the proposed system to function efficiently, all information required for
the report must be captured on an existing information system. The technical
requirements for the modification of current systems is different for each program
area as described below:
Home. The Home system on Genesis currently has the capacity to capture about half
the information required by the AIMS system.


Work completed. The missing information has been identified. The Home
system does not have the capacity to capture the level of detail required for the
report sections dealing with loan administration; leveraged sources;
professional fees and costs; consultants, developers, and other contract payees;
and organization principals and officers. It can capture substantially all of the
information regarding awardees; contract specifications and dates; and budget
and expenditure amounts. The Home system can capture some of the
information regarding demographics of the families served by the contract.
Work remaining. Patti Truette is the developer of the Home system. The
estimated time required for him to modify the Home database to accept the
additional information is 85 hours.
Housing Trust Fund. HTF currently captures some information on Genesis and
some in Excel spreadsheets. The system used by HTF is inadequate. Also, there is no
efficient way to automate the export of data from Excel. The system for Housing
Trust Fund needs to be completely moved to Genesis or to another database system
that can be accessed by an interface program to extract its data.


Work completed. The Housing Trust Fund staff has worked hard on the AIMS
project and, in so doing, has defined more or less what they want their new
system to do. Juan Garzna has met with them to discuss creating their system
on Oracle to run off of the intranet.
Work remaining. Modification of the Housing Trust Fund system will take 300
hours.
Low Income Housing Tax Credits. LIHTC uses a third-party software product from
AOD. The AOD system used by LIHTC has the capacity to capture about 85% of the
information requested for the AIMS project. Most of what isn't captured by LIHTC is
not relevant to Tax Credits. Modification of the AOD system cannot be done at
TDHCA. All modifications have to go through AOD or a contracted COBOL
programmer who knows AOD software.
Program Area Requirements
The program areas will be responsible for entering data into their current systems.
LIHTC has prepared a detailed estimate of the amount of time it will take to enter
historical data. The HTF will enter its historical data within six months. Home has not
prepared a detailed analysis.
Current Schedule
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Task
Hours
Deadline
Functional Requirements
Determine web
functionality
40
August 15, 1998
Hardware Requirements
Research cost of
server
15
July 30, 1998
Purchase server
?
August 6, 1998
Implementation
Data Definition
10
September 15, 1998
Functional Design
40
September 15, 1998
620
Initial export interfaces for
six core tables by October
15, 1998
620
Initial export interfaces for
six core tables by October
15, 1998
Export Interface LIHTC
620
Initial export interfaces for
six core tables by October
15, 1998
Import Interface
220
October 15, 1998
Batching
100
Initial batches by December
1, 1998
Reporting
100
Initial reporting based on six
core tables by December 15,
1998
Web Access
400
Web development for
standard views of six core
tables by November 1, 1998
Queries and initial
reports by December
15, 1998
100
Not determined
Export Interface HOME
Export Interface HTF
Modification of Existing Systems
HOME
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All changes to support initial
download of data by
September 15, 1998
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HTF
LIHTC
300
?
All changes to support initial
download of data by
September 15, 1998
Not determined
Overall Conclusions
The AIMS project is coming along well, despite the loss of several months of activity.
The design is sound and there is a realistic timeline in place.
There are no foreseeable major problems that will prevent timely implementation of
this project. There are no other competing projects that might cause delay of this
project. This project has the full support and commitment of the ISSW division.
Note: Attachments A, B, and C have been omitted from this example.
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MEMORANDUM
Paula R. Wellson
University of Texas at Austin, Department of
Computer Sciences
Janice Swiczhier
FROM:
SUBJECT: Progress on Scheme Debugging Report
April 3, 1999
DATE:
TO:
This memo describes the progress I have made to date on my independent-study
project of writing a report on debugging in Scheme. In this memo, I review the nature
of the project and describe work I have completed, work I am currently engaged in,
and work I plan to complete by the end of the project. As I described in my memo of
June 21, this project will result in a technical report whose purpose is to provide
readers with practical information on developing and debugging programs in Scheme,
supplementary to the material in your textbook, An Introduction to Scheme and its
Implementation.
Project Description
The report is aimed at students in computer science (undergraduate and graduate) who
have previous programming experience, but are new to Scheme. The information in
this report is needed because readers who have developed programs using compilers
for other languages may be unfamiliar with the approaches available with an
interactive interpreter and debugger.
Project Scope
In my earlier memo, I proposed to cover the following high-level topics:











Loading the debugging module into the interpreter
Establishing break levels
Applying backtrace
Managing dependencies
Saving and loading a customized heap image of the Scheme system
Debugging local definitions
Debugging native code procedure-calls
Debugging when using functional programming style
Program design/implementation strategies
Using stubbed procedures
Differences between RScheme and other Scheme systems
In my current outline, these are divided into three major parts, with an addendum for
topic 11. The three parts are: (a) basic debugging procedures—topics 1-3, (b)
advanced debugging procedures—topics 4-7, and (c) general program development
strategies—topics 8-10.
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Work Completed
I have completed first drafts of the sections in part A on loading the debugging
module, break levels, and apply-backtrace. I intend to make note of additional
material for these sections while working on the later sections, if further background
information is needed.
Present Work
I am currently working on the sections in part B. Since these sections are highly
interrelated, I am working on them roughly in parallel. I am also currently researching
information on other Scheme systems for section 11; I have located information on
Gambit and DrScheme. I expect the current work to be completed by the end of this
week, July 25th.
Future Work
Next, I will draft the sections in part C and the addendum on other Scheme systems.
Finally, I will fully revise the entire draft, integrating further material where
deficiencies have become evident during work on other sections. The final report will
be ready for your review on August 6th.
Conclusion
Thus far, the project is proceeding well. I have not run into any major problems, nor
do I anticipate any in the remaining work. A current outline is attached.
TENTATIVE OUTLINE
I.
II.
III.
IV.
Introduction
Basic debugging procedures
A.
Loading the debugging module into the interpreter
B.
Break levels
1.
How to get into them
2.
How to get out of them
C.
Apply-backtrace
1.
How to turn it on
2.
How to interpret output
Advanced debugging procedures
A.
Managing dependencies
1.
Reloading code
2.
Rebuilding data structures
B.
Saving and loading a customized heap image of the Scheme system
C.
Debugging local definitions
D.
Debugging native code procedure-calls
Program development strategies
A.
Debugging when using functional programming style
B.
Program design/implementation strategies
1.
Top-down
2.
Bottom-up
3.
Middle-out
C.
Stubbed procedures
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V.
1.
Prompting for user input
2.
Using canned data
Addendum: Differences between RScheme and other Scheme systems
A.
Gambit
B.
DrScheme
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MEMORANDUM
DATE:
TO:
FROM:
RE:
June 15, 1998
Bob Anderss
John Blinneley
Progress report on quartz etch rate project.
Bob, here is the update on the quartz etch rate project that you requested. I've included
some general overview of the project, a review of its subject and scope along with
details on the progress we've made on each objective in the project. I conclude with a
tentative outline of the report.
Project Overview
Subject. The project will develop a method for obtaining quartz etch rates from the
Polyflow vertical quartzware cleaner. A report on the findings will be delivered to you
and the diffusion engineering staff. A procedure for collecting this data in the future
will be created.
Purpose. The purpose of the project is to obtain quartz etch rate data for future
reference. Instructions will be provided that will insure accurate results when
followed.
Progress Overview
There was some initial difficulty getting the necessary supplies for the test, but the
project has run smoothly after these problems were overcome. The project is
approximately 85% completed. I am currently running 7 weeks behind schedule
according to the project checkpoint dates I provided in my January 1, 1998 memo. It
will not take as long to analyze and summarize the information as I initially believed
due to computer software that I was unaware of when the proposal was created. Time
saved, due to the computer's ability to analyze the data, will improve schedule by 3
weeks. You will have the presentation on August 5, 1998.
There are three main phases for this project:
1. Obtaining test materials, researching quartz etch, developing of etch
procedure, writing recipes for the Polyflow, and training on software available
for use.
2. Performing the etch rate tests.
3. Analyzing etch rate tests using statistical process control, authoring
preliminary report for approval, revising preliminary report and submit for
departmental review, and completing the final report and update tool
specification to include new etch procedure.
The first objective is completed. The second objective is 75% complete. All etch rate
tests will be done by the end ofthe month. I have begun to enter data from the etch
tests into the computer for automatic statistical process analysis. There is also a
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completed outline of the report which has beenenclosed. Most of the time has been
spent on the first phase of the project.
Objective 1: Material and Information Acquisition
Work Completed. Immediately upon your approval of the project, I ordered the quartz
chips for the etch tests from Heraus. As you know, there was some difficulty getting
the purchase order approved due to recent cut backs in spending at AMD. It was
necessary to get approval for the purchase of these chips from the fabrication director,
Raphael Lunga. This delayed the process by 3 weeks. Your assistance in obtaining
approval was invaluable. Heraus was approximately 3 weeks late shipping the quartz
etch test disks. There was a problem with the quartz polishing tool and they were
backlogged with orders. During the time I was waiting for approval for purchase and
delivery of the quartz disks, I was able to do extensive research on quartz cleaning.
The additional time was used to create various etching recipes on the Polyflow,
discuss surface roughness testing with the development center, and locate and train on
engineering test software that has enabled me to perform this test more efficiently.
Objective 2: Performing Etch Rate Tests
Work Completed. Execution of the etch rate tests has been flawless. A method for
measuring the disks for thickness and surface roughness was adopted. This method
allows for some disks to be in all phases of the testing process at once (premeasurement for thickness, pre-measurement for surface roughness, etching, post
measurement for thickness and post measurement for surface roughness.) Detailed
instructions were created which allows anyone to repeate procedure. Several operators
were asked to perform and etch test using only the written instructions and no further
information. They were able to repeat the test without error.
Work Remaining. 31 of the 39 necessary etches have been performed. The remaining
8 tests will be completed by the end of the month. Objective 3: Analysis of Data and
Report
Work Completed. All data from completed etch tests have been entered into the
computer for automatic analysis. An outline for the report has been completed.
Work Remaining. Write, and submit for approval, project report. Add etch rate
procedure to the Polyflow operation specification. According to the revised schedule
the report will be submitted on August 5, 1998.
Report Outline
Here is a working outline of the final report I intend to produce:
I.
II.
Introduction
A.
Reason for testing
B.
Brief Description of test
Testing
A.
Information about new quartz test disks
1.
Technical information
a.
Average thickness
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III.
b.
Average surface roughness
2.
Cost
B.
Information about measurement tool
1.
Ease of use
2.
Repeatability
C.
Results
1.
Thickness
2.
Surface roughness
Summary
A.
Recommendation of testing
1.
Successful
2.
Repeatable results
B.
Recognition for assistance
1.
Jack Warnnes, Technical advisor. Heraus—Austin, TX
2.
Darnell Johnlin, Equipment Engineer. Polyflow—Sylmar, CA
3.
Michael McBree, Senior Engineer. AMD—Austin, TX
With the exception of the time delays at the beginning of the project, there have been
no problems. If you wish to see any of the actual data from the testing, let me know. If
you have any suggestions or concerns, please let me know so that I may address them
before I write the report.
Regards,
John Blinneley
Manufacturing Technician, Diffusion
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July 20, 1997
HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Austin
PO Box 13366
Austin, TX 78711
Dr. David McMurrey
Director of Public Relations
United Cerebral Palsy Association of Texas, Inc.
900 Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78701
Dear Dr. McMurrey:
I am writing to inform you about my progress on the report on Therapeutic Electrical
Stimulation Therapy (TES) for children with cerebral palsy, which will be handed out
at the United Cerebral Palsy Program held at the Hilton Hotel. Immediately following
the your organization's 15 June acceptance of my bid to present a seminar and
background report on this topic, I began researching and gathering information in all
areas of this project.
After much research, I have gathered detailed information on the background on
cerebral palsy in children and the effects of TES as a treatment for these children. I
have made adjustments to the explanation about how cerebral palsy and TES affects
the child's physiologically so that your clients, the parents, can fully understand this
difficult topic easily.
My colleagues at HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital have helped me put the project
together. With their help, I have completed one-third of the project; therefore, I expect
to have the final report before or on the determined deadline, August 8.
In the following sections of this progress report, I have included a brief project
description on what your clients can expect to receive at the seminar. I discuss the
work that has been completed, the work I am currently involved in, and the work that
needs to be finished. Finally, I will give the overall assessment of how the project is
going.
Project Description
Here is a review of the purpose and the scope of this project.
Purpose. Not many parents who have a child with cerebral palsy know what
treatments are available. Once parents find all this information, they do not know
what is best for their child and/or do not understand how these treatments improve
their children's physical and social health. The purpose of this project is to educate
parents about TES and its uses for children with cerebral palsy.
Scope. This technical report will cover the basic background about cerebral palsy and
Therapeutic Electrical Stimulation Therapy. The report will be broken into two major
topics: (1) cerebral palsy and (2) TES therapy; however, each topic is described in
detail. Cerebral palsy section will be discussed in the following four areas:
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



Terminology used
Causes of cerebral palsy
Forms of cerebral palsy
Treatments available
TES section however will include four broad areas:




Background on Electrical Stimulation therapy
Uses of TES therapy for children with cerebral palsy
Studies done with TES therapy for children with cerebral palsy
Advantages and risks of using TES
Work Completed
As of this time, I have completed most of the research work and am putting the
sections of the final report together. The following is what I have already done on the
two major topics of the technical report.
Cerebral palsy background. This topic describing cerebral palsy is fully written. I
have described in full detail the impact of this developmental disorder on children.
This section includes the physiological background of cerebral palsy, the terminology
needed to understand cerebral palsy, the forms of cerebral palsy, and what treatment
is available. All of these points will help parents understand their children's condition.
Therapeutic Electrical Stimulation Therapy. This topic of the paper has been fully
researched. I have finished describing the history of electrical stimulation therapy
which will give background to how TES evolved. So far, I have detailed information
to discuss TES's uses for children with cerebral palsy, the One 2 One Stimulator,
studies done with TES therapy for children with cerebral palsy, advantages and risks
of using TES.
Current Work
Right now, I am mainly involved in the organization of the TES information. Also, I
am currently looking for graphics to illustrate cerebral palsy in a child and the TES
effects.
Cerebral Palsy Background. Since this section of the report is done, I am currently
determining which areas of this topic are lacking information. At this stage, I am
asking my colleagues to proofread this topic of the report for proper grammar,
accuracy of the information, and easy comprehension.
Therapeutic Electrical Stimulation Therapy. For this section of the report, I am in
the process of finishing the written portion of the background on TES, its apparatus,
the studies done with TES, and the advantages and risks of using TES. Most of my
time is devoted in this topic since it is the purpose of the technical report. I am also
putting the finishing touches on the history and physiological background of electrical
stimulation therapy and the differences between Functional Electrical Stimulation
therapy and TES therapy.
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Future Work
I have planned to ask my colleagues to proofread the finished report so that the
information in the report is explained accurately and understandably. I will also do
some fine-tuning on the main part of the report, the effects of TES on children with
cerebral palsy.
Cerebral Palsy Background. I will need to insert my graphics in the text of this
section. I plan to use graphics illustrating the nervous system of human body so that a
terminology used in the report can be fully understood. I will also make tables about
the risks of cerebral palsy, so that parents have a reference as to what signs to look for
to prevent other complications.
Therapeutic Electrical Stimulation Therapy. In this section of the report, I will
include graphics in the text. I plan to put graphics illustrating the physiological effects
of TES on the body, the apparatus, and the tables or graphics demonstrating studies
done on children with cerebral palsy. I am however concerned that there will be
technical terminology that might be confusing to the reader; therefore, I plan to have
nonspecialists read this section so I can receive feedback.
Overall Assessment of the Report
The project to give a seminar and technical background report on TES for children
with cerebral palsy is coming along well. I have not come across any obstacles and
have found a great amount of material on this subject.
Enclosed is a full detailed outline of the report as it stands now. If you have any
questions or suggestions about the outline, or if you would like to read the report in its
current state, please let me know. As it stands, the progress of the report is coming
together well; thus, I expect the final report to be turn in before or on the scheduled
date.
Sincerely,
Lisa Candelas, P.T.
HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital
Encl.: Outline of the Current Progress of the Report
Technical Background Report on TES for Children with Cerebral Palsy:
Outline
I.
II.
Introduction
Technical Background on Cerebral Palsy
A.
What is Cerebral Palsy
B.
Terminology Used to Describe Cerebral Palsy
1.
Muscle Tone
2.
Nervous System
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C.
III.
IV.
Causes of Cerebral Palsy
1.
Developmental Brain Malformation
2.
Neurological Damage
D.
Forms of Cerebral Palsy
1.
spastic cerebral palsy
2.
athetoid cerebral palsy
3.
ataxic cerebral palsy
4.
mixed forms
Medication and Treatment Available
A.
Electrical Stimulation Therapy
1.
History
2.
Physiological Background
B.
Comparisons with Functional Electrical Stimulation Therapy
C.
Therapeutic Electrical Stimulation (TES) Therapy
1.
Its Uses for Children with Cerebral Palsy
2.
The Apparatus: One 2 One Stimulator
a.
The Equipment
b.
Documentation
c.
Problems
3.
Studies Done with TES Therapy for Children with Cerebral
Palsy
a.
Pilot Studies done by Karen E. Pape, et al.
b.
Research done by D. Gaebler-Spira, et al.
4.
Advantages and Risks of Using TES
a.
Advantages of TES
b.
Risks of TES
Conclusion
A.
Summary of Medical Treatment for Children with Cerebral Palsy
B.
Summary of TES and Its Successes for Improving a Child's Health
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Timing and Format of Progress Reports
In a year-long project, there are customarily three progress reports, one after three,
six, and nine months. Depending on the size of the progress report, the length and
importance of the project, and the recipient, the progress report can take the following
forms:



Memo--A short, informal report to someone within your
organization
Letter--A short, informal report sent to someone outside your
organization
Formal report--A long, formal report sent to someone outside
your organization
Take a look at the discussion in Format of Proposals. You can use the same format on
progress reports as you can on proposals: memo, letter, separated report; or cover
memo or letter with separate report.
Organizational Patterns for Progress Reports
The recipient of a progress report wants to see what you've accomplished on the
project, what you are working on now, what you plan to work on next, and how the
project is going in general. To report this information, you combine two of these
organizational strategies: time periods, project tasks, or report topics.
Time periods. A progress report usually summarizes work within each of the
following:



Work accomplished in the preceding period(s)
Work currently being performed
Work planned for the next period(s)
Project tasks. Practically every project breaks down into individual tasks:
Project
Individual tasks
Building municipal
community interest
ball parks on citysuitable property
owned land
property
Measuring
Locating
Clearing the
Designing the
bleachers, fences, etc.
Writing a report
assignment
Studying the
Selecting a
topic
Identifying the
audience of the report
Narrowing the
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topic
Developing a
rough outline
Gathering
information
Writing one or
more rough drafts
Documenting the
report
Revising and
editing the report draft
Typing and
proofreading the report
Putting the
report in its final package
Report topics. You can also organize your progress report according to the work
done on the sections of the final report. In a report project on cocombusting municipal
solid waste, you would need information on these topics:
Topics to be covered in the final report
1.
The total amount of MSW produced
--locally
--nationally
2. The energy potential of MSW, factors
affecting its
energy potential
3. Costs to modify city utilities in order to
change to
cocombustion
For each of these topics, you'd explain the work you have done, the work you are
currently doing, and the work you have planned.
A progress report is a combination of two of these organizational strategies. The
following outline excerpts give you an idea of how they combine:
Progress report A
Progress report C
Progress report B
Task 1
Topic 1
Work completed
Work completed
Current work
Current work
Planned work
Planned work
Work Completed
Task 2
Current Work
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Task 2
Task 3
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Topic 2
Work completed
Work completed
Current work
Current work
Planned work
Planned work
Task 3
Topic 3
Work completed
Work completed
Current work
Current work
Planned work
Planned work
Task 1
Task 2
Task 3
Current Work
Task 1
Task 2
Task 3
Figure 3-6 shows an example of the project-tasks approach with subheadings for time
periods; Figure 3-7 shows the time-period approach with subheadings for report
topics.
Brine Drainage Tube Modifications
During this period, we have continued to work
on problems associated with
the brine drainage tubes.
Previous period. After minor adjustments
during a month of operation,
the drainage tubes and the counterwasher have
performed better but still
not completely satisfactorily. The screen
sections of these tubes, as you
know, are located at variable distances along
the height of the washer.
Current period. The screen portion of the
brine drainage tubes
have been moved to within 5 feet of the top of
the pack. So far, no change
in counterwasher performance has been observed.
Production statistics at
the end of this month (February) should give us
a clearer idea of the effect
of this modification.
Next period. Depending on the continued
performance of the
screen in its current position in relation to
the top of the pack, we may
move the screen to within 3 feet of the top of
the pack in the next period of
testing. Although the wash ratio was greater
with greater screen height, the
washing efficiency seems to remain relatively
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constant as the production
vs. compressor KW data for all screen locations
so far has seemed to
follow the same linear curve.
Figure 3-6. Progress report organized by project tasks and time periods
WORK COMPLETED
As of this time, I have completed almost all of
the research work and am
putting the sections of the final report
together. Here is a breakdown of
the work that I have done so far.
Development of the Bottle
In the development section of my report, I have
written a technical description of a typical PET soft-drink bottle. It is
very complete and gives the
reader a good idea of what the product should
look like and able to
accomplish.
Favorable Properties
The section of the report describing the
properties of PET is finished.
I have chosen four physical properties that
many raw materials containers
are tested for, and I have shown how PET
withstands these tests.
Manufacturing Processes
For the section on manufacturing processes, I
have done research to help
me recommend one particular production method
for PET bottles. Here, I
have described this chosen method and have
explained exactly how a plastic
bottle is produced on an assembly line.
Economics
I have finished work on half the economics
section of this report. So far,
I have written an econimic comparison of the
use of plastic and glass
bottles.
PRESENT WORK
Right now I am mainly involved in determining
just which areas of my
report are lacking information. Also, I am
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continuing my work in locating
financial information on PET bottles.
Manufacturing Processes
In the manufucaturing section, I am currently .
. .
Figure 3-7. Progress report organized by time periods and report topics
Other Parts of Progress Reports
In your progress report, you also need (a) an introduction that reviews the history of
the project's beginnings as well as the purpose and scope of the work, (b) a detailed
description of your project, and (c) an overall appraisal of the project to date, which
usually acts as the conclusion.
Introduction. Review the details of your project's purpose, scope, and activities. This
will aid recipients who are unfamiliar with the project, who do not remember certain
details, or who want to doublecheck your approach to the project. The introduction
can contain the following:







Purpose of the project
Specific objectives of the project
Scope, or limits, of the project
Date the project began; date the project is scheduled to be
completed
People or organization working on the project
People or organization for whom the project is being done
Overview of the contents of the progress report
I am now submitting to you a report on the
progress that I have
made on my research for your company,
Ginseng Cola. Immediately
following the January 15 acceptance of my
firm's bid to study
the advantages of bottling your soft-drink
product in plastic
bottles, I began investigating all areas
of the project.
In the following sections of this progress
report, you will be
informed on the work that I have already
accomplished, the work
I am now involved in, the work left to do,
and finally an overall
appraisal of the how the project is going.
Figure 3-8. Example introduction to a progress report
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Project description. In most progress reports, include a project description to review
the details of your project for the recipients:
PROJECT DESCRIPTION
Here is a review of the purpose and scope of
this project.
Purpose. The original investment plan of this
corporation included
only long-term, low-risk investment in
corporate bonds and U.S. securities.
This project was designed to answer questions
about the potential of shortterm, high-dollar investments, particularly
those suited to the future
expansion of this company's investment plan.
Scope. The report will cover basic definitions
of stocks and options
as well as reasons for and against these two
investment strategies. The
report will be broken down into four areas:







Mechanics of stocks and options
Comparisons of stocks and options
Example investment scenarios
Recommendations for an investment plan
Figure 3-9. Example project description from a report
Conclusion. The final paragraph or section usually reassures audiences that all is
going well and on schedule. It can also alert recipients to unexpected changes or
problems in the project.
OVERALL APPRAISAL
The project to recommend PET production is
coming along well. I have
not run into any major problems and have found
plenty of material on
this subject. However, I have not heard from
Mr. Simon Juarez of
PET Mfg., who is sending information on PET
production methods used
in several plants in the Southwest.
I can foresee no major problems that will keep
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me from submitting my
report to you on the contract date. In fact, I
may be able to get it
to you a few days earlier than planned. In
general, I am finding that
the PET bottle is an even more attractive
packaging idea than had
seemed in our earlier discussions. Full
details on this, however,
will appear in the final report.
Sincerely,
Steven C. Crosswell
Process Engineer
C & S Engineering
Figure 3-10. Overall appraisal used as conclusion to a progress report
Revision Checklist for Progress Reports
As you reread and revise your progress report, watch out for problems such as the
following:









Make sure you use the right format. Remember, the memo
format is for internal progress reports; the business-letter
format is for progress reports written from one external
organization to another. (Whether you use a cover memo or
cover letter is your choice.)
Write a good introduction-in it, state that this is a progress
report, and provide an overview of the contents of the progress
report.
Make sure to include a description of the final report project.
Use one or a combination of the organizational patterns in the
discussion of your work on the final report.
Use headings to mark off the different parts of your progress
report, particularly the different parts of your summary of work
done on the project.
Use lists as appropriate.
Provide specifics-avoid relying on vague, overly general
statements about the work you've done on the final report
project.
Be sure and address the progress report to the real or realistic
audience-not your instructor.
Assume there will nonspecialist reading your progress report.
But don't avoid discussion of technical aspects of the projectjust bring them down to a level that nonspecialists can
understand.
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Online Technical Writing: Instructions
The focus for this chapter is one of the most important of all uses of technical writing-instructions. As you know, instructions are those step-by-step explanations of how to
do something: how to build, operate, repair, or maintain things.
The assignment for this unit also focuses on description, definition, or one of the other
information structures discussed in Appendix F. These are common elements in
technical writing. Rather than documents type of their own, they more commonly
appear as elements or parts of other documents, such as instructions in this case.
However, you can imagine description, for example, being used heavily in reports on
accidents, property appraisals, and product specifications. The content, organization,
and format suggestions discussed in the information-structures section will give you a
good foundation to write these other kinds of documents.
In the assignment for this chapter, you actually write two assignments in one: a set of
instructions and an information structure (such as description, definition, or other)
integrated within those instructions. This scenario gives you experience with two key
types of technical writing but in a way that saves two to three weeks in the semester.
This enables you to have more time toward the end of the semester to work full time
on your technical-report project.
Be sure to check out the example instructions available with this chapter:
The frames and nonframes versions work only on Netscape version 3
or later. If you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer, click Plain (or
download Netscape).
Example instructions 1: Using WS_FTP Pro
for Windows
Frames
Nonframes Plain
Example instructions 2: Beginner's Guide to
Eudora Lite for Windows
Frames
Nonframes Plain
Example instructions 3: Operating the
Minolta Freedom 3 Camera
Frames
Nonframes Plain
Example instructions 4: How to Raise
Potatoes in the Home Garden
Frames
Nonframes Plain
Example instructions 5: Instructions for a
Simple Window Curtain
Frames
Nonframes Plain
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Note to Instructor:
These instructions were written for the faculty and staff to use to familiarize
themselves with WS_FTP Pro. The majority of the audience consists of nonspecialists
and executives. Also, the age group of the audience consists of individuals who are in
the range of 26-56. These instructions were written for beginners.
WS_FTP Pro for Windows 95/98/NT
The following instructions introduce you to WS_FTP Pro, a shareware program that
enables you to upload and download files on the Internet, and then shows you how to
perform basic tasks using WS_FTP Pro. To understand these instructions, you need an
Internet account and basic familiarity with Microsoft Windows 95, 98, or NT.
What Is WS_FTP Pro?
WS_FTP Pro is a program that allows you to send (upload) and receive (download)
files on the Internet. WS_FTP Pro can be used for uploading personal web pages and
downloading software. Because FTP (File Transfer Protocol) can handle large files,
using the WS_FTP Pro program is also a more reliable way to transfer files than using
e-mail attachments.
How to Use WS_FTP Pro
Click on your Start menu, select Programs, then WS_FTP Pro.
How to Connect to an FTP Site. Before you can transfer files to or from an FTP site,
you must first connect to the site.
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Figure 1. Connecting to an FTP site
If you already have configured your FTP site, then from the list of configured sites
(see Figure 1), select an FTP Site and click OK.
How to configure a new FTP site. Follow these steps to configure a new FTP site:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
In WS_FTP Pro main window, click Connect and then click New.
Select FTP Site.
Enter a name for the site and click Next.
Enter the Host Name (see Figure 2) and then click Next.
Enter UserID and Password.
Click Finish.
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Figure 2. Configuring a new FTP site
How to upload files to an FTP site. The main WS_FTP Pro window is divided into
left and right window panes. The left half (Local System) displays the directories and
files that are on the hard drive of your computer. The right half of the window
displays the Remote System, in this case, your home directory on KsuMail. (See
Figure 3 below.) To upload a file:
1. From the Local System section, find the directory containing the file you want
to transfer. Then highlight the file you want to copy to your ftp directory.
2. On the Remote System section, double-click on your ftp directory. This will
display the contents of that directory.
3. Click the right arrow to upload the file. Once the transfer is complete, you may
need to click the Refresh button in the Remote System section to see the file
listed.
4. To disconnect from the FTP server, click the Close button. Click the Exit
button to close the WS_FTP Pro program.
5. If you copy the wrong file to your ftp or www directory, you will need to
highlight the file on the Remote System side and click the Delete button.
Remember you may need to click on the Refresh button to see the file
disappear.
How to download files. To download files:
1. Use the Local System section to choose a place for the file.
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2. Select the file you want to download from the Remote System section.
3. Click the left arrow.
How to delete files. To delete a file from your FTP server, select a file in the Remote
System section, and press the Delete button in that section of the window. To delete a
file from your computer's hard drive, select a file in the Local System section, and
press the Delete button in that section of the window.
How to create a directory for receiving files. By default, only you can upload files
to your personal ftp home directory. However, you can create a directory where others
can upload files. This is a convenient method of sending files back and forth. Follow
these steps below to create such a directory:
1. Double-click on the ftp directory on the Remote System side.
2. Press the MkDir button the right side of the window. Type incoming for the
directory name and click OK.
3. Click your right mouse button anywhere on the Remote System side to show a
new menu. Select FTP Commands and then SITE from the menu.
4. Type chmod 1777 incoming and click OK. (This changes the permissions for
this directory so that others can upload files into it.)
Here is the information you will need to give others to access your incoming
directory:



Host Name: ftp.ksumail.kennesaw.edu
Type of connection (login): anonymous
Initial Directory for Remote Host: users/login_name/incoming, where
login_name is your KsuMail login name (for example, jsmith).
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A Beginner's Guide to Eudora Lite 1.5.4
for Windows 95
This is a beginner's guide to using Eudora Lite 1.5.4 for Windows 95. It covers
everything you need to know to start using Eudora to send and receive e-mail,
including: (1) essential settings and program configuration; (2) the basic tasks
involved in composing and sending e-mail, receiving and reading messages, as well as
what to do with them when your done; and (3) how to find more information about
using Eudora once you've learned the basics.
Eudora Lite is freeware (software which may be used at no cost) that offers a set of
tools and basic e-mail utilities for managing electronic mail messages. The program
employs standard Windows graphical interface elements, so that anyone familiar with
the Windows environment should find Eudora easy to navigate. The application is
configured to access a specific account on a POP server—a computer connected to a
network or the Internet running software that sends, receives and stores e-mail.
Eudora then acts as the communication agent between the remote server and the local
computer—sending and receiving mail messages to and from the POP account.
Finally, Eudora offers a set of utilities for manipulating and organizing messages
stored on the local system.
To use this guide you need only be familiar with the basics of mouse operation and
navigating standard Windows interface objects such as menus, windows, dialog
boxes, and toolbars.
Eudora Setup
Before you can begin using Eudora, you must make sure you have the right
equipment and configure Eudora.
Getting started. To use these instructions, you'll need the following:
An IBM PC-compatible computer running under Windows 95.
A copy of the Eudora Lite application installed and currently running on your
machine.
Internet access with a POP3 e-mail account.
Note: If you are not sure what kind of account you have, contact your Internet
Service Provider. POP simply refers to the type of software used on the remote
server where your e-mail is received and stored. Most e-mail accounts today
use POP3 software.
Before you can use Eudora for completing basic e-mail tasks, you must tell the
program a few things about yourself and your account. If Eudora is not running, you
should start it now.
Configuring the program. Eudora needs very little information before you can begin
using it to send and receive e-mail. You need only:
1. Open the Tools menu and select Options as shown in Figure 1. Eudora opens a
dialog box with several option categories.
2. Choose the Getting Started icon in the Categories column.
3. Enter your POP Account in the space provided.
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Note: Your POP Account is your username followed by the "@" symbol, and
the name of your e-mail server. For example, if your username is "jdoe" and
your service provider is "the.mail.com", you should enter
"[email protected]" in the POP Account space. This is your e-mail address.
4. Enter your actual name in the Real Name space. This name identifies you to
your e-mail recipients.
5. Make sure the Winsock (Network, PPP, SLIP) button is checked.
When its settings resemble those shown in Figure 2, Eudora is ready to communicate
with your e-mail server.
Basic E-Mail Tasks
Eudora is simply a program for managing e-mail. The following sections cover the
basic steps for composing, sending, receiving, reading, and managing your messages.
Composing and sending messages. Eudora provides a convenient facility for
creating new e-mail messages, which are then sent out to the network. As shown in
Figure 3, the steps are simple:
1. Open the Message menu and select New Message. The program will open a
window in which you can address and compose the message.
2. Enter the e-mail address of your recipient in the To: field. Eudora always
places the cursor in this position each time a new message window is opened.
Note: You can send mail to yourself as a test. Simpy enter your own e-mail
address.
3. Tab down to, or click on the Subject line. Type a subject for your message.
4. Tab down three times, or click on the body portion of the message box. Enter
your message here.
5. Send the message when it is complete. Simply click on the Send button in the
toolbar at the top of the message window. Eudora will contact your server and
submit a copy of the message to be sent out on the Internet or network.
Warning: Be certain your message is ready for the rest of the world—you
can't get it back once you press the Send button.
Receiving and reading messages. You can use Eudora to check your POP account
for mail, copy new messages to your machine, and then read them:
1. Open the File menu and select Check Mail.
2. Enter your password when Eudora prompts for it. The program will establish
contact with your server and check for new mail on the account. If messages
are present, Eudora will notify you and copy the e-mail to your In box to be
read.
Note: If you do not know your password, or have never defined one, check the
documentation that came with your account, or contact your Service Provider
for help.
3. Select a new message to be read. Figure 4a shows a listing of new messages in
the In box. Simply double-click on any meassage to read it. The program will
open a message window which contains the body of the mail. (Figure 4b)
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Saving messages. Once a message has been read, you will want to either keep or
discard it in order to move on to other messages. If you want to retain the mail:
Click on the close box associated with the message window. This will close the
message, and retain the mail on the In box list.
Warning: Clicking the close box in the far upper right-hand corner of the
program window will cause Eudora to quit.
Deleting messages. There are various ways of discarding mail once it is no longer
needed. If you wish to delete the message after reading it, you should:
From within the message window, click on the Trash Icon in the toolbar or open
the Message menu and select Delete.
OR
From the In box list of mail, highlight the message by clicking on it, and then
click on the Trash Icon in the toolbar or open the Message menu and select
Delete.
Figure 5 labels all items necessary for basic message management. Notice that the
highlighted message from "The InfoBot" in the In box will be deleted by clicking the
trash icon
Getting More Information
You now have the basic skills needed to send and receive e-mail with the Eudora Lite
application. In addition to the tasks you just completed, Eudora has many useful tools
to help organize and facilitate the managment of mail messages. The program is both
easy to use, and highly customizable.
Eudora provides two basic means of learning more about its features from within the
program: (1) Context-sensitive help, and (2) the Help menu.
Using the context-sensitive help feature. Eudora can often provide brief tips or
explanations based on a click of the mouse. The two methods of getting this kind of
help are:
Place and hold the mouse pointer over object if whose function you are unsure. If
help is available, a small box containing the item's name will appear near the
pointer. A short explanation of the function will also appear in the Status Bar.
OR
Click on the Context Help button in the toolbar. A question mark will appear
beside the mouse pointer. Next, click on any object about which you have
questions. If help is available, Eudora will display a box containing more indepth information about the item.
Note: This method, unlike the above, often extends to windows and menu
items in addition to buttons.
Accessing the Help screen. For a thorough discussion of utilizing Eudora's features:
1. Click the "How to. . ." topics in the application's Help screen.
2. Open the Help menus and select Topics. You will see the Eudora Help topic
screen.
3. Double-click on the "How To. . ." topic. The menu will expand to show
additional choices.
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4. Choose a topic by double-clicking the icon. Each topic contains two or three
help documents as shown in figure 6.
Note: A good place to begin is with the "Respond To Incoming Mail" topic.
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How to Operate the Minolta Freedom 3 Camera
The Minolta Freedom 3 is a very versatile camera that is very easy to operate, making
it the perfect camera for the beginning photographer. Most 35mm cameras require
you to adjust the amount of light to be allowed onto the film and to focus the camera.
The Minolta Freedom 3 does this for you, as well as advancing each picture to the
next frame. You will be able to take professional quality pictures after mastering these
following easy steps: (1) loading the film, (2) taking the picture, and (3) unloading the
film.
Equipment and Supplies
To get started using your camera, you will need a:


Minolta Freedom 3 camera
Roll of 35mm film
Warning:
that the
Different films are for different occasions! Just remember
lower the ISO number (this will be on the film box as 25,
100, 200,
400, or 1000), you need more light and less movement. The
higher
numbers are for taking pictures inside or where there is a
lot of
activity.
Loading the Film
Before you can begin taking pictures with your camera, you need to put an unexposed
roll of film into your camera. This can be done by following these easy steps: (1)
opening the back of the camera, (2) putting the film in the camera, and (3) advancing
the film.
Opening the back of the camera. This camera will help you load the film. All you
need to do is:
1. Turn the camera face down so you are looking at its back with the viewfinder
pointing away from you. You will notice the film door covers the entire back
of the camera beneath the viewfinder.
2. Find the film door opener on the left-hand side of the door. Push this switch up
and the door will swing open.
Putting the film in the camera. You are now ready to put a unexposed roll of film
into the camera. This is done by:
1. Take the film out of its box and plastic container.
2.
Warning:
Film producers recommend that the film should be
loaded in low light
3.
levels! this is to protect the film from being
exposed before it is
4.
put in your camera. Do not pull the film out of
the cassette except
5.
as indicated below.
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6. Hold the film cassette so the little inner hub is pointing toward you. Place the
film into the left-hand side of the camera. The film will only go in one way so
do not force the cassette into place.
Advancing the film. The camera will now do the hard work of advancing the film.
All you need to do is:
1. Hold the cassette in place with your left hand as you pull enough film from the
cassette to reach the right side of the camera. Slide this end piece of film
aroundthe rubber hub and press the notched holes of the film onto the
matching notched teeth of the hub.
2. Locate the clear, plastic door on the right-hand side of the film door. Close
THIS door onto the film and hub. The camera will now advance the film. If it
doesn't, repeat the previous step.
3. Close the main film door. As you do this, the motor will advance the film to
exposure 1. On top of the camera in the center, the display window will now
say 1 in the lower right-hand corner.
Taking the Picture
Now that the film has been loaded into the camera, you are now ready to start taking
pictures. The majority of the work is done by the camera, but a few easy steps must be
followed to maintain a consistent quality in your pictures. These are: (1) holding the
camera, (2) framing the picture, and (3) taking the picture.
Holding the camera. Holding the camera is a very important part of picture taking;
an improperly held camera can result in blurred pictures caused by camera movement.
To ensure a good picture, you must:
1. Grasp the camera with its front pointing away from you in your right hand so
that your index finger is wrapped around the top, right-hand corner of the
camera. Your remaining fingers should be in the notch of the lens cover and
your thumb should be on the film compartment door.
2. Place the camera into your left palm so it has a flat, sturdy platform to rest on.
3.
Warning:
way of the
4.
Make sure your shoulder strap is held out of the
lens.
This can cause pictures to be partially
blacked out.
Framing the picture. Framing the picture means getting everything into the picture
that you want. To frame a picture:
1. Hold the camera up to your face with the front facing away from you. Position
the viewfinder to the eye that you will be looking through. Close the other eye.
2. Aim the camera at the subject that you will be photographing and look through
the viewfinder. You will see a representation of the picture.
3. Center the main item of your picture into the middle of the viewfinder. The
white box around the outside edge of the viewfinder is a representation of the
outer edge of your picture. If something you want in the picture falls outside
this edge, back up to squeeze this in.
4. Make sure the small, inner box in the very center of the viewfinder is on the
subject you want photographed. This is the spot where the camera will focus.
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Warning:
result in
Failure to center the focusing box on your subject can
blurred pictures.
Taking the picture. The final step in picture taking is actually taking the picture. All
you need to do is:
1. Make sure that there is nothing, fingers or shoulder strap, directly in front of
the camera.
2. Find the shutter release. This square, silver button, located under your right
index finger on the top right-hand side of the camera, is what triggers the
camera to actually take the picture.
3. Depress the shutter release. Your picture is taken and the film is automatically
advanced to the next frame. (The Minolta Freedom 3 automatically adjusts for
different lighting situations and turns the flash on automatically when needed.)
Warning:
viewfinder,
When taking a picture, if a red light appears in the
this means the flash needs a moment to charge itself.
Wait a few seconds until a greenlight comes on, then take your
picture. Failure to wait will result in dark pictures
due to lack
of light.
Unloading the Film
After you've finished taking your pictures, you need to get the exposed roll of film out
of your camera so that you can get it processed into pictures. This is done by: (1)
rewinding the film and (2) removing the cassette.
Warning:
rewound
Never open the back of the camera before the film is
back into its cassette. Doing so will expose the entire
roll to light
which will ruin all of your pictures.
Rewinding the film. Rewinding the film is easy enough because the camera does it
for you, except when you need to remove a roll of film before the end of the roll. To
remove the film, just:
1. Continue to take pictures with your camera as normal. When the film reaches
its end, the camera will automatically unlock the advance mechanism and
rewind the film.
2. Locate the rewind switch on the bottom of the camera if you want to rewind
the film before it reaches the end of the roll. This switch is shaped like the
letter L and is labeled with the letter R. Just press this button and the film will
rewind back into the cassette.
Removing the cassette. After the film has been rewound into the cassette, removing
the cassette follows the same basic steps as loading the film but in reverse. All you
need to do is:
1. Hold the camera face down.
2. Open the film compartment door by pressing the latch located on the left-hand
side of this door.
3. Remove the film cassette from this camera.
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4.
Warning:
About 2 inches of film will stick out of the
cassette. Do
5.
not pull this out of the cassette. This will
expose the film to light
6.
and ruin any pictures.
7. Hold the cassette in one hand and turn the small hub of the cassette counterclockwise to roll the remaining film into the cassette. You do not want any
film to be left sticking out of the cassette.
Now that you have taken an entire roll of pictures, you can take your film into your
favorite film developer to print your pictures. The more you use your camera, the
more familiar you will be with its functions and with the composition you like to
obtain from your pictures. Enjoy your memories.
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Intended Audience:
These instructions are intended for use by the home gardener who has had little or no
experience planting potatoes. Although I am addressing an inexperienced potato
producer, I intend for this paper to be used by readers who may have had other
gardening experience. This paper could be placed in local nurseries for those who
desire detailed instructions about growing potatoes.
How to Raise Potatoes in the Home Garden
If you like tender, juicy potatoes, home-grown are definitely the best. Although the
plant of the potato is visible above the ground, the end product is found below the
soil. The process from preparing to eating can take as long as 3-4 months, but the
results will be worth the wait. Gardening experts agree that the best time for potato
planting is about a month before the last spring frost. This time period will allow the
potato to emerge from the soil after freezing conditions but be harvested before the
extreme heat of summer. Although this vegetable can be purchased rather cheaply in
the supermarket, the quality of home-grown potatoes far exceeds those bagged on
grocery shelves.
The production of potatoes can be divided into these steps: (1) preparing the soil, (2)
preparing the potatoes, (3) planting the potatoes, (4) maintaining the plants, and (5)
harvesting the potatoes.
Tools and Supplies
To complete the entire project you will need the following tools:
Hoe
Spading fork
Rake
Knife
Tiller (if available)
A tiller is a gas-powered machine that can break up, mulch, and aerate soil with deepcutting blades that extend deep into the ground. Tillers are useful in small gardens
over one-hundred square feet. A typical tiller is somewhat larger than a gas-powered
lawn mower and requires a larger, more powerful engine than do typical lawn
mowers. Its most important components are its blades, usually measuring 24 to 36
inches across, that turn in a circular motion digging down into the soil with a
continuous motion. Gas-powered tillers make preparing a garden much easier, faster,
and less back-breaking than doing so by hand with a shovel or hoe. You guide the
tiller along in front of you and set the depth that the blades will cut into the soil. You
make several cuts through the soil to fully turn it over and aereate it. A garden tiller
can also be attached to the rear of a small tractor. This type of tiller provides
satisfactory results but may pose some difficulty in controlling the direction.
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Figure 1. Troy-Bilt Tiller
You will need to purchase the following:
Shallow trays
Water hose
Seed potatoes
Fertilizer
Insecticide to control insects
Preparing the Soil
Although potatoes can be raised in virtually any type of soil, best results can be
achieved in loam which is a red clay, sandy combination. Once the garden plot has
been selected, the following steps will utilize the best growing conditions: (1) clearing
the land, (2) loosening the soil, and (3) digging the holes.
1. Clearing the land of all debris and plants will improve growth of your
potatoes. Best results can be achieved if all debris and previous growth is
removed from the area. It is suggested that raking the entire plot will prove
beneficial as the plants start to grow.
2. Loosening the soil will allow the potatoes to develop into healthy plants.
Although a hoe and rake will provide satisfactory results, the job will be much
easier with the use of a gas-powered tiller. These can be rented from local
equipment rental facilities.
3. Digging the holes correctly will enable the potatoes to grow above and below
the ground. Although there is some difference in varieties, most potatoes
should be planted from 3-5 inches below the ground. These holes can be dug
with a hoe in a long trench or individual holes.
Preparing the Potatoes
Although any type of potato can be used for planting, best results can be achieved
with the purchase of certified seed potatoes from a local nursery. After securing the
potatoes, they can be prepared for planting by (1) cutting into pieces and (2) sprouting
the eyes.
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1. Cutting the potatoes can be achieved with a small, sharp knife. Cut the seed
potato into several pieces making sure each piece as at least one eye and a
large piece of the potato.
Note: It is important to include at least one eye on the planting portion since
the new potato will grow from the eye. The first food for the plant will be
derived from the portion of potato.
Figure 2. Potato plant
2. Sprouting the eyes will provide better results for future plants. Lay the pieces
out on flat or shallow trays and allow them to sit in a sunny, airy place for
several weeks until the eyes sprout. These sprouts will be dark green and
closely clustered in the eye.
Planting the Potatoes
Once the soil has been prepared and the potatoes have sprouted, you are ready to put
them into the ground. This procedure is extremely important to the success of your
future crop. The planting can be divided into these steps: (1) inserting the potatoes, (2)
covering the potatoes and (3) giving the potatoes a boost.
1. Inserting the potatoes correctly will insure the emergence of your plant. Place
a small segment of the sprouted seed potato in your previously dug trench or
hole. Place one piece of potato every 12 inches. Make sure the eye of the
potato is facing up to direct the plant out of the soil.
2. Covering the potatoes with sufficient loose soil will enable the plant to emerge
successfully from the soil. If the trench or hold has been dug to the correct
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depth, you should be able to cover each potato piece with approximately 3
inches of surrounding loose soil.
3. Giving your planted potatoes a boost with water and fertilizer will start them
off on the right track. Since the eyes are already sprouted, water and fertilizer
will allow for the continued growth of the plant toward the surface of the soil.
Sprinkle lightly with commercial fertilizer or manure and then water each
location thoroughly.
Maintaining the Crop
Although the potatoes are now in the ground, it is important to follow some simple
procedures to guarantee the success of your potato yield. This is a crop with a fairly
long growing period, so maintenance of the garden will ensure success. The steps for
maintenance include: (1) weeding the plants, (2) fertilizing the plants, (3) controlling
insects, and (4) watering when necessary.
1. Weeding the plants should be done on a regular basis. Use a sharp-pointed hoe
to chop out the foreign weeds. Removal of the chopped weeds will ensure that
they do not start to grow again.
Warning: The vines of the potato can grow freely along the ground. Be
careful not to damage the growing plant.
2. Fertilizing the plants of the potato can ensure growth above and below the
ground. The type of soil will determine the correct fertilizer to be used. A local
nursery can provide the information you need.
3. Controlling insects in your potato garden will enable your plants to continue
growing. There is an all-purpose potato dust or spray that can be purchased to
control most bugs that will damage this vegetable.
4. Watering the plants may be necessary if there is not sufficient rainfall. Keep a
water hose nearby to water whenever the plants seem dry. This will become
even more important as the summer months get hotter.
Harvesting the Potatoes
After several months of anticipation, your potatoes should be carefully observed to
determine if they are ready to be harvested. Because your crop should provide
potatoes for many meals to come, it is important to finalize your project with the
following procedures for harvesting: (1) determining correct time of harvest, (2)
removing potatoes from the ground, and (3) storing the potatoes for extended use.
1. Determining the time of harvest will depend upon several factors. When the
vines have completely died down, the potatoes below the ground will no
longer grow. You may also check the size of your potatoes by digging up in
various spots throughout your garden.
2. Removing potatoes from the ground will be hard work but very rewarding.
Very carefully dig up a large area of earth around each vine using a spading
fork. Turn over the soil and carefully remove the potatoes from the soil. Allow
the potatoes to dry completely.
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3. Storing the potatoes for extended use will allow you to enjoy them for many
months to come. The best environment for storing potatoes is a cool, dark
place with plenty of air. Slat crates are much better than solid boxes or bins.
Warning: Potatoes that have been dug up should not be exposed to the sun
any longer than is necessary to remove dirt. The sun will make the potatoes
acquire an unpleasant flavor.
Although the process of raising potatoes is a time-consuming, lengthy procedure, the
results can be very satisfying. Not only can you enjoy the benefits for many months,
you may also be able to share your harvest with friends and neighbors.
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Description of the Audience for This Assignment
These instructions are geared toward an average person who has basic sewing skills
and an interest in home decorating. By basic sewing skills, I mean that readers should
already know how to use a sewing machine as well as basic sewing items like pins,
needles, and scissors. They need not be an expert decorator or seamstress, however.
They should also be able to use the other items listed in the "Equipment and Supplies"
section of the instructions.
"How To Make and Install A Simple Window Curtain" could be sold or given away at
fabric and craft stores, as an incentive to sell window treatment supplies and fabric.
How to Make and Install a Simple Window Curtain
If you have basic sewing knowledge and access to a sewing machine, you can make a
simple curtain in a short amount of time. Curtains make a big difference in the "look"
of a room, adding color and style to your decor. Once the curtain is made, it's easy to
hang it just where you want it. With these simple step-by-step instructions , you can:
(1) measure your window and purchase the appropriate type and amount of fabric; (2)
sew a simple curtain; and (3) install the curtain on your window.
Equipment and Supplies
As in any project, it helps to know what equipment and supplies you are going to need
before you get started. To make the curtain, you will need the following some
equipment and supplies.
First, you'll need the following tools:
tape measure
paper and pencil
calculator
work table
iron and ironing board
Also, you'll need these sewing items:
sewing machine in good working order
scissors
pins
material
thread
fabric marker
To install a curtain inside the window frame, all you will need is a spring-tension
curtain rod. To hang the curtain on the wall outside of the window frame, you will
need these items:
tape measure
pencil
cafe-style curtain rod and its brackets
screw driver
screws or molly bolts
drill
level
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Preparing to Sew the Curtain
You're probably ready to start sewing right away, but there are some preliminary
things you need to do first.
Note: Since the size of the window determines the amount of material you will need,
measure the window before you buy the material.
Before you can sit down at your sewing machine and begin to sew, you must:
6. Decide what type of curtain rod you want to use.
7. Measure the window.
8. Purchase the curtain fabric and rod.
9. Cut the curtain piece out of the fabric.
Deciding what type of curtain rod to use. A simple curtain can be hung with a cafestyle curtain rod or a spring-tension rod. Mounting a spring-tension rod does not
require any hardware and installs the curtain inside the window frame. A cafe-style
curtain rod must be hung with brackets that are affixed to the wall-side of the window
frame and hangs the curtain outside of the window frame, against the wall. So, before
you go any further, decide where on the window you want the curtain to hang and
what kind of curtain rod you'll need to do that.
Measuring the window. The measurements you take here will determine the success
or failure of your curtain making project. Remember the old saying: measure twice,
cut once! Refer to the diagram below as you measure your window in the following
manner:
6. Get your pencil, paper, and measuring tape.
7. Decide how long or short you want the curtain to be.
8. Measure the width of the window. For a curtain that will fit inside the window
frame, measure from the inside of one corner to the inside of the other corner.
For a curtain that fits outside the window frame, measure between the points
outside the window frame where you want the curtain.
9. Write down your measurement in inches.
10. Measure the desired length of your curtain against the window.
11. Write down your measurement in inches.
Figure 1. Measuring the window
Purchasing the fabric and curtain rod. Now it's time to go to the fabric store and
purchase your curtain rod and material. Since you will probably have your curtain for
a long time, make sure you purchase a color and design pattern of material that you
really like.
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Notes:
4. Some types of fabrics do not make good curtains. I recommend that you
purchase drapery fabric for your curtain. Although it costs a little more than
regular fabric, the investment in a material that will hang correctly and look
good is well worth the extra expense. Drapery fabric also comes in widths
wide enough to allow for making curtains out of one piece of fabric, without
having to seam the curtain.
5. Consider purchasing a little more material than you will actually need. This
gives you some leeway in working with the material, in case you make a
mistake in cutting out the curtain or want extra material to make matching
accessories.
To determine how much material you need:
5. Get your pencil, paper, and calculator.
6. Multiply the width of the window (W) times 3 (Wx3). Write down your
measurement.
7. Add 8 inches to the length (L) of the finished curtain to allow enough material
to make the casing and hem (L+8). Write down your measurement.
8. Convert your measurements to yards by dividing each by 36 inches per yard.
For example: (L+8)/36 = the length of the curtain in yards (L') , and
(Wx3)/36 the width of the of curtain in yards (W'). Write down your
measurements.
9. Go to the fabric store and purchase at least W' yards of material, making sure
the material is at least L' yards wide.
10. Purchase a cafe-style curtain rod for a outer window frame curtain, or a
spring-tension rod for an inner window frame curtain, making sure the rod is
longer than the width of your window (W).
Cutting out the curtain pieces. Most likely, the material you purchased is larger than
the piece you need to make the curtain. Although you can purchase a curtain pattern, a
simple design such as the one these instructions describe doesn't require a pattern.
Again, let me remind you to measure twice, cut once! Follow these steps to cut out
your curtain:
1. Lay the material out on your work table, wrong side up, making sure to
smooth out all of the wrinkles.
2. Measure the width of the curtain with your tape measure (W'), marking the
edge of that width with pins or a fabric marker.
3. Measure the length of the curtain piece (L'), also marking the edge with pins
or a marker.
4. Check your measurements.
5. Cut out the curtain piece along the pins and/or markings.
Sewing the Curtain
After all that preparation, it's finally time to start sewing. Remember that the wrong
side of a fabric is that side which you don't want to show. The fabric design and
pattern are not as attractive on the wrong side, as well. There are three steps involved
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in sewing your curtain: (1) setting up your equipment, (2) making the curtain casing,
and (3) hemming the curtain.
Setting up your equipment. It's important to have everything ready to go before you
start to sew. To get ready, do the following:
Choose a time to sew when you can work without interruptions.
Set up your iron and ironing board, setting the iron at the proper setting for your
curtain fabric.
Set up your sewing machine on your work table and thread it with your chosen
thread.
Caution: Be careful not to burn your fingers with the hot iron while ironing
the fabric.
Sewing the casing. The casing will form the part of the curtain that fits over the rod.
To make the casing:
1. Turn down the top edge of the fabric 1 inch along its entire length, wrong side
to wrong side, pressing the fabric with the iron as you go, until the fabric stays
down by itself.
2. Turn down the same edge another 2 inches, with the right side of the previous
turned- down edge against the wrong side of the fabric, again pressing the
fabric with the iron as you go, until the fabric stays folded by itself.
3. Pin along lower folded edge.
4. Sew along pinned edge.
Hemming the sides and bottom of the curtain. If you want your curtain to have a
finished, professional look, you must hem the sides and bottom. Follow these steps to
hem the sides of the curtain:
1. Fold the edges of the fabric in 1 inch along each side, wrong side to wrong
side, pressing the fabric with the iron as you go, until the fabric stays down by
itself.
2. Turn each side edge in another 2 inches, with the right side of the previous
turned-in edge against the wrong side of the fabric, again pressing the fabric
with the iron as you go, until the fabric stays folded by itself.
3. Pin along folded edges.
4. Sew along pinned edges
Now, follow these steps to hem the bottom of the curtain:
1. Fold the bottom edge of the fabric up 1 inch, wrong side to wrong side,
pressing the fabric with the iron as you go, until the fabric stays down by
itself.
2. Turn the bottom edge up another 4 inches, with the right side of the previous
turned-in edge against the wrong side of the fabric, again pressing the fabric
with the iron as you go, until the fabric stays folded by itself.
3. Pin along folded edges.
4. Sew along pinned edges
Take a look at your beautiful new curtain. The only thing left to do now is to hang it
up.
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Installing the Curtain Rod and Hanging the Curtain
The way you install the curtain rod will greatly affect the look of your new curtain.
After all the effort you put into making the curtain, you don't want it to hang crooked
or fall down.
Note: If you're mounting the curtain rod outside the window frame on a part of the
wall that is not backed by a wooden stud, I strongly recommend that you use molly
bolts instead of screws to affix the brackets. This will prevent the curtain rod brackets
from pulling out of the wall.
Using molly bolts. A molly bolt is a type of fastener used to hang on object on
wallboard (sheetrock) that has open space behind it. A molly bolt consists of 3 pieces:
a screw, a washer, and a metal or plastic sleeve that fits over the screw. The sleeve is
open at both ends, slightly larger than the screw, and has a flat, nail-like head. The
middle part of the sleeve is not solid, but made of 4 wavy metal strips that are
continuous with the solid ends of the sleeve. The inside of the sleeve is threaded to fit
the screw, and the washer fits between the screwhead and the metal sleeve. The sleeve
is inserted into a properly-sized hole in the wall. As the screw is screwed into the
sleeve, the metal strips of the sleeve expand behind the wallboard, shortening and
thickening the sleeve to provide a large area of contact between the sleeve and wall
holding the screw firmly in place.
Note: Make sure you really want that molly bolt where you're putting it, because once
it's in, the sleeve can't be removed without making a large hole in the wall.
To use a molly bolt:
1. Drill a hole that is slightly smaller than the metal sleeve at the desired
location.
2. Insert the sleeve into the hole.
3. Place the curtain rod bracket over the hole.
4. Put the washer on the screw and screw the screw into the metal sleeve.
Installing the curtain rod. Installing a curtain rod need not be difficult or time
consuming. If you choose to use a spring-tension rod, all you have to do is push the
ends of the rod together until the rod is short enough to fit inside the window frame,
put the rod inside the frame, then let the rod expand until it fits snugly against each
side of the window. To install a cafe-style curtain rod, gather these tools:
measuring tape
curtain rod and curtain rod brackets
screw driver
level
drill
pencil
screws or molly bolts.
Now you're ready to put up the curtain rod by following these steps:
1. Hold one of the brackets against the wall where you want the edge of the
curtain, and mark the holes in the bracket on the wall with a pencil.
2. Pre-drill the marked holes.
3. Insert molly bolt sleeves if you are using these instead of plain screws.
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4. Place the bracket against the wall and insert the screws into the holes or molly
bolt sleeves.
5. Use the screwdriver to screw the screws into the wall .
6. Measure the distance of the bracket from the edge of the frame, and them
down.
7. Repeat steps 1-5, making sure to place the second bracket the same distance
from the edge of the window as the first bracket.
8. Hang the rod on the brackets, using the level to test for crookedness.
9. Hang the curtain if the rod is level, or remove the second bracket and repeat
step 7 if the rod is too crooked.
Hanging the curtain. Now you're ready for the last and easiest step of all, hanging
your beautiful new curtain. Just follow these steps:
1. Insert the curtain rod into the casing at the top of the curtain.
2. Gather the much-wider curtain along the rod until the rod-ends are visible at
either end of the curtain.
3. Hang the curtain and rod up on the window.
4. Arrange your curtain along the length of the rod so that it gathers evenly.
Now that you've finished hanging your curtain, take a moment to look around the
room. You'll notice that it looks completely different. Window curtains pull the decor
of a room together, softening the edges of the window and making the room a more
pleasant place to be. Give yourself a big pat on the back for taking the time to make
your curtain, then relax with a cup of tea while you plan your next home decorating
project!
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Writing Instructions
One of the most common and one of the most important uses of technical writing is
instructions--those step-by-step explanations of how to do things: assemble
something, operate something, repair something, or do routine maintenance on
something. But for something seemingly so easy and intuitive, instructions are some
of the worst-written documents you can find. Like me, you've probably had many
infuriating experiences with badly written instructions. What follows in this chapter
may not be a fool-proof, goof-proof guide to writing instructions, but it will show you
what professionals consider the best techniques.
Ultimately, however, good instruction writing not only requires these techniques but
also:
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Clear, simple writing
A thorough understanding the procedure in all its technical
detail
Your ability to put yourself in the place of the reader, the
person trying to use your instructions
Your ability to visualize the procedure in great detail and to
capture that awareness on paper
Finally, your willingness to go that extra distance and test your
instructions on the kind of person you wrote them for.
By now, you've probably studied headings, lists, and special notices--writing a set of
instructions with these tools probably seems obvious. Just break the discussion out
into numbered vertical lists and throw in some special notices at the obvious points
and you're done! Well, not quite, but that's a great start. This unit explores some of the
features of instructions that can make them more complex. You can in turn use these
considerations to plan your own instructions.
Some preliminaries
At the beginning of a project to write instructions, it's important to determine the
structure or characteristics of the particular procedure you are going to write about.
Audience and situation. Early in the process, define the audience and situation of
your instructions. Remember that defining an audience means defining its level of
familiarity with the topic as well as other such details. See Appendix A for discussion
of audience and steps to use in defining audiences.
Most importantly, you'll need to describe your audience on a separate sheet of paper
and hand that in with your instructions. This will enable your instructor to assess your
instructions in terms of their rightness for the intended audience. And remember too
that in this technical-writing course it is preferable to write for nonspecialist
audiences--this is much more of a challenge to you as a writer.
Number of tasks. An important consideration is how many tasks there are in the
procedure you are writing instructions for. Let's use the term procedure to refer to the
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whole set of activities your instructions are intended to discuss. A task is a semiindependent group of actions within the procedure: for example, setting the clock on a
microwave oven is one task in the big overall procedure of operating a microwave
oven.
A simple procedure like changing the oil in a car contains only one task; there are no
semi-independent groupings of activities. A more complex procedure like using a
microwave oven contains plenty of such semi-independent tasks: setting the clock;
setting the power level; using the timer; cleaning and maintaining the microwave,
among others. (The instructions on using a camera are organized by tasks.)
Some instructions have only a single task, but have many steps within that single task.
For example, imagine a set of instructions for assembling a kids' swing set. In my own
experience, there were more than a 130 steps! That can be a bit daunting. A good
approach is to group similar and related steps into phases, and start renumbering the
steps at each new phase. A phase then is a group of similar steps within a single-task
procedure. In the swing-set example, setting up the frame would be a phase;
anchoring the thing in the ground would be another; assembling the box swing would
be still another. (The instructions on installing a wall cabinet, starting on page , are
organized by phases.)
Best approach to the step-by-step discussion. Another consideration, which maybe
you can't determine early on, is how to focus your instructions. For most instructions,
you can focus on tasks, or you can focus on tools (or features of tools).
In a task approach to instructions on using a phone-answering machine, you'd have
sections on recording your greeting, playing back your messages, saving your
messages, forwarding your messages, deleting your messages. These are tasks--the
typical things we'd want to do with the machine.
On the other hand, in a tools approach to instructions on using a photocopier, there
would be sections on the copy button, the cancel button, the enlarge/reduce button, the
collate/staple button, the paper tray, the copy-size button, and so on. If you designed a
set of instructions on this plan, you'd write steps for using each button or feature of
the photocopier. Instructions using this tools approach are hard to make work.
Sometimes, the name of the button doesn't quite match the task it is associated with;
sometimes you have to use more than just the one button to accomplish the task. Still,
there can be times when the tools/feature approach may be preferable.
Groupings of tasks. Listing tasks may not be all that you need to do. There may be
so many tasks that you must group them so that readers can find individual ones more
easily. For example, the following are common task groupings in instructions:
unpacking and setup tasks; installing and customizing tasks; basic operating tasks;
routine maintenance tasks; troubleshooting tasks; and so on. (For the purposes of this
technical writing course, you won't need to cover all of these possibilities--but in a
real-world set of instructions, you would.)
Common sections in instructions
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The following is a review of the sections you'll commonly find in instructions. Don't
assume that each one of them must be in the actual instructions you write, nor that
they have to be in the order presented here, nor that these are the only sections
possible in a set of instructions.
As you read the following on common sections in instructions, check out the example
instructions starting on page . Not all of the following sections typically found in
instructions will show up in the examples, but most will.
Figure 8-1. Schematic view of instructions. Remember that this is a typical or
common model for the contents and organization--many others are possible.
Introduction.Plan the introduction to your instructions carefully. Make sure it does
any of the following things (but not necessarily in this order) that apply to your
particular instructions:
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Indicate the specific tasks or procedure to be explained as well
as the scope of coverage (what won't be covered).
Indicate what the audience needs in terms of knowledge and
background to understand the instructions.
Give a general idea of the procedure and what it accomplishes.
Indicate the conditions when these instructions should (or
should not) be used.
Give an overview of the contents of the instructions.
Now remember: you may not need all of these elements, and some of them can
combine neatly into single sentences. The introduction ought to be brisk and to the
point and not feel as though it is trudging laboriously through each of these elements.
(See the section in Chapter 10 on introductions for further discussion.
General warning, caution, danger notices. Instructions often must alert readers to
the possibility of ruining their equipment, screwing up the procedure, and hurting
themselves. Also, instructions must often emphasize key points or exceptions. For
these situations, you use special notices--note, warning, caution, and danger notices,
which are covered in Chapter 6. Notice how these special notices are used in the
example instructions at the end of this chapter.
Technical background or theory. At the beginning of certain kinds of instructions
(after the introduction, of course), you may need a discussion of background related to
the procedure. For certain instructions, this background is critical--otherwise, the
steps in the procedure make no sense. For example, you may have had some
experience with those software applets in which you define your own colors by
nudging red, green, and blue slider bars around. To really understand what you're
doing, you need to have some background on color. Similarly, you can imagine that,
for certain instructions using cameras, some theory might be needed as well.
Equipment and supplies. Notice that most instructions include a list of the things
you need to gather before you start the procedure. This includes equipment, the tools
you use in the procedure (such as mixing bowls, spoons, bread pans, hammers, drills,
and saws) and supplies, the things that are consumed in the procedure (such as wood,
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paint, oil, flour, and nails). In instructions, these typically are listed either in a simple
vertical list or in a two-column list. Use the two-column list if you need to add some
specifications to some or all of the items--for example, brand names, sizes, amounts,
types, model numbers, and so on.
Discussion of the steps. When you get to the actual writing of the steps, there are
several things to keep in mind: (1) the structure and format of those steps, (2)
supplementary information that might be needed, and (3) the point of view and
general writing style.
Structure and format. Normally, we imagine a set of instructions as being formatted
as vertical numbered lists. And most are in fact. Normally, you format your actual
step-by-step instructions this way. There are some variations, however, as well as
some other considerations:
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Fixed-order steps are steps that must be performed in the order
presented. For example, if you are changing the oil in a car,
draining the oil is a step that must come before putting the new
oil. These are numbered lists (usually, vertical numbered lists).
Variable-order steps are steps that can be performed in
practically any order. Good examples are those troubleshooting
guides that tell you to check this, check that where you are
trying to fix something. You can do these kinds of steps in
practically any order. With this type, the bulleted list is the
appropriate format.
Alternate steps are those in which two or more ways to
accomplish the same thing are presented. Alternate steps are
also used when various conditions might exist. Use bulleted
lists with this type, with OR inserted between the alternatives,
or the lead-in indicating that alternatives are about to be
presented.
Nested steps. In some cases, individual steps within a procedure
can be rather complex in their own right and need to be broken
down into substeps. In this case, you indent further and
sequence the substeps as a, b, c, and so on.
"Stepless" instructions. And finally there exist instructions that
really cannot use numbered vertical list and that do little if any
straightforward instructional-style directing of the reader. Some
situations must be so generalized or so variable that steps
cannot be stated. (Let's ignore this possibility for this
assignment, however.)
(See Chapter 5 on lists for the style and format of these possibilities.)
Supplementary discussion. Often, it is not enough simply to tell readers to do this or
to do that. They need additional explanatory information such as how the thing should
look before and after the step; why they should care about doing this step; what
mechanical principle is behind what they are doing; even more micro-level
explanation of the step--discussion of the specific actions that make up the step.
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The problem with supplementary discussion, however, is that it can hide the actual
step. You want the actual step--the specific actions the reader is to take--to stand out.
You don't want it all buried in a heap of words. There are at least techniques to avoid
this problem: you can split the instruction from the supplement into separate
paragraphs; or you can bold the instruction.
Writing style. The way you actually write instructions, sentence by sentence, may
seem contradictory to what previous writing classes have taught you. However, notice
how "real-world" instructions are written--they use a lot of imperative (command, or
direct-address) kinds of writing; they use a lot of "you." That's entirely appropriate.
You want to get in your reader's face, get her or his full attention. For that reason,
instruction-style sentences sound like these: "Now, press the Pause button on the front
panel to stop the display temporarily" and "You should be careful not to ..."
A particular problem involves use of the passive voice in instructions. For some weird
reason, some instructions sound like this: "The Pause button should be depressed in
order to stop the display temporarily." Not only are we worried about the Pause
button's mental health, but we wonder who's supposed to depress the thing (are you
talkin' to me?). Or consider this example: "The Timer button is then set to 3:00."
Again, as the person following these instructions, you might miss this; you might
think it is simply a reference to some existing state, or you might wonder, "Are they
talking to me?" Almost as bad is using the third person: "The user should then press
the Pause button." Again, it's the old double-take: you look around the room and
wonder, "Who me?" (More detail on the passive-voice problem can be found in
Appendix E.)
Another of the typical problems with writing style in instructions is that people seem
to want to leave out articles: "Press Pause button on front panel to stop display of
information temporarily" or "Earthperson, please provide address of nearest pizza
restaurant." Why do we do this? Do we all secretly want to be robots? Anyway, be
sure to include all articles (a, an, the) and other such words that we'd normally use in
instructions.
Graphics in instructions
Probably more so than in any other form of writing (except maybe for comic books),
graphics are crucial to instructions. Sometimes, words simply cannot explain the step.
Illustrations are often critical to readers' ability to visualize what they are supposed to
do.
This writing assignment asks you to include illustrations or other kinds of graphics-whatever would normally be used in the instructions. The problem of course may be
that you don't have access to graphics that would be suitable for your particular
instructions, and that you don't feel wildly confident in your artistic abilities. There
are ways to overcome these problems! Take a look at the suggestions in Chapter 7. In
that chapter, you'll see not only suggestions for creating graphics, but also
requirements on their format.
Format in instructions
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Headings. In your instructions, make good use of headings. Normally, you'd want
headings for any background section you might have, the equipment and supplies
section, a general heading for the actual instructions section, and subheadings for the
individual tasks or phases within that section. Take a look at the examples at the end
of this chapter. See Chapter 4 for requirements on headings (remember that this
course asks you to use the style and format for headings described there).
Lists. Similarly, instructions typically make heavy use of lists, particularly numbered
vertical lists for the actual step-by-step explanations. Simple vertical lists or twocolumn lists are usually good for the equipment and supplies section. In-sentence lists
are good whenever you give an overview of things to come. See Chapter 5 for
requirements on lists (again, remember that this course asks you to use the style and
format for lists described there).
Special notices. In instructions, you must alert readers to possibilities in which they
may damage their equipment, waste supplies, cause the entire procedure to fail, injure
themselves or others--even seriously or fatally. Companies have been sued for lack of
these special notices, for poorly written special notices, or for special notices that
were out of place. See Chapter 6 for a complete discussion of the proper use of these
special notices as well as their format and placement within instructions. (Again, in
our course, we have the style and format for these notices described in that chapter).
Number, abbreviations, and symbols. Instructions also use plenty of numbers,
abbreviations, and symbols. For guidelines on these, see Appendix D.
Revision Checklist for Instructions
As you reread and revise your instructions, watch out for problems such as the
following:
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Make sure you provide real instructions--explanations of how
to build, operate, or repair something.
Write a good introduction--in it, indicate the exact procedure to
be explained and provide an overview of contents.
Make sure that you use the various types of lists wherever
appropriate. In particular, use numbered vertical lists for
sequential steps.
Use headings to mark off all the main sections and subheadings
for subsections. (Remember that no heading "Introduction" is
needed between the title and the first paragraph. Remember not
to use first-level headings in this assignment; start with the
second level.)
Use special notices as appropriate.
Make sure you use the class style and format for all headings,
lists, special notices, and graphics. If that's a problem, get in
touch with your instructor.
Use graphics to illustrate any key actions or objects.
Provide additional supplementary explanation of the steps as
necessary.
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Remember to create a section listing equipment and supplies, if
necessary.
Include strong sections of definition, description, or both, as
necessary, using the guidelines on content, organization, and
format in the chapters on definition and description.
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Online Technical Writing — User Guides
A user guide is essentially a book-length document containing instructions on
installing, using, or troubleshooting a hardware or software product. A user guide can
be very brief—for example, only 10 or 20 pages or it can a full-length book of 200
pages or more. While this definition assumes computers, a user guide can provide
operating instructions on practically anything—lawnmowers, microwave ovens,
dishwashers, and so on.
The more complex the product, the greater the page count. when this happens, some
elements of the user guide get split out into their own separate volumes—especially
the installation procedures, troubleshooting procedures, and the commands. A user
guide can even contain a brief tutorial—for example, getting users started using the
product—but if there is too much tutorial, it too goes into a separate book.
Style and Format for User Guides
A user guide is a combination of many things presented in this online textbook. At its
core is instruction writing; you need to be good at the writing style, headings, lists,
notices, highlighting, tables, graphics commonly used in instructions. (For an
overview of these elements, see the page-design chapter in this online textbook.) As a
set of instructions, a user guide should use the style and format that is presented
elsewhere in this online textbook:
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Headings—Use headings to mark off key contents of the
information so that readers can find it quickly. See the chapter
on headings for details on planning and designing headings.
Lists—Use numbered and bulleted lists to help readers scan
information quickly. See the chapter on lists for details on
planning and designing lists.
Special notices—Use special notices such as warnings,
cautions, and notes to alert readers to potential problems or
emphasize special points. See the chapter on notices for details
on planning and designing notices.
Instructional design—In general, use the standard design of
instructions; primarily, this means task-oriented headings and
sections and numbered vertical lists for actual steps that readers
are to perform. See the chapter on instructions for details on
planning and designing instructions.
Instructions—and therefore user guides—also make abundant use of:
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Graphics—Show readers key components of the objects they
will be working with, before and after views, and illustrations
of key actions that readers must perform. See the chapter on
graphics for details on planning and designing graphics.
Tables—Provide statistical information and other such details
in easy-to-access table form. In user guides, tables are
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particularly useful whenever reference-type information must
be presented. See the chapter on tables for details on planning
and designing tables.
Highlighting—Use a consistent and standard scheme of
highlighting (bold, italics, alternate fonts, color, caps, and so
on). See the chapter on highlighting for details on planning and
designing highlighting guidelines.
Components of User Guides
As a book, a user guide must have some combination of the standard book-design
components such as the following:
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Front and back covers
Title page
Edition notice
Trademarks
Disclaimers
Warranties
License agreements
Safety notices
Preface
Appendixes
Glossary
Index
Reader-comment form
There is no standard combination or sequence of these elements; every company does
it differently. Details on the contents, format, and design of these elements can be
found in the book-design chapter.
Information Included in User Guides
Here's review the common contents of user guides:
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Instructions—The most obvious are those step-by-step
directions on how to assemble, operate, or troubleshoot the
product. Instructions in user guide should generally be taskoriented—that is, written for specific tasks that users must
perform. Instructions should generally use vertical numbered
lists for actions that must be performed in a required sequence.
Similar or closely related instructions in user guides should be
grouped into chapters.
Precautionary information—You'll see notes, warning, caution,
and even danger notices in user guides. These represent liability
concerns for the manufacturer of the product.
Reference information—User guides typically contain plenty of
reference information, but only up to a certain point. For
example, if there are numerous commands, a separate book for
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
commands is necessary. Reference information in user guides
is often presented in tables: columnar lists of settings,
descriptions, variables, parameters, flags, and so on.
Getting-started information—Some user guides will actually
include brief tutorials that will help new users get acquainted
with using the product.
About the product—User guides also provide some description of the product,
a review of its essential features or its new features. Sometimes this
information also gets put into a separate volume, if it is extensive. Typically,
the volume will be called something like "Introducing New Product...."
Technical background—Sometimes, users guides will include technical
explanations of how the product works, what physical or chemical principles
are essential to its operation, and so on. For example, you will see
considerable background in user guides for graphic or audio programs—you
can't operate them without understanding the concepts of brightness,
saturation, and hue; mu law, A law, and other such.
Examples of User Guides
Consider a few examples:
Delarina WinFax LITE User's Guide. This book is 5.5 × 8.5 inches and under 150
pages. It is uses by-chapter pagination, with new chapters and sections beginning on a
righthand page.
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Covers: On the front cover, you see the full book title, a version
number, the company name with its logo, and warning that the
book is not for retail sale. The back cover contains advertising
material—rather atypical for user guides—on the product's best
features, special offers on the full version, a 1-800 number to
call, and the book number.
Title page: The first page inside this user guide is the title page,
which includes the product name, the book title, the book
edition number, the date of the edition, the company logo
(which includes its name), several addresses for the company,
and the not-for-retail-sale warning. The company name has a
registered trademark symbol beside it; the product name has the
trademark letters beside it. No trademark symbols are shown on
the front or back covers.
Edition notice: On the back of the title page is the edition
notice. This edition notice includes the book title, a copyright
notice, legal statements concerning copying the book, list of
trademarked product names occurring in the book, and the
document number.
License agreement: On the next page is the software
agreement, a two-page thing that outlines permitted uses of the
software and related warranties.
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



Table of content: The TOC begins on a righthand page
numbered "i" and lists up to level of headings within the
chapters.
Headers and footers: The book title is used for both the left and
right footers: on the left-page, the title is right-aligned; on the
right-page, the title is left-aligned. The page number appears
opposite of both footers, and a solid ruled line is placed just
above both footers. The chapter title is used for the inside
header on each page; the current heading is used for the outside
header on each page. A solid ruled line is placed just beneath
these headers.
Preface: The Overview which is treated as chapter 1. It
contains some promotion of the product, a diagram of the
product's many uses, hardware and software requirements on its
use, an overview of the manual contents, and instructions on
how to get help.
Body chapters: Chapters use the following design features:
o Chapter title — Large bold Arial letters with the chapter
title on the left margin and the chapter number on the
right and a double ruled line below.
o Headings — First-level headings are about 1 point
smaller than chapter titles, left aligned, with a solid
ruled line just below. Second-level headings are about 2
points smaller, left aligned, with no ruled line. Thirdlevel headings are the same size as body text but use
bold-italic Arial and are placed on the left margin.
o Text — Body text is a serif font about 10 points in size.
This manual does not use hanging-head format; text
extends to the same left margin as do headings.
o Graphics — numerous screen captures are used through
the book; they are all centered.
o Lists — Numbered lists are used for items in sequence
such as steps. Open squares are used for bulleted items
that have a subhead. otherwise standard filled disks are
used as bullets.
o Highlighting — Text that users must type uses a sans
serif type (probably Arial) as do screen buttons, options,
field names, and system messages. Bold is used for
simple emphasis.
o Notices — Only notes and hints are used. The word
"Note:" or "Hint" uses bold-italics. The text of the
notice is regular body font indented an inch.
o Appendixes — The book ends with two appendixes:
Appendix A addresses common problems with a
situation/solution format; Appendix B addresses fonts.
These pages are numbered A-1, A-2, . . . B-1, B-2, and
so on.
o Index — The book ends with a 10-page index whose
page are numbered with lowercase roman numerals
starting at i. The index uses the standard but does
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something unusual with entries. It uses a table-ofcontents format for the entries and their page references,
connecting them with the sort of leader dots you'd see in
TOCs.
IBM Aptiva Reference Guide. This book is also 8.5 × 5.5 inches. It is uses
consecutive page numbering throughout the book and is about 120 pages long.






Covers: The front cover has a graphic design with stylized
numbered 1, 2, and 3 along with large grid pattern and various
sorts of shading. The three elements of the book title are placed
at the top, upper third and bottom of the area, respectively. You
also see the words "information," "getting help," and
"troubleshooting" seems to float between the second and third
title elements, giving readers a more detailed sense of the
book's contents. The back cover continues the grid pattern and
includes the IBM logo with the part number of the book, its
print date, a statement that the bopok was printed in th e"USA"
and a bar code for the book number.
Title page: This page contains the words "Aptiva Reference
Guide" is large serif letter in the upper right of the page—and
that's it!
Edition notice: The edition notice occurs on the back of the title
page. It is pushed to the bottom of the page and uses a smaller
type size, probably 7-point, for its body text. The heading for
the edition notice is the edition number followed by the month
and year of th edition. The paragraphs of the edition notice
states that the book is provided "as is" without any warranty,
that the book is for multiple models of the product and that
portions of it may not refer to the reader's own particular
model. Also included are an address where comments can be
sent, a 1-800 number to request additional copies, and the
standard copyright line.
Table of contents: The TOC is an unusual design in which all
entries are left aligned in the center of the page, with the page
numbers to the left about an inch. First-level entries use bold.
TOC begins on page iii.
Notices section: The first body section of this manual is for
notices—specifically, trademarks, highlighting conventions
used in the book, safety notices, and regulatory
(communications) notices. The section begins with its own title
page on which is displayed the word "Notices" in a large serif
font in the upper right corner and with a grid/shading design
similar to that on the front cover. The text of the notices section
begins on a right-hand page as does the chapter title page.
Body text: Here are the key design features of the body text:
o Text — Text for this book is indented nearly 2 inches.
Body text is a rather small sans serif font, probably
Helvetica, probably 9 or 10 points. The hanging-head
format is used.
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Headings — First-level headings align to to the far left
margin, use a blocky bold sans serif font with a solid
ruled line above. Chapter titles use a large gray serif
font in the upper right corner of the first page of the
chapter. Second-level heading align with body text, use
sentence-style caps (as do first-level headings) and use
the same font as do first-level headings but about 2
points smaller.
o Highlighting — In stepwise instructions, the following
elements are bold: buttons, tabs, menu options, menu
names, keyboard key names, icon names, parameter
settings. Names of disks supplied with the product are
in italics. System messages are in regular roman and
double quotation marks.
o Steps — Instructions sequences are introduced with a
gerund-phrased heading in the block bold font. Substeps
or alternate subtasks use infinitive phrasing with the
same font but smaller and are punctuated with a colon.
Actual steps use a number in the same smaller font with
out a period.
Headers and footers: Only footers are used. Bold page numbers
(using the same font as the first-level heading but much
smaller) are on the outside; the current heading, not chapter
title, is centered and in a serif italics font using sentence-style
caps.
Special notices: This book uses a light gray box with a white
checkmark in it to call attention to special notices. the text of
the special notices is the same as the footers: small italic serif
font. Usually, the checkmark box is located on the far left
margin and the notice text is aligned to the normal body text.
Where possible, the checkmark box and the notice text is in the
open area between the far left margin and the body text.
Troubleshooting section: The body of this section begin with a
flowchart that must be meant to orient a user to the overall
process of troubleshooting and to the different troubleshooting
resources available. The next section consists of common
questions with actions to take depending on yes or no answers.
The text of the actions is bulleted or numbered depending on
the content and contains cross-references to other areas of the
troubleshooting information. The next section is designed in
two columns, the left column with the heading "If the problem
is.." and the right column with the heading "Here's what to
do..." The problem statement in the left column is in bold. the
next section is similar except that it lists error codes that are
displayed on the computer and actions to take.
Index: The book has a 6-page index formatted in 3 column.
Two levels of index entries are used. The page references are
set about a half inch away from the text entries.
o



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Process and Internal Documents for User
Guides
An important part of user guides—in fact, of almost any technical document—is the
process that produces it:
1. Initial planning—Early planning on a user guide involves
needs assessment (is any documentation needed at all?),
audience analysis (who will be using the user guide; what are
theiur needs?), task analysis (what will users use the product
for; what are their common tasks?), library plan (what books,
in addition to a user guide, are needed to support the product?),
and so on.
2. Documentation proposal—If you are working freelance or as
part of an independent documentation firm, you may have to
write a proposal in an effort to win a contract to do a certain
technical documentation project.
3. Documentation plan—User guides need documentation plans,
which are internal supporting documents that specify content,
audience, design, format, production team members, schedule,
and other such information about a documentation project and
its "deliverables." The documentation plan resembles the
documentation proposal in certain ways, but the plan represents
an established plan agreed upon by everybody involved in the
production process (and that means both the user guide and the
product it documents).
4. Prototype and specifications—Important planning tools, which
also serve as useful reference tools during a documentation
project, include the prototype of the user guide and the
specifications for the user guide. The prototype is a dummy
version of the book with all planned components of the book
(see the list on book-design components) and all planned
elements (see the list under format and style). However, the
prototype uses "greeked" text like the following, instead of real
text:
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit,
sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet
dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat. Ut wisi enim ad
minim veniam, quis nostrud exerci tation ullam corper
suscipit lobortis nisl ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.
Duis autem vel eum iriure dolor in hendrerit in vulputate
velit esse molestie consequat, vel illum dolore eu feugiat
nulla facilisis at vero eros et accumsan.
5. Typically, the prototype of the user guide is very brief: it need
include only as many pages as it takes to illustrate every unique
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textual component and textual element that will be used in the
user guide.
6. Specifications are descriptions of a book design in table form.
Specifications describe every unique component or element of
a book, so that it can be recreated by someone who might not
have access to the electronic files, templates or styles of that
book.
7. Template and style catalog—A well-designed user guide, and a
well-designed process to produce that user guide, should
include templates and style catalogs. A template is an electronic
file that defines such aspects of the user guide as page size,
headers and footers, page-numbering style, regular and special
page layout, and other such detail.
A style catalog is also an electronic thing that defines the format and style of
textual elements such as headings, headers, footers, lists, paragraphs, tables,
and so on. For example, a style for a "heading 1" might specify 24-point Arial
bold with 24 picas above and 12 picas below. Styles help you create a user
guide more efficiently; styles also help you maintain consistency in the format
and style of that user guide.
8. Multiple review drafts & sign-off—A good process for the
production of a user guide also includes several drafts that
editors, technical experts, usability testers, and documentation
team members can review and provide comments on. You as
writer then implement those comments and produce a new draft
for these same people to review again. When everybody is
satisfied with the draft of the user guide (or worn out or out of
time), they sign off on the user guide, and it can then go into
"production," which means producing the finished bound
copies.
As you can see, a user guide brings together many of the topics covered in this online
textbook. If you are taking a technical writing course, you probably cannot implement
all these features and phases of a user guide. Get with your instructor to see which are
required.
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Online Technical Writing: Resources for
Organizational Policies and Procedures
Organizations use policies and procedures documents to record their rules and
regulations. These can include whatever the organizations considers important for its
operations: attendance policies, substance-abuse policies, work-flow procedures, and
so on. Once recorded, the policies and procedures are there for everybody in the
organization to refer to, and these documents become the means of settling most
disputes within the organization.
To distinguish between these two terms, policies are general statements of how an
organization want things to be within its walls. For example, it may have a policy that
dictates eager, aggressive, do-whatever-takes customer support. But to make that
policy a working reality, it will also have one or more procedures that define exactly
what to do -- step by step -- when a customer calls with a complaint or problem.
If you are enrolled in a course associated with this page, you are in a writing course,
not a business-policy course. Our focus is on good writing, well-designed documents,
documents that accomplish their purpose, and documents that meet common
expectations as to their content, organization, and format. Policies and procedures are
obviously an important application of writing and can contain substantial technical
information about a business's operations. That's why it's a good option for the final
project in a technical-writing course.
You can write policies and procedures if you need to write such a document for an
actual business or organization, if you are working for an organization that lacks
them, or if you'd merely like to do some constructive daydreaming about how an
organization ought to be structured. Beware, however, if you are just playing around
with this notion: the policies and procedures you write for this course must be every
bit as serious, realistic, specific, factual, well-researched, and well-thought-out as
policies and procedures for a real situation.
Policies and procedures can be very large documents containing information that you
may have no way of getting. Work with your instructor to reach an agreement on the
scope of the document you write. Remember too that your instructor is probably not a
professional business or organizational consultant and probably won't be able to help
you on the finer points of your policies and procedures document.
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Online Technical Writing:
Recommendation and Feasibility Reports
In this chapter, you study a loosely defined group of report types that provide a
studied opinion or recommendation, and then you either write one of your own or
format and finish one from text that your instructor makes available to you.
Be sure to check out the example feasibility reports available with this chapter:
The frames and nonframes versions work only on Netscape version 3
or later. If you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer, click Plain (or
download Netscape).
Example recommendation report 1: Sport
Utility Vehicles
Frames
Nonframes Plain
Example recommendation report 2: Laptop
Computers
Frames
Nonframes Plain
Example recommendation report 3: Fire Ant
Control
Frames
Nonframes Plain
Example recommendation report 4: Blood
Glucose Monitoring Systems
Frames
Nonframes Plain
Example recommendation report 5:
Frames
Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) Systems
Nonframes Plain
Example recommendation report 6: First
Telescope Purchase
Frames
Nonframes Plain
Example recommendation report 7: Voice
Recognition Software
Frames
Nonframes Plain
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Recommendation Report on the Purchase of the
Safest 1997 Sport Utility Vehicle
This is a recommendation report for any individual looking to purchase a 1997 sport
utility vehicle with safety in mind. More and more people today are drawn to utility
vehicles for reasons such as durability, roominess, and invulnerability. These vehicles
may give the user a false feeling of security and pose serious danger to other vehicles.
Many families today are trading in their minivans and purchasing sport utilities with
the impression they have bought a safe vehicle. These families want luxury and safety
from their sport utilities. The purchase of a sport utility vehicle would need to take
into consideration the following criteria:




Overall driving experience
Vehicle cockpit
Safety
Price
The four vehicles that were tested all fell in the price range of $25,000 to $35,000.
The vehicles were equipped with either all-wheel drive, which can be used at all
times, under any driving condition, or four-wheel drive, which should be used only
part time on loose surfaces such as mud. All of the vehicles were of the highest luxury
model available.
Comparisons
There are many so-called sport utility vehicles on the market today. Some of these
such as the GMC Jimmy and the Chevrolet Blazer do not fit into the luxury category
but are very good sport utility vehicles. The Land Rover and the Toyota 4Runner are
not considered because they fall out our price range [1:53]. The four sport utility
vehicles that will be considered are the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Mitsubishi Montero
Sport, the Ford Expedition, and the Ford Explorer.
Overall driving experience. The Jeep Grand Cherokee rides more comfortably than
most utility vehicles even with a full load. The ride is overall pretty quiet but there is
an occasional gear changing sound from the transmission [1:56] . The jeep's handling
is sound. The Mitsubishi Montero Sport rides more like a pickup truck than a luxury
sport utility. Bumps in city driving are pronounced and highway driving is jittery. The
interior sound is overall quiet and the handling is less than graceful. The Ford
Expedition, despite its size, is a responsive vehicle. Sharp turning does not cause the
Expedition to do excessive leaning. The ride is firm and a bit jittery, but with a full
load it gets better [1:57] . The Ford Explorer handles soundly. The body doesn't lean
in turns and when the vehicle turns wide it is easy to recover. The ride is stiff and
when on bumpy roads it is choppy [1:55] . Overall the Ford Explorer and the Jeep
Cherokee performed above average compared to the other vehicles.
Vehicle cockpit. In the Jeep Grand Cherokee the optional power seat helps tall and
short people get comfortable, with a good view of the road. The rear seat offers
adequate room with average comfort. The steering wheel hides some of the
instruments for any size user. The Mitsubishi Montero Sport cockpit offers average
leg and head room, and the driver side seat adjustment will fit almost any user. The
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rear seat is a split bench and in a pinch can hold three six-footers [1:58] . The gages
are readable and are within reach. Just about anyone should feel comfortable in the
Ford Expedition's driver seat. The Expedition comes with added seat and steering
wheel adjustments. Getting to the back seats of the Expedition can be some what of a
task. There are numerous latches one must undo to arrive at the split bench back seat.
The controls are easy to see day or night. The Ford Explorer is equipped with a sixway power driver's seat which should help any user get comfortable [1:55] . The
Explorer has a split rear bench seat which will hold three adults. The gages on the
Explorer are easy to read but at times some switches are hard to reach. There is no
question here the Ford Expedition superseded all vehicles on the inside due to its size
compared to the other vehicles.
Safety. Safety equipment on the Jeep Grand Cherokee includes dual air bags along
with four three-point safety belts. Each seat has four head restraints that do not lock in
their raised position. The Mitsubishi Montero Sport is equipped with dual air bags and
four three point safety belts. The four head restraints are high enough even when
lowered and they lock in place. The Ford Expedition comes with dual air bags and
three-point seat belts with adjustable height positions. The head restraints on the
Expedition are fixed and are high enough. The safety equipment on the Ford Explorer
includes dual air bags and four three-point safety belts. The rear three point belts on
the Explorer have an adjustable latch for child safety seats. The fixed head restraints
are adequate [1:55-58] . All compare the same in safety but the Explorer offers the
child safety seat option.
Price. The Jeep Grand Cherokee tested price was $29,885. The Mitsubishi Montero
Sport tested price was $29,554. The Ford Expedition tested price was $32,465 and the
Ford Explorers tested price was 29,535 [1:55-58] . The Expedition is considerably
more expensive than the other three, which have close to the same price.
Summary
The following is a summary of the comparison of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the
Mitsubishi Montero Sport, the Ford Expedition, and the Ford Explorer:
1. All four vehicles fall under the sport utility vehicle category.
2. The Ford Explorer and the Jeep Cherokee outperformed the other two in
handling and maneuvering.
3. The Ford Expedition crushed the other competition when it came to the inside
leg room, head room, and overall instrument layout.
4. The Montero Sport and the Ford Expedition did not handle as well as the other
two but made up for this in the overall comfort of the interior.
5. All three vehicles except the Ford Expedition had equal amounts of comfort
for the driver and the passengers.
6. The Ford Explorer gained an advantage overall with the child safety seat
restraint option.
7. Three out of the four fall within $400.00 of each other which is the lowest
prices of the tested vehicles. The Ford Expedition is much higher priced than
the other three.
8. Although the Ford Expedition is superior in terms of comfort and cockpit
layout, these advantages do not justify its greater cost.
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9. Because it meets the requirements stated earlier in this report and because of
its relatively lower price, the Ford Explorer is best choice of the four vehicles
compared.
Table 1. Testing results of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Mitsubishi Montero
Sport, the Ford Expedition, and the Ford Explorer.
Jeep Grand
Cherokee
Mitsubishi
Montero Sport
Ford
Expedition
Ford
Explorer
Performance
2
2
2
2
Comfort
2
2
3
2
Ride
2
1
3
3
Noise
3
2
2
3
Controls and
display
4
4
4
4
2.6
2.2
2.8
3.0
Category
TOTAL
Note: 1 - Poor, 2 - Good, 3 - Very good, 4 - Excellent
Recommendations
Based on the testing results previously discussed in this report and the ratings from
Table 1, I recommend the following:

Purchase a Ford Explorer which meets all the minimum safety requirements
along with the added child safety option. The Explorer performs well in the
luxury and the performance test and is reasonably priced.
Material Cited
1. "Four Foul-Weather Friends." Consumer Reports (June 1997), 52-58.
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Comparison of Laptop Computers
The purpose of this comparison is to help prospective laptop purchasers in their
decision. In today's mobile climate, the average person can make good use of a
reliable portable computer; this report is designed to help in that search. Of the many
perspective computers, only several brands have been selected for this comparison.
Those that have been selected are Pentium computers that boast the new MMX
technology. MMX technology lends itself to portable computers because of the added
internal processor cache, graphics acceleration, and lower power usage. The first two
features add to the speed of the machine and the last to the travelling lifetime.
This report will compare laptop computers on the basis of the following: (1) features,
(2) performance in hardware tests, and (3) price.
Options for Laptop Computers
Of the many laptops available, some equipped with MMX, only four specific
computers were chosen. These computers are equipped with MMX processors and
stood out among other MMX computers for their performance as well as their value.
Those chosen for this comparison are the Compaq Presario 1080, the Dell Latitude
LM M166ST, the Gateway 2000 Solo 2200 166MMX, and the Micron Transport XPE
P166. These computers all have Pentium 166 processors with a variety of other
features that will be discussed in the following.
Points of Comparison
The industry of computers is an ever growing and continually more competitive
market. Many computer manufactures are emerging with well made, reliable systems
that make a valid argument for themselves. Several of these computers are discussed
below.
Features. Many different features are available on today's computer, but only the
standard, essential features will be discussed here. These features are grouped into
subheadings below for ease of use.



Memory: Each computer has a processor speed of 166 MHz. The Compaq has
the least amount of standard memory with 16 MB, with a maximum of 48 MB.
Both the Dell and Gateway computers come with 40 MB installed with their
maximums being 72 and 80 MB respectively. The Micron had the most
standard memory at 48 MB, having a maximum at 80 MB also. The Micron
machine rates best in this area [1:144-145].
Weight: For laptop computers, travel weight, that is the weight of all of the
required equipment and carrying case, is very important. The Compaq and
Dell come in with the lowest travel weight at 8.5 pounds. The Gateway came
in right behind them with 8.6 pounds travelling. Of the four computers, the
Micron was the heaviest, weighting in at 9.1 pounds. The Dell and Compaq
are the best in the weight department [1:144-145].
Battery: Another key factor for laptop computers is the length of time they can
operate away from an outlet. The Dell computer had the longest rated battery
life with a rating of 4 to 5 hours. Compaq's computer had a rating of 3 hours
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
while Gateway and Micron's laptops were rated with 2.5 and 2.25 hours,
respectively. Dell's computer has the best rating for battery life [1:144-145].
Storage: All computers rely on their storage unit to operate for the use of
programs and storing information. The Presario had the smallest standard hard
drive at 1.4 GB. Both the Dell and the Gateway computers had 2.1 GB hard
drives. Micron rates at the top for this category for its 3 GB hard drive [1:144145].
Overall, the Latitude from Dell gets the best rating for this section. It's light weight
and long battery life aid in portability, and while its hard drive and memory are
average for this group, they are more than sufficient for good performance.
Performance. The various machines were put through their paces to determine their
comparative performance. The several different tests are listed below as well as the
various computers' performances. The numbers don't mean much on their own and are
best used in comparison.



Windows applications: The various computers were tested and scored on the
execution time of eight top-selling Windows applications. The Compaq had
the lowest score with a 29.4. The final three scored fairly closely together with
the Dell coming in at 36.6, the Gateway having a score of 37.5, ad the Micron
having a score of 39.5 [1:140-141]. The Micron ranks at the top of this
category.
Processor: These tests were run by exercising the processor and memory with
test that mirror the processor usage of many Window programs. The Latitude
has the lowest rating at 322. Next in order for performance was the Presario at
328. The final two machines are fairly the same in this test with the Gateway
testing at 331 and the Micron at 332 [1:140-141]. The Micron comes in at the
top of this category also.
Battery: Battery life was tested by performing a combination of down time
and heavy activity for the extent of the battery lifetime. The Micron and
Gateway computers ranked at the bottom with 2 minutes 20 seconds and 2
minutes 19 seconds, respectively. Dell's Latitude was next with a battery life
of 2 minutes 30 seconds. Finally, the Compaq was rated at 2 minutes 32
seconds [1:140-141]. The Compaq was at the top in this category.
In this battery of tests, the Micron appears to be the leader. Although the battery life is
lower than two of the machines, the difference is not enough to negate the Transport's
superior performance in the other tests.
Cost. The computers were priced by the manufacturers suggested price, but the prices
grow considerably when adding options. The Compaq Presario sells for $4,299 for the
average mail order price. The Latitude priced at $3,999 direct. Gateway's system can
be purchased for $4,724 direct. Finally, and most expensively, the Micron sells for
$5,199 direct.
Table 1. Laptop Computer Comparison
Compaq Presario
Dell Latitude
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Gateway 2000 Solo
Micron Transport
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Cost
$4,299
$3,999
$4,724
$5,199
16MB/48MB
40MB/72MB
40MB/80MB
48MB/80MB
Weight (lbs.)
8.5
8.5
8.6
9.1
Battery (hrs.)
3
4-5
2.5
2.25
Storage (GB)
1.4
2.1
2.1
3
Features
Memory (std./max)
Performance:(number is rank compared with the other computers, 1 is best)
Windows Apps.
4
3
2
1
Processor
3
4
2
1
Battery Life
1
2
3
4
Conclusions
Table 1 illustrates the preceding comparison of features, performance, and cost. From
this information, the following conclusions can be stated:
1. The Dell is best in the features in terms of portability and average for the other
areas.
2. The Micron Transport covers the other aspects with high end hardware, but is
somewhat heavy and the battery life is short.
3. The Transport leads in most of the performance areas and is not far from the
front in the area of tested battery life.
4. The Gateway computer performs very well behind the Micron machine.
5. The Micron computer is the most expensive with the Gateway computer being
reasonably priced behind it.
6. Although the Micron and Dell laptop computers provide slightly better
performance in certain areas, these advantages are not worth their higher price
tags.
7. The Gateway laptop provides essentially the same features and performance as
the Micron but at a lower price.
8. The Gateway laptop computer is the best choice based on the preceding
conclusions.
Recommendation
Based on these comparisons, I would recommend the Gateway computer. It
performed well in all of the tests and had good standard features for the price. Also, it
was priced lower than the Micron laptop.
Literature Cited
1. "MMX on the Fly." Computer Shopper (July 1997), 138-145.
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Fire Ant Control: Feasibility Study
by Jacquie Shillis,
former technical writing student
now with the Texas Department of Health
Plans to develop a commercial campground on a 10-acre plot in western Bastrop
County are contingent on establishing a fire ant control program to allow people and
domestic animals to use the land for recreational purposes. This report describes the
current fire ant problem on the property, lists the criteria set by the potential
developer, gives the reasons for a limitation of the study to a comparison of broadcast
treatments, compares two fire ant control programs, outlines conclusions based on the
comparisons, and offers recommendations.
Note: See the technical review of this report.
Current Fire Ant Infestation Levels
Fire ant infestation rates on the 10-acre property average 80 visible mounds per acre.
In the most heavily infested areas, more than 100 mounds per acre are visible. Since
mounds are not visible during the first 30 days of the development of the colony [3] ,
the total infestation rate should be assessed at a level higher than the visible mounds
suggest. Without treatment, the infestation can be expected to increase. At current
levels, development as a campground is not feasible.
Fire Ant Control Criteria
Criteria for the fire ant control program are based on the needs of the potential
developer. The goal of the study is to identify a program that will:





Reduce fire ant population by 90% or more.
Maintain fire ant population at a level appropriate for safe, continuous use of
camping facilities from April through October.
Maintain environmental toxicity levels well below those allowing recreational
use of the property.
Minimize costs.
Minimize frequency of product application.
Limitations of the Study
Two types of fire ant control treatments are available: individual mound treatments
and broadcast treatments. The most common treatments for individual mounds
include chemical drenches, surface dusts, injected toxicants, fumigants, and baits
[11:20]. Broadcast treatments are baits composed of corn grits coated with soybean
oil and a toxicant. With the exception of bait, treatments for individual mounds are
fast-acting pesticides designed to kill high numbers of fire ants [12:144]. Since the
only way to destroy a fire ant colony is to kill the queen [5,7], the individual mound
treatments often fail because they do not affect the queen. Although thousands of ants
may be killed, the queen is whisked to safety deep in the mount. A queen can lay up
to 1,500 eggs a day [12:143] and quickly repopulate the colony or she can simply
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move to a new location and establish a new colony. Another disadvantage of
individual mount treatments, including bait products used to treat individual mound,
is that developing colonies are not visible and, therefore, may not be treated [11:20].
In addition, locating the mounds takes more time than broadcasting a product over the
entire area.
Given the shortcomings of individual mound treatments, this study is limited to a
comparison of the two existing types of broadcast treatments, most commonly
marketed as Amdro and Logic. These bait products are based on theknowledge that
both the larval stage and adult ant stores liquid food and regurgitates it to feed other
ants, including the queen. The baits include slow-acting chemical agents which are
passed along until they reach the queen and kill her to eradicate the colony.
Comparison of Fire Ant Broadcast Treatments
Amdro and Logic represent different types of fire ant broadcast treatments. The two
products will be compared on the basis of the following factors:





Chemical actions
Application requirements
Environmental hazards
Effectiveness
Cost
Chemical actions of Amdro and Logic. The active ingredient in Amdro, tetrahydro5,5-dimethyl-2(1H)- pyrimidinone(3-(4-(trifluoromethyl)phenyl)-1-(2(4-(trifluoro
methyl)phenyl)-2- propenylidene)hydrazone, is an insecticide that is activated slowly
to allow time for it to reach the queen [8:122]. The active ingredient in Logic is
fenoxycarb, a growth regulator, that, when consumed by the queen, prevents her from
laying eggs that normally would develop into worker ants. As the number of worker
ants diminishes by natural death and no new workers take the place of the dead ants,
the queen dies from lack of care and feeding [3]. Logic also affects eggs that would
normally develop into themales which swarm and mate to produce new queens. These
swarmers are born with deformed wings, preventing them from swarming and mating
[3]. Both Amdro and Logic are designed to eradicate a fire ant colony by killing the
queen, but do so by different chemical actions. Amdro kills the queen with a poison;
Logic inhibits normal ant development.
Application requirements of Amdro and Logic. All bait treatments should be
applied when ants are active and the ground temperature is between 7005 and 9505 F.
The ground must be dry, with no rain forecast for the next few hours [7]. Amdro is
designed for broadcast application on pastures, range grass, lawns, turf, and noncrop
areas [8:122] at a rate of 1 to 1-1/2 pounds per acre [1]. It may also be distributed
around the base of an individual mound at a rate of 5 tablespoons per mound, not to
exceed a total of 1-1/2 pounds per acre, including any bait broadcast in the area [1].
Logic is recommended for controlling fire ants around homes, office buildings, city
utilities, on roadsides, in parks, cemeteries, school yards, and on golf courses at a rate
of 1 to 1-1/2 pounds per acre. For best results, both mound and broadcast treatment
are recommended [3]. The application rates of Amdro and Logic are the same. Both
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products are designed primarily as boardcast treatments on turf but individual mount
treatment is recommended in conjunction with the broadcast method.
Environmental hazards of Amdro and Logic. Environmental hazards can be
assessed on the basis of toxicity of the product, the range of organisms affected, and
product accumulation in the environment.

Toxicity. The toxicity of a substance is generally expressed in terms of its
lethal dosage, the amount of the substance which, when ingested, results in the
death of 50% of the test animals [2]. Lethal dosage is abbreviated as LD50.
The lower the LD50 number, the more toxic the substance [5]. The LD50 is
1131 mg per kg of body weight for the active ingredient in Amdro [8:122].
The LD50 of the active ingredient in Logic is 9220 me per kg of body weight
[8:49]. The active ingredient in Amdro is approximately eight times more
toxic than that of Logic. However, a lethal dosage ratio of 1131 (Amdro) to
8813 (Logic) more accurately compares the difference in toxicity between the
two products because Amdro contains 0.88% active ingredient and Logic
contains 1% active ingredient. As purchased, the commercial product Amdro
is approximately seven times more toxic than Logic.
In practical terms, a lethal dosage for a medium-sized dog (weighing
approximately 35 pounds) is more than 3 pounds of the active ingredient of
Amdro. Since a one pound bag of the product contains only 1% active
ingredient, the entire amount of Amdro purchased to treat a 10-acre camp
ground would not constitute a lethal dosage for a medium-sized animal.
Smaller animals are in greater danger of ingesting a lethal dosage. However,
non-fatal health effects, such as diarrhea, can result for any size animal from
consumption of a tablespoon of Amdro [6]. Logic, by virtue of its lower
toxicity level, would need to be consumed at a much higher rate to produce
comparable effects.


Organisms affected. In addition to killing fire ants, Amdro kills harvester ants.
At a higher concentration, the active ingredient in Amdro kills cockroaches.
Amdro may attract pets and rodents [8:123] and, if consumed in sufficient
amounts, can kill pets. Amdro is toxic to fish [1]. When used as
recommended, Logic affects only ants, including harvester ants and other ant
species that compete with fire ants. Since it has the same corn grit and soybean
oil base as Amdro, it is attractive to pets and rodents [2], but must be
consumed in greater amounts to be fatal, due to its lower toxicity. Logic is also
toxic to fish.
Environmental accumulation. Amdro does not accumulate in the environment
and is not systemic in plants [8:123]. Logic dissipates rapidly in soil. No
residues can be detected three days after application [10:3]. Neither product
remains toxic for an extended period of time in the environment.
Effectiveness of Amdro and Logic. The initial effects of Amdro are noticeable 1 to 2
weeks after application and theproduct reaches maximum effectiveness in 1 to 1-1/2
months [2]. In a study conducted by Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA)
personnel [9:2-3], 8 weeks after a single broadcast application of Amdro on 4 test
plots, the number of fire ants and colonies had been reduced by 88% and the toal ant
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population by 92%. After 35 weeks, 86% fewer colonies existed, compared to
pretreatment levels. Ant population had been reduced by 98%. One year and 13 days
after the Amdro application, the number of mounds on the test plots ranged from 47%
fewer than pretreatment level to 32% more than that level. Population reduction
averaged 35%.
Initial effects of Logic are not apparent until 2 to 3 months after application [2]. In the
TDA study [9:2-3], 50% of the fire ant colonies had been eradicated and the ant
population had been reduced by 92% at 8 weeks after a broadcast treatment of Logic.
At 35 weeks, Logic-treated plots averaged an 81% reduction in the number of fire ant
colonies and a 98% reduction in fire ant population. One year and 13 days after the
application of Logic, levels of mound reduction ranged from 91% to 46%, depending
on the plot. Ant population reduction was 87%. Table 1 is a summary of the results of
the study.
Table 1. Table of fire ant mound and population reduction rates for a single application of
Amdro and Logic.
8 Weeks
Product
35 Weeks
1 Year, 13 Days
Population
Mound
Population
Mound
Population
Mound
Amdro
88%
92%
86%
98%
47-32%
35%
Logic
50%
92%
81%
98%
91-46%
87%
Early spring application (as soon as soil temperatures reach acceptable levels) of
Amdro would bring fire ant population levels into the range desirable for recreational
use of the 10 acre property in 8 weeks or less. An additional fall application of Amdro
would be required to maintain acceptable fire ant population levels. Early spring
application of Logic would bring fire ant population levels under control in 8 weeks.
A single annual application in early Spring would maintain desirable fire ant
population levels.
Cost. Both Amdro and Logic have a com grit and soybean oil base [7] and must be
used within three months after opening to be effective [1]. Baits are available in large
25 pound and 50 pound quantities for a low price per pound but, for the purposes of
this study, large purchases are not cost effective due to the short life of the open
product. For the purpose of treatment of the 10-acre property, purchases of quantities
of 15 pounds or less are appropriate. Therefore, this cost survey is limited to retail
prices of small quantities. Only the lowest prices are reported, excluding taxes. A 1pound container of Amdro costs $7.99 at HEB grocery stores. At application rates of
1 pound per acre, broadcast twice a year, the cost is $159.80 per year. At application
rates of 1-1/2 pounds per acre, the annual cost is $239.70. B&G Company sells 4pound bags of Logic for $28.79. At application rates of 1 pound per acre, the annual
cost of Logic is $86.37. At rates of 1-1/2 pounds per acre, the annual cost is $115.16.
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Product costs for Logic are significantly lower than costs for Amdro. Additionally,
only one annual application of Logic is required, compared to two aplications of
Amdro, so labor costs for Logic are half those of Amdro.
Conclusions
From a business perspective, the comfort and safety of campers are probably the most
important factors in the consideration of fire ant control measures. If campers are not
relatively free from ant bites (most people expect a few--this IS Texas) and protected
from harsh chemicals, they will not return to the campground or recommend it to
friends and family. Once comfort and safety are achieved, cost effectiveness becomes
an important factor. The following conclusions can be drawn from the preceding
comparison of chemical action, application requirements, environmental hazards,
product effectiveness, and cost of Amdro and Logic:





Amdro and Logic have identical application requirements and rates.
Amdro is approximately 7 times more toxic than Logic. Neither product
accumulates significantly in the environment. At recommended application
rates, neither product poses a serious threat to people or pets.
Amdro acts more quickly than Logic, but Logic has better long-term control
capabilities. One annual spring application of Logic maintains approximately
the same level of fire ant control as two applications of Amdro per year.
The annual product cost for application of Logic at a rate of 1 pound per acre
is 47% lower than the cost of Amdro appliced at the same time. At rate of 11/2 pounds per acre, the cost of Logic is 53% lower than the cost of Amdro.
Labor costs for Logic application are half those of Amdro.
A factual summary of these conclusions is presented in Table 2.
Table 2. Factual Summary of Comparisons of Amdro and Logic.
CATEGORY
AMDRO
LOGIC
Application rates in pounds/acre
1 - 1.5
1 - 1.5
Lethal dosage of active ingredient in mg per kg
1131
9220
Initial effects
1 to 2 weeks
2 to 3 months
Duration of effects at desirable levels
35 weeks
1 year
Number of annual applications
2 times
1 times
Annual product costs
$159.80 -239.70
$86.37 - 115.16
Recommendations
To achieve long term fire ant control on the proposed campground, a single annual
application of Logic in the early spring is recommended as the most effective, least
toxic, and most cost-effective long-term method. However, since spring has already
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passed, I recommend a broadcast treatment with Amdro now to control fire ants
immediately and allow development of the campground. If the property can be treated
with Amdro and left undisturbed for 6 to 8 weeks, the fire ant population should be
brought to and maintained at a level allowing recreational use of the property for the
remainder of this year's camping season. A single application of Logic early next
spring and each subsequent spring should maintain the level of fire ant infestation
within the desired level for the proposed use of the property.
Resources Cited
1. Amdro Fire Ant Insecticide. Produce label. Wayne, NJ.: American Cyanamid
Co., 1987.
2. Clair, Dan. Pest Management Program, Texas Department of Agriculture.
Personal interview, Austin, TX. June 26, 1989.
3. Logic Fire Ant Bait, Technical Data. Commercial brochure. n.d.
4. Logic Professional Fire Ant Bait. Product label. Memphis: Terminix
International Inc., n.d.
5. Mulder, Roger. Pest Management Program, Texas Department of Agriculture.
Personal interview, Austin, TX. June 14, 1989.
6. Rhodes, T. C. DVM. Personal interview, Cedar Creek, TX. June 16, 1989.
7. Texas Department of Agriculture, How to Safely and Successfully Manage
Fire Ants (without resorting to the use of harsh chemicals). Austin, TX. n.d.
8. Thomson, W.T. Agricultural Chemicals: Book 1, Insecticides. Fresno, CA:
Thomson Publications, 1985.
9. Trostle, Mark R. "Ground Application of Bait Toxicants to Texas Sod Farms."
Paper presented at the 1989 Imported Fire Ant Conference, Biloxi, MS.
10. United States Environmental Protection Agency. Pesticide Fact Sheet, No. 78.
Washington, DC: February, 1986.
11. Vinson, S. Bradleigh, and A. Ann Sorenson. Imported Fire Ants: Life History
and Impact. Department of Entomology, Texas A&M University, College
Station, Texas, and Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, Texas
Department of Agriculture, 1986.
12. Yoffee, Emily. "The Fire Ant: Ruthless, Dangerous, Unstoppable - and It's
After You." Texas Monthly, August, 1988: 80-85 and 142-146.
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Blood Glucose Monitoring System Purchase
This is a recommendation report on choosing a blood glucose monitoring system.
Systems that enable individuals to measure their own blood glucose levels are
essential to managing diabetes. In the United States, there are over 2.5 million regular
users of glucose monitors; 8.8 million persons are currently diagnosed as having
diabetes and over 600,000 new diagnoses are made each year. There are high barriers
to entry in this, the largest home testing market, which is dominated by several major
international players. Some people test their blood once a day. Others test their blood
three or four times a day. Your doctor may want you to test before eating, before bed,
and sometimes in the middle of the night. Ask you doctor how often and when you
should test your blood sugar. The purchase of a blood glucose monitor should take
into consideration the following criteria:





Ease of use
Features
Speed of results
Suitability for use by children under ten years old and by children over ten
years old and adults
Cost of the monitor
The monitor would need to be usable for all ages. This would mean that it would need
to have the ability to read the glucose with ease. This is a very subjective rating and
could easily vary from person to person. But meters that require you to wipe their
strips are inherently more difficult to use than ones that don't.
Product Descriptions
There are many meters currently on the market. Some of the best on the market are
the Accu Check monitors made by Roche, One Touch, SureStep and FastTake made
by Lifescan, and Glucometer made by Bayer. These products are the best on the
market and are aimed at all diabetics to endure correct blood glucose readings.
AccuCheck Advantage. The AccuCheck Advantage is an excellent blood test meter.
The AccuCheck Complete is easy enough to use that even young kids will be able to
use it by themselves. However, the meter is larger than other meters on the market.
Lifescan's SureStep and FastTake. Testing with the FastTake is easy. The
difference between the FastTake and the AccuCheck complete reflects the fact that
the FastTake is calibrated to serum glucose values and the AccuCheck Complete is
calibrated to whole blood values. FastTake Compact Blood Glucose Monitoring
System has a data port, but the cable is not yet available. It will use the LifeScan In
Touch software. This meter is plasma-blood calibrated. It requires only a 2.5µ (2.5
microliter) drop of blood, less than any other meter, and tests in 15 seconds. SureStep
Meter lacks a data port. This meter is plasma-blood calibrated.
Lifescan's One Touch. One Touch Profile's data port allows it to work with diabetes
management software. This is a whole blood-calibrated meter. One Touch II's data
port allows it to work with diabetes management software. This is a whole blood-
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calibrated meter. One Touch Basic lacks a data port. This is a whole blood-calibrated
meter.
Bayer's Glucometer Elite. Glucometer Elite has a unique test strip design that
actually sucks the blood into the test chamber, and it requires much less blood (3
microliters) than most meters. Young children, however, will find it very difficult to
open the foil wrapped test strip. You have to peel the foil s-l-o-w-l-y down, exposing
the electronic contacts that are inserted into the meter. If you pull too quickly, the
very small strip will fall out. With a little practice, adults can easily master this.
Young children with weak fingers will find it difficult.
Comparisons
The blood glucose monitoring systems listed above will be compared according to (1)
ease of use, (2) features, (3) speed of results, (4) suitability for use by children under
ten years old as well as by children over ten years old and adults, and (5) cost.
Ease of use. The AccuCheck Advantage is an excellent blood test meter. It's very
small (2.25 by 3.5 by 5/8 inches) and lightweight, and fits easily in a child's hand.
With dimensions of 4.79" x 2.83" x 1.06" [121.7mm x 72.0mm x 27.0mm] and
weighing 4.4 oz [125 g] without batteries, the AccuCheck Complete is much larger
than its predescessor, the AccuCheck Advantage. FastTake small size (3.12" x 2.25" x
.75", 1.6 ounces with battery) and weight (easily fits in a kid's T-shirt pocket). All
monitors still use the blood drop testing except the FastTake and Glocumeter Elite.
Features. AccuCheck Advantage has 100 test memory that stores the date and time
for each test, data port, common 3-volt coin batteries, and touchable strips.
AccuCheck Complete turns on automatically, has 1,000 memories and sophisticated
diabetes management software integrated into the meter, extensive averaging as part
of integrated diabetes management software, data port for external interface to
computer software, and uses two standard AAA alkaline batteries (rated for
approximately 1,000 tests). FastTake has 150-test memory for storing blood sugar
readings, 14-day averaging, Large, easy-to-read display, Data interface port (cable
and software not yet available), and uses two standard watch batteries (rated for
approximately 1,000 tests). One Touch Basic is a single memory that displays the last
blood sugar reading. And the One Touch Basic still uses the hard-to-find J battery,
instead of AAA batteries like the One Touch Profile. SureStep has 10 reading
memory, two AAA batteries, visual backup reading of test strip using color chart on
strip bottle. Glucometer Elite has 20 result memory, large LCD display that is very
easy to read, event associated average blood sugar readings, insulin dosage and
carbohydrate counting after each test. AccuCheck Complete has the highest memory.
Speed. AccuCheck Complete test results in 30 seconds. FastTake displays test results
in 15 seconds. One Touch Profile test results in 45 seconds. One Touch Basic test
results 45 seconds. SureStep test results in 30 seconds. AccuCheck Advantage test
results 40 seconds. Glucometer Elite test results 35 seconds. The FastTake has the
quickest test result speed.
Suitability for use of all ages. Exceptionally easy to use, even for young children, the
small size of the AccuCheck Advantage makes it an excellent meter for at home and
on the road. Recommended for children with diabetes who bleed well. Primarily due
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to the large blood reguired, the AccuCheck Complete is recommended only for
children with diabetes who bleed easily. The FastTake is easy enough to use that even
young kids will be able to use it by themselves. All monitors are suitable for all ages
in the use of blood testing. Some may need a little help or none at all. FastTake is
most suitable to use.
Costs. The cost includes strips (per 100 strips). The cost of the One Touch Profile and
One Touch Basic is about $57. The cost of the SureStep is about $66. The cost of the
AccuCheck Advantage and AccuCheck Complete is about $55. The cost of the
FastTake is about 42. The cost of Glucometer Elite is about $48. FastTake is the less
expensive monitor.
Summary
The following is a summary of the comparison of the Accu-Check, One Touch
Profile, One Touch Basic, SureStep, FastTake and Glucometer Elite.
1. All monitors are capable of testing your blood glucose.
2. The SureStep and FastTake are the easiest to use.
3. The One Touch Profile, AccuCheck and FastTake has the most features
including memory.
4. The FastTake has the best speed of results.
5. The One Touch Profile, One Touch Basic and FastTake has best suitability by
children of all ages.
6. AccuCheck Advantage and AccuCheck Complete have the lowest cost.
7. Even though the FastTake is the most expensive, it is the best choice in all
other categories.
8. The extra expense for the FastTake is justified, considering its importance to
the health and safety of the user.
9. The FastTake is the best choice of the blood glucose monitoring systems
considered in this study.
Table 1. Comparisons of Blood Glucose Monitoring Systems
Categories
One
Touch
Profile
One
Touch
Basic
SureStep
AccuCheck
Advantage
AccuCheck
Complete
FastTake
Glucometer
Elite
Ease of use
9
9
10
9
9
10
9
Features
10
1
5
8
10
10
10
Speed of
results
4
4
6
5
5
10
5
Suitability
by children
under ten
years old
10
10
8
8
8
10
8
Suitability
by children
over ten
years old
10
10
8
10
10
10
8
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Cost
7
7
3
8
8
2
3
TOTALS
50
41
40
48
50
52
43
Notes:











Ease of use: Scores range from 1 (Mommy, help!) to 10 (I did it all myself!).
Memory: One-reading memory scores 1 point; multiple-reading memory score 2 points.
Data port: A data port scores 2 points.
Batteries: AAA or other common batteries scores 2 points.
Automatic averaging: Averaging adds 2 points.
Other data features: Additional data features add up to 2 more points.
Speed of results: Scores range from 0 (120 seconds or more) to 10 (10 seconds or less).
Suitability for children under 10: Scores range from 1 (forget it) to 10 (no problem).
Suitability for children over 10: Scores range from 1 (forget it) to 10 (no problem).
Costs: Scores range from 0 (more than US$75 per 100 strips) to 10 (less than US$50 per 100
strips).
Overall rating: 60 is perfect.
Recommendations
Based on the criteria previously discussed in this report, and the ratings from Table 1,
I recommend the following:


Purchase the FastTake blood glucose meter which has the highest score even
in cost.
or
Ask your doctor or diabetes educator for advice on which one to buy.
Literature Referenced
1. Dillon, Alison E. "Blood Glucose Meters." American Journal of Obstetrics
and Gynecology. (November, 1997), 6-7.
2. Mediconsult.com Limited. Cambridge, MA.
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Desiree Frontaine
1716 Boutade Ln
Austin, Tx. 78700
(512) 000-0000
John Arbors, Jr.
Waterloo Brewing Company
401 Guadalupe St.
Austin, TX. 78701
(512) 000-0000
Dear Mr. Arbors:
As we agreed two months ago, I have prepared this report for your company,
Waterloo Brewing. Waterloo, at present, runs a Local Area Network (LAN), with a
server and 4 dumb terminals. Currently, this system is protected with a surge
suppression system, in the form of special wall receptacles, that trips a breaker if a
spike occurs. There is no protection on the phone line. This report offers technical
background information on an alternative power protection device designed
specifically for businesses that use LANs in their day-to-day operations; that device is
called an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). This report compares three of the top
name brands in UPSs in a point-by point comparison and offers conclusions and final
recommendations for the purchase of a UPS, as well as a glossary to help define terms
that are unfamiliar.
Background on power supplies
To reduce the risk of losing data to power failure, many companies protect their
servers with uninterruptible power supplies [4:110] . A UPS uses batteries to provide
power to a connected computer in the event of a brownout or blackout. "Dirty power"
is the industry term for changes, variances, and disturbances that occur during normal
usage of utility provided power.
A perfect sine-wave can become system-shocking "dirty power" without notice and
can cause extreme damage to data and computers alike. Other equipment nearby can
produce "noise on the line" that can wreak havoc with a computing environment. IBM
recently reported in a study of power sources that a typical processor encounters
around 128 power problems a month [5] . These problems can be caused externally by
brownouts or load switches or grid problems at the utility or caused internally by
subtle disturbances from sources such as copiers, flourescent lights, faxes or even
vending machines. Spikes, surges, sags, gaps, as well as electrostatic and
electromagnetic interference attack your delicate electrical environment on a daily
basis. UPSs provide reliable continous computer-grade AC power regardless of what
happens to primary power sources [1;5] .
Features required by the UPS
The following sections lists the requirements as you described in our discussions
about this project, and specifically requirements related to the hardware now in place
at Waterloo Brewing Company. You indicated that the cash outlay must be kept to
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between $200.00 and $400.00 and that the UPS must support the operating system
already on the computer, which is Windows 3.1.
The hardware requires that this device be capable of running the server for 15-20
minutes, so that the manager on duty has time to effect an orderly shutdown of the
system, including saving the various open ledgers and reports. To protect the
computer and peripherals, the UPS should include voltage regulation, protection ports
for the phone line that is connected to the computer modem, protection for the
terminal connections, and a low battery indicator. The size of UPS needed is 600 VA.
This number is arrived at by adding up the VA ratings of all the devices and
peripherals and allowing another 40% for expansion of equipment and for fault
tolerance. This allows the computer load to be 60% of the KVA rating of the UPS
[4;5] .
Narrowing the Field
After looking at two dozen different brands of UPS, I have been able to narrow the
field to the devices that had the features we were looking for, at the price we wanted,
with the best reputation. Those companies in the order of their reputation are
American Power Conversion Company, Fenton Industries, and Tsi Power Company.
We will compare the Smart-UPS from American Power Conversion, the PowerPal
6000 from Fenton Industries, and the UPS-600 from from Tsi Power's Flexible series.
Comparison of the Uninterruptible Power Supplies
The following compares these UPS systems according to (1) price, (2) operating
system compatibility, (3) server shutdown time, (4) voltage regulation, (5) phone
ports and terminal connections, and (6) batteries and indicator lights.
Prices. All of the models fell within the target budget with:



APC's Smart-UPS, with a rating of 660 VA, listed at $344.00 on their Web
site price list.
Fenton's Powerpal, with a rating of 650 VA, listed at $279.00 on their web site
price list.
Tsi Power's UPS-600, with a rating of 600 VA, listed at $295.00 at Circuit
City. Tsi does not offer on-line shopping.
Since all the models fell within the target range of your budget and since they all offer
the total VA needed for this project, this point of comparison will have little effect on
the final recommendation.
Operating system compatibility. The operating systems supported by these UPSs
are as follows:



APC's Smart-UPS are Windows, Windows 95, WinNT and Windows fro
Workgroups. They also provide plug-and-play software.
Fenton's Powerpal are Novell's Netware, WinNT, Windows 95, Windows 3.1
and OS\2. Fenton includes automatic shutdown software with their UPS.
Tsi Power's UPS-600 are Novell's Netware, WinNT, Windows 95 and
Windows 3.1.
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Since all the models fell within the target range for this requirement, this point of
comparison will have little effect on the final recommendation.
Server shutdown time. The times for server shutdown are as follows:



APC's Smart-UPS is 25 minutes. The Smart-UPS also offers automatic shut
down software.
Fenton's Powerpal is 30 minutes. Fenton also has smaller battery backups that
presumably could be used to keep the terminals up and running in the case of
blackouts of short duration.
Tsi Power's UPS-600 is 15 minutes. Tsi allows for expansion of the unit's
batteries. The price for battery extension is $64.95 and allows for an addtional
15 minutes of backup time. Tsi also has smaller power packs for the terminals.
Fenton's Powerpal offers the longest time for shutdown. The optional automatic
shutdown software offered by APC is of little use on the Squirrel system because of
the procedures required to effect an orderly shutdown. The smaller battery packs
offered by Fenton and Tsi are not capable of keeping the terminals up for more than
15 minutes. You would have to buy one for each of the terminals to boost the power
at that location, and in the case of a complete blackout it would be better to perform
the shutdown, and save the equipment from power sags and surges when the power
comes back online. Fenton is the obvious choice for this point.
Voltage regulation. The fourth point of comparison involves voltage regulation. The
specifications for each UPS are as follows:



APC's Smart-UPS is full automatic voltage regulation which provides
complete protection against extended brownouts or spikes without draining the
batteries [2] .
Fenton's Powerpal is built-in voltage regulation for brownout protection -Powerpal "boosts" low voltages and "bucks" high voltages or spikes, thus
extending battery life and reducing stress on the electrical equipment [3] .
Tsi Power's UPS-600 is protection against high and low voltages [5] .
APC and Fenton both have automatic and full-time voltage regulation. Tsi has a
standby switch or inverter and only turns on when the power drops to the level of the
UPS-600's low impedence switch. In some cases, this may be too late for the data in
stream or the process in porgress and could result in a lack of protection in a critical
area, such as in the case of lesser sags and gaps. The choices are APC or Fenton for
this point.
Phone ports and terminal connections. The UPSs must also compared in terms of
the phone ports and terminal connections provided for the protection of the modem
and for noise suppression on the terminal lines. The phone and terminal ports offered
by:

APC's Smart-UPS are RJ11 and 10-BaseT network cable ports with surge
protection. The model listed offers 4 terminal ports and one phone port.
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

Fenton's Powerpal are RJ11/RJ45 which includes the phone (RJ11) and the
terminals (RJ45). Fenton offers surge protection for the phone lines and noise
filters on the terminal lines.
Tsi Power's UPS-600 are RJ11/RJ45. They also offer "line conditioning"
which is essentially noise reduction and surge suppression or you may request
a low impedence system with transfer for isolation. This system works as a
switch, when the threshold set for the low impedence is hit the line is switched
off to prevent damage to the equipment being protected by the UPS.
APC's terminal ports would need an additional adapter to make the port accept an
RJ45 connection. Fenton offers no surge protection on the terminal lines. It is unlikely
that a surge would hit a terminal first, but it's still in the realm of the possible. Tsi
Power's system offers the most flexible and comprehensive coverage in this area. Of
special interest is the low impedence switch on the terminal lines. This offers the
protection needed if the terminal is hit with a surge before the server, the low
impedence switch would shut down the terminal affected by the surge, without
disrupting the operation of the server or the remaining terminals. Tsi Power is the
choice for the fifth point.
Batteries and indicator lights. The options for batteries and indicator lights are as
follows:



APC's Smart-UPS are an LED light to indicate low battery power and hotswappable batteries.
Fenton's Powerpal offers a LED light to indicate low battery power and hotswappable batteries.
Tsi Power's UPS-600 offers an LED light indicator for low battery power and
hot-swappable as well as battery extensions.
APC's hot-swappable batteries means you can change the batteries without turning off
or disconnecting the UPS. Tsi Power's Battery extensions are a clincher on this point.
The battery extensions are useful for systems that are planning for expansion.
Remember that expansion can mean upgrading your server or adding peripherals, with
this definition almost every system will experience expansion sooner or later. Tsi
Power gets this point.
The following table summarizes the comparisons discussed in the preceding:
Categories
APC's SmartUPS
Feonton's
Powerpal
Tsi Power's UPS600
Price/voltage rating
$344.00/660 VA
$299.00/650 VA
$295.00/600 VA
Operating system
Windows 3.1
Windows 3.1
Windows 3.1
Time allowed for shutdown
25 minutes
30 minutes
15 minutes
Voltage regulation
Good
Good
Fair
Phone & terminal ports
Fair
Fair
Good
Batteries & low-battery
Fair
Fair
Good
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indicator
Conclusions
The following is a summary of the conclusions reached in the comparison section. A
summary table is included between the primary and secondary conclusions section for
quick reference.
1.
2.
3.
4.
All the units came in under the price cap.
All units are under the maximum price.
All units support Windows 3.1.
All units supported Windows 3.1, which is the operating system now in use on
Waterloo's LAN.
5. In terms of actual time allowed for shut-down in case of complete power
failure, Fenton Industries' Powerpal offers the longest time for shut-down at
30 minutes.
6. APC's Smart-UPS and Fenton's Powerpal both offer full automatic voltage
regulation, which protects the computer and peripherals against spikes, sags,
gaps and brownouts.
7. In terms of phone lines and terminals, Tsi Power's UPS-600 offered the most
comprehensive options.
8. In terms of operation and the status indicators for the batteries, Tsi Power
offered the widest range of options in this area as well.
9. APC's unit offers the best VA rating, but also carries the highest price.
10. APC offers good voltage regulation, but needs an adapter to allow for terminal
connections to the unit.
11. APC also offers only fair coverage of options offered for batteries.
12. Fenton's Powerpal offers 650VA rating and is comparable in price to the
lowest priced unit.
13. Fenton's unit supports Windows 3.1 and allows the longest time for shutdown.
The voltage regulation is good and the phone and terminal connections are
compatible.
14. Fenton offers only fair coverage of the options offered for batteries.
15. Tsi Power's UPS-600 only offers a 600VA rating for the lowest price, but that
price is only lower by $4.00.
16. Tsi Power's UPS-600 actually falls out of the running because of the increased
cost of bringing the shutdown time up to the level needed. It does offer some
nice options on the phone/ terminal ports and batteries. Finally, APC offers
most of what Fenton offers for a higher price and only a 10VA increase for the
money.
17. Tsi supports Windows 3.1, but only offers 15 minutes for shutdown, if a
battery extension is not purchased. These battery extensions cost $64.95 each
and increase the shutdown time by 15 minutes. Tsi does offer some unique
options for the terminal lines in the form of a switch on the line that can be
triggered by a low impedence barrier, thus isolating the affected line, while
allowing the system to continue running. The battery extensions are a plus
when it comes to options for the batteries, as it allows for expansion of the
system without purchasing additional units.
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18. Based on the requirements and conclusions, the Fenton Industries' Powerpal is
the best choice: it offers the highest VA rating for the price, while offering the
most amount time allowed for the shutdown procedures.
Recommendation
Based on the conclusions reached in this comparison, Fenton Industries' Powerpal is
the best UPS and is the recommended selection for Waterloo Brewing:








It offers a good price and a VA rating of 650, which is 50 over what is needed
when we use the formula described earlier.
It supports Windows 3.1.
It offers 30 minutes of shutdown time in the event of a complete blackout.
Its voltage regulation is automatic and covers brownouts, surges, and
blackouts.
Its phone and terminal ports are of the type needed for the system that is in
place.
Its noise suppression on the terminal line and surge protection on the phone
line should cover most occurences encountered by Waterloo in their day-today operations.
The Fenton includes a low battery indicator, which was one of the
requirements, and enables the user to change batteries while the system is up
and running.
The Fenton company has a good reputation and can supply business references
upon request through its computer web site.
Glossary of Terms
blackout. Total loss of utility power caused by excessive demand on the power
grid, lightning storms, ice on power lines, car accidents, backhoes,
earthquakes and other catastrophes. Effects include loss of current work in
RAM or cache and possible loss of the hard drive file allocation table (FAT),
which results in total loss of data stored on drive.
dumb terminals. A terminal that passively serves for input and/or output but
performs no local processing.
KVA. VA times 1000.
noise. More technically referred to as electromagnetic interference (EMI) and
radio frequency interference (RFI), electrical noise disrupts the smooth sine
wave one expects from utility power. Electrical noise is caused by many
factors and phenomena, including lightning, load switching, generators, radio
transmitters and industrial equipment. It may be intermittent or chronic. Noise
introduces glitches and errors into executable programs and data files.
sags. Also known as brownouts, sags are short term decreases in voltage
levels. This is the most common power problem, accounting for 87% of all
power disturbances according to a study by Bell Labs. Sags are usually caused
by the start-up power demands of many electrical devices (including motors,
compressors, elevators, shop tools, etc.) Electric companies use sags to cope
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with extraordinary power demands. In a procedure known as "rolling
brownouts," the utility will systematically lower voltage levels in certain areas
for hours or days at a time. Hot summer days, when air conditioning
requirements are at their peak, will often prompt rolling brownouts. A sag can
"starve" a computer of the power it needs to function, and cause frozen
keyboards and unexpected system crashes which both result in lost or
corrupted data. Sags also reduce the efficiency and life span of electrical
equipment, particularly motors.
single-phase VA rating. Volts times Amps = VA per device.
spike. Also referred to as an impulse, a spike is an instantaneous, dramatic
increase in voltage. Akin to the force of a tidal wave, a spike can enter
electronic equipment through AC, network, serial or phone lines and damage
or completely destroy components. Spikes are typically caused by a nearby
lightning strike. Spikes can also occur when utility power comes back on line
after having been knocked out in a storm or as the result of a car accident.
Spikes cause catastrophic damage to hardware and loss of data.
surge. A short term increase in voltage, typically lasting at least 1/120 of a
second, resulting from presence of high-powered electrical motors, such as air
conditioners, and household appliances in the vicinity. When this equipment is
switched off, the extra voltage is dissipated through the power line. Computers
and similar sensitive electronic devices are designed to receive power within a
certain voltage range; anything outside of expected peak and RMS (considered
the "average" voltage) levels will stress delicate components and cause
premature failure.
watts-to-VA conversion. Watts times 1.35 = VA per device.
Bibliography
1. APC. Smart-UPS Model 660. Power Event Definitions and Causes and
Effects. www.apcc.com. N.d.
2. APC. "APC Advertisement". PC Magazine. June 24, 1997, 275.
3. Fenton Industries. Powerpal Model 650. Powerpal Product link.
www.fenton.com. N.d.
4. Stamper, David. Business Data Communications. Redwood City, CA:
Benjamin/Cummings, 1994.
5. Tsi Power. UPS-600. About Power link . www. tsipower.com. N.d.
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Recommendation Report: First Telescope Purchase
Purchasing a telescope can be very confusing for a person who is new to astronomy.
This reports provides a comparison of entry-level telescopes for the amateur
astronomer and recommends a specific type of telescope for the typical beginning
astronomer. This report will focus on different types of telescopes, and not on specific
brands. In addition to comparing several different types of telescopes, this report also
compares different telescope mounts.
Note: This report was prepared for the Austin Telescope Society, which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the enjoyment of astronomy and the education of the
public about astronomy.
Many people interested in astronomy waste money on a telescope of poor quality. A
telescope in a department store may advertise that it can magnify several hundred
times; however, the user is often disappointed when the image is dim, shaky, and
hazy. To help avoid this confusion, it is important that the beginning astronomer
understand the advantages and disadvantages of various types of telescopes. It is
vitally important that the telescope have high quality optics and a sturdy mount. No
extra gadgets and frills will help a telescope that has poor optics.
Definition of Terms
Before the actual comparison report, it is vital that several common terms are defined.
The following terms must be understood before proceeding with this comparison:



Alt-azimuth mount. A type of telescope mount that moves in two directions:
altitude and azimuth. This is the type of motion best illustrated by a cannon. It
can be moved up or down, or rotated left or right. Unlike an equatorial mount,
an alt-azimuth mount cannot easily track the motion of the stars through the
night sky. Thus, an alt-azimuth mount is generally not suitable for
astrophotography [1:21-23].
Aperture. The diameter of the objective lens or mirror [2:15].
Catadioptric. A telescope that uses both lenses and mirrors to focus light.
These telescopes are often much more compact (shorter) than a standard
refracting or reflecting telescope. Examples of catadioptric telescopes include
Schmidt-Cassegrain and Maksutov-Cassegrain. See Figure 1 for a diagram of
a Schmidt-Cassegrain catadioptric telescope [6].
Figure 1. Diagram of the Schmidt-Cassegrain catadioptric telescope [6].
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
Dobsonian mount. A type of alt-azimuth mount named after John Dobson,
who invented a unique mounting design in the 1970's. John Dobson was a
member of the San Francisco Sidewalk Astronomers, and he invented the
mount as a sturdy and inexpensive alternative to the equatorial mount [4:105107]. Figure 2 illustrates a Dobsonian mount.
Figure 2. Dobsonian alt-azimuth mount [6].






Equatorial mount. A type of mount that is able to track the stars through the
night sky. The mount must be aligned with the North Pole. Once aligned, the
mount can easily move along the path of the stars as the earth rotates [1:2123].
Eyepiece. The lens that the observer looks through to see an image. The
eyepiece magnifies the light that is focused onto the focal point [1:25].
Focal length. The distance between the lens or mirror and the point at which
light is focused. Lenses and mirrors with a strong curve will have shorter focal
lengths than those that are not as curved [2:15].
F/ratio. A comparison of a telescope's focal length and aperture. The f/ratio is
the focal length of the telescope divided by the aperture. For example, a
telescope with an 8 [hyphen needed in the preceding]inch mirror and a focal
length of 48 inches has an f/ratio of 6 [2:16].
Magnification. A measure of how much an image is enlarged. For telescopes,
magnification depends on the focal length of telescope and the size of the
objective lens. To calculate magnification, divide the focal length of the
telescope by the size of the eyepiece. For example, a telescope with a focal
length of 1200 mm would have a magnification of 120 times when used with a
10 mm eyepiece [5:74].
Reflector. A type of telescope that uses a curved mirror to focus light onto a
point. The most common form of reflector is the "Newtonian" reflector. In a
Newtonian reflector, light passes all of the way down the tube onto the
concave mirror. The light is then reflected back up the tube and focused onto
the secondary mirror. The secondary mirror reflects the light out of the tube at
a right angle and into the eyepiece [3]. The eyepiece is actually at a right angle
to the axis of the focal length of the telescope. See Figure 3 for a diagram of
the reflector-type telescope.
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Figure 3. Reflecting telescope [6].

Refractor. A type of telescope that uses one or more glass lenses to bend and
focus the light. Unlike a reflecting telescope, where light bounces off the
surface of a mirror, light actually passes through the lenses. With a refracting
telescope, the eyepiece is at the end of the telescope. This is different than a
reflecting telescope, where the eyepiece is at the front of the telescope, and at
a right angle to the axis of the focal length. Figure 3 illustrates a refracting
telescope [6].
Figure 4. Refracting telescope [6].
Requirements for an Entry-Level Telescope
A huge variety of telescopes and features is available on the market today. It would be
impossible to cover all of the models of telescopes in a single report. Many telescopes
for the amateur market can cost tens of thousands of dollars. This report focuses on
the needs of the beginning astronomer. Thus, those only telescope types that meet the
following criteria will be compared:




The cost of the telescope must be under $650.
The image quality must be suitable for an amateur astronomer. Thus, the
telescope must have a lens that is at least 80 mm (3 inches) for a refracting
telescope or a mirror that is a least 6 inches for a reflecting telescope.
Apertures smaller than this generally provide very dim images, and are not
suitable for the serious, beginning astronomer.
The telescope must be easy to use and maintain.
The telescope should be versatile—that is, suitable for a variety of purposes.
For this comparison, only refracting and reflecting telescopes will be examined.
Catadioptric telescopes will not be reviewed, as they are generally too expensive. For
example, an 8-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope manufactured by Meade costs
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approximately $1400 [6:142]. This is well beyond the price range of $650. Most
catadioptric telescopes are designed for the advanced amateur and come with a variety
of accessories. This makes them generally well outside the price range of the entrylevel astronomer.
Thus, five types of telescopes will be compared in this study: refracting telescopes
with alt-azimuth mounts, refracting telescopes with equatorial mounts, reflecting
telescopes with alt-azimuth mounts, reflecting telescopes with equatorial mounts, and
reflecting telescope kits with alt-azimuth mounts. Refractors with 80-mm lenses and
reflectors with 6-inch mirrors will be used for the comparison. In addition, an 8-inch
Newtonian reflector on a Dobsonian mount will be evaluated. Although the 8-inch
reflector on an equatorial mount is outside the price range, an 8-inch reflector on a
Dobsonian mount is, in fact, under $650.
These telescopes are listed below:






80-mm refractor with alt-azimuth mount
80-mm refractor with equatorial mount
6-inch reflector with alt-azimuth (Dobsonian) mount
6-inch reflector with equatorial mount
6-inch reflector with Dobsonian mount (home-build kit)
8-inch reflector with Dobsonian mount
Comparison of Refracting and Reflecting Telescopes
The five types of telescopes chosen for this comparison in the preceding section are
compared according to (1) cost, (2) magnification, (3) image quality, (4) ease of use,
(5) ease of assembly and maintenance, and (6) versatility.
Cost. One of the first considerations for the purchase of a beginning telescope is the
cost. With a budget of up to $650, there are several possible telescope choices. The
least expensive telescope will be the Newtonian reflector kit. These kits are shipped
disassembled, and the user must put them together with hand tools.
After the home-build kit, the 80-mm refractor and 6-inch reflector on alt-azimuth
mounts are the next lowest in price. Depending on the manufacturer, it may be
possible to find an 80 mm refractor that is actually less expensive than the 6-inch
reflector. The 80-mm equatorial-mounted refractor follows behind these two
telescopes.
Surprisingly, a 6-inch equatorial-mounted reflector is actually more expensive than an
8-inch reflector on a Dobsonian mount. Equatorial mounts for large, reflecting
telescopes are expensive to make and to balance. They add a substantial cost to the
overall price of the telescope.
Magnification. Magnification is often one of the most touted features on a telescope.
However, it actually should never be considered without also considering the
telescope aperture. Basically, useful magnification is limited to 50 times the aperture
in inches, or 2 times the aperture in millimeters [1:19]. It is theoretically possible to
magnify beyond this limit, but the image becomes extremely dim. Thus, a 60-mm
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refractor may be theoretically capable of 300 x magnification, but the image quality
would be terrible.
Of these telescopes, the 8-inch reflecting telescope offers the greatest possible
magnification. Its theoretical limit is 400 x magnification. The 6-inch telescopes are
capable of 300 x magnification. The 80-mm refracting telescopes are capable of
around 160 x magnification.
Image quality. Image quality is also related to aperture. A telescope with a large lens
or mirror has a great deal more light-gathering ability than a telescope with a small
lens or mirror. The 8-inch reflecting telescope has 70% more light-gathering ability
than the 6-inch telescopes. The 80-mm telescopes do have greater optical efficiency
than a reflector of the same size, but they cannot compete with the 6-inch reflecting
telescopes.
Ease of use. In this category, the alt-azimuth mounts rank higher than equatorial
mounts on the same telescope type. The alt-azimuth mounts provide a very intuitive
interface. Much like aiming a cannon, the user moves the telescope up or down, and
rotates the telescope left or right. Equatorial mounts require alignment with the North
Pole, which can take up to half an hour for exact alignment.
Both of the refracting telescopes are ranked ahead of the reflecting telescopes because
they are much more intuitive to use (even on an equatorial mount). Since the eyepiece
is along the axis of the focal length, it is easy for the astronomer to sight along the
telescope tube. All of the reflecting telescopes have an eyepiece that is at a right angle
to the axis of the focal length. Even with a finder scope, this makes viewing more
difficult.
The home-built kit is ranked last for ease of use because astronomer must do their
own aligning on the finder scope. When first installed, a finder scope will not usually
point exactly where the telescope is aiming. This is similar to adjusting the sights on a
gun. This can take a considerable amount of time. Some home kits do not even come
with a finder scope, which means that astronomers will have to set up "iron sights"
(much like a pistol) along the tube to use for sighting. It is possible, however, to add a
finder scope at a later time.
Ease of assembly and maintenance. The refracting telescopes, on either mount, win
this category. The reflecting telescopes require periodic mirror adjustments. Although
this is not difficult, it does require some skill on the part of the user. The home-built
reflecting telescope kits come in last in this category. They require substantial set up
on the part of the user. In addition, home-built kits tend to require more periodic
maintenance unless the builder has done an expert job at assembling the kit.
Versatility. All of the scopes on alt-azimuth mounts have one primary disadvantage:
they are not suitable for astrophotography. Because alt-azimuth mounts cannot track
the motion of the stars as the earth rotates, photographs taken through them will have
light trails. So, equatorial mounted telescopes of any size will win this category.
The 8-inch reflecting telescope is last in this category simply because of its size. It is
much bulkier than a 6-inch telescope, and that makes it much more difficult to
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transport. If the astronomer has a large vehicle, such as a pickup truck, this will not be
an issue.
The following table summarizes each category; lower total scores indicate better
ranking:
Category
80-mm Alt-Az.
80-mm Eq.
6-in Dobs.
6-in Eq.
6-in Home
8-in Dobs.
Cost
3
4
2
6
1
5
Cost/Aperture
5
6
3
4
1
2
Magnification
5
5
2
2
2
1
Image Quality
5
5
2
2
2
1
Ease of Use
1
2
3
5
6
3
Ease of Assem.
1
1
3
3
6
3
Versatility
3
1
4
1
4
6
Price
$360
$400
$350
$640
$300
$500
Totals
23
24
19
23
22
21
Conclusions
1. All six of these telescopes are fairly close in price. Of these telescopes, the 8inch reflector offers the greatest light-gathering ability.
2. The 8-inch mirror has 70% more surface area than a 6-inch mirror. However,
it is somewhat bulkier than the other telescopes, which makes it somewhat less
versatile.
3. The 6-inch telescope kit offers the greatest value as far as cost-to-aperture
ratio is concerned. However, kits require a great deal of time and effort and
may not be suitable for the average beginner. An astronomer comfortable with
home projects will probably want to consider a kit thoughin that it does offer a
substantial value.
4. When it comes to overall aperture, the reflecting telescopes are easily able to
outperform similarly priced refracting telescopes. High magnification is a
factor with deep space objects. It is not as great a factor for planetary
observations. The astronomer should keep in mind the intended use of the
telescope when making a purchasing decision.
5. Equatorial mounts add a great deal of cost to a telescope. This fact is
especially true when dealing with a large, bulky telescope. Unless
astrophotography will be a requirement of the user, it is much cheaper to go
with a sturdy, dependable alt-azimuth mount. The Dobsonian mount is an
excellent choice for the reflecting telescopes, as it is extremely sturdy and easy
to handle.
6. All of the reflecting telescopes will require more maintenance than the
equivalent refractors. However, the mirror adjustments are usually minor, and
the user should be able to learn the maintenance procedures fairly easily. Any
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hobbyist that is uncomfortable with performing maintenance procedures may
wish to opt for a refracting telescope.
Recommendations
After weighing all of the factors in the comparison, I find that the Newtonian
reflecting telescope on a Dobsonian mount provides the best value for the beginning
astronomer. Although this type of telescope can be built at home, it is recommended
that a pre-made telescope be purchased. A pre-made telescope has much lower initial
maintenance requirements and is easier to set up. Of the reflecting telescopes, the 6inch reflector provides the best compromise between light-gathering ability and cost.
A 6-inch Newtonian reflector on a Dobsonian mount is an excellent entry for any
astronomer, and the telescopes can be purchased for around $350. For about $150
more, it is possible to purchase an 8-inch Newtonian reflector. Many beginning
astronomers may want to consider spending the extra money if they feel that they will
stay with the hobby for some time.
If a beginner is seriously interested in astrophotography, an 80-mm refractor on an
equatorial mount is recommended. The equatorial mount is required for
astrophotography, and an 80-mm refracting telescope will still keep the cost low
enough for the beginner.
Sources
1. Miller, Robert. Making & Enjoying Telescopes. New York: Sterling, 1997.
2. Berry, Richard. Build Your Own Telescope. Richmond, VA: Willmann-Bell,
1994.
3. Bishop, Dennis and Bob Martino. "Purchasing Amateur Telescopes." Perkins
Observatory. 1996. http://www.perkins-observatory.org/FAQ.index.html. (7
July 1998).
4. Berry, R. "Telescope-Making Revolution." Astronomy (August, 1998), 105109.
5. Jones, Brian. Practical Astronomer. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1990.
6. Martino, Bob. Perkins Observatory. [email protected]
7. Meade Instruments Corporation. Meade Telescopes. Product Brochure. N. d.
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Audience note: The audience is a national professional association of medical office
administrators. Each has a basic working knowledge of PCs, but little or no
familiarity with the technology behind voice recognition software, with its limitations,
or with the various products on the market.]
Voice Recognition Software: Comparison and
Recommendations
Use of voice recognition software is under consideration by medical office
administrators nationally. Administrators have long searched for alternatives to the
expense, error rate, and record-completion delays associated with conventional
transcription. It is no wonder that, with the recent advances in voice recognition
software, medical transciptionists are looking at this emerging technology as a
powerful way of accomplishing essential record-keeping tasks.
This report investigates four of the leading voice recognition applications to
determine whether this technology has become a practical option and to determine
which application is the best choice. And so that this report and further study of the
software can be better understood, an introduction to the subject of voice recognition
software follows.
Introduction to Voice Recognition Technology
Several different voice recognition products currently exist in the marketplace, and
viable choices are greater in number than they were only a few years ago. Rapid
changes have been fueled by the ever-increasing power and plummeting prices of
desktop systems. Though room for improvement still exists, accuracy has advanced
tremendously in a stunningly short time.
Brief history. The first software-only dictation product for PC's, Dragon Systems'
DragonDictate for Windows 1.0, using discrete speech recognition technology, was
released in 1994. Discrete speech is a slow, unnatural means of dictation, requiring a
pause after each and every word [11]. Two years later, IBM introduced the first
continuous speech recognition software, its MedSpeak/Radiology. These systems
often had five-figure price tags and required very expensive PCs. Continuous speech
technology allows its users to speak naturally and conversationally, relieving much of
the tedium of discrete speech dictation [11].
Dragon Systems made an enormous stride in June, 1997, when it released
NaturallySpeaking, the first general-purpose continuous speech software program.
Much more affordable than earlier programs, it brought the realm of continuous
speech recognition to a much wider range of users. Two months later, IBM released
its competing continuous speech software, ViaVoice [10].
Stringent demands. Much is demanded of speech recognition programs. Accuracy is
critical, and speed is essential to any effective program. Added to these challenges are
the enormous variance that exists among individual human speech patterns, pitch,
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rate, and inflection. These variations are an extraordinary test of the flexibility of any
program. Voice recognition follows these steps:
1. Spoken words enter a microphone.
2. Audio is processed by the computer's sound card.
3. The software discriminates between lower-frequency vowels and higherfrequency consonants and compares the results with phonemes, the smallest
building blocks of speech. The software then compares results to groups of
phonemes, and then to actual words, determining the most likely match.
4. Contextual information is simultaneously processed in order to more
accurately predict words that are most likely to be used next, such as the
correct choice out of a selection of homonyms such as merry, marry, and
Mary.
5. Selected words are arranged in the most probable sentence combinations.
6. The sentence is transferred to a word processing application [11].
Power devourers. With all of the complex selections and tremendous flexibility
demanded of voice recognition software, it is small wonder that considerable
computer muscle is required to run these programs. To take fullest advantage of
current speech recognition programs, a PC with a minimum of a 300 MHz Pentium II
processor is recommended. A separate 16-bit SoundBlaster-compatible card is also
advisable, because the sound cards that are bundled as part of a PC's motherboard can
produce inferior results with voice recognition software [4].
Realistic reminders. The technology has advanced impressively over the last year,
with programs variously offering smarter speech recognition engines, larger active
vocabularies, integration with the most popular word-processing programs, and
improved accuracy. This report sorts through these to find the most accurate program
and the best value available, and determines if the accuracy is acceptable at this time
[4]. It is essential to remember the following:


While voice recognition software has made enormous strides, it is not perfect.
Dictated records, particularly in the first few weeks of use, must be
sufficiently proofed while onscreen.
Since medical and legal requirements for record keeping are exacting and
extensive, considerable dictation is required. Dictation using voice recognition
software is like many other things: practice makes all the difference. Tests by
PC Magazine Labs showed that increased experience with dictation and the
software clearly increased accuracy [3]. Be prepared to invest a few weeks of
dictation time and practice with the software in order to see enhanced
accuracy.
Requirements for the Purchase of Voice Recognition Software
Based upon stated preferences and system specifications, the following conditions
have been established:

Continuous speech recognition software must provide is preferred, rather than
the slower, more unnatural and lower-priced discrete speech recognition
software also on the market.
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



The application must run on a Pentium-powered PC under Windows 95, and
be capable of integration with Microsoft Word97.
The software program must be easily and successfully installed by any
intermediate-level computer user in the office.
The program must be one that can be learned and customized reasonably
quickly by nearly anyone in the office.
The cost limit is $1,500.
Points of Comparison
The different voice recognition software programs compared are Dragon Systems'
NaturallySpeaking 3.0 Preferred Edition, IBM ViaVoice 98 Executive, L&H Voice
Xpress Plus, and Philips FreeSpeech98. Discussion of Dragon Systems'
NaturallySpeaking will also include its Medical Suite.
Eight categories of comparison will be made in order to effectively evaluate these
competing programs: (1) accuracy; (2) minimum system requirements; (3) capacity to
manage a specialized medical vocabulary and medical records; (4) integration with
Microsoft Word; (5) ease and speed of installation, customization and use; (6)
industry ratings and awards; (7) inclusion of microphones, and (8) cost.
Accuracy. Accuracy is the single most significant consideration; without it, the
program is useless. Dragon Systems' NaturallySpeaking 3.0 scored highest on all of
the accuracy tests performed by PC Magazine and was unequivocally selected as the
Editors' Choice. In their tests, the average accuracy was 91% and at times was
considerably greater [1].
Average accuracy for L&H Voice Xpress was 87% [2]. Accuracy for IBM's ViaVoice
tested at 85% [14], and Philips FreeSpeech98 was 80% [15].
At first glance, these percentages, particularly the top two, may not seem significantly
different. Consider, however, that for every 1,000 words, an accuracy rate of 87%
means that 130 words must be corrected. An accuracy rate of 91% represents an
average of 90 errors per 1,000 words, while an 80% rate means that 200 out of every
1,000 words must be corrected.
Thousands of words are dictated daily in this practice. Time is scarce and precious.
Medicolegal conditions mandate that records must be exhaustively thorough and
accurate. Under these rigorous circumstances, with every percentage point counting
heavily, Dragon Systems' NaturallySpeaking yields the highest accuracy.
Minimum system requirements. All four programs run on Pentium-powered PC's
utilizing Windows 95, 98 or NT 4.0 and require 16-bit SoundBlaster-compatible
sound cards. Random access memory (RAM) requirements for software run under
Windows NT are higher for all of these programs [5].


Dragon Systems' NaturallySpeaking requires a Pentium/133MHz processor or
higher, 32MB of RAM, and 180MB of hard disk space [5].
IBM ViaVoice 98 requires a Pentium/166MHz with MMX (multimedia chip)
or higher, 32MB of RAM, 180MB of hard disk space, and 256K L2 cache [5].
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

L&H Voice Xpress Plus requires a Pentium/166MHz with MMX, 40MB of
RAM, and 130 MB of hard disk space [5].
Philips FreeSpeech98 requires a Pentium/166MHz processor, 32MB of RAM,
and 150MB of hard disk space [5].
Table 1. Comparison of Minimum System Requirements
Software
CPU
RAM
Hard Disk Space
L2 Cache
Dragon
Pentium/133 MHz
32 MB
180 MB
none
IBM ViaVoice
Pentium/166 MHz-MMX
32 MB
180 MB
256 KB
L&H
Pentium/166 MHz-MMX
40MB
130MB
none
Philips
Pentium/166 MHz
32 MB
150 MB
none
It is important to recall that, as noted earlier, significantly greater system resources are
recommended to optimize performance. Given the sufficient system resources, none
of these software programs should present a problem for the existing system.
Capacity to manage a customizable, specialized medical vocabulary. Medicine in
general, and each medical specialty in particular, have their own complex, specialized
vocabularies.



Dragon Systems NaturallySpeaking offers a so-called Medical Suite targeted
to medical professionals and specified as an alternative to transcription.
Marketing materials state that an extensive vocabulary of thousands of words,
including medical procedures, terms, drugs, diagnoses and symptoms, are
included. The software allows creation of multiple vocabularies for specialty
customization if desired [8].
IBM offers add-on VoiceType Vocabularies for use with ViaVoice. The
medical vocabularies available are for Emergency Medicine Dictation and
Radiology Dictation. No other specialty customization is available [13].
L&H Voice Xpress and Philips FreeSpeech98 do not offer medical
vocabularies, either as add-ons or bundled with the software [9, 12].
Two of the four companies offer a product that provides medical terminology. IBM's
emergency room and radiology add-on software is not applicable to the dictation
needs of obstetric and gynecologic practices, for example. Dragon Systems'
NaturallySpeaking Medical Suite offers the same voice recognition technology as the
previously mentioned NaturallySpeaking Preferred Edition, with the addition of
extensive customizable medical terminology that can be tailored to other specialty
practices.
Integration with Microsoft Word. All four programs integrate with Word97 and can
therefore be used with existing word processing software. [5].
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Ease and speed of installation, customization and use. Each of the four programs
uses "wizards" to install and configure hardware, and all programs support macros for
frequently used phrases.




Dragon Systems' NaturallySpeaking uses its wizard to train the system to
recognize the user's voice within 4 minutes. Material is provided so that about
30 minutes of reading aloud will improve accuracy [5]. Electronic medical
documents can be analyzed automatically to "learn" new specialized terms and
proper names. Its CommandWizard feature enables any user to create medicalspecialty macros. Commonly used and required medical forms, electronically
stored, can be readily called up and the user is prompted to fill out each
section of a form [8].
IBM's ViaVoice also trains the system by means of reading from selected texts
for about 30 minutes, and its wizard adjusts microphone and speaker volume
levels [5].
L&H Voice Xpress Plus directs the user to read chapters of a book, and in PC
Magazine's tests, about 75 minutes was required for the process [5].
Philips FreeSpeech98 directs the user to read selected text for about 15
minutes; ten training topics are available for the user's review [15].
Installation of all of the programs appears straightforward, and the initial basic
"training" is not excessively time-consuming for any of the products. While all
provide macros, the medical customization features of Dragon Systems' product are
considerably greater. Though they will initially require more time and document
input, accuracy is increased, and for this reason, Dragon's software is recommended in
this comparison.
Industry ratings and awards. Only one of these products refers to and lists awards
on its web site, and that is Dragon Systems' NaturallySpeaking. None of the other
three products has any such mention anywhere on its site, nor do any awards or
industry recognition show up on multiple web searches for the products.
Dragon Systems' web site lists over fifty awards, some of which are listed here:







PC Magazine, Editors' Choice, October 1998; this particular article is
referenced several times in this report [1, 7].
PC/Computing, Time Capsule - The 12 Best PC Products on the Planet: Input
Device Category - August 1998 [7].
PC World, World Class Award: Best Voice Recognition Software - June 1998
[7]
BYTE Best - January 1998 [7].
BusinessWeek, The Best New Products/Software - January 1998 [7].
Time Magazine, The Best of 1997/Cybertech - January 1998 [7].
PC/Computing, 5 Star Rating - November 1997 [7].
While industry recognition and journalistic evaluations are not the only
considerations, Dragon Systems boasts an impressive list of awards and ratings by
prestigious periodicals.
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Inclusion of microphones. As previously noted, a microphone is necessary for
capture of spoken words.



Dragon Systems ships with a VXI Parrott 10-3 microphone; PC Magazine
notes that it is comfortable and performs well [5].
IBM's ViaVoice and L&H Voice Xpress Plus both provide an Andrea NC-80
microphone, which PC Magazine states is not as comfortable as the XVI
Parrott 10-3 [5].
Philllips FreeSpeech98 does not include a microphone; it recommends its own
SpeechMike at an extra cost of $69.95 [5].
None of these is a make-or-break detail, but Dragon Systems has a slight edge with
the reviews provided by PC Magazine.
Cost. Highly significant price differences exist among these programs.

The Dragon Systems' NaturallySpeaking Preferred Edition tested by PC
Magazine, October 1998, retails for $179 when purchased directly from
Dragon or through resellers. Rather than purchasing this edition for a medical
practice, NaturallySpeaking Medical Suite is available for $995. An Add-On
Medical Specialty Vocabulary is $49. One year of 800-number telephone
support for all products is an additional $199, for a total cost of $1,243,
exclusive of tax and shipping costs, for the Medical Suite [6].
o IBM's ViaVoice 98 Executive software program costs $150, and the
medical specialty add-ons are $240. However, these add-ons are for
emergency medicine and radiology only [13].
o L&H Voice Xpress Plus is $70 [5].
o Philips Free Speech98 costs $39 and includes no microphone. A
Philips SpeechMike can be ordered for $69.95, for a total cost of
$108.95, exclusive of tax and shipping costs [5].
L&H offers the best price by far. IBM and Philips are roughly in the same
ballpark. Dragon Systems' Preferred Edition is more expensive at $200, but
not significantly so. The only customizable medical software program is
Dragon Systems' Medical Suite, which, at $1,243, is over ten times the cost of
Philips' software, though it includes one year of technical support.
Summary
From business, medical, and legal perspectives, the creation and maintenance of
accurate, complete records are crucial. The primary downside to such thorough
record-keeping includes: (1) the time required for dictation, (2) the costs in and
inherent hassles of finding and hiring a competent medical transcriptionist, (3) the
necessary delays between dictation and actual availability of the transcribed records,
and (4) the time needed to proof and correct the transcriptionist's output.
To date, the weakest link in speech recognition technology has been accuracy. This is
fast changing, and current software programs have significantly improved within the
last year. Can a voice recognition software program eliminate some of the problems
occurring in conventional medical transcription? The following conclusions will help
answer this question in the recommendation that follows:
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1. All of the programs specify system requirements that are well within the
parameters of the existing system.
2. All of the programs integrate with the existing word processing software,
Microsoft Word97.
3. All of the programs can reasonably be installed by the average user.
4. Dragon Systems NaturallySpeaking Medical Suite is by far the most expensive
voice recognition program. While it is $1,243, including one year of technical
support, the other three programs are all under $200, exclusive of support.
5. Philips does not include a microphone with its software as do the other three
software companies, but purchase of one does not increase the total cost
appreciably. Dragon Systems' microphone is considered more comfortable
than the other microphones tested by PC Magazine.
6. Dragon Systems' NaturallySpeaking has accumulated a lengthy list of awards;
no awards were found for the other three programs.
7. Dragon Systems' NaturallySpeaking Medical Suite with Add-On Vocabularies
is easily customizable to specific needs of different practices for specialized
medical vocabulary and medical forms.
8. Dragon Systems' NaturallySpeaking technology is the most accurate of the
four programs tested.
9. Although Dragon Systems' NaturallySpeaking is the most expensive, it offers
the best function while the other options considered are barely adequate.
10. The best choice of the four applications considered is Dragon Systems'
NaturallySpeaking.
Recommendation
Dragon Systems NaturallySpeaking Medical Suite is strongly recommended for its
superior accuracy, powerful customization features, and industry recognition and
awards. No other product comes close, and its strong advantages justify its higher
price. Once the program has been customized, and the user has dictated for several
weeks and become familiar with the software, acceptably accurate transcription and
instantly available medical records should be possible with NaturallySpeaking
Medical Suite, solving some of the record-keeping problems faced by this medical
practice.
Literature Cited
All references are found online:
1. Alwang, Greg. "Editors' Choice." PC Magazine Online. October 20, 1998.
http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/features/speech98/edchoice.html (23 October
1998).
2. Alwang, Greg. "L&H Voice Xpress Plus 1.01." PC Magazine Online. October
20, 1998. http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/features/speech98/rev3.html (23
October 1998).
3. Alwang, Greg. "Performance Tests." PC Magazine Online. October 20, 1998.
http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/features/speech98/perftest.html (23 October
1998).
4. Alwang, Greg. "Speech Recognition: Finding Its Voice." ZDNN. October 2,
1998.
http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/zdnn_display/0,3440,350879,00.html (23
October 1998).
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5. Alwang, Greg. "Summary of Features." PC Magazine Online. October 20,
1998. http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/features/speech98/features.html (23
October 1998).
6. Berkeley Voice Solutions. "Products and Services."
http://www.pcvoice.com/products.html (21 October 1998).
7. Dragon Systems, Inc. "Dragon NaturallySpeaking Awards."
http://www.dragonsys.com/news/awards.html (21 October 1998).
8. Dragon Systems, Inc. "Dragon NaturallySpeaking Medical Suite."
http://www.dragonsys.com/products/medical.html (21 October 1998).
9. Lernout & Hauspie. "L&H Online Store."
http://www.storefront.zbr.com/LHS-store/ (21 October 1998).
10. Munro, Jay. "Speech Technology Timeline." PC Magazine Online. March 10,
1998. http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/features/speech/sb1.html (23 October
1998).
11. Munro, Jay. "Watch What You Say." PC Magazine Online. March 10, 1998.
http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/features/speech/intro1.html (23 October 1998).
12. Philips. "Philips Speech Processing." http://www.speech.be.philips.com/ (21
October 1998).
13. Provantage. "IBM VoiceType Dictation Vocabularies."
http://www.provantage.com/FP_09907.htm (21 October 1998).
14. Stinson, Craig. "IBM ViaVoice 98 Executive." PC Magazine Online. October
20, 1998. http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/features/speech98/rev2.html (23
October 1998).
15. Stinson, Craig. "Philips FreeSpeech98." PC Magazine Online. October 20,
1998. http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/features/speech98/rev4.html (23 October
1998).
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Some Rather Fine Distinctions...
There is a loosely defined category of reports that is very important in technical
writing. These reports are variously called feasibility reports, recommendation
reports, evaluation reports, assessment reports, and who knows what else. They all do
roughly the same thing--provide carefully studied opinions and, sometimes,
recommendations. There are some subtle differences among some these types, but
there are absolutely no universally agreed-upon names for them:



Feasibility report: This type studies a situation (for example, a
problem or opportunity) and a plan for doing something about
it and then determines whether that plan is "feasible"--which
means determining whether it technologically possible and
whether it is practical (in terms of current technology,
economics, social needs, and so on). The feasibility report
answers the question "Should we implement Plan X?" by
stating "yes," "no," but more often "maybe." Not only does it
give a recommendation, it also provides the data and the
reasoning behind that recommendation.
Recommendation report: This type starts from a stated need, a
selection of choices, or both and then recommends one, some,
or none. For example, a company might be looking at
grammar-checking software and want a recommendation on
which product is the best. As the report writer on this project,
you could study the market for this type of application and
recommend one particular product, a couple of products
(differing perhaps in their strengths and their weaknesses), or
none (maybe none of them are any good). The recommendation
report answers the question "Which option should we choose?"
(or in some cases "Which are the best options?) by
recommending Product B, or maybe both Products B and C, or
none of the products.
Evaluation report: This type provides an opinion or judgment
rather than a yes-no-maybe answer or a recommendation. It
provides a studied opinion on the value or worth of something.
For example, for over a year the city of Austin had free bus
transportation in an attempt to increase ridership and reduce
automobile traffic. Did it work? Was it worthwhile?--These are
questions an evaluation report would attempt to answer. This
type of report compares a thing to a set of requirements (or
criteria) and determines how well it meets those requirements.
(And of course there may be a recommendation--continue the
project, scrap it, change it, or other possibilities.)
As you can see, these distinctions are rather fine; and they overlap. In real-world
writing, these types often combine--you might see elements of the recommendation
report combine with the feasibility report, for example. Of course, the writers of these
reports don't care which type they are writing--and well they shouldn't! They're trying
to get a job done.
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Typical Contents of the Recommendation
Report
Whatever shade of feasibility or recommendation report you write, whatever name
people call it--most of the sections and the organization of those sections are roughly
the same. Now remember! Your specific writing project may not require all of these
sections, nor in the order shown here--plus you may need other sections not
mentioned here.
The structural principle fundamental to this type of report is this: you provide not only
your recommendation, choice, or judgment, but also the data and the conclusions
leading up to it. That way, readers can check your findings, your logic, and your
conclusions and come up with a completely different view. But, more likely, they will
be convinced by all your careful research and documentation.
Introduction. In the introduction, indicate that the document that follows is a
feasibility report (or whatever it is called). Instead of calling the report by name
(which might not mean anything to most readers), you can indicate its purpose. Also,
provide an overview of the contents of the report.
For some feasibility reports, you'll also be able to discuss the situation and the
requirements in the introductions. If there is little to say about them, you can merge
them with the introduction, or make the introduction two paragraphs long.
Technical Background. Some feasibility reports may require some technical
discussion in order to make the rest of the report meaningful to readers. The dilemma
with this kind of information is whether to put it in a section of its own or to fit it into
the comparison sections where it is relevant. For example, a discussion of power and
speed of laptop computers is going to necessitate some discussion of RAM,
megahertz, and processors. Should you put that in a section that compares the laptops
according to power and speed? Should you keep the comparison neat and clean,
limited strictly to the comparison and the conclusion? Maybe all the technical
background can be pitched in its own section--either toward the front of the report or
in an appendix.
Figure 9-1. Schematic view of recommendation and feasibility reports. Remember
that this is a typical or common model for the contents and organization--many others
are possible.
Figure 9-2. Schematic view of recommendation and feasibility reports--continued.
Remember also that these sections need not all be included; they can be combined;
and they can appear in varying orders.
Background on the Situation. For many feasibility reports, you'll need to discuss the
problem, need, or opportunity that has brought about this report. If there is little that
needs to be said about it, this information can go in the introduction.
Requirements and Criteria. A critical part of feasibility and recommendation
reports is the discussion of the requirements you'll use to reach the final decision or
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recommendation. If you're trying to recommend a laptop computer for use by
employees, there are likely to be requirements concerning size, cost, hard-disk
storage, display quality, durability, and battery function. If you're looking into the
feasibility of providing every ACC student with an ID on the ACC computer network,
you'd need define the basic requirements of such a program--what it would be
expected to accomplish, problems that it would have to avoid, and so on. If you're
evaluating the recent program of free bus transporation in Austin, you'd need to know
what was expected of the program and then compare its actual results to those
requirements.
Requirements can be defined in several basic ways:



Numerical values: Many requirements are stated as maximum
or minimum numerical values. For example, there may be a
cost requirement--the laptop should cost no more than $900.
Yes/no values: Some requirements are simply a yes-no
question. Does the laptop come equipped with a modem? Is the
car equipped with air conditioning?
Ratings values: In some cases, key considerations cannot be
handled either with numerical values or yes/no values. For
example, we might want a laptop that has an ease-of-use rating
of at least "good" by some nationally accepted ratings group.
Or we may have to assign a rating ourselves.
The term "requirements" is used here instead of "criteria." A certain amount of
ambiguity hangs around this word; plus most people are not sure whether it is singular
or plural. (Technically, it is plural; "criterion" is singular, although "criteria" is
commonly used for both the singular and plural. Try using "criterion" in public--you'll
get weird looks. "Criterias" is not a word and should never be used.)
The requirements section should also discuss how important the individual
requirements are in relation to each other. Picture the typical situation where no one
option is best in all categories of comparison. One option is cheaper; another has more
functions; one has better ease-of-use ratings; another is known to be more durable.
Devise a method by which you can pick a "winner" from situation where there is no
clear winner.
Discussion of the Options. In certain kinds of feasibility or recommendation reports,
you'll need to explain how you narrowed the field of choices down to the ones your
report focuses on. Often, this follows right after the discussion of the requirements.
Your basic requirements may well narrow the field down for you. But there may be
other considerations that disqualify other options--explain these as well.
Additionally, you may need to provide brief descriptions of the options themselves.
Don't get this mixed up with the comparison that comes up in the next section. In this
description section, you provide a general discussion of the options so that readers
will know something about them. The discussion at this stage is not comparative. It's
just a general orientation to the options. In the laptops example, you might want to
give some brief, general specifications on each model about to be compared.
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Category-by-Category Comparisons. One of the most important parts of a
feasibility or recommendation report is the comparison of the options. Remember that
you include this section so that readers can check your thinking and come up with
different conclusions if they desire. This should be handled category by category,
rather than option by option. If you were comparing laptops, you'd have a section that
compared them on cost, another section that compared them on battery function, and
so on. You wouldn't have a section that discussed everything about option A, another
that discussed everything about option B, and so on. That would not be effective at
all, because the comparisons must still be made somewhere. (See Figure 9-3 for a
schematic illustration of these two approaches to comparisons.)
Each of these comparative sections should end with a conclusion that states which
option is the best choice in that particular category of comparison. Of course, it won't
always be easy to state a clear winner--you may have to qualify the conclusions in
various ways, providing multiple conclusions for different conditions.
If you were doing an evaluation report, you obviously wouldn't be comparing options.
Instead, you'd be comparing the thing being evaluated against the requirements placed
upon it, the expectations people had of it. For example, Capital Metro had a program
of more than a year of free bus transportation--what was expected of that program?
did the program meet those expectations?
Figure 9-3. Schematic view of the whole-to-whole and the part-by-part approaches to
organizing a comparison. Unless you have a very unusual topic, use the part-by-part
approach.
Conclusions. The conclusions section of a feasibility or recommendation report is in
part a summary or restatement of the conclusions you have already reached in the
comparison sections. In this section, you restate the individual conclusions, for
example, which model had the best price, which had the best battery function, and so
on.
But this section has to go further. It must untangle all the conflicting conclusions and
somehow reach the final conclusion, which is the one that states which is the best
choice. Thus, the conclusion section first lists the primary conclusions--the simple,
single-category ones. But then it must state secondary conclusions--the ones that
balance conflicting primary conclusions. For example, if one laptop is very
inexpensive and has poor battery function, but another is rather expensive but has
good or even excellent battery function, which do you choose, and why? The
secondary conclusion would state the answer to this dilemma.
And of course as already mentioned, the conclusions section ends with the final
conclusion--the one that states which option is the best choice.
Recommendation or Final Opinion. The final section of feasibility and
recommendation reports states the recommendation. You'd think that that ought to be
obvious by now. Ordinarily it is, but remember that some readers may skip right to
the recommendation section and bypass all your hard work! Also, there will be some
cases where there may be a best choice but you wouldn't want to recommend it. Early
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in their history, laptops were heavy and unreliable--there may have been one model
that was better than the rest, but even it was not worth having.
The recommendation section should echo the most important conclusions leading to
the recommendation and then state the recommendation emphatically. Ordinarily, you
may need to recommend several options based on different possibilities. This can be
handled, as shown in the examples, with bulleted lists.
In an evaluation report, this final section would state a final opinion or judgement.
Yes, the free-bus-transportation program was successful, or at least it was, based on
its initial expectations. No, it was a miserable flop--it lived up to none of its minimal
requirements. Or, it was both a success and a flop--it did live up to some of its
requirements, but did not do so in others. But in this case you're still on the hook-what's your overall evaluation? Once again, the basis for that judgment has to be
stated somewhere in the requirements section.
Organizational Plans for Feasibility and
Recommendation Reports
This is a good point to discuss the two basic organizational plans for this type of
report:


Traditional plan: This one corresponds to the order that the
sections have just been presented in this chapter. You start with
background and criteria, then move to comparison, and end
with conclusions and recommendations.
Executive plan: This one moves the conclusions and
recommendations to the front of the report and pitches the full
discussion of background, criteria, and the comparisons into
appendixes. That way, the "busy executive" can see the most
important information right away, and turn to the detailed
discussion only if there are questions.
Figure 9-4. Example outlines of the same report--one using the standard approach; the
other, the executive approach. Notice in the executive approach that all the key facts,
conclusions, and recommendations are "up front" so that the reader can get to them
quickly. In large reports, there are tabs for each appendix.
Revision Checklist for Feasibility and
Recommendation Reports
As you reread and revise your feasibility or recommendation report, watch out for
problems such as the following:

Write a good introduction in which you indicate the situation
and the audience and provide an overview of the contents.
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











State requirements--those factors that influence the decision or
the choice of options. (And remember to state how important
requirements are in relation to each other.)
Indicate how the field of options was narrowed to the ones
being compared.
Organize the comparison of the options using the point-bypoint approach. Don't use the whole-to-whole approach.
At the end of each comparative section, state the best choice in
terms that point of comparison.
Include a summary table, if possible, in which you summarize
all the key data in table form. (For example, see the summary
table in the laptop computer recommendation.)
Provide technical background, if necessary for understanding
the comparative discussion.
Discuss the background on the problem or opportunity--what
brought about the need for the report.
Include strong sections of definition, description, or both, as
necessary, using the guidelines on content, organization, and
format in the chapters on definition and description.
Include a conclusions section where you restate all the key
conclusions from the comparison section.
State secondary conclusions in the conclusions section--and
based them on requirements that you state in the requirements
section of the report.
State a final conclusion in the conclusions section--one that
states which is the best choice.
Include a recommendation section where you make the
recommendation. Briefly mention the key factors influencing
the recommendation.
Other Resources

Americas Business Consulting. Offers feasibility report
development; has links to potentially useful related sites.
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Online Technical Writing: Abstracts, Introductions,
Conclusions
Formal technical reports over eight to ten pages contain several components that
deserve their own focus because they are important in technical reports and because
people are unfamiliar with them:



Abstracts provide several kinds of summaries of the report
contents and conclusions.
Introductions get readers ready to read reports by indicating the
topic, purpose, intended audience, contents, and orther such
matters.
Conclusions shape how readers view and understand the report
upon leaving it.
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Online Technical Writing:
Abstracts
An abstract is a summary of a body of information. Sometimes, abstracts are in fact
called summaries--sometimes, executive summaries or executive abstracts. There are
different kinds of abstracts—your technical report uses two types: the descriptive
abstract and the informative abstract.
Note: Students enrolled in the Online Technical Writing are encouraged to take the
reading quiz on this chapter. (Anybody else is welcome to try it as well.)
Descriptive Abstracts
The descriptive abstract provides a description of the report's main topic and purpose
as well an overview of its contents. As you can see from the example in Figure 1, it is
very short—usually a brief one- or two-sentence paragraph. In this report design, it
appears on the title page. You may have noticed something similar to this type of
abstract at the beginning of journal articles.
In this type of abstract, you don't summarize any of the facts or conclusions of the
report. The descriptive abstract does not say something like this:
Problem: Based on an exhaustive review of
currently available
products, this report concludes that
none of the
available grammar-checking software
products provides any
useful function to writers.
This is the style of summarizing you find in the informative abstract. Instead, the
descriptive abstract says something like this:
Revision: This report provides conclusions and
recommendations on
the grammar-checking software that is
currently
available.
The descriptive abstract is little like a program teaser. Or, to use a different analogy, it
like major first-level headings of the table of contents have been rewritten in
paragraph format.
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Figure 1. Descriptive abstract on report title page.
Informative Abstracts
The informative abstract, as its name implies, provides information from the body of
the report—specifically, the key facts and conclusions. To put it another way, this
type of abstract summarizes the key information from every major section in the body
of the report.
It is as if someone had taken a yellow marker and highlighted all the key points in the
body of the report then vaccuumed them up into a one- or two-page document. (Of
course, then some editing and rewriting would be necessary to make the abstract
readable.) Specifically, the requirements for the informative abstract are as follows:








Summarizes the key facts, conclusions, and other important
information in the body of the report.
Usually about 10 percent of the length of the full report: for
example, an informative abstract for a 10-page report would be
1 page. This ratio stops after about 30 pages, however. For 50or 60-page reports, the abstract should not go over 3 to 4 pages.
Summarizes the key information from each of the main
sections of the report, and proportionately so (a 3-page section
of a 10-page report ought to take up about 30 percent of the
informative abstract).
Phrases information in a very dense, compact way. Sentence
are longer than normal and are crammed with information. The
abstract tries to compact information down to that 10-percent
level. It's expected that the writing in an informative abstract
will be dense and heavily worded. (However, do not omit
normal words such as the, a, and an.
Omits introductory explanation, unless that is the focus of the
main body of the report. Definitions and other background
information are omitted if they are not the major focus of the
report. The informative abstract is not an introduction to the
subject matter of the report—and it is not an introduction!
Omits citations for source borrowings. If you summarize
information that you borrowed from other writers, you do not
have to repeat the citation in the informative abstract (in other
words, no brackets with source numbers and page numbers).
Includes key statistical detail. Don't sacrifice key numerical
facts to make the informative abstract brief. One expects to see
numerical data in an informative abstract.
Omits descriptive-abstract phrasing. You should not see
phrasing like this: "This report presents conclusions and
recommendations from a survey done on grammar-checking
software." Instead, the informative abstract presents the details
of those conclusions and recommendations.
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This last point is particularly important. People often confuse the kinds of writing
expected in descriptive and informative abstracts. Study the difference between the
informative and descriptive phrasing in the following examples:
Informative:
currently
Based on an exhaustive review of
available products, this report
concludes that
none of the available grammarchecking software
products provides any useful
function to writers.
Descriptive: This report provides conclusions
and recommendations
on the grammar-checking software
that is currently
available.
ABSTRACT
Computerized speech recognition takes
advantage of the most
natural form of communication, the human
voice. During
speech, sound is generated by the vo cal
cords and by air
rushing from the lungs. If the vocal cords
vibrate, a voiced
sound is produced; otherwise, the sound is
unvoiced. The
main problem in speech recognition is that
no two voices
produce their sounds alike and that an
individual voice varies in different conditions. Because
voices do vary and
because words blend together in a
continuous stream in
natural speech, most recognition systems
require that each
speaker train the machine to his or her
voice and that words
have at least one-tenth of a second pause
between them. Such
a system is called an isolated word
recognition system and
con sists of three major components that
process human
speech: (1) the preprocessor which removes
irregula rities
from the speech signal and then breaks it
up into parts; (2)
the feature extractor which extracts 32
key features from
the signal; and (3) the classification
phase which
identifies the spoken word and includes
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the training mode
and reference pattern memory. Spoken words
are identified on
the basis of a certain decision algorithm,
some of which
involve dynamic programming, zero crossing
rate, linear predictive coding, and the use of state
diagram.
Voice recognition systems offer many
applications including
data entry, freedom for mobility, security
uses, telephone
access, and helpful devices for the
handicapped. However,
these same systems also face problems such
as poor
recognition accuracy, loss of privacy
among those who use
them, and limited vocabulary sizes. The
goal of the
industry is the development of speakerindependent systems
that can recognize continuous human speech
regardless of
the speaker and that can continually
improve their vocabulary size and recognition accuracy.
Figure 2. Informative abstract—this type summarizes the key facts and conclusions in
the body of the report. (By the way, speech recognition has come a long way since
this report was written in 1982!)
Revision Checklist for Abstracts
As you reread and revise your abstracts, watch out for problems such as the
following:





Make sure that the descriptive abstract does not include
informative abstract phrasing; make sure that the informative
abstract does not include descriptive abstract phrasing.
Make sure the descriptive overviews all the contents—all the
major sections—of the report.
Make sure that the informative abstract summarizes all the
major sections of the report. (And don't forget—the informative
abstract is not an introduction!)
Make sure the informative abstract summarizes all key
concepts, conclusions, and facts from the body of the report
(including key statistical information).
Make sure that the informative abstract excludes general,
obvious, deadwood information and that the phrasing is
compact and concentrated.
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
Make sure that the informative abstract is neither too brief (less
than 10 percent) nor too long (more than 15 percent).
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Online Technical Writing: Introductions
The introduction is one of the most important sections of a report--or, for that matter,
any document--but introductions are often poorly written. One reason may be that
people misunderstand the purpose of introductions. An introduction introduces
readers to the report and not necessarily, or only minimally, to the subject matter.
Readers have an understandable need to know some basic things about a report before
they begin reading it: such as what is it about, why was it written, what's it for, for
whom it written, and what are its main contents. Readers need a basic orientation to
the topic, purpose, situation, and contents of a report--in other words, an introduction.
Imagine that you were writing a recommendation report about CD-ROM computer
devices. You might be tempted to use the introduction to discuss the background of
compact disc development or its theoretical side. That might be good stuff to include
in the report, and it probably belongs in the report--but not in the introduction, or at
least not in much detail or length.
For 10-page, doublespaced reports, introductions might average 1 page. On that one
page, you might have three paragraphs, averaging 6 to 8 lines each. One of those
paragraphs could be devoted to background information, to introducing the subject
matter. But the other two paragraphs must do the job of introducing the report and
orienting the reader to the report.
Common Elements of Introductions
The following is a discussion of the common contents of introductions. Each of these
elements is not required in all introductions, and some elements combine into the
same sentence. Rather than mechanically applying these elements, write the
introduction that seems right to you, then come back and search for these elements in
it.
Topic. Somewhere early in the introduction, you need to indicate the specific topic of
the report. Some introductions seem to want to hold readers in suspense for a while
before they indicate the true topic. That's a bit of a gamble. A better approach is to
indicate the topic early--such that you could circle the topic words somewhere in the
first three to four lines of the introduction.
Purpose and situation. Somewhere, the report needs to indicate why it was written,
for whom, and for what purpose. If the report provides recommendations on whether
to implement a program, the introduction needs to indicate that somehow. You might
also consider indicating something of the scope of the report--what it is not intended
to accomplish.
Audience. The introduction also needs to indicate who are the appropriate or intended
readers of the report--for example, "experienced technicians trained on the
HAL/6000." Also, an introduction should indicate what level of experience or
knowledge readers need to understand the report, if any. If none is needed, say that
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also. If the report was prepared for council members of the City of Utopia, Texas, the
introduction needs to express that.
Overview of contents. The introduction to a report should, if nothing else, indicate
the main contents of the report. Often this is done with an in-sentence list, as the
examples in this part of the chapter illustrate (a bulleted vertical list is a bit overdoing
it). For most reports, some sort of scope indication is also needed in the introduction:
some statement about what topics the report does not cover.
Background on the topic. This is everybody's favorite! Some minimal background is
usually in order for an introduction--for example, some key definitions, some
historical background, some theory, something on the importance of the subject.
Information like this gets readers interested, motivated to read, grounded in some
fundamental concepts. Watch out, though--this discussion can get away from you and
fill up more than page. If it does, that's okay; all is not lost. That just shows the
information is important and should be in the report--just not in the introduction.
Move it in to the body of the report, or into an appendix.
Background on the situation. Another kind of background is also a good candidate
for introductions--the situation that brought about the need for the report. For
example, if there were a lot of conflicting data about some new technology or some
problem, which brought about the need for the research, this background could be
summarized in the introduction. For example, if a company needed new equipment of
some kind or if the company had some problem or need and some requirements in
relation to that equipment--discussion of these matters should go in the introduction.
Notice in the discussion of these elements the word "indicate" keeps getting used.
That's because you'd like to avoid heavy-handed language such as "The topic of this
report is..." or "This report has been written for..." Often there are nicer ways to
express these things. For example, if your report is about grammar-checking software,
just make sure that phrase occurs at some appropriate place early in the introduction-you don't need to drone something like "The topic of this report is grammar-checking
software..." Of course, if this direct approach is the only or the best way to express it,
then do it! Notice in the example introductions that this kind of phrasing does occur.
Figure 10-3. Example introduction with contract elements included.
Figure 10-4. Example introduction with most of the key elements present.
Section Introductions
We don't normally think that there is more than one introduction in a report. However,
in reports over 8 to 10 or more pages, the individual sections also need some sort of
introduction. These can be called section introductions because they prepare you to
read a section of a report--they orient you to its contents and purpose.
Of course, a section introduction has nothing like the elements of the report
introduction. However, it does have several that, if handled well, can make a lot of
difference in the clarity and flow of a report.
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Figure 10-5. Example section introduction. Notice that this section introduction not
only mentions the preceding and upcoming topics but shows how they are related.
Topic indication. As with the report introduction, indicate the topic of the upcoming
section. But remember--it doesn't have to be the stodgy, heavy-handed "The topic of
this next section of the report is..."
Contents overview. Just as in the report introduction, it is a good idea to list the main
contents. The in-sentence list serves this purpose well.
Transition. An element that is very useful in section introductions but unnecessary in
report introductions is the transitional phrasing that indicates how the preceding
section is related to the one about to start. In reports of any length and complexity, it
is a good technique--it guides readers along, showing them how the parts of the report
all fit together.
Revision Checklist for Introductions
As you revise your introductions, watch out for problems such as the following:




Avoid writing an introduction consisting of only background
information; avoid allowing background information to
overshadow the key elements of the introduction.
Make sure the topic of the report is indicated early.
Be sure to indicate the audience and situation--what the readers
should expect from the report; what knowledge or background
they need to understand the report; what situation brought
about the need for the report.
Make sure there is an overview of the report contents, plus
scope information--what the report doesn't cover.
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Online Technical Writing: Conclusions
We normally use the word "conclusion" to refer to that last section or paragraph or a
document. Actually, however, the word refers more to a specific type of final section.
If we were going to be fussy about it, this section should be called "Final Sections."
There seem to be at least four ways to end a report: a summary, a true conclusion, an
afterword, and nothing. Yes, it is possible to end a document with no conclusion (or
"final section") whatsoever. However, in most cases, that's a bit like slamming the
phone down without even saying good-bye. More often, the final section is some
combination of the first three ways of ending the document.
Summaries
One common way to wrap up a report is to review and summarize the high points. If
your report is rather long, complex, heavily detailed, and if you want your readers to
come away with the right perspective, a summary is in order. For short reports,
summaries can seem absurd--the reader thinks "You've just told me that!" Summaries
need to read as if time has passed, things have settled down, and the writer is viewing
the subject from higher ground.
VIII. SUMMARY
This report has shown that as the supply of
fresh water decreases,
desalting water will become a necessity. While
a number of different
methods are in competition with each other,
freezing methods of
desalination appear to have the greatest
potential for the future.
The three main freezing techniques are the
direct method, the indirect
method, and the hydrate method. Each has some
adavantage over the
others, but all three freezing methods have
distinct adavantages over
other methods of desalination. Because
freezing methods operate at
such low temperatures, scaling and corrosion of
pipe and other
equipment is greatly reduced. In non-freezing
methods, corrosion is a
great problem that is difficult and expensive
to prevent. Freezing
processes also allow the use of plastic and
other protective coatings
on steel equipment to prevent their corrosion,
a measure that cannot
be taken in other methods that require high
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operating temperatures.
Desalination, as this report has shown,
requires much energy,
regardless of the method. Therefore, pairing
desalination plants with
nuclear or solar power resources may be a
necessity. Some of the
expense of desalination can be offset, however,
by recovering and
Figure 10-6. Summary-type of final section.
"True" Conclusions
A "true" conclusion is a logical thing. For example, in the body of a report, you might
present conflicting theories and explored the related data. Or you might have
compared different models and brands of some product. In the conclusion, the "true"
conclusion, you'd present your interpretation, your choice of the best model or brand-your final conclusions.
V. CONCLUSIONS
Solar heating can be an aid in fighting high
fuel bills if planned
carefully, as has been shown in preceding
sections. Every home
represents a different set of conditions; the
best system for one home
may not be the best one for next door. A
salesman can make any system
appear to be profitable on paper, and therefore
prospective buyers
must have some general knowledge about solar
products.
A solar heating system should have as many of
the best design features
as possible and still be affordable. As
explained in this report, the
collector should have high transmissivity and
yet be durable enough to
handle hail storms. Collector insulation
should be at least one inch
of fiberglass mat. Liquid circulating coils
should be at least one
inch in diameter if an open loop system is
used. The control module
should perform all the required functions with
no added circuits. Any
hot water circulating pumps should be isolated
from the electric drive
motor by a non-transmitting coupler of some
kind.
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Homeowners should follow the recommendations in
the guidelines section
carefully. In particular, they should decide
how much money they are
willing to spend and then arrange their
components in their order of
importance. The control module designs vary
the most in quality and
therefore should have first priority. The
collector is the second in
importance, and care should be taken to ensure
compatibility. Careful
attention to the details of the design and
selection of solar heating
devices discussed in this report will enable
homeowners to install
efficient, productive solar heating systems.
Figure 10-7. A "true"-conclusions final section. This type states conclusions based on
the discussion contained in the body of the report.
Afterwords
One last possibility for ending a report involves turning to some related topic but
discussing it at a very general level. Imagine that you had written a background report
on some exciting new technology. In the final section, you might broaden your focus
and discuss how that technology might be used, or the problems it might bring about.
But the key is to keep it general--don't force yourself into a whole new detailed
section.
VII. CONCLUSION: FUTURE
TRENDS
Everyone seems to agree that the car of the
future must weigh even
less than today's down-sized models. According
to a recent forecast
by the Arthur Anderson Company, the typical car
will have lost about
1,000 pounds between 1978 and 1990 [2:40]. The
National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration estimates the
loss of another 350 pounds
by 1995. To obtain these reductions,
automobile manufacturers will
have find or develop composites such as fiberreinforced plastics for
the major load-bearing components, particularly
the frame and
drivetrain components.
Ford Motor Company believes that if it is to
achieve further growth in
the late 1980's, it must achieve breakthroughs
in structural and
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semistructural load-bearing applications. Some
of the breakthroughs
Ford sees as needed include improvements in the
use of continuous
fibers, especially hybridized reinforced
materials containing glass
and graphite fibers. In addition, Ford hopes
to develop a high speed
production system for continuous fiber
preforms. In the related area
of composite technology, researchers at Owens
Corning and Hercules are
seeking the best combination of hybrid fibers
for structural
automotive components such as engine and
transmission supports, drive
shafts, and leaf springs. Tests thus far have
led the vice president
of Owen Corning's Composites and Equipment
Marketing Division, John B.
Jenks, to predict that hybrid composites can
compete with metal by the
mid-1980's for both automotive leaf springs and
transmission supports.
With development in these areas of plastics for
automobiles, we can
look forward to lighter, less expensive, and
more economical cars in
the next decade. Such developments might well
provide the needed
spark to rejuvenate America's auto industry and
to further decrease
our rate of petroleum consumption.
Figure 10-8. Afterword-type final section. The main body of the report discussed
technical aspects of using plastics in main structural components of automobiles. This
final section explores the future, looking at current developments, speculating on the
impact of this trend.
Combinations
In practice, these ways of ending reports combine. You can analyze final sections of
reports and identify elements that summarize, elements that conclude, and elements
that discuss something related but at a general level (afterwords).
Here are some possibilities for afterword-type final sections:



Provide a brief, general look to the future; speculate on future
developments.
Explore solutions to problems that were discussed in the main
body of the report.
Discuss the operation of a mechanism or technology that was
discussed in the main body of the report.
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

Provide some cautions, guidelines, tips, or preview of advanced
functions at the end of a set of instructions.
Explore the economics, social implications, problems, legal
aspects, advantages, disadvantages, benefits, or applications of
the report subject (but only generally and briefly).
Revision Checklist for Conclusions
As you reread and revise your conclusions, watch out for problems such as the
following:



If you use an afterword-type last section, make sure you write it
at a general enough level that it doesn't seem like yet another
body section of the report.
Avoid perfunctory conclusions that have no real reason to be in
the report.
Keep final sections brief and general.
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Online Technical Writing: Oral Presentations
A common assignment in technical writing courses is to prepare and deliver an oral
presentation. You might wonder what an oral report is doing in a writing class.
Employers look for coursework and experience in preparing written documents, but
they also look for some experience in oral presentation as well. That's why the real
name of courses like these ought to be "Introduction to Technical Comunications."
The following was written for a standard face-to-face classroom setting. If you are
taking the online version of technical writing, the oral reports are sent in as "scripts";
students evaluate each other's oral-report scripts by filling out an online form and
sending it to the instructor. See the assignment for details.
Check out these examples of oral report scripts:
The frames and nonframes versions work only on Netscape
version 3 or later. If you are using Microsoft Internet
Explorer, click Plain (or download Netscape).
Oral report 1: Patient Seminar on
Physical Therapy
Frames
Nonframes Plain
Oral report 2: Presentation on
Automobile Airbags for Sales
Representatives
Frames
Nonframes Plain
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EXPLANATION OF THE CONTEXT
Purpose: The purpose of this oral report is to give individuals a little background and
current information on physical therapy, an overview of the treatment involved, and
the benefits and limitations of treatment.
Situation and Audience: The audience is prospective physical therapy patients with
minor to moderate bone, joint, or muscle injuries (i.e., musculoskeletal injuries) who
are looking for alternatives to medication or surgery, a supplement for medication or
surgery, or a general way to improve range of motion and pain. This oral report is part
of a seminar on alternative forms of treatment for prospective patients. I am a
practicing physical therapist who has just completed a technical report, Physical
Therapy: A Guide for Prospective Patients, and am presenting an overview of the
report to you, the prospective patients.
Visuals:
1. A diagram of the three different anatomical planes in which range of motion is
measured in (in degrees)
2. A transparency comparing the benefits and disadvantages of physical therapy
treatment.
ORAL REPORT
Today I would like to talk to you about the field of health care known as physical
therapy. My name is Sharon Granville, and this area is very familiar to me as I am a
practicing physical therapist here in Austin, Texas. This report is mainly for
prospective physical therapy patients with minor to moderate bone, joint, or muscle
injuries, also called musculoskeletal injuries, who may be looking for an alternative to
surgery, medication, or other forms of health care. I will first attempt to give you
some background on the field and some current information about physical therapy. I
will then highlight some of the important and interesting parts of my recent report,
Physical Therapy: A Guide for Prospective Patients. I will try to give you an idea of
the treatment involved with therapy, along with some benefits and disadvantages of
therapy. I hope that after this report, you will have enough information to decide if
physical therapy is the right course of treatment for your illness or injury.
So what is physical therapy? It is the field of medical care that uses physical agents
such as heat, light, water, and massage coupled with exercise to treat certain physical
disabilities, according to The Manual of Physical Therapy Practice. Among its
objectives are the relief of pain caused by surgery or by medical problems, the
improvement of muscle strength and mobility, and the improvement of such basic
functions as standing, walking, and grasping.
The field is relatively new, entering into the medical scene during World War I in
military hospitals. The American Physical Therapy Association, the national
organization that monitors therapists and their practice, estimates that there are 70,000
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active physical therapists in the United States today, and the profession is growing at
such a rapid rate that the demand for therapists far exceeds the supply.
Many individuals want to know what treatment they can expect when they visit a
physical therapist. During the first visit, a patient will usually undergo an initial
evaluation in which the therapist may inquire about the patient's medical background,
how the illness or injury occurred, and how long the patient has had the problem. The
physical therapist will also perform different tests to diagnose the patient's condition.
After the therapist completes the patient assessment, he or she will form a treatment
plan and therapy will then begin. The physical therapist can perform a variety of
techniques used in conjunction with different equipment to treat the patient. A few
common techniques include the use of heat, massage, and manipulation. There are
many other forms of treatment that your physical therapist will decide to use
specifically for your condition.
Although there are different forms of equipment used, one of the most important ones
for work or home use that I recommend is an ergonomic device. Ergonomic devices
are chairs, tables, mouse pointers, or anything designed to align the body correctly
and support it. Many injuries and accidents can be prevented with the correct use of
ergonomic devices and I strongly urge you to incorporate the use of them into your
daily lives. I have free literature on how to find and use ergonomic devices which will
be available after the report.
Patients can also expect to be assigned exercises to perform during office visits and at
home. They may include breathing, strengthening, or stretching exercises. Exercise is
probably the single most important thing in maintaining and improving a patient's
condition. It is imperative that a patient performs the exercises regularly and correctly
for benefits to be effective and long-lasting.
Now that you have an idea of the treatment involved, why is physical therapy a good
idea for you? From this transparency, you can see that the primary benefits of therapy
include reduced pain, increased range of motion, and a decreased need for
alternatives. Next to these benefits, I have also listed the disadvantages of treatment
which I will discuss later.
The number one reason you have probably attended this seminar is for the relief of
your pain. Although this is a main goal for the therapist, we also realize that if you, as
patients, are limited in daily activities of living because of pain, it is unlikely that you
will make much progress in regaining control over range of motion, use of assistive
devices, or completing exercises until the pain has been reduced or relieved. Physical
therapy is commonly used to relieve pain caused by surgery or other procedures that
"fix" a person's injury or disease, but may not reduce pain or may even increase it.
Treatment can also provide reduction of discomfort for individuals who have chronic
pain due to an old injury or illness that is not debilitating, but distressing nevertheless.
Although pain is an important factor in undergoing therapy, patients are also
interested in increasing their range of motion in order to improve their daily
functioning abilities. Range of motion is how much movement a given joint or muscle
has in the three different anatomical planes illustrated here on this diagram [visual 1].
As you can see, your body is divided into three different planes so that range of
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motion can be measured in degrees from the original axis in each plane. Physical
therapy is one of the main treatments used to provide long-lasting increased range of
motion for patients with dysfunctional joints or muscles.
Finally one of the main advantages and benefits of physical therapy is the decreased
need for alternatives, such as surgery or medication. Although some physical therapy
patients still require surgery after treatment, many do recover without this alternative
or have a decreased need for it. Today, in an environment of health awareness, people
are also beginning to shy away from dependence on medication and turn toward
treatment that addresses the actual cause of the problem, not the symptoms.
Patients must be willing to compare the benefits I just talked about to the
disadvantages of treatment to decide if physical therapy is right for them. From the
transparency [visual 2], you can see that the major disadvantages of physical therapy
are high patient involvement and ineffective physical therapy treatment programs.
Patients must be willing to allocate a significant amount of time for office visits and
home care, and expend considerable effort to maintain and continue improvement of
their condition. Patients must almost be aware that ineffective physical therapy
programs can occur. Inappropriate treatment plans or mistreatment by therapy
assistants or therapists can lead to ineffective therapy and may even worsen the injury
or disease. It is important for patients to ask questions concerning their diagnosis,
their treatment plan, and the actual therapy performed on them.
As you have heard from this report today, physical therapy treatment includes a wide
range of techniques used in conjunction with the appropriate equipment and exercise
to decrease pain, increase range of motion, and contribute to helping an individual
learn or re-learn functions of daily living. In order to decide if physical therapy is
appropriate for you, you must weigh the benefits and disadvantages of treatment.
Physical therapy is quickly becoming a dominant field in the rehabilitation of patients
with minor to moderate musculoskeletal injuries who are looking for alternatives or
supplements to medication and surgery, or a general way to improve range of motion
and pain. I hope this report provided helpful background and information concerning
physical therapy practice and treatment in order for you as prospective patients to
decide if physical therapy is right for you. For more detailed information on physical
therapy and the topics I just talked about, please pick up a copy of my recent technical
report, Physical Therapy: A Guide for Prospective Patients. Thank you for your time
and attention.
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EXPLANATION OF THE CONTEXT
Topic and Audience: The employees of Covert Ford will hear this presentation as a
result of an agreement between the owner and the research consultant. This
presentation is intended to give these employees a demonstration of how they might
better inform their customers concerning airbags. The topic of the oral report is "The
Future of Airbags."
Oral Report
My name is Darrin White and I am an automotive safety technology consultant. I
want to talk to you today about the current status of airbag technology to enable you
to better answer customer questions. I'll be covering new technical advances in
airbags, including new locations within the automobile, new materials that are going
to be used in airbags, and new sensing devices that we'll soon be seeing in airbag
technology. I'll also be focusing the safety issue, which I know is a big concern of
many of your customers, and will talk about what is being in government and industry
address it.
Imagine buying an automobile equipped with 10 airbags! This may be a possibility in
the near future. As technology improves and the safety of airbags is proven, they will
become as vital as seat belts in preventing injury or death in an automobile. At the
present time, most new vehicles are now equipped with two airbags, one on the
driver's side and one for the front seat passenger. Already some manufacturers are
offering side airbags on selected models.
Slide 1: Present a list showing BMW, Mercedes, and Volvo as currently offering side
airbags.
Some of the airbags are located in the doors while others have been placed into the
seat of the vehicle. Research is being conducted to determine the safest location for
these smaller airbags. After the acceptance of four standard airbags, it is expected that
additional locations will follow.
Already there are plans for foot airbags to protect the leg and foot area during frontal
collisions. It is not unrealistic to imagine that eventually the automobile will be
surrounded by a cushion of air. The future of airbags is not restricted to simply adding
more in different locations to vehicles.
There are many plans for the future that involve not only the automobile industry but
the federal government as well. The airbag of the future will be much smarter than the
ones used today. The so called, "smart airbags", will be able to think for themselves.
This ability will enable airbags to make judgments about the severity of a collision as
well as the individual they are intended to protect.
Another significant improvement in technology will involve the sensors used in
airbags. Plans for the future include installation of multiple sensors that will be able to
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detect a driver's or a passenger's weight and height as well as the force of a crash. It is
expected that a vehicle will have many more sensors in the future.
The actual material of the airbag is also going to undergo some adjustments. Lighter,
sturdier material will enhance the effectiveness of the airbag to protect the occupants
of a vehicle.
Perhaps the biggest concern to airbag users is the safety issue. While most consumers
agree that airbags save lives in serious frontal collisions, there is widespread alarm
over the deaths that occur in the deployment of airbags. Because the airbag is inflated
with such tremendous speed, the pressure caused can literally kill certain smaller
individuals. All research indicates that the original airbag design was intended for
males weighing from 150 to 160 pounds. Obviously, these are not the only individuals
that may be riding in the front seats of vehicles. Because statistics validate these
concerns, the federal government is actively involved in reducing the inflation speed
of future airbags. The most tragic reports of airbag-causing injuries involve children
and infants. Because of their smaller size, the impact created by an inflating airbag
can be extremely hazardous. A recent article in US News and World Report
emphasizes the severity of the problem: "A year ago, Robert Sanders was driving near
his Baltimore home, his 7 year old daughter, Allison, at his side when their minivan
skidded into an intersection and bumped another car at about 15 miles per hour. 'My
first reaction,' he recalls 'was that I would have to have some body work done.' Then
his eyes turned toward Allison. The powerful deployment of the passenger side airbag
and knocked her unconscious. She died the next day. It is now clear that airbags,
designed to hit adults in the chest, often strike kids in the face. Last year the devices
saved 475 adult lives. But they have killed at least 28 children." Because of instances
such as this, the federal government is strongly involved in airbag improvement for
the future.
Slide 2: Show transparency with child covered with airbag. Discuss while pointing to
picture.
Perhaps the most widely publicized issue concerning airbags involves rear-facing
infant restraint seats. After several horrible accidents, the federal government began to
investigate reasons for the unsafe positioning of these seats. At the present time, it is
known that the inflating airbag may possibly suffocate a small child in such a seat
because the head is so close to the bag. Another reaction might be throwing the child
into the actual car seat with such pressure that serious injury could occur. Strong
warnings urge parents to place such seats in the back seat of vehicles with airbags.
There are, however, vehicles such as trucks that do not have a back seat.
The alarming concern over children has prompted the federal government and the
automobile industry to begin major adjustments in airbag technology. The future
should provide airbags that can detect the presence of an infant seat or a child and
automatically lower the inflation speed and pressure. The future of airbags could
involve endless possibilities. Ford Motor Company is a leader in planning for airbag
improvement. In order to further review the implications of the future, it would be
helpful to understand the technology behind airbags. Additional information on this
subject can be acquired by reading my report, Automobile Airbag Technology and
Safety.
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For additional information on oral presentations and public speaking in general, see:
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Preparing Outstanding Presentations. Developed by Cheryl
Reimold for the IEEE Professional Communication Society
newsletter.
How to Deliver a Winning Presentation.Another one by Cheryl
Reimold.
Visual Aids for Presentations. Provided by the Center for
Managerial Communications, University of Denver.
Effective Presentations. Part of an online tutorial series
provided by Kansas University Medical Center.
Designing Effective Oral Presentations. Provided by the Rice
Online Writing Lab (the Rice OWL, of course).
The Art of Communicating Effectively -- Tips for Presenters. A
commercial site developed by Art Feierman and Presenting
Solutions, Inc.
Visual Aids for Presentations
Courtesy of Center for Managerial Communications
1. The visual aid must be necessary--not just there for
decoration.
o
o
Prepare the speech first; then ask where visuals are needed and what
kinds are best.
Visual aids (a)show structure, (b) support concepts, or (c)show
relationships.
2. Visuals should be limited in number (3 maximum in a 5-6
minute speech).
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Visual higlight and emphasize major points/sections only.
Using a transparency or computer slide for every paragrph of the
presentation leads to overload.
Be able to justify why a visual is included, and why it is designed the
way it is.
3. Overhead transparencies remain the most common medium
in business presentations.
Despite the increasing use of computer projection, many companies do not
have computer projection facilities, so you need to know how to prepare and
use overheads effectively. Using transparencies and the overhead projector
smoothly requires forethought and practice.
o
Strip out clutter and needless decoration from slides.
1. Avoid "chartjunk" (too many graphic elements) and
"letterjunk" (decorative letters that are hard to read).
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2. Select clip art carefully to acieve appropriate humor and degree
of formality; avoid cuteness.
3. Stive for a unified look (same typeface and size throughout,
smae title and title position, same colors and/or template for all
overheads).
o
Use colors (or shades of gray) that contrast enought to be
read easily.
1. Dark background, light type, and conservative color choice
work best.
2. Avoid culturally "loaded" colors (for example, in the U.S. red
sybolizes anger ["seeing red"], danger, or negative states [being
"in the red"]).
o
Use type big enough to be read easily; limit the number
of words and lines.
1. Point sizes vary with graphics programs
2. 18-point type on PowerPoint is too small for DCB classrooms
3. Use 28-36 point. Limit lines to 5.
4. Computer projection has its limitations.
As computer projection becomes more accessible, it becomes a stronger
option for visual support. However, some cautions are in order:
o
Many rooms are too dark; lights have to be turned out completely to
see the proection. The speaker's connection with the audience is
undercut, and the audience may drift off, lulled by the dark room and
the lighted screen.
o Even in the CMC, light must be controlled carefully (front dim, back
lighted, with speakers carefully positioned under downlights to avoid
grotesque shadows on the speaker's face).
o If the presentation is overloaded, the technology becomes the star and
people focus on the projections rather than on the speaker or content.
5. Many types of visual support are available.
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Designing Effective Oral Presentations
Understanding the Speaking/Writing Relationship * Questions You Need to Ask
Oral Presentations (Page 2)
Presenting to a Multicultural Audience
The ability to speak effectively is as crucial as the ability to write effectively
according to studies about kinds of communications most often required of
employees.
During a routine week, employees will actually spend more time speaking
than writing; using the phone; conversing informally with colleagues,
subordinates, and superiors on routine office topics; conducting meetings;
working in problem solving groups; conducting employee evaluation sessions;
participating in teleconferences and sales presentations; and frequently
becoming involved in formal speaking situations before groups inside and
outside the organization. Communication research also reveals that the higher
an employee moves in an organization, the more important speaking skills
become.
The purpose of this section of the OWL is to provide you the basic strategies
for presenting technical and business information in an oral presentation. You
will use many of the same strategies in developing an oral presentation that
you use in preparing an effective written document. Understanding similarities
between writing and speaking can be helpful for several reasons. Many times,
you will be asked to document an oral presentation you have given; that is,
you must submit what you said in written form. Or, you may be asked to make
an oral presentation of a written document.
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Understanding the Speaking/Writing
Relationship
Being an effective speaker and an effective writer requires you to
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Understand the context for your presentation,
Analyze your audience,
Understand and articulate your purpose clearly,
Develop sufficient and appropriate supporting material,
Organize the material so it is easy for the audience to follow,
Choose a speaking style, level of language, approach to the
subject, and tone suitable to your role as well as your audience
and purpose,
Select graphics that will enhance your audience's understanding
of your message.
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Because listening is a different processing method than reading, you will need
to know how to adapt guidelines for organization, style, and graphics to fit the
speaking situation. However, you will see that writing and speaking are,
nevertheless, similar communication activities.
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Analyzing the Situation
Analyzing the situation is often difficult to separate from analyzing an
audience; in a sense, audience is one facet of the larger situation. In
analyzing the situation, you need to know why your presentation is required.
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What is the broader concern underlying the need for the presentation?
What primary issues underlie the presentation?
How does your presentation relate to these issues?
What will be happening in the organization when you make your
presentation?
How does your presentation fit into the organizational situation?
If you are one of several speakers, what kinds of presentations will the
other speakers be making?
In what surroundings will you be making the presentation?
What will happen in the situation before and after your talk?
How does your talk relate to other participants' actions?
For example, delivering a presentation at a regular meeting of project
directors is different from briefing other people in your team about what you've
been doing. Making a presentation at a company picnic is different from
delivering a presentation at the annual meeting of a professional society
whose focus is on current issues in a discipline.
Thus, knowing the situation is as important as knowing your audience
and your purpose. In many cases, situation will be inextricably bound up
with questions of audience attitude and the way you shape your purpose.
Audience attitude frequently results from situational problems or current
issues within the organization, and what you can or should say in your
presentation, your purpose and the content you choose to present may be
dictated by the context surrounding your presentation and the perspective
that your audience brings.
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Analyzing the Audience
Just as readers determine the success of written communication, audiences
determine the success of oral presentations. Writing or speaking is successful
if the reader or listener responds the way you desire: the reader or listener is
informed, persuaded, or instructed as you intend and then responds the way
you want with good will throughout.
Just as writing effectively depends on your understanding your reader as
thoroughly as possible, effective speaking also depends on your
understanding your listener.
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You cannot speak or write effectively to people without first
understanding their perspective.
You must know how your audience will likely respond based on their
o educational and cultural background,
o knowledge of the subject,
o technical expertise,
o position in the organization,
o principal uncertainties or questions in this situation.
To achieve your purpose for communicating, you must present your message
appropriately. Technique counts.
When you analyze your audience, focus on their professional as well as their
personal profiles. Your audience will pay attention to some things because
they're members of a department or class; they'll react to other things
because of their likes, dislikes, and uncertainties. You have to keep both
profiles in mind. Your analysis will suggest what you should say or write, what
you should not say, and the tone you should use.
Audience Analysis Questions:
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How much does my audience know about the subject?
How much do they know about me?
What do they expect from me?
How interested will they be in what I say?
What is their attitude toward me?
What is their attitude toward my subject?
What is their age group?
What positions do their occupy in the organization?
What is their educational background?
What is their cultural/ethnic background?
What is their economic background?
What are their political and religious views?
What kinds of cultural biases will they likely have toward me and my
topic?
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In viewing this list, you will note the prevalence of questions on attitude--the
audience's attitude toward you as well as the subject. Some attitutes will
matter more than others, according to the situation.
These questions are particularly crucial ones, as you need to know,
before you begin planning your presentation, whether your audience will
consider you trustworthy and credible. To be an effective speaker, you
must know your audience, establish a relationship by being sincere and
knowledgeable about the subject, then conform to their expectations about
dress, demeanor, choice of language, and attitude toward them and the
topic.
When you speak to people from other countries,
you should plan to do research on the culture of
that country. Be aware that hand gestures you
use routinely with US audiences may have
different meanings in other cultures. Also, the
clothing you choose to wear should also be
selected with the culture of the audience in mind.
If the audience and situation call for more formal
clothing than you usually wear, practice your talk
wearing the clothes you'll be wearing at the
presentation.
Return to Top
Determining the Goal of Your Presentation
Oral presentations, like written presentations, must be designed around a
specific purpose.
As a writer and a speaker, you must know your purpose.
You must conceive your purposes in terms of your audience's perspective.
Like the report or letter, the oral presentation must make purpose clearly
evident at the beginning. By knowing what they will be hearing from the
beginning of the presentation, the audience can more easily focus their
attention on the content presented and see connections between parts of the
talk.
As you plan, state your goal in one sentence.
Then, as you begin your presentation, state your goal in terms of your
audience's background and attitude; announce your purpose early in the
presentation to prepare your audience for the main ideas to come. You may
want to restate the purpose in words familiar to the audience.
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Both written and oral communication often have multiple purposes. The main
purpose of your presentation may be to report the status of a project, to
summarize a problem, to describe a plan, or to propose an action, but your
long-range objective may be to highlight or document important specific
issues within the topic about which you are speaking and to further establish
your credibility within the organization. You may want the audience to dislike
another proposed solution, to desire a more comprehensive solution, or
decide there isn't a problem after all.
Oral presentations, like written presentations, can enhance an
employee's reputation within an organization. Therefore, consider every
speaking opportunity an opportunity to sell not only your ideas but also
your competence, your value to the organization.
Return to Top
Choosing and Shaping Content
Preparing the oral presentation often requires the same kind of research
needed for the written report. To achieve your goal, you will need to determine
what information you will need. You will also want to choose information that
will appeal to your audience--particularly their attitudes, interests, biases, and
prejudices about the topic.
In selecting content, consider a variety of information types: statistics,
testimony, cases, illustrations, history, and particularly narratives that help
convey the goal you have for your presentation.
Because listening is more difficult than reading, narratives can be particularly
effective in retaining the attention of your listeners. While statistics and data
are often necessary in building your argument, narratives interspersed with
data provide an important change of pace needed to keep your listeners
attentive.
In short, vary your content, but be sure that every item you include
pertains to the goal of your presentation.
Return to Top
Organizing Your Presentation
Oral presentations must be organized with your audience's needs and
perspective in mind.
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Is your audience interested in what you will say?
What are the main questions they will want you to answer?
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Which of these questions is most important? least important?
Based on your purpose and the audience's expectations, in what order
should you present these ideas?
Generally, oral presentations have an introduction that ends with your main
point and a preview of the rest of the talk, a main body, and a conclusion.
The introduction should clearly tell the audience what the presentation will
cover so that the audience is prepared for what is to come.
The body should develop each point stated in the introduction.
The conclusion should reiterate the ideas presented and reinforce the
purpose of the presentation. It usually answers the questions, "So what?"
*****
Getting Your Ideas in Order
In planning your introduction, be sure that you state your goal near the
beginning. Even if you use some type of anecdote or question to interest your
audience, state the goal of your presentation next. Then, state how you will
proceed in your presentation: what main issues you will discuss. The main
ideas you have developed during the research and content planning stage
should be announced here.
The conclusion to the presentation should help the audience understand the
significance of your talk and remember main points. Write out the final
statement. At a minimum, you should restate the main issues you want your
audience to remember, but do so in a concise way. Try to find a concluding
narrative or statement that will have an impact on your audience. The
conclusion should not be long, but it should leave the audience with a positive
feeling about you and your ideas.
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Choosing an Appropriate Style
How you sound when you speak is crucial to the success of your
presentation. You may have effective content, excellent ideas, accurate
supporting statistics. However, if the style you use in speaking is inappropriate
to the occasion, to the audience (as individuals and as members of an
organization), and to the purpose your are trying to achieve, your content will
more than likely be ineffective.
You want to sound respectful, confident, courteous, and sincere.
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The most effective style is usually a conversational style: short
sentences, concrete language, speech that suggests to your audience that
you are really talking to them.
When a speaker writes the entire speech and memorizes it, the presentation
does not sound as if the speaker is talking naturally to the audience.
The tone and degree of formality will be dictated by your organizational role
and your relationship to your audience.
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Do they know you?
Is your rank in the organization above or below them?
Are you speaking to an audience of individuals from all levels within the
organization?
What demeanor, approach, and level of formality does the organization
usually expect from those giving oral presentations?
Is the audience composed of people who understand English? How
well do they understand English?
Answers to these questions as well as your purpose will determine how you
speak to your audience.
If you are speaking before a group that is
composed largely of people from another country,
you need to determine beforehand how fluent they
are in English. If they are not comfortable with
English, be sure that you speak slowly; avoid
idiomatic expressions; choose concrete words;
and speak in relatively short sentences. Limit
each sentence to one idea.
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Choosing Visual Aids to Reinforce Your Meaning
Because we live in a time when communication is visual and verbal, visual
aids are as important to oral communication as they are to written
communication.
Visual aids
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help your audience understand your ideas;
show relationships among ideas;
help the audience follow your arguments [your "train" of thought]; and
help your audience remember what you said.
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In addition, the presentation that uses visual aids effectively is more
persuasive, more professional, and more interesting. Many of the guidelines
for using visual aids in oral presentations mirror those for written documents:
they need to fit the needs of the audience; they must be simple; they must be
clear and easy to understand.
How many visual aids?
Some kinds of oral presentations will require one kind of visual aid;
presentations conveying complex information may require several kinds of
visual aids. The point, quite simply, is that listeners are as resistant to an
unbroken barrage of words as readers are to unbroken pages of prose.
You can use
drawings,
with an outline,
statistics,
items
graphs,
charts,
cartoons,
props and objects,
demonstrations,
a blackboard
pictures,
photographs, and even "interesting"
or maybe a map
.
Use anything that will help people SEE what you MEAN! (Weren't you
attracted to the icons above???)
But because these will be seen while the audience is listening to you, you
will need to be sure that all visuals are as simple as possible and as easy
to read: In short,
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Avoid too much information on any single visual.
Use boldface type in a font size that can be easily read.
Use sans serif type because if produces a sharper image for slides and
transparencies.
Limit the fonts you use to two per visual.
Avoid all caps.
Use a type--size and font--that contrasts distinctly with the background.
Avoid visuals that use too many colors--more than four on any one aid.
Avoid making your audience study your aids. If they are busy trying to
decipher your visual aid, they will not be listening to you.
Bar graphs, circle graphs, simple diagrams, pictures, and lists are
standard types of visual aids. Whatever aid you decide to use, limit the
aid to only the concept, data, or point you are trying to make.
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Be sure that what the visual says is immediately evident.
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Computer graphics and programs such as Harvard Graphics,
Powerpoint, and Excel in combination with color printers and slide
projection equipment give you the opportunity to experiment with
graphic design. Try developing visual aids that are visually pleasing as
well as clear.
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Use technology whenever possible. Some web sites have visuals that
you can use for presentations about that topic.
Technology allows speakers to download graphs, drawings, and
figures from the World Wide Web. The Web is perhaps one of the
richest, newest, most colorful sources of visual aids.
Figure 3 shows a graphic of nitrogen oxide emission trends from the EPA
web site, downloaded via Netscape through Yahoo. You might want cruise
through this highly effective web site, as it has superb graphics and material
for all ages of users:
http://www.epa.gov/acidrain/ardhome.html
Figure 4 shows data on Angolan Oil research downloaded from Texas A&M
University's Geochemical & Environmental Research Group: http://wwwgerg.tamu.edu
Most of these graphics have tables that accompany them. So, if you need
hard data, it's there!
Many presentation rooms now have ethernet connections and even
computers that have the appropriate software to run a browser such as
Netscape. When the computer is connected to an overhead projector, Web
images can be shown on a screen. Because of the increasingly rich range of
materials available on the World Wide Web, resources available to enhance
any oral presentations are almost limitless. Even if the room in which you will
give a presentation does not have ethernet connections, you can still print
Web materials via a color copier onto paper or transparency masters.
Return to Top
Planning Your Presentation--Questions You Need to Answer
Thus, when you learn that you are to give an oral presentation, the first step in
preparing for the presentation is to analyze each point listed above by
answering the following questions, just as you did in planning your written
communication. Once you have done so, you are ready to design, structure,
and organize your presentation so that it will effectively satisfy the constraints
that arise from your consideration of each point.
Situation
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What situation creates the need for this presentation? Who is involved?
What is the scenario for this situation?
Where will I be speaking?
Audience
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Who is my audience?
What do I know about my audience's background, knowledge, position
in the organization, attitudes toward me and my subject?
Purpose
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What is my purpose in giving this oral presentation?
Is there (should there be) a long-range purpose?
What is the situation that led to this presentation?
Given my audience's background and attitudes, do I need to reshape
my purpose to make my presentation more acceptable to my
audience?
Content
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What issues, problems, questions or tasks are involved in the
situation?
What ideas do I want to include or omit?
Based on the audience and the context, what difficulties do I need to
anticipate in choosing content?
Can any ideas be misconstrued and prove harmful to me or my
organization?
What questions does the audience want answered?
Graphics
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What kinds of visual aids will I need to enhance the ideas I will
present?
Which points could be understood better with a visual?
Where should I use these in my presentation?
Style
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What kind of tone do I want to use in addressing my audience?
What kind of image of myself and my organization do I want to project?
What level of language do I need to use, based on my audience's
background and knowledge of my subject?
What approach will my audience expect from me?
How formal should I be?
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Designing Effective Oral Presentations (Page 2)
Page 1
Designing Each Segment * Choose a Delivery Style * Enhance Audience Comprehension *
Using Visual Aids * Practice Practice Practice
Speaking to a Multicultural Audience
Designing Each Segment
The structure of the oral presentation is crucial for one main reason: once you
have articulated a statement, the audience cannot "rehear" what you have
said. In reading, when you do not understand a sentence or paragraph, you
can stop and reread the passage as many times as necessary. When you are
speaking, however, the audience must be able to follow your meaning and
understand it without having to stop and consider a particular point you have
made, thereby missing later statements that you make as you move through
your presentation. To help your audience follow what you say easily, you must
design your presentation with your audience, particularly their listening
limitations, in mind.
Audiences generally do not enjoy long presentations. Listening is difficult, and
audiences will tire even when a presentation is utterly smashing. For that
reason, as you design your presentation and select content, look for ways to
keep your message as concise as possible. Don't omit information your
audience needs, but look for ways to eliminate non essential material. Again,
without carefully analyzing your audience's attitude toward the subject, its
background, knowledge of the topic, and perspective toward you, you cannot
begin to make accurate decisions regarding either content or design and
structure of your presentation.
Choose an Interesting Title
The effective presentation requires you to focus your audience's attention on
what you are saying. A good way to grab your audience's attention is to
develop a title that, at the very least, reflects the content of your presentation
but does so in an interesting way. Like the title of a formal report or the
subject line in a letter, memo, or informal report, the title of an oral
presentation should prepare your audience for the content you will present.
Therefore, from the beginning of the presentation, your audience is prepared
for what you will say.
Develop Your Presentation around Three Main Divisions
Helping your audience follow your message easily requires that you build into
your structure a certain amount of redundancy. That means that you reiterate
main points. When you divide your presentation into an introduction, the main
body, and the conclusion, you are building in this necessary redundancy.
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In the introduction, you "tell them what you are going to tell them";
In the main body, you "tell them"; and
In the conclusion, you "tell them what you told them."
This kind of deliberate repetition helps your audience follow and remember
the main points you are making. (Readers can "reread" text, but listeners
cannot "rehear" oral remarks.) To design your presentation with planned
repetition, you must clearly know your purpose and what you want your
audience to know.
Help Your Audience WANT to Listen
You may also wish to introduce your topic with an attention-getting device: a
startling fact, a relevant anecdote, a rhetorical question, or a statement
designed to arouse your audience's interest. Again, the device you choose will
depend on the audience, the occasion, the purpose of the presentation.
Or, if your audience is not readily familiar with the subject, you may want to
include background material to help them grasp and process your main points
Tell your audience what points or topics you plan to cover so that your
audience can sense and then follow the direction of your statements.
An Important Note:
In introducing the topic and preparing the audience to understand the ideas
your will present, you also have three concerns:
1. The way the introduction is designed, the presentation of the
topic, the purpose, the background, and the plan must motivate
the audience to listen receptively; and
2. They must want to listen because you convince them that you
have credibility. Because most people's attention span will be
limited, you want to be sure that your introduction makes clear
why they should listen. Thus, you must be sure that your frame
your purpose with the audience's perception of you and the
topic.
3. Your audience will not listen--really listen to you--unless you
have credibility. If your analysis of your audience and the
situation in which you will be speaking indicates that you must
establish credibility with your audience, then you may need to
include in the design of your introduction a number of strategies:
o Acknowledge that you perceive the problem that your
audience has with you or your topic.
o Establish a common ground with the audience, points of
agreement.
o Attempt to refute (if you can do so efficiently) erroneous
assumptions that you believe the audience will have
toward you or the subject.
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o
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Ask the audience to allow you the opportunity to present
your information as objectively as possible.
In designing your introduction, remember that much of
the success of the presentation rests of your ability to
make your audience want to listen and to prepare them to
follow and to understand what you say.
Design the Body
In the introduction you state the main issues or topics you plan to present.
Thus, in designing the body of the presentation, you develop what you want to
say about each of these main points or ideas. You may want to present your
ideas in a chronological sequence, a logical sequence, or a simple topical
sequence. This method will help your audience follow your ideas if you are
giving an informative speech, an analytical speech, or a persuasive speech.
The important point, however, is that you need to demarcate and announce
each point in the body as you come to it so that your audience knows when
you have completed one point and begun another.
Design the Conclusion
The conclusion reinforces the main ideas you wish your audience to retain.
Remember: in the introduction, you "tell them what you will tell them"; in the
body, you "tell them"; and in the conclusion, you "tell them what you told
them." In a presentation which has covered numerous points, you should be
sure to reemphasize the main points. But the conclusion also allows you to
emphasize the importance of specific ideas, or you can reiterate the value to
the ideas you have presented. In short, how you design the conclusion will
depend on your initial purpose. A strong conclusion is nearly as important as
a strong introduction, as both the beginning and the end will be the parts most
likely remembered.
Return to Top
Choose an Effective Delivery Style
Style in writing refers basically to your choice of words, the length and
structure of your sentences, and the tone, or attitude you express toward your
audience. Style in delivering oral presentations is also defined by these same
characteristics plus many nonverbal cues that can either enhance or detract
from your presentation. While the style you use will vary with the audience,
topic, and context, always consider the following guidelines that can enhance
your delivery style:
Avoid speaking in a "written" style. Use phrases, and use a variety of
sentence lengths. Avoid excessively long, complex sentences, as listeners
may have difficulty following your ideas. In general, keep your sentences
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short. Speak as if you were talking to your audience. If you concentrate on
getting your point across by having a conversation with the audience, you will
likely use a natural, conversational style. Many suggestions for clarity in
writing also apply to clarity in speaking:
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Avoid long, cumbersome sentences. Long sentences can be as hard to
hear as they are to read.
Avoid overuse of abstract, polysyllabic words. Instead, use concrete
language that your audience can visualize.
Avoid overuse of jargon, unless you are sure that your audience will be
readily familiar with all specialized terms.
Use sentences that follow natural speech patterns.
Use short, active voice sentences.
Return to Top
Use Techniques to Enhance Audience
Comprehension
Because your audience cannot "rehear" ideas, once you have stated them,
look for ways to help your audience easily follow your ideas:
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Be sure you clearly demarcate the beginning and end of each point
and segment of your presentation.
Announce each main topic as you come to it. That way, your audience
knows when you have completed one topic and are beginning the next
one.
Allow a slight pause to occur after you have completed your
introduction, then announce your first topic.
After completing your final topic in the main body of your presentation,
allow a slight pause before you begin your conclusion.
Speak slowly, vigorously, and enthusiastically. Be sure you enunciate
your words carefully, particularly if you are addressing a large group.
Use gestures to accentuate points. Move your body deliberately to aid
you in announcing major transition points. In short, avoid standing
transfixed before your audience.
Maintain eye contact with your audience. Doing so helps you keep your
listeners involved in what you are saying. If you look at the ceiling, the
floor, the corners of the room, your audience may sense a lack of selfconfidence. Lack of eye contact also tends to lessen your credibility. In
contrast, consistent eye contact enhances the importance of the
message. By looking at your audience, you can often sense their
reaction to what you are saying and make adjustments in your
presentation if necessary.
Do not memorize your presentation, and do not write your presentation.
Otherwise, your speech will sound as if you are reading it. Use brief
notes, written on one page, if possible. Use colored pens to highlight
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points. Avoid note cards and several pages of notes. If you suddenly
forget what you are trying to say, and if you have several pages of
notes, you can easily lose track of where you are in your notes. If
possible, type the outline of your presentation on one sheet of paper. If
you do forget what you are going to say, a quick glance will usually
refresh your memory.
Rehearse your presentation until you are comfortable. Try walking
around, speaking each segment and then speaking aloud the entire
presentation. Rephrase ideas that are difficult for you to say--these will
likely be hard for your audience to follow. Be sure to time your
presentation so that it does not exceed the time limit. Keep your
presentation as short as possible. Therefore, avoid adding information
to your presentation (and your outline) as your rehearse.
If possible, record your speech. Listen to what you have said as
objectively as possible. As you listen, consider the main issues of
audience, purpose, organization, context, content, and style.
Listen for tone, attitude, and clarity. Is the tone you project appropriate
for your audience and your purpose? Is each sentence easy to
understand? Are you speaking too rapidly? Are the major divisions in
your presentation easy to hear? Are any sentences difficult to
understand?
If possible, become familiar with the room where you will give the
presentation so that you will have some sense about how loudly you
should talk and how people will be seated.
Try not to provide the audience handout material before you begin. To
do so encourages your audience to read rather than listen. If you must
provide written material, be sure the material is coordinated with your
presentation. That way, you have a better chance of keeping your
audience's attention on what you are saying.
In routine business presentations, you may wish to provide your audience
with a short outline of your presentation. Be sure to include in the outline
the main points you want to stress. This kind of outline helps your
audience follow your train of thought.
Figure 6. This is an example of a speech outline.
Note that it begins with the title and the speaker name, title, and affiliation.
Each point is highlighted, and the main subpoints briefly listed. The outline
also indicates where graphics will be inserted, and the author leaves space
where listeners can take notes. If you plan to give your audience extensive
"notes" or documentation, do so after you have concluded your presentation.
Otherwise, many people will be reading the package and not listening to you.
When you are planning your presentation, determine how you will handle
questions. In many types of public presentations, questions may not be an
issue, but during oral reports, such as status reports, project reports, and
proposals, you can expect your audience to have questions. Thus, as you
plan your presentation think of questions they may ask and decide how you
will handle these.
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Return to Top
Use Visual Aids Whenever Possible
Any oral presentation will be enhanced by visual aids. Research has shown
that oral presentations that use visuals are more persuasive, more interesting,
more credible, and more professional--i.e., more effective--that presentations
without aids. Particularly if your presentation is long--20 minutes or more-visual aids can help your audience follow your ideas easily and with fewer
lapses in attention. In addition to the points made in the last section, a few
guidelines need consideration:
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You can use visual aids to announce each main point as you begin
discussion of that point. You can also use visual aids to accentuate and
illuminate important ideas. However, the message that the visual
carries should be immediately apparent. If the audience has to study
the visual to interpret its meaning, they will not be listening to you.
If you don't really need formal visual aids, you may want to write the
outline for the main body of your presentation on a board or use a
transparency to let your audience see your plan and trace your
movement from one section of your presentation to another. In both
oral and written presentations, readers/listeners must perceive the
pattern of organization to comprehend effectively. Powerpoint is an
effective tool for developing and presenting outlines to aid listeners .
In presentations where you do need visual aids, use bar graphs, line
graphs, or circle graphs rather than tables, particularly if the tables are
multicolumn. Tables are harder to interpret than a graphic presentation
of the content. Also, tables can easily contain too much information.
Tables are more acceptable in written reports, where the reader has time to
study them, but line and bar graphs depicting the trends established will
provide the audience immediate visual access.
Use Visuals Effectively
The key to using graphics and visual aids effectively requires using them so
that they make the maximum impact. Begin your presentation with no aids, as
you want your audience to be listening to you, not looking at props,
specimens, or other visual aids. Present the aid at the appropriate point in
your presentation, then remove it immediately. Present the aid; give your
audience a few seconds to comprehend it, and then comment on the aid. Use
a pointer, such as a laser pointer, to focus your audience on the part of the
graphic you are discussing.
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Be sure to speak slowly and deliberately as you explain or use a
graphic to avoid confusing your audience. In addition, remember to talk
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to your audience, keeping eye contact, and not to the object or visual
aid.
Be sure that all writing on transparencies can be clearly seen. If
possible, use color transparencies and color pens.
Slides, whether 35mm or Powerpoint, are excellent visual aids, but these, too,
need to be used with care.
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Keep slides simple. Avoid excessive data on slides. Powerpoint helps
you avoid this particular trap, but Powerpoint allows you almost
unrestricted use of color. (It's easy to use too much color or a slide
background that is entirely too ornate.)
If you are preparing slides or transparencies for video conferencing,
use the plain background and a color--such as yellow or light green-and black text. Color can enhance a visual, but it can also reduce the
effectiveness of the message. The point is to use good judgment in
visual design. Use visual aids, but don't overdo color or text.
Templates available in programs such as Powerpoint are tempting, but
they may not be readable when text is placed on them!
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When you use slides, tell the audience what they will see, show them
the slide; give them time to digest what they are seeing; then comment
on the slide.
Turn off the projector lamp between slides. Do not begin talking about
another topic while a slide, depicting a past topic, is still showing.
Remember: people cannot see and listen at the same time.
Avoid using too many slides or transparencies.
Return to Top
Speaking Effectively--Practice, Practice,
Practice
No matter what type of presentation you are giving, your ultimate success as
a speaker and the success of the presentation depends on your establishing
credibility with your audience. Guidelines on planning, structuring, and
delivering the presentation are important because they are designed to build
your credibility with your audience. However, no amount of planning and
organization will substitute for practice, which builds confidence. Practice also
enhances and displays your planning and the value of your ideas.
Your audience expects you to be
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knowledgeable,
prepared,
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organized, and
trustworthy.
Achieving each of these goals depends on your using and then practicing the
guidelines above.
Speaking to a Multicultural Audience
Oral Presentations (Page 1) * Oral Presentations (Page 2)
As organizations become more international, you may find that you need to
give presentations to groups in or from other countries. As a member of a
business organization, you may need to speak to potential investors in or from
other countries. You may find that you need to give proposals as well as
reports to audiences composed of individuals from several countries. Because
you will want any audience, international or US, to respond positively to your
presentation, you will need to do research to understand how people from
other cultures will likely interpret what you say, how you say it, how you dress,
how you act in your dealings with them. The graphics and visual aids you use
may also have to be changed, as symbols in one culture may have an entirely
different meaning in another culture.
Because multicultural audiences will likely become more and more common,
you will need to anticipate cultural differences when you analyze your
audience. If you find that your presentation will be made to people of non-US
cultures, you should plan to spend some time learning about the
characteristics of the culture of those to whom you will be speaking. As you
consider your audience and the content you want to present to this audience,
remember that your understanding the ethnic profile of your listeners is
perhaps even more important than your correctly discerning their knowledge
of your topic and their interest level.
Study Questions
Examine the following situations requiring an oral presentation. Consider the
questions discussed and listed above. What effect will the answers to the
questions have on decisions the speaker must make before planning the
presentation?
Situation 1--Describing Problems to the Board of Regents
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Assume that you are an active member of a campus student organization or
professional society. Each student organization is asked to write a letter to the
Student Government at your university to describe what that organization
considers the biggest problems faced by students. Assume that the student
government committee which read each letter invites you and representatives
from two other student organizations to present your description of problems
to the university's board of regents. The board told the student government
committee that it would be interested in hearing the perspective of several
student groups. And, if possible, the board could take action to correct these
problems.
Situation 2--Speaking to a Group of Students from Argentina
Your university has a study abroad program in which you have enrolled for a
summer. As one of your assignments during the program, you will need to
give a presentation to students in Buenos Aires, who are interested in
applying for graduate school at your university. These students, you discover,
have never been outside Argentina. They speak English fairly well, as their
high school and present college experience has stressed the importance of
speaking and writing English. Plan a presentation in which you attempt to
interest them in coming to your university.
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Online Technical Writing:
Book Design
In this chapter, book design means the content, style, format, design, and sequence of
the various typical components of a book. "Components" here refers to actual sections
or pages of a book such as the edition notice, the preface, the index, or the front or
back cover. In the page-design chapter, the term element refers to things that can
occur multiple times practically anywhere in a book, such as headers, footers, tables,
illustrations, lists, notices, highlighting, and so on.
The following provides an overview of the typical components of a printed technical
book and the typical content, format, style, and sequence of those components.
Certainly, no single user guide, technical reference manual, quick-reference
document, or other such document would actually have all of these components
designed and sequenced in precisely the way you are about to read. Instead, this
review will give an overview of the possibilities—let's say the range of possibilities.
These book components include:
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Front and back covers
Title page
Edition notice
Disclaimers
Trademarks
Warranties
Safety notices
Communication statements
Table of contents
List of figures
Preface
Body chapters
Appendixes
Glossary
Index
Reader-response form
Book design and layout
Before you begin reading the following, grab a number of hardware and software
books so that you can compare their content, style, format, and sequencing to what is
discussed here.
Front and back covers
Product documents for paying customers usually have nicely designed front covers
even if, on the inside, the book is bargain basement in terms of its quality. On the
front cover, you will typically see:
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Company name
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Product name
Product platform or operating system
Product version and release numbers
Book title
Company or product logos
Trademark symbols
Artwork
Book order number
Company or product slogan
It can be challenging to figure out a good format for the company name, product
name, and book title. Sometimes, these can amount to a whole paragraph of text!
Companies are quite divided on whether to indicate version and release numbers on
front covers—some do; some don't. Almost always, however, you'll see the platform
indicated—whether the product is for the Macintosh, the PC, UNIX, and so on.
The back cover of hardcopy user guides and manuals are usually very simple.
typically, they contain the book order number, the name of the company with
appropriate trademark symbols, a copyright symbol and phrasing as to the ownership
of the book, and a statement as to which country the book was printed in. You'll also
find bar codes on the back cover. See if your software can generate a bar code—you
just access the bar code utility and type in the book order number, and the utility
generates the bar code.
Title page
The title page is typically a duplicate of the front cover, but with certain elements
omitted. Typically omitted are the artwork, company or product logos, and slogans.
Some technical publications omit the title page altogether because of the seemingly
needless duplication. (And in a print run of 20,000 copies, a single page means a lot!)
Edition notice
The edition notice is typically the first instance of regular text in a technical
publication, although it is typically in smaller type. It occurs on the backside of the
title page. If the technical publisher is taking the lean-and-mean approach and
eliminating the title page, the edition notice will appear on the backside of the front
cover.
No one likes to read fine print, but take a look at the statements typically included in
an edition notice:
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Date of publication—Included not only is the year but
sometimes even the month that the book was published.
Edition number—Whether the book is a first, second, or third
edition.
Product applicability—The edition notice typically indicates
which platform, version, and release number of the product the
book applies to.
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Full title of the book—Shown in italics.
Disclaimers—Shockingly, product manufacturers will make
statements to the effect that they do not guarantee the book is
technically correct, complete, or free from writing problems or
that the product is free from minor flaws or that it meets the
needs of the customer. You'll be able to find additional
disclaimers beyond these as well.
Copyright symbol and statement—You'll see the circle-C
copyright symbol and some statement warning readers not to
copy the book without permission.
Copyright permissions—The high-tech world often moves so
rapidly that instead of creating their own versions of a product
component and its corresponding documentation, companies
will simply buy the code or design and the rights to reprint the
documentation as well. This usually entails copyright
acknowledgement in the edition notice (although if a lot of
borrowing has happened, publishers must get creative about
where to put all these acknowledgements).
Reader responses—Sometimes, the edition notice will include
some encouragement to customers to contact the company
about product or documentation concerns. Instructions on how
to contact the company are sometimes included in the edition
notice. Included also is often a rather unfriendly statement that
any customer communication becomes the property of the
company.
Trademarks—Some technical publications list known
trademarks in the edition notice. This includes both the
company's own trademarks and the trademarks of other
companies referenced in the book. With the explosion of new
products in the high-tech world, and thus the explosion of
trademarks, some publications essentially throw up their hands
and insert a simple statement that any references to
trademarked product names are owned by their respective
companies.
Disclaimers
See the section on edition notices, where disclaimers are usually tucked away. If a
product or its publication needs a whole separate page for its disclaimers, I'm not
buying it!
Trademarks
Although many companies do list their own and other companies' trademarks in the
edition notice, some prefer to list them on a separate page, just after the edition notice.
These placement decisions are almost strictly the province of company attorneys; as a
writer, you may have to comply no matter how bad the the decision is in terms of
book design or writing style. Remember, you list only those trademarked product
names that occur in that particular book.
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You'll notice that some publications go to extreme measures with trademarks: they'll
asterisk or footnote the first, or even every occurrence of a trademarked product
name. But again, these are directives of company attorneys unto which technical
writers must resign themselves, however sadly.
Warranties
More legal stuff. These are the "guarantees" that the company will support concerning
its product. Sometimes these are published in the front matter of the book; but, more
appropriately from a book-design standpoint, they are printed on a separate card and
inserted in the shrinkwrap of the book or the product. Again, as with edition notices,
this is text you simply bring in as "boilerplate" and position in the right place within
the book.
However, you should be aware that companies sometimes maintain multiple versions
of edition notices, safety notices, warranties, communication statements and other
such. As a writer, you must make sure that you are using the right version (and, in
finding out which is correct, you'll have a chance to get out and meet lots of new
people in the company!). And whatever you do, don't change the text of these
boilerplate items, however horribly they are written. Changes typically must be
approved by company attorneys (who typically do so begrudgingly and only after
many efforts on your part and after much time has passed).
Safety notices
Hardware products typically have a section of safety notices at the front of their
books. These may occur as a subsection of the preface, for example, or as a separate
section in their own right. These sections typically bring together all of the danger,
warning, and caution notices that occur throughout the book and arrange them in
some sort of logical way. But even with this up-front alert, hardware books still place
the individual notices at the points where they apply. (For more information, see
special notices.)
Communication statements
Hardware books also require communications statements as stipulated by the
governments of the countries to which these products are shipped. In the U.S., the
FCC requires certain communications statements depending on the "class" of the
hardware product. As a writer, you must be careful to use the right communication
statement for the product you are documenting—and not to edit the statement in any
way (holy legal words!).
Table of contents
The table of contents usually contains at least a second level of detail (the head 1s in
the actual text) so that readers can find what they need more precisely. Writers,
editors, and book designers typically argue about the sequencing of the TOC. In terms
of usability, it's much better to have the TOC as close to the front of the book as
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possible, if not at the very first of the book. In terms of legalities, however, people
worry that all those communication statements, warranties, copyrights, trademarks,
and safety notices should come first. In those places where usability wins out, books
use every tactic they can to get this legalistic material out of the front matter:
warranties are put on separate cards and shrink-wrapped with the book or product;
warranties, communication statements, trademarks and other such may be dumped in
appendixes.
List of figures
Technical manuals for ordinary users typically don't have lists of figures. In fact, the
figures themselves typically do not have full-blown figure titles. But this isn't to say
that a list of figures has no place in technical manuals. It all depends on the reader and
the reader's needs—and the content of the book as well. If the book contains tables,
illustrations, charts, graphs, and other such that readers will want to find directly, the
figure list is order.
Preface
The function of the preface is to get readers ready to read the book. It does so by
characterizing the content and purpose of the book, identifying or even briefly
describing the product the book supports, explaining the type of reader for whom the
book is meant, outlining the main contents of the book, showing any special
conventions or terminology used in the book, providing support and marketing
numbers, and other such. In traditional book publishing, the preface comes before the
table of contents; but as discussed previously in the table of contents section, technical
publishing people want the TOC to come earlier in the book for usability reasons.
Body chapters
Oh yes, and there is actual text in these books—it isn't all front matter! Little else to
say here other than most technical books have chapters or sections, and, in some
cases, parts. See the chapter on page design for format, style, and design issues for
elements such as headers, footers, headings, lists, notices, tables, graphics, crossreferences, and highlighting.
Appendixes
As you know, appendixes are for material that just doesn't seem to fit in the main part
of a book but can't be left out of the book either. Appendixes are often the place for
big unwieldy tables. Some technical publications have things like warranties in the
appendixes. In terms of format, an appendix is just like a chapter—except that it is
named "Appendix A" or some such, and the headers and footers match that different
numbering and naming convention (A-1, A-2, and so on for pages in Appendix A).
Glossary
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Some technical publications include a section of specialized terms and their
definitions. Notice that most glossaries use a two-column layout. Typically the term
and its definition make up a separate paragraph, with the term lowercase (unless it is a
proper name) and in bold, followed by a period, then the definition in regular roman.
Notice too that definitions are typically not complete sentences. Good glossary
definitions should use the formal-sentence definition technique as described in the
definition chapter of this online text. Multiple definitions are typically identified by
arabic numbers in parentheses. Glossary paragraphs also contain See references to
preferred terms and See also references to related terms.
Index
Indexes are also typically two-column and also contain See references to preferred
terms and See also references to related terms. See the chapter on indexing for
processes and guidelines for creating good indexes.
Reader-response form
Some technical publications contain a mechanism to enable readers to send in
comments, questions, and evaluation of the book. Of course, it turns out that these
forms more often elicit complaints about faulty function in the product that the book
documents. With the rise of the Internet, these forms have gone online, and books
merely point to their location online.
Book design and layout
Typically, user guides and manuals produced by hardware and software
manufacturers are designed in a rather austere and spartan way. High-tech companies
develop new versions and releases of their product sometimes every nine months. In
this context, sophisticated design is just not practical. Here are some of the typical
layout and design features you'll see:
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Page size is often determined by packaging considerations as
well as by standard page sizes available with printing
companies. When page size is not a constraint, some companies
will use the 8.5 × 11-inch page size—this makes production
much easier for writers.
Pages are typically designed with alternating right and left
pages. The footer for the left (even) page includes the title of
the book and the page number. The footer for the right (odd)
page includes the title of the chapter.
Practice is mixed on whether page numbering is consecutive
throughout the book or by-chapter.
Unless pages are rather small, the hanging-head design of
headings in relation to pages is quite common in technical
manuals. The hanging indent is usually one inch to one-and-ahalf inches.
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Fonts are often 12-point Times New Roman for body text and
Arial for headings. Standard line spacing and word spacing are
used. See the chapter on highlighting for other typographical
issues.
Margins are fairly standard, one to two inches all the way
around. Typically, an extra half-inch is used on inside margins
to allow for binding.
Typically, color is not used in these manuals and guides,
usually out of cost and efficiency considerations.
Note: This concludes the discussion of print-book components. To complete this
overview of the design of printed books, see the chapter on page design, which covers
elements such as headers and footers, headings, lists, special notices, tables, graphics,
highlighting, cross-references, and more.
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Online Technical Writing:
Common Page Design
Page design means different things to different people, but here it will mean the use
typographical and formatting elements such as the following:
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Headings
Lists
Notices
Tables
Highlighting
Margins, indentation & alignment
Fonts & color
Our focus here is technical documentation, which implies more modest, functional
design.
Headings
The following presents some of the standard guidelines on headings. For a more
detailed discussion, see the chapter on headings in the online textbook.
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With online information, you want to use a lot of headings,
perhaps one heading for every two to three paragraphs. Of
course headings can be overdone: lots of headings with only
one or two sentences per heading does not work.
Design headings so that they clearly indicate their level. Use
type size, type style, color, bold, italics, alignment in such a
way that the level of the heading is obvious. ("Levels" of
headings are like levels in an outline: first level would
correspond to the roman numerals; second level, to the capital
letters; and so on.)
Make headings descriptive of the sections they introduce.
Headings like "Technical Background" don't tell anybody
anything.
Make headings parallel in phrasing. Parallelism sends readers
important clues as to whether the section in similar in nature to
the preceding ones.
Avoid "lone headings" -- it's the same concept as having an "A"
without a "B" or a "1" without a "2" in outlines.
Avoid "stacked headings" -- that's two or more consecutive
headings without intervening text.
Avoid referring to headings with pronouns in the text following
headings. If you have a heading like "Configuring the
Software," don't follow it with a sentence like "This next
phase..."
Consider using the "hanging-head" format to make headings
stand out more and to reduce the length of regular-text lines. In
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the hanging-head design, some or all of the headings are on the
left margin, while all text is indented one to two inches.
Consider using "run-in" headings for your lowest-level
heading. It can be difficult to rely solely on type style and size
to indicate heading levels. A run-in heading "runs into" the
beginning of a paragraph and ends with a period. You can use
some combination of bold, italic, or color for these headings.
Lists
Lists are useful tools for emphasizing important points, enabling rapid scanning of
text, and providing more white space. The following presents some of the standard
guidelines on lists. For a more detailed discussion, see the chapter on lists in the
online textbook.
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Use numbered lists for items that are in a required order or that
must be referred to by number. Use bulleted lists for items in
no required order.
Use standard numbered- and bulleted-list format. Use standard
HTML tagging for these types of lists so that numbers use the
"1." style; bullets are the standard large dot; there is an
adequate indent from the number or bullet to the text; and runover lines indent properly.
Make the phrasing of list items parallel.
Introduce all lists with a lead-in; don't use headings as lead-ins
to lists.
Unless some internal style overrides, punctuate list items with a
period only if they are complete sentences or have embedded
dependent clauses.
Use either initial cap or lowercase on the first word of list
items, but do so consistently.
For nested lists, use a bolded en dash for the bullet symbol in
second-level list items; use lowercase letters for second-level
numbered list items. Make sure that nested items align to the
text or the previous level.
Avoid excessive use of lists of lists with too many items. Seven
to ten items is generally considered about the maximum for
lists. On a standard page, there probably shouldn't be more than
two or three lists, and at least three or four lines of regular text
should come between them.
Notices
Notices are those specially formatted chunks of text that alert readers to potential
problems or danger. The following presents some of the standard guidelines for
notices. For a more detailed discussion, see the chapter on notices in the online
textbook.
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Use a standard hierarchy of notices in which notices are more
prominent and noticeable as they become more severe.
Consider using this hierarchy: danger notices for situations
involving potential severe injury or fatality; cautions for
situations involving minor injury; warnings for situations
involving damage to equipment or data or threat to the success
of the procedure; and notes for points of exception or emphasis
not involving the preceding situations.
Whatever notice design you use, avoid extended text in all
bold, all italics, all-caps, or combinations thereof.
In addition to telling readers to do or not to do something,
explain what will happen if they ignore the warning, under
what conditions to make use of the statement, how to recover if
the statement is ignored.
Make the text of notices succinct, but not at the expense of
clear writing. Avoid telegraphic writing style in notices.
In numbered lists, align notices to the text of the list item they
apply to.
The standard wisdom of placing notices before the step in
which the potential problem exists can cause problems in
formatting. If possible, state warnings, cautions or dangers at
the beginning of the entire procedure.
Tables
Tables a like vertical lists, discussed previously, but more structured and formal. In
your text, look for repeating pairs, triplets, or quadruplets of items that can be
formatted as tables. For example, a series of terms and definitions is a classic use for
tables. The following presents some of the standard guidelines for tables. For a more
detailed discussion, see the chapter on tables in the online textbook.
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Look for repeating groups of items in your text that you can
format as tables.
Use a table title unless the content of the table is utterly obvious
and the table contains few items. Make the table title the top
row of the table.
Use column and row headings (or both) to define the contents
of the columns and rows. Consider using some sort of
highlighting for these column and row headings.
Left-align text columns (unless they are simple alphabetic
character items). Left-align text columns with their headings.
Right-align or decimal align numerical data, and center it under
its heading.
Put standard measurement units in the column or row heading
rather than with each item in the column or row.
Highlighting
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Software documentation typically uses a lot of highlighting. Highlighting here refers
to bold, italics, alternate fonts, caps, quotation marks, and other such typographical
tricks used to call attention to text. The following presents some of the standard
guidelines for highlighting. For a more detailed discussion, see the chapter on
highlighting in the online textbook.
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Establish a plan for use of highlighting, and apply it
consistently. Use highlighting for specific, functional reasons.
Avoid too much highlighting; avoid complicated highlighting
schemes.
Consider using this fairly standard highlighting scheme:
o For simple emphasis, use italics.
o Use bold for commands, on-screen buttons and menu
options
o Use italics for variables for which users must supply
their own words.
o Use an alternate font for text displayed on screen or text
that users must type in.
o For screen and field names, use the capitalization style
shown on the screen but no other highlighting.
o Use an initial cap for key names but no other
highlighting.
o For extended emphasis, use the notice format.
Margins, Indentation & Alignment
As mentioned in the section on headings, a nice touch is to indent text one to two
inches while leaving headings on the left margins. This style does two things: it
makes the headings stand out, and it shortens the line length of regular text. In many
instances, lines on web browser are far too long to be comfortably readable. As a web
page designer, you cannot ultimately control line length, but there are a few tricks you
can try. You can use the "hanging-head" format in which all text is indented one to
two inches while the headings remain on the left margin. You can also use the twocolumn variation in which headings are in a left column and text is in a right column.
Fonts & Color
On web pages, you can use color easily. Also, you can use whichever fonts your
readers have available on their own computers. Obviously, you can't know which
fonts readers have available to them, so you must choose the most common. Here are
some suggestions concerning fonts and color:
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Use only the most common fonts -- some readers may not have
the same fonts that you do.
Use only one alternate font, at most two. For example, you
might use Arial for headings, Times New Roman for body text,
and Courier New for text that displays on screen or that users
must type in.
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Be careful with smaller type sizes and unusual fonts -- make
sure they are readable on other computer systems. In particular,
check the appearance on a Mac if you are using a PC and vice
versa; check the appearance on Microsoft Internet Explorer if
you are using Netscape and vice versa.
If you use color, use it minimally. For example, if you have
black text on a white background, you might select another
color for headings. You might use that same color for figure
and table titles as well as the tags for notices (the actual "Note,"
"Warning," "Caution," and "Danger" labels on notices).
Again, as with fonts, check the alternate colors you've chosen
on a variety of computer hardware to ensure its readability.
Avoid unusual combinations of background and text colors. For
example, purple or red text on a black background is horrible to
read. Stick with black text on a white or gray background
unless there is strong function reason for some other color
combination.
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Online Technical Writing:
Headings
Headings are the titles and subtitles you see within the actual text of much
professional scientific, technical, and business writing. Headings are like the parts of
an outline that have been pasted into the actual pages of a report or other document.
Headings are an important feature of professional technical writing: they alert readers
to upcoming topics and subtopics, help readers find their way around in long reports
and skip what they are not interested in, and break up long stretches of straight text.
Headings are also useful for writers. They keep you organized and focused on the
topic. When you begin using headings, your impulse may be to slap in the headings
after you've written the rough draft. Instead, visualize the headings before you start
the rough draft, and plug them in as you write.
Your task in this chapter is to learn how to use headings and to learn the style and
format of a specific design of headings that is standard for this course.
Note: Students enrolled in Online Technical Writing are encouraged to take the
optional reading quiz on this chapter. (Anybody else is welcome to try it as well.)
General Guidelines for Headings
In this chapter, and in this course, we use a specific style of headings. This style is
standard, required format in this course. If you want to use a different style, contact
your instructor. Here are some specific guidelines on headings (see Figures 4-1, 4-2,
4-3, and 4-4 for illustrations of these guidelines):
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Use headings to mark off the boundaries of the major sections
and subsections of a report.
Use exactly the design for headings described here and shown
in Figure 4-1. Use the same spacing (vertical and horizontal
location), capitalization, punctuation, and underlining. (You
can, however, do a one-for-one substitution of bold for
underlining.)
Try for 2 to 3 headings per regular page of text. Don't overdo
headings: for example, a heading for each of a series of one- or
two-sentence paragraphs. (Also, you don't need a heading per
every paragraph; normally, an individual heading applies to
multiple paragraphs.)
For short documents, begin with the second-level heading; skip
the first-level.
Make the phrasing of headings parallel. (See the section on
parallelism for details.)
Figure 4-1. Heading style and format, standard for this course. If you want to use a
different format, contact your instructor.
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Make the phrasing of headings self-explanatory: instead of
"Background" or "Technical Information," make it more
specific, such as "Physics of Fiber Optics."
Make headings indicate the range of topic coverage in the
section. For example, if the section covers the design and
operation of a pressurized water reactor, the heading
"Pressurized Water Reactor Design" would be incomplete and
misleading.
Avoid "lone" headings-any heading by itself within a section
without another like it in that same section. For example, avoid
having a second-level heading followed by only one third-level
and then by another second-level. (The third-level heading
would be the lone heading.)
Avoid "stacked" headings-any two consecutive headings
without intervening text.
Avoid pronoun reference to headings. For example, if you have
a third-level heading "Torque," don't begin the sentence
following it with something like this: "This is a physics
principle....."
When possible, omit articles from the beginning of headings.
For example, "The Pressurized Water Reactor" can easily be
changed to "Pressurized Water Reactor" or, better yet,
"Pressurized Water Reactors."
Don't use headings as lead-ins to lists or as figure titles.
Avoid "widowed" headings: that's where a heading occurs at
the bottom of a page and the text it introduces start at the top of
the next page. Keep at least two lines of body text with the
heading, or force it to start the newt page.
Headings: Specific Format and Style
In this guide and in this course, you use a specific style and format for headings. It is
not, however, the "right" or the "only" one, just one among many. It's important to use
this style, however, because that's the way it is for many technical writers-they must
write according to a "house" style. Most organizations expect their documents to look
a certain way. Using the style and format for headings described in this book gives
you some experience with one of the key requirements in technical writing-writing
according to "specifications."
To see our "house style" for headings-the style and format for headings we will usesee Figure 4-1. Pay close attention to formatting details such as vertical and horizontal
spacing, capitalization, use of bold, italics, or underlining, and punctuation. Notice
that you can substitute bold for underlining.
Now, here are the specifications for headings in this course:
First-Level Headings
Follow these guidelines for first-level headings:
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Make first-levels all-caps.
Use Roman numerals with first-levels.
Underline or bold the words but not the Roman numeral.
Make first-levels centered on the page.
Start a new page whenever you have a first-level heading.
Begin first-levels on the standard first text line of a page.
Leave 3 blank lines between first-levels and the first line of
text.
Second-Level Headings
Follow these guidelines for second-level headings:
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Make second-levels headline-style caps.
Underline or use bold on second-levels.
Do not include outlining apparatus such as "A." or "B." or "1."
or "2." with second-levels.
Make second-levels flush left.
Leave 2 blank lines between previous text and second-levels.
Leave 1 blank line between second-levels and the following
text.
Third-Level Headings
Follow these guidelines for third-level headings:
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Make third-levels sentence-style caps.
Underline or use bold for third-levels (but don't underline the
period).
End third-levels with a period.
Do not include outlining apparatus such as "A." or "B." or "1."
or "2." with third-levels.
Indent third-levels 5 spaces (or the standard paragraph
indentation).
Do not make third-levels a grammatical part of sentences that
follow.
Use the standard spacing between paragraphs for paragraphs
that contain third-levels.
Designing Your Own Headings
If you want to use your own style and format of headings, contact your instructor.
Together, you two may be able to work out alternate heading specifications.
If you design your own style of headings, remember that the fundamental principle of
heading design has to do with decreasing noticeability of headings, the lower the
heading level. In any heading style, you'll notice the top-level heading (called firstlevel here) is the largest, darkest, boldest, most highly visible heading on the page.
The tools you can use to achieve this greater or lesser degree of visibility include
bold, italics, type size, different fonts, relationship to surrounding text, graphics
elements attached to headings, and so on.
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When you design your own heading style, be careful about going overboard with
fancy typographical elements. Also, continue to use the guidelines presented in this
chapter; they apply to practically any design. And finally, use your heading design
consistently throughout your document.
Figure 4-2. Headings and outlines: headings function like outline elements inserted
into the text at those points where they apply.
Figure 4-3. Common problems with headings: picture these outline items in the actual
text.
Figure 4-4. A few more common heading problems-nonstandard capitalization,
incorrect subordination, and "stacked" heads. There's nothing "wrong" about the caps
style used in the first version; it's just not our "house" style. Subordination refers to
the level of headings. "Stacked" headings occur when there is no text between two
consecutive headings.
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Online Technical Writing: Lists
Lists are useful because they emphasize certain information in regular text. When you
see a list of three or four items strung out vertically on the page, rather than in normal
paragraph format, you naturally notice it more and are likely to pay more attention to
it. Certain types of lists also make for easier reading. For example, in instructions, it is
a big help for each step to be numbered and separate from the preceding or following
steps. Lists also create more white space and spread out the text so that pages don't
seem like solid walls of words.
Like headings, the various types of lists are an important feature of professional
technical writing: they help readers understand, remember, and review key points;
they help readers follow a sequence of actions or events; and they break up long
stretches of straight text.
Your task for this chapter is to learn about the different types of lists and their uses
and to learn the specific format and style for lists used in this technical writing course.
Note: Students enrolled in Online Technical Writing are ecouraged to take the reading
quiz on this chapter. (Anybody else is welcome to try it as well.)
Lists: General Guidelines
In professional technical-writing contexts, you must use a specific style of lists, like
the one presented in this chapter. This list style is standard, required format in this
course. If you want to use a different style, get with your instructor.
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Use lists to highlight or emphasize text or to enumerate or
make for easier reference.
Use exactly the spacing, indentation, punctuation, and caps
style shown in the following discussion and illustrations.
Make list items parallel in phrasing.
Make sure that each item in the list reads grammatically with
the lead-in.
Use a lead-in to introduce the list items, to indicate the meaning
or purpose of the list (and punctuate it with a colon).
Never use headings as lead-ins for lists.
Avoid overusing lists; using too many lists destroys their
effectiveness.
Use similar types of lists consistently in similar text in the same
document.
Guidelines for Specific Types of Lists
It's difficult to state guidelines on choosing between the various kinds of lists, but
here's a stab at it:
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Most importantly, use numbered lists for items that are in a
required order (such as step-by-step instructions) or for items
that must be referred to by item number. Use bulleted lists for
items that are in no required order.
With in-sentence lists, there are no conventions when to use
letters (a), (b), and so on, as opposed to numbers (1), (2), and so
on. If you are in a numbered list and need a sublist, use letters,
to contrast with the numbers. Otherwise, there really seem to be
no widely agreed-upon guidelines--just be consistent!
Use vertical lists as opposed to in-sentence lists when you want
the emphasis provided by the vertical presentation. In-sentence
lists provide only minimal emphasis; vertical lists provide
much more.
Avoid using in-sentence lists when there are more than 4 or 5
items; use a vertical format instead.
Within an individual report, use in-sentence lists and vertical
lists consistently for similar situations. For example, if you
have topic overviews for each section of a report, use insentence or vertical lists for the overview--but don't mix them
for that particular use.
Common Problems with Lists
Problems with lists usually include the following:
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Mix-up between numbered and bulleted lists
Lack of parallel phrasing in the list items
Use of single parentheses on the list-item number or letter
Run-over lines not aligned with the text of list items
Lack of a strong lead-in sentence introducing list items, and
lack of a colon to punctuation lead-ins
Inconsistent caps style in list items
Unnecessary punctuation of list items
Inconsistent use of lists in similar text
Lists that have too many items and need to be subdivided or
consolidated
Format for Lists
Use the following for specific details on the capitalization, typography (bold,
underlining, different fonts, different types sizes), and spacing for each type of list.
In-sentence lists. Use these guidelines for in-sentence lists:
1. Use a colon to introduce the list items only if a complete
sentence precedes the list. In this problem version, the colon
breaks right into the middle of a sentence (how dare it!):
2.
Problem:
scissors, and
3.
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For this project, you need: tape,
white-out.
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4.
5.
Revision:
scissors, and
6.
For this project, you need tape,
white-out.
7. Use both opening and closing parentheses on the list item
numbers or letters: (a) item, (b) item, etc.
8. Use either regular Arabic numbers or lowercase letters within
the parentheses, but use them consistently. (Do not punctuate
either with periods). Use lowercase for the text of in-sentence
lists items, except when regular capitalization rules require
caps.
9. Punctuate the list items with commas if they are not complete
sentences; with semicolons, if they are complete sentences.
10. Use the same spacing for in-sentence lists as in regular non-list
text.
11. Whenever possible, make the in-sentence list occur at the end
of the sentence. Never place an in-sentence list introduced by a
colon anywhere but at the end of the sentence, as in this
example:
12.
13.
Problem:
The following items: tape,
scissors, and white-out
14.
are needed for this project.
15.
16.
Revision: The following items are needed for
this project: tape,
17.
scissors, and white-out.
Figure 5-1. Examples of in-sentence lists.
Simple vertical lists. Use these guidelines for simple vertical lists:
1. Introduce the list with a lead-in sentence (the lead-in need not
be a complete sentence; the list items can complete the lead-in).
Punctuate the lead-in with a colon.
2. Use simple vertical lists when the list items do not need to be
emphasized, and are listed vertically merely for ease of reading.
3. Use sentence-style capitalization on list items.
4. Begin run-over lines under the text of the list item, not the
regular left margin; singlespace list items that are two to three
lines long (but use doublespace for lengthy list items).
5. Use regular doublespacing between the surrounding text and
the list; doublespace between list items.
6. Indent the list items 3 to 5 spaces (start the item on the third or
fifth column).
7. Punctuate list items only if they are complete sentences or verb
phrases that complete the sentence begun by the lead-in (and
use periods in these two cases).
8. Watch out for lists with more than 6 or 8 list items; for long
lists, look for ways to subdivide or consolidate. Avoid singleitem lists.
9. When possible, omit articles (a, an, the) from the beginning of
list items.
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Figure 5-2. Example of a simple vertical list (no numbers or bullets).
Bulleted vertical lists. Use these guidelines for bulleted vertical lists:
1. Introduce the list with a lead-in sentence (the lead-in need not
be a complete sentence; the list items can complete the lead-in).
Punctuate the lead-in sentence with a colon.
2. Use bulleted lists when the list items are in no necessary order
and when you want to emphasize the items in the list.
3. Use asterisks or hyphens if you have no access to an actual
bullet.
4. Use sentence-style capitalization on list items.
5. Begin run-over lines under the text of the list item, not the
bullet; singlespace list items that are two to three lines long (but
use doublespace for lengthy list items).
6. Use regular doublespacing between the surrounding text and
the bulleted list; doublespace between list items.
7. Indent the list items 3 to 5 spaces (start the bullet on the third or
fifth column). Leave 1 space between the bullet and the start of
the list item.
8. Punctuate bulleted list items only if they are complete
sentences or verb phrases that complete the sentence begun by
the lead-in (and use periods in these two cases).
9. Watch out for bulleted lists with more than 6 or 8 list items; for
long bulleted lists, look for ways to subdivide or consolidate.
Avoid single-item bulleted lists.
10. When possible, omit articles (a, an, the) from the beginning of
list items.
Figure 5-3. Example of a bulleted vertical list (items not in any required order).
Numbered vertical lists. Use these guidelines for numbered vertical lists:
1. Introduce the list with a lead-in sentence (the lead-in need not
be a complete sentence; the list items can complete the lead-in).
Punctuate the lead-in sentence with a colon.
2. Use numbered lists when the list items are in a required order
(for example, chronological).
3. Type the number followed by a period; do not use parentheses
on the number.
4. Use sentence-style capitalization on list items.
5. Begin run-over lines under the text of the list item, not the
number; singlespace list items that are two to three lines long
(but use doublespace for lengthy list items).
6. Use regular doublespacing between the surrounding text and
the numbered list; doublespace between list items.
7. Indent the list items 3 to 5 spaces (start the number on the third
or fifth column). Leave 1 space between the period after the
number and the start of the list item.
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8. Punctuate numbered list items only if they are complete
sentences or verb phrases that complete the sentence begun by
the lead-in (and use periods in these two cases).
9. Watch out for numbered lists with more than 8 or 10 list items;
for long numbered lists, look for ways to subdivide or
consolidate. Avoid single-item numbered lists.
10. When possible, omit articles (a, an, the) from the beginning of
list items.
Figure 5-4. Example of a numbered vertical list (items are in a required order).
Two-column lists. Use these guidelines for two-column lists:
1. Use two-column lists when you have a series of paired items,
for example, terms and definitions.
2. Introduce the list with a lead-in sentence that is a complete
sentence. Punctuate the lead-in sentence with a colon.
3. Column headings are optional; if used, align them to the left
margin of the text of the columns.
4. Indent the left column 3 to 5 spaces; leave at least 3 spaces
between the right margin of the left column and the left margin
of the right column.
5. Use sentence-style capitalization for both columns.
6. Punctuate items in the columns only if they are complete
sentences.
7. Doublespace between the list items; but singlespace within the
items.
8. Left-align both columns.
9. When possible, omit articles (a, an, the) from the beginning of
list items.
Figure 5-5. Example of a two-column list (pairs of list items). Not illustrated here,
column headings are often used to indicate the contents of the two columns (for
example, here it might be "Term" as the heading for the column 1 and "Definition" for
column 2).
Lists with run-in headings. One last little variation on lists is the vertical list with
run-in headings or labels at the beginning of the items. This format is used extensively
in this book. It's like another way of doing a two-column list. Two-column lists can be
difficult--you have to get the spacing right between the two columns and reformat
every run-over line in the second column.
You can use bold or italics for the actual run-in heading (italics is used in the figure).
Figure 5-6. Example of a vertical list with run-in headings. Very useful for indicating
the contents of each item in a lengthy vertical list when a two-column list is not quite
right for the situation.
Other Formatting Issues
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Here are some additional points to consider concerning lists.
Singlespaced Text. All of the examples and discussion in this chapter are based on
doublespaced text. For singlespaced text, use your document-design "eye" to decide
on spacing. Leave either one or two blank lines between running text and lists-depending on what looks best to you. (And, of course, both running text and the text
of the lists would be singlespaced.)
One area that is wide open for individual judgment is whether to add space between
vertical list items (loose format) or to keep them singlespaced (compact format).
Again, use your document-design eye on this. If the items are several lines each and if
there are numerous items, the loose format may be more readable. Whichever you
use, be consistent with it.
Designing Your Own Lists. Once you start looking around at how lists are formatted
in different publications, you'll notice a lot of variability. There is no one "right"
design for each type of list. Indentation, capitalization, spacing practices all vary
enormously. Use the formats shown in this chapter for this technical writing class. If
you want to some other format, get with your instructor.
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Online Technical Writing: Special Notices
Special notices are an important feature of professional technical writing: they
highlight special information readers need to know to understand what they are
reading, to accomplish what they want to do, to prevent damage to equipment, and to
keep from hurting themselves or others.
Your task in this chapter is to learn the different types of special notices, their uses,
and format.
Note: Students enrolled in Online Technical Writing are ecouraged to take the reading
quiz on this chapter. (Anybody else is welcome to try it as well.)
Guidelines for Specific Types of Notices
In this chapter, and in this course, we use a specific style of notices. This style is
standard, required format in this course. If you want to use a different style, discuss
this with your instructor. Otherwise, follow these guidelines in planning and
designing special notices—they are your "specs"!
1. Use special notices to emphasize key points or warn or caution
readers about damage or injury.
2. Be careful to use the types of special notices precisely, for their
defined purposes. Use the four types of special notices in the
following ways:
Note—To emphasize points or remind readers of something, or to indicate
minor problems in the outcome of what they are doing.
Warning—To warn readers about possible damage to equipment or data or
about potential problems in the outcome of what they are doing.
Caution—To warn readers about the possibility of minor injury to themselves
or others.
Danger—To warn readers about the possibility of serious or fatal injury to
themselves or others.
Deciding on which type of notice to use is not an exact science. Don't use a danger
notice when a caution is more appropriate (the same as "crying wolf"). Also, use
notices in a consistent way throughout a report. Do not create your own notices, such
as putting "Important:" in place of "Warning."
1. Place special notices at the point in text where they are needed.
For example, place a warning notice before discussing a step in
which readers might hurt themselves.
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2. Avoid having too many special notices at any one point in the
text. Otherwise, the effectiveness of their special format will be
lost. (If you have too many, combine them.)
3. With warnings, cautions, and danger notices, explain the
consequences of not paying attention to the notice. State what
will happen if the reader does not heed the notice.
4. The following examples use bold. If you have no access to
bold, use underlines instead (but don't use both together).
Avoid all-caps for the text of any special notice.
Format for Special Notices
Use the following for specific details on the capitalization, typography (bold,
underlining, different fonts, different types sizes), and spacing for each type of special
notice.
Note. Use the following format for simple notes:
1. Type the word "Note" followed by a colon. (Underline the
word, or use bold if you have it.)
2. Begin typing the text of the note two spaces after the colon.
(But don't put the text of the note in bold.)
3. Singlespace within the text of the note; skip two lines above
and below the note.
4. Start run-over lines on the regular left margin.
5. Align the note with the text to which it refers (as illustrated in
the second example).
Figure 6-1. Example of a simple note.
Figure 6-2. Example of a note within a bulleted list (not regular running text).
This same principle (that special notices align to the text they refer to) applies
to the other types of special notices as well.
Notes. Use the following format for multiple notes:
1. Type the word "Notes" followed by a colon. (Underline the
word, or use bold if you have it.)
2. Use a numbered list for the individual notes; in it, follow the
rules for numbered lists. (Do not use bold for the individual
notes.)
3. Align the notes with the text to which the refer; skip two lines
above and below the notes.
4. Use this format when you have so many notes that they would
distracting to present individually.
Figure 6-3. Example of a multiple note. Use this format if you have lots of
notes and want to collect them all in one place to prevent distraction.
Warning. Use the following format for warnings:
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1. Type the word "Warning" followed by a colon. (Underline the
word, or use bold if you have it.)
2. Begin the text of the warning two spaces after the colon (but
don't use bold for the text of the warning).
3. Singlespace the text of the warning; skip two lines above and
below the notes.
4. Use the first letter of the text of the warning (not the label
"Warning:") as the left margin.
5. Align the warning notice with the text it refers to (see Figure 62 where a note occurs within a bulleted list).
Figure 6-4. Example of a warning notice. Use these to alert readers of possible
damage to equipment or problems with the procedure.
Caution. Use the following format for caution notices:
1. Type the word "Caution" followed by a colon. (Underline the
word, or use bold if you have it.)
2. Skip a line and then type the text of the caution notice on the
regular left margin. For the text of the caution notice, use bold
if you have it.
3. Align the caution notice with the text it refers to.
4. Singlespace the text of the caution notice; skip two lines above
and below the caution notice.
Figure 6-5. Example of a caution notice. Use this one to alert readers to the
possibility of minor injury.
Danger. Use the following format for danger notices:
1. Type the word "DANGER" in all-caps. (Underline it, or use
bold.)
2. Align the danger notice with the text it refers to.
3. Singlespace the text of the danger notice; skip two lines above
and below the danger notice.
4. Use bold on the text of the danger notice if you have it (but
never all-caps).
5. If you have graphics capability, draw a box around the danger
notice (including the label).
Figure 6-6. Danger notice. Use this one to alert readers of the possibility of
serious injury or fatality.
Other Formatting Issues
Here are some additional points to consider concerning special notices.
Special Alignment. Special notices must align to the text to which they refer. For
example, if you have a note that adds some special detail to something in a bulleted
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list item, you must align that note to the text of the bulleted item. Of course, if the
note follows a bulleted list but refers to the whole list, then you can use the regular
left margin.
Singlespaced Text. All of the examples and discussion in this unit are based on
doublespaced text. For singlespaced text, use your document-design "eye" to decide
on spacing. Leave either one or two blank lines between running text and special
notices—depending on what looks best to you. (And of course both running text and
the text of the special notices would be singlespaced.)
Placement of Special Notices. The standard rule is to place special notices before the
point at which they are relevant. For example, you warn readers to back up all data
before you tell them to reformat their hard drive. However, in practice this applies to
serious special notices where great harm to data, equipment, or people is likely to
ensue.
One technique used by very cautious writers (maybe those who have been burned) is
to place all serious notices (warnings, cautions, and dangers) somewhere at the
beginning of the document, and then repeat them individually where they apply.
Multiple Special Notices. You run into situations where you have three or four
special notices, all jammed together in the same part of the text, each one following
another. This is a problem because the whole point of the special formatting of the
notices is lost: something is special because it is different from the surrounding. The
solution to this problem is to create one identifying heading (for example, "Notes and
Warnings"), and then list the notices (either bulleted or numbered) below it.
Designing Your Own Notices. The format of the notices shown here is by no means
universal. And while there is agreement on the gradation of special notices (from
special point to potential fatality), there is no agreement on what to call each one. For
some, the meanings of warning and caution are reversed (although my suspicion is
that the word "caution" derives from the Latin cautere, which means to cut—
suggesting minor injury).
The key though is to decide on a naming and formatting style and stick to it. Readers
get into the habit of responding certain ways to words and format. Don't confuse
them! And don't complicate matters by creating new types of notices such as
"Important" or "Please read!" and other such weirdness.
The special notices shown here are designed on the principle of increasing
noticeability. You're likely to notice the note-type special notice, but how can you
miss the danger notice? If you want to design your own special notices, check with
your instructor.
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Online Technical Writing:
Graphics and Tables
One of the nice things about technical writing courses is that most of the papers have
graphics in them — or at least they should. A lot of professional, technical writing
contains graphics — drawings, diagrams, photographs, illustrations of all sorts, tables,
pie charts, bar charts, line graphs, flow charts, and so on. Once you get the hang of
putting graphics like these into your writing, you should consider yourself obligated
to use graphics whenever the situation naturally would call for them.
Unlike what you might fear, producing graphics is not such a terrible task — in fact, it
can be fun. You don't have to be a professional graphics artist or technical
draftsperson to produce graphics for your technical writing. There are ways to
produce professional-looking graphics with tape, scissors, white-out, and a decent
photocopying machine.
Graphics — an overview
Before getting into details on creating, formatting, and incorporating graphics,
consider the types and their functions. You can use graphics to represent the following
elements in your technical writing:
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Objects — If you're describing a fuel-injection system, you'll
probably need a drawing or diagram of the thing. If you are
explaining how to graft a fruit tree, you'll need some
illustrations of how that task is done. Photographs, drawings,
diagrams, and schematics are the types of graphics that show
objects.
Numbers — If you're discussing the rising cost of housing in
Austin, you could use a table with the columns being for fiveyear periods since 1970; the rows could be for different types
of housing. You could show the same data in the form of bar
charts, pie charts, or line graphs. Tables, bar charts, pie charts,
and line graphs are some of the principal ways to show
numerical data.
Concepts — If you want to show how your company is
organized, the relationships of the different departments and
officials, you could set up an organization chart-boxes and
circles connected with lines that show how everything is
hierarchically arranged and related. This would be an example
of a graphic for a concept: this type depicts nonphysical,
conceptual things and their relationships.
Words — And finally graphics are used to depict words.
You've probably noticed how textbooks put key definitions in a
box, maybe with different color. The same can be done with
key points or extended examples. Not the sexiest form of
graphics, but it still qualifies, and it's good to keep in mind as a
useful technique in certain situations.
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Drawings, diagrams, photos
To depict objects, place, people and relationships between them, you can use photos,
drawings, diagrams, and schematics.
Uses of illustrations and photos. In the realm of illustrations and photographs,
the types run from minimal detail to maximal. A simple line drawing of how to graft a
fruit tree reduces the detail to simple lines representing the hands, the tools, the graft
stock, and graft. Diagrams are a more abstract, schematic view of things, for example,
a wiring diagram of a clock radio; it hardly resembles the actual physical thing at all.
And of course photographs provide the most detail of all. These graphics, supplying
gradations of detail as they do, have their varying uses. Here are some examples:
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In instructions, simple drawings (often called line drawings
because they use just lines, without other detail such as
shading) are the most common. They simplify the situation and
the objects so that the reader can focus on the key details.
In descriptions, you would want to use drawings, but in this
case drawings with more detail, such as shading and depth
perspectives.
In feasibility, recommendation, and evaluation reports,
photographs are often used. For example, if you are
recommending a photocopier, you might want to include
photos of the leading contenders.
Formatting requirements. When you use an illustration in a report, there are
several requirements to keep in mind (most of these are shown in Figure 7-1):
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Labels — Just about any illustration should contain labels —
words and phrases — with pointers to the parts of the things
being depicted.
Keys — If the illustration has certain shadings, colors, line
styles, or other such details that have a special meaning in the
illustration, these should be indicated in a key — an area in an
unused corner of the illustration that deciphers their meaning.
Titles — Except in special cases, illustrations should have
titles, and these titles should be numbered (Figure 1, Figure 2,
and so on). The exceptions are these: if you have lots of
illustrations (for example, in certain instructions, there are
illustrations practically after every paragraph) and if there is no
benefit from the titles; if you only have one or two illustrations
and they are not cross-referenced; if you do not cross-reference
your illustrations. In some of these cases, you might want to
keep the title but discard the word "Figure" and the number
following it.
Cross-references — Almost all illustrations should be referred
to from the relevant point in the discussion. And, do more than
just tossing in a "(See Figure 2.)"; discuss the illustration a bit
— focus readers' attention on the key details of the illustration.
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Location within the report — Ideally, you place illustrations
just after the point where they are needed. However, sometimes
because of the pagination (the way the text falls on the pages)
and the size of the illustrations, this close placement is not
possible. No problem — just put the illustration at the top of
the next page; that is what the figure-numbering system is for.
Size of illustrations — Again, ideally, you want illustrations to
be between one-half to one-quarter of the vertical size of the
page. You want them to fit on the page with other text. In fact,
that's what you really want — to interperse text and graphics in
a report. What you do not want is to append the illustration to
the back of the report! When you have a large illustration, use a
photocopier to reduce it.
Placement within margins — Make sure that your illustrations
fit neatly and comfortably within standard margins. You don't
want the illustration spilling over into the right or left margins.
You want to allow the equivalent of at least 2 blank lines above
and below the illustration.
Level of technical detail — And, rather obviously, you want
illustrations to be at the right technical level for your readers.
No chip circuitry diagrams for computer beginners!
Producing illustrations. Now for the question we're all waiting to ask — how to
create graphics? There are several options: photocopying, scanning, clip art, and
hand-drawing. (And now most mainstream word-processing applications enable you
to generate various kinds of graphs and charts, not to mention graphics and business
software.) In all of these production methods, don't forget that you must indicate the
source of the borrowed graphic.
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Photocopying is the easiest solution to creating graphics — and
it's legal (if you do it right)! Find the illustrations that you want,
make good high-quality photocopies of them, trim off the
figure titles and other unnecessary or inappropriate textual
material (leave the labels and keys), and then leave space in
your own document so that the trimmed photocopy will fit with
at least 2 blank lines above and below it. Remember to reduce
or enlarge the copy so that it fits nicely on the page. Also
remember that ideal graphics are one-half to one-quarter the
size of the page. Intersperse graphics with text! When you
make the final copy of your document, tape in the copied
graphics, photocopy the entire document, and hand in the
photocopy (not the original).
Scanning is a neat way to pull graphics into your document
files. You don't have to tape them to a copy then photocopy the
document — they are there, fully integrated. However, there
are some pretty cheap scanners that produce blurry, low-quality
images. They're adequate for our technical writing course, but
not for serious professional work.
Lots of clip art is becoming available with software programs
and on the Internet. For fairly common objects such as
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computers, telephones, and such, you can insert these into your
document and add labels to them.
Hand-drawing may not be as out of the question as you might
think. Take a blank sheet of paper and start sketching lightly
with a soft-leaded pencil. Keep working until you have the
drawing the way you like. Then use a black marker to ink in the
lines that you want, and erase the stray pencil markings. Now,
treat this drawing the way you would any photocopied image.
Cut it out, tape it in your document, photocopy it as well as all
other pages, then hand in the photocopy.
See the discussion on indicating the source of borrowed information and the examples
in Figure 7-1 and Figure 7-2.
Figure 7-1. Elements of a pictorial graphic. Notice that you can use a simpler means
of indicating the source by using the same format as in regular number-system
citations.
Photographs
At least as the way things stand right now in the 1990s, getting photographs into
reports is a problem. They don't photocopy well (although they do better now than
just a few years ago). They don't attach to report pages very well either. High-quality
scanning equipment may be the better alternative in this area, although a scanned
image costs $5 to $10 right now at local copy shops equipped to offer this service. If
you need to use photographs in your technical reports for a technical writing course,
consult with your instructor. After all, these are writing courses, not graphic arts
courses — taped-in or photocopied photographs may be okay in this setting.
Tables
Tables, of course, are those rows and columns of numbers and words, mostly
numbers. They permit rapid access to and relatively easy comparison of information.
If the data is arranged chronologically (for example, sales figures over a ten-year
period), the table can show trends — patterns of rising or falling activity. Of course,
tables are not necessarily the most vivid or dramatic means of showing such trends or
relationships between data — that's why we have charts and graphs (discussed in the
next section).
Uses for tables. The biggest use of tables is for numerical data. Imagine that you
are comparing different models of laser printers in terms of physical characteristics
such as height, depth, length, weight, and so on — perfect for a table.
However, don't get locked into the notion that tables are strictly for numerical data.
Whenever you have situations where you discuss several things about which you
provide the same categories of detail, you've got a possibility for a table. For example,
imagine that you were comparing several models of a laser printer: you'd be saying
the same category of thing about each printer (its cost, print speed, supply costs,
warranty terms, and so on). This is ideal stuff for a table, and it would be mostly
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words rather than numbers (and in this case, you'd probably want to leave the textual
discussion where it is and "re-present" the information in table form.
Table format. In its simplest form, a table is a group of rows and columns of data.
At the top of each column is a column heading, which defines or identifies the
contents of that column (and often it indicates the unit of measurement). On the left
edge of the table may be row headings, which define or identify the contents of that
row. Things get tricky when rows or columns must be grouped or subdivided. In such
cases, you have to create row or column subheadings. This is illustrated in Figure 7-2.
Figure 7-2. Format for tables with grouped or subdivided rows and columns.
Traditionally, the title of a table is placed on top of the table or is the first row of the
table. If the contents of the table are obvious and there is no need to cross-reference
the table from anywhere else in the report, you can omit the title. To make life
simpler, you can consider tables as figures (the same as illustrations and other
graphics), and number them within the same sequence.
As for specific style and formatting guidelines for tables, keep these in mind (most of
these guidelines are illustrated in Figure 7-3):
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Refer to the table in the text just preceding the table. Explain
the general significance of the data in the table; don't expect
readers to figure it out entirely for themselves.
Don't overwhelm readers with monster 11-column, 30-row
tables! Simplify the table data down to just that amount of data
that illustrates your point — without of course distorting that
data.
Don't put the word or abbreviation for the unit of measurement
in every cell of a column. For example, in a column of
measurements all in millimeters, don't put "mm" after every
number. Put the abbreviation in parentheses in the column or
row heading.
Right- or decimal-align numbers in the columns. If the 123 and
4 were in a column, the 4 would be right below the 3, not the 1.
Normally, words in columns are left-justified (although you
will occasionally see columns of words all centered).
Column headings are centered over the columns of numerical
data (forming a T-shape); left-aligned with columns of text.
The alignment of column headings to the actual columnar data
is variable. If you have a column of two- or three-letter words,
you'd probably want to center the column heading over that
data, even those it is words not numbers. (Doing so, avoids an
odd-looking L-shaped column.)
When there is some special point you need to make about one
or more of the items in the table, use a footnote instead of
clogging up the table with the information.
Producing tables. Normally, you'll be borrowing information in which a good
table occurs. If it's a simple table without too many rows and columns, retype it
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yourself into your own document (but remember to document where you borrowed it
from in the figure title). However, if it is a big table with lots of data, you're justified
in photopcopying it and bringing it into your report that way.
When you manually type tables, consider putting a string of hyphens between the
column headings and the first row of data and another string of hyphens between the
last row of data and any totals the table has.
Most of the advanced word-processing software packages, such as Word and
WordPerfect, now have table-generating tools. You don't have to draw the lines and
other formatting details.
Occasionally, in rough-draft technical reports, information is presented in regular
running-text form that could be better presented in table (or tabular) form. Be sure and
look back over your rough drafts for material that can transformed into tables.
For indicating the source of borrowed information, see Figure 7-1.
Figure 7-3. Format for tables. Watch for opportunities to convert text to table as in
this example.
Charts and graphs
Charts and graphs are actually just another way of presenting the same data that is
presented in tables — although a more dramatic and interesting one. At the same time,
however, you get less detail or less precision in a chart or diagram than you do in the
table. Imagine the difference between a table of sales figures for a ten-year period and
a line graph for that same data. You get a better sense of the overall trend in the graph
but not the precise dollar amount.
Formatting requirements. When you create charts and diagrams, keep these
requirements in mind (most of these elements are illustrated in Figure 7-4):
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
Axis labels — In bar charts and line graphs, don't forget to
indicate what the x and y axes represent. One axis might
indicate millions of dollars; the other, five-year segments from
1960 to the present.
Keys — Bar charts, line graphs, and pie charts often use special
color, shading, or line style (solid or dashed). Be sure to
indicate what these mean; translate them in a key (a box) in
some unused place in the chart or graph.
Figure 7-4. Examples of graphs and charts. Notice the use of keys, axis labels, figure
titles, and cross-references for both figures in this example.

Figure titles — For most charts and graphs, you'll want to
include a title, in many cases, a numbered title. Readers need
some way of knowing what they are looking at. And don't
forget to cite the source of any information you borrowed in
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

order to create the graphic. The standard rule for when to
number figures or tables is this: if you cross-reference the
figure or table elsewhere in the text
Cross-references — Whenever you use a chart or graph, don't
forget to put a cross-reference to it from the related text. With
that cross-reference, provide some explanation of what is going
on in the graphic, how to interpret it, what its basic trends are,
and so on.
Documentation — When you borrow information to create a
graphic, be sure to use the standard format to indicate the
source. See the section on documenting borrowed information
(either textual or graphic). It does not matter whether you
photocopy the graphic and tape it into your report, retype the
graphic (for example, a table), trace or draw the graphic
freehand, or take some subset of the data (for example, using
data from a table to create a bar chart) — it is all borrowed
information, which some brave and noble soul worked hard to
develop and who deserves credit for that effort.
Producing charts and graphs. As with illustrations, you have these options for
creating charts and graphs: photocopying from other sources, generating your own
with special software, and manual creating your own. Many of the text-processing
software packages have fancy features for generating charts and graphs — you just
crank in your data, specify the format you want, and let 'er rip.
Documenting graphics — indicating sources
As mentioned earlier, it's perfectly legal to borrow graphics — to trace, photocopy,
scan, or extract subsets of data from them. But you're obligated to cite your sources
for graphics just as you are for the words you borrow. Normally, this is done in the
figure title of the graphics. Check the examples in Figure 7-1 and Figure 7-2. For
details on the contents of the source citation, see the section documentation.
General guidelines for graphics — a review
The preceding sections repeat a number of common guidelines that need to be stated
all in one place. These are important!
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Use graphics whenever they would normally be necessary —
don't wimp out because it seems like too much trouble! But at
the same time, don't get hung up about creating perfect graphics
(photocopies work just fine for our purposes as long as you cite
your source). This course is a writing course, not a graphic-arts
course.
Always discuss graphics in nearby text preceding the graphic.
Don't just throw a graphic out there unexplained. Orient readers
to the graphic; explain its basic meaning.
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If a certain graphic is difficult to produce, discuss the problem
with your instructor (you might be able to leave a blank with a
descriptive note in the middle).
Make sure your graphics are appropriate to your audience,
subject matter, and purpose — don't zap beginners with
advanced, highly technical graphics they can't understand.
Intersperse graphics and text on the same page. Don't put
graphics on pages by themselves; don't attach them to the end
of documents.
Use figure titles for graphics (only a few exceptions to this
rule).
Indicate the source of any graphic you have borrowed — this
includes tables, illustrations, charts, and graphs. Whenever you
borrow a graphic from some other source, document that fact in
the figure title. This is explained in the section on
documentation and is illustrated here in this chapter in Figures
7-1 and 7-2.
Include identifying detail such as illustration labels, axis labels,
keys, and so on. But don't hand-write them in — use the labels
from the original photocopy or type them.
Make sure graphics fit within normal margins — if they don't,
enlarge or reduce the copies. Leave at least 2 blank lines above
and below graphics.
When you tape graphics in to your report, photocopy your
entire report, not just the pages on which the tape-ins occur.
Hand in the entire photocopied document, not the original and
not a mixture of original and photocopied pages.
Don't manually add color or other detail on the pages of the
final copy that you intend to submit — in other words, don't
draw on the final copy. Any details like these should be added
before photocopying. If you must have color, use color
photocopying equipment.
Place graphics as near to the point in the text where they are
relevant as is reasonable. However, if a graphic does not fit
properly on one page, put it at the top of the next, and continue
with regular text on the preceding page. Don't leave half a page
blank just to keep a graphic near the text it is associated with.
Except for graphics that need no figure title, cross-reference all
graphics from the appropriate text. In the cross-reference, give
the figure number (figure title and page are optional), indicate
the subject matter of the graphic, and provide explanatory
information as necessary.
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Online Technical Writing:
Report Format and Final Production
In this chapter, as with others in this course, you'll do several things as once. First,
you'll explore the components of a formal report (like the one you'll be turning in
toward the end of the semester) and see what their required format and contents, and
then you'll do an assignment in which you use all these requirements to format the
text of a report.
Note: Students enrolled in the Online Technical Writing are encouraged to take the
reading quiz on this chapter. (Anybody else is welcome to try it as well.)
Take a look at these examples of formal technical reports:
The frames and nonframes versions work only on Netscape
version 3 or later. If you are using Microsoft Internet
Explorer, click Plain (or download Netscape).
Example technical report 1: DVD
Technology and Applications
Frames
Nonframes Plain
Example technical report 2: Cerebral
Palsy and Its Treatments
Frames
Nonframes Plain
Example technical report 3: Feasibility
of Implementing a Departmental
Intranet
Frames
Nonframes Plain
Example technical report 4:
Photolithography: Its Importance in the
Wafer Fab
Frames
Nonframes Plain
Example technical report 5: Effects of
Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide
Frames
Nonframes Plain
Example technical report 6: Video Alert
and Control Dashboard System
Frames
Nonframes Plain
Example technical report 7: Report on
Light Water Nuclear Reactors
Frames
Nonframes Plain
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11355 Research Boulevard, Suite 305
Austin, TX 78759
December 9, 1998
Mr. David A. McMurrey
Technical Research Associates, Inc.
1307 Marshall Lane
Austin, TX 78705
Dear Mr. McMurrey:
In keeping with our agreement, I am submiting the enclosed report entitled Report on
DVD Technology and Applications.
As we agreed, the purpose of this report is to provide potential investors with
introductory information on DVD technology and applications. The report provides
an explanation of the differences between CD and DVD technology. Additionally, the
report describes the construction of a DVD and summarizes applications of the DVD.
We conclude with an overview of past and projected sales and revenues of DVD
media.
I hope this report meets with your expectations.
Respectfully,
Thurston Taylor
Encl.: Technical background report on DVD technology
Report
on
DVD TECHNOLOGY AND APPLICATIONS
submitted to
Dr. David McMurrey
Technical Research Associates, Inc.
1307 Marshall Lane
Austin, TX 78705
May 6, 1998
by
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Thurston Taylor
E. Taylor, Consultants
This report examines digital versatile disc (DVD) technology as a possible avenue for
research and development. DVD technology is described, and it characteristics are
compared with those of CD. Product development and economic forecasts conclude
the main discussion of the report.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF FIGURES
ABSTRACT
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Development of DVD Technology
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Physical Characteristics
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CONSTRUCTION OF A DVD
DVD Development Process
Physical Formatting
Glass Mastering
Metallization
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Molding
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Sputtering
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Bonding
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Current DVD Research
DVD APPLICATIONS
DVD-ROM
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DVD-Video
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INTRODUCTION
DVD TECHNOLOGY OVERVIEW
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DVD PROJECTED SALES AND REVENUES
CONCLUSION
INFORMATION SOURCES
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LIST OF FIGURES
Figure
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Page
DVD Comparison
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Physical Formatting
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Metallization . . . .
Electroplating
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Molding
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Sputtering
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Bonding
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Homes with DVD Technology
DVD Disc Production
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LIST OF TABLES
Table
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DVD Player Sales to Dealers
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iii
ABSTRACT
Digital versatile disc (DVD) is a collection of new optical disc technologies that have
the potential to significantly improve the quality of a number of consumer electronic
and personal computer products. DVD was invented and tested by Toshiba
Corporation to fulfill two primary goals: (1) to provide higher throughput and (2) to
provide higher capacity than current CD-ROM technology.
A digital versatile disc is similar in many ways to the current CD; however, small
differences between the two allow for DVD to be implemented in ways that a DVD
cannot. These differences allow for a capacity increase of of up to 26 times and
transfer rates up to 4 times faster than conventional CD-ROM. The major difference
that provides these increases is the use of a shorter wave-length laser, which allows
for decreased tolerances in the manufacturing process and the use of multiple layers
of storage on each side of the disc. While surface storage is vastly different from that
used in CD technology at the microscopic level, the advances allow the DVD to be
the same exact size as the CD-ROM.
These advances brought about by DVD open up a wealth of products and possibilities
in modern applications. Current applications include DVD-video, which is capable of
displaying broadcast-quality feature-length movies on the surface of a single disc, and
DVD-ROM, which can be used in computer applications to provide higher throughput
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and higer storage capacity on a single disc. Other applications, already developed but
not in widespread use, include DVD-audio, high-capacity, high-quality audio disc;
DVD-R, a write-once DVD format for high-capacity data storage in computing
applications; and DVD-RAM, a multiple read-write format also used for highcapacity storage in computing applications.
iv
With the current base developed in DVD-video and DVD-ROM markets, familiarity
with the technology increases exponentially every month. This coupled with lower
prices brought about by manufacturing process refinements has caused a surge in
DVD device sales worldwide. The current projections forecast DVD sales overtaking
those of CD technology within the next two years, providing millions of dollars in
revenues for corporations poised to release DVD format in consumer products.
v
Report
on
DVD TECHNOLOGY AND APPLICATIONS
I. INTRODUCTION
Digital Versatile Disc, or DVD is a collection of new optical disc technologies that
have the potential to significantly improve the quality of a number of consumer
electronics and personal computer products. These discs are capable of holding up to
17 gigabytes (GB) of data storage, with current research offering a potential for 15
times more storage. This technology is made available through advances in laser
technology and advances in manufacturing processes for optical discs. A Digital
Versatile Disc is basically a double density, double sided, compact disc. In addition,
the laser used to read a DVD utilizes a shorter wavelength, allowing the storage
surface of each of these layers to be more compact.
The purpose of this report is to present the format, creation, current applications, and
economic forecasts for DVD technology. To emphasize the advances afforded using
this technology, a side by side comparison with current Compact Disc technology will
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be used. Motorola’s Research and Development is currently investigating the
possibilities for implementation of a DVD Group to interact with current research and
product groups. This report will give the introduction and background necessary to
determine the feasibility of DVD integration into current marketing and research
products. This report will provide a simplified explanation of the construction
methods required for DVD replication, solely for the purpose of presenting the
difference in construction needed to manufacture a DVD.
The four parts of this report will discuss (1) a technological overview of DVD,
utilizing a comparison of CD vs. DVD technologies, (2) the construction of a DVD,
(3) current applications utilizing DVD, and (4) projected sales and revenues of DVD
devices. The technological overview section will use a comparison of current CD
specifications vs. DVD specifications to convey the advances made possible using
DVD. The construction section explains the manufacture of a DVD to show the
physical advantages of DVD for data storage and retrieval. The section covering
current applications examines the five current formats for DVD specifications and
how they are currently being used today. Finally, the sales and revenues section
includes forecasts of DVD sales and distribution, based upon current sales and
technology release.
2
II. DVD TECHNOLOGY OVERVIEW
Before getting into the details of manufacturing DVDs and their applications and
market potential, consider their basic construction and comparisons to CD-ROMs.
DVD Development Process
Digital Versatile Disc (DVD) technology was pioneered in 1993 by the Toshiba
Corporation to fulfill two primary technical goals, provide both higher throughput and
higher capacity than current CD-ROM technology. While DVD optical discs are quite
similar to CD-ROM optical discs, there are a number of key physical differences, as
well as philosophical differences. CD-ROM technology was originally designed to
accommodate high quality audio data, and a large quantity of textual data. While the
use of CD-ROM has been extended to include video data, the format falls short of
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providing broadcast television quality video and cannot store full-length feature films.
The DVD format was specifically designed to address each of these limitations.
Beyond the inception of DVD technology, advances have been developed by a group
of ten consumer electronics companies, called the DVD Forum, who have agreed on
the set technical specifications for each DVD format. Until recently, there were two
competing groups of companies: one led by Sony, and the other by Toshiba, that were
both trying to develop proprietary high-density optical disc formats. Fortunately, these
two groups joined forces and agreed to form the DVD Forum. The DVD Forum has
also actively encouraged participation from members of the entertainment and
computer industries so that the DVD format will have a broad base of support in both
the consumer and computer electronics areas.
As mentioned before, two of the primary goals of DVD are to provide both higher
capacity and higher throughput than current CD-ROM technology offers. To
demonstrate the advances afforded using DVD, this section will reference the
specifications of CD-ROM vs. DVD technology.
3
CD-ROM vs. DVD Comparison
The table on the following page shows some of the key similarities and differences
between the CD-ROM and DVD formats.
Table 1. CD-ROM vs. DVD Specifications.
Source: "DVD: The Dawn of a New Generation." July, 1998.
Computer User
Category
CD-ROM
DVD
Disc Diameter
120 mm
120 mm
Disc Thickness
1.2 mm
1.2 mm
Disc Structure
Single
Substrate
Two Bonded 0.6 mm
Substrates
Laser
Wavelengths
780 nm
(infrared)
650 and 635 nm (red)
Track Pitch
1.6 microns
0.74 microns
Shortest Pit
Length
0.83 microns
0.4 microns
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Data Layers
1
2
Data Sides
1
2
Data Capacity
650 Mbytes
4.7 – 17.0 GB
User Data Rate
1.4 Mbits/sec
10.0 Mbits/sec
The key features, which comprise the difference between CD and DVD technologies,
are the physical characteristics, data structure characteristics, and operating
characteristics.
4
Physical Characteristics. The physical characteristics of the optical discs including
thickness, diameter and structure are nearly identical, with the only exception being
the DVD possessing a double substrate with half the thickness of a conventional CD.
This allows multiple layers of data to be stored within the same thickness of a
conventional CD single layer, as seen in Figure 1.
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Figure 1. DVD Comparison. Source: Smith, James. DVD
Handbook, p. 19.
Data Structure Characteristics. The data structure characteristics of the optical
discs include laser wavelength, track pitch, and pit length. All of these characteristics
differ from CD to DVD and allow for the significant improvements in data capacity
and throughput seen in the DVD operating characteristics. Using a red laser for DVD
devices vs. a standard infrared laser used for current CD devices, provides a much
smaller wavelength, allowing better selectivity and smaller data structures, as seen in
Figure 2. Data can be stored in half the length previously necessary using
conventional CD technology.
5
Figure 2. Data Structures. Source: Smith, James. DVD Handbook.
p. 22.
Operating Characteristics. The advances provided by the shorter wavelength laser
and multi-layer structure, exponentially increase the throughput of DVD devices vs.
CD devices. All DVD formats and playback devices will support a minimum
throughput rate that is eight times faster than conventional CD-ROM, and many DVD
playback devices will support even higher transfer rates. In addition, by doubling both
the number of layers and the number of sides utilized, capacity of DVD has been
increased to a maximum of 17.0 GB of memory, compared to 650 (megabytes) MB of
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storage on a standard CD-ROM, an increase of more than 26 times the capacity.
6
III. CONSTRUCTION OF A DVD
DVD construction is similar to traditional CD-ROM construction with a few added
steps, and a much higher degree of manufacturing tolerance required.
Process in DVD Construction
Each of the following major manufacturing steps will be presented using an
explanation followed with a diagram to show the actual progression of the disc
construction:
Physical formatting. Analog signal is converted to a digital signal and compressed
using DVD compression standards, then stored for transfer onto the DVD.
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Glass mastering. A glass base is coated with light-sensitive photoresist, which is then
developed in a sodium silicate solution, using a laser to implant the digital signal.
Figure 4. Glass Mastering
7
Metallization. Nickel is evaporated on the surface of the master, providing a
conductive layer for the electroplating phase.
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Electroplating. A wet process in which the master is bathed in nickel sulfamate and a
stamper is applied to create the pattern required for multiple disc replication.
Figure 6. Electroplating
Molding. The previously created master is used as a base, giving a pattern pressed
onto an injection molded polycarbonate substrate.
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8
Sputtering. Similar to semiconductor sputtering, a metal layer is formed on the
surface, aluminum for single layer, gold or silicon carbide for dual layer discs.
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Bonding. Multiple layers are bonded together using either hot melt or ultraviolet
processes. This bonding requires extreme precision to prevent the DVD from
becoming unbalanced.
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The above processes provide the DVD with a variable number of readable substrates,
allowing a maximum of two substrates per side, with a maximum of two sides. This
manufacturing process is not a large departure from conventional CD-ROM
manufacturing processes, requiring higher tolerances in the mastering phases of the
process, addition of gold and silicon carbide in the sputtering process, and the
addition of a bonding process.
9
Current Research
Ongoing research in Tokyo performed by the Agency of Industrial Science and
technology has led to advances producing a DVD capable of holding 15 times as
much data as current DVDs. This high memory density is achieved by adding an
additional antimony film to the DVD, pinpointing the laser beam allowing up to 30
hours of moving images to be stored, using conventional DVD devices for playback
[4:1].
10
IV. DVD APPLICATIONS
Given the technological advances made over CD-ROM, the applications for DVD are
able to replace all conventional applications for optical disc use. Use of DVD is
currently divided into five separate applications using six different DVD formats.


DVD-ROM. High-capacity, high-throughput, read-only optical disc that can be
used as a general-purpose computer storage device. This application is
currently the most prevalent, with disc storage ranging from 4.7 to 17.0 GB,
depending on format.
DVD-Video. High capacity, high throughput, read-only optical disc that can be
used for the interactive playback of high quality video, audio and graphic
content. This application, similarly uses disc storage ranging from 4.7 to 17.0
GB, depending on the format.
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


DVD-Audio.Similar to the DVD-Video, differing only in the compression and
storage of audio, rather than video.
DVD-R. High capacity, high throughput, write once, optical disc used as a
general-purpose computer storage device. This application currently is
formatted to hold 3.8 GB of storage per side, although current advances
promise to achieve 4.7 GB per side.
DVD-RAM. High capacity, high throughput, read-write, used as a highly
versatile storage medium for computers and other devices. This application
currently uses its own format, allowing 2.6 GB of storage per side.
11
V. DVD PROJECTED SALES AND REVENUES
The international Recording Media Association (IRMA) recently released its "Optical
Media Intelligence Report" which forecasts annual worldwide DVD replication of
1.28 billion discs by the year 2002, including all of DVD’s formats [7:12]. The
following graph demonstrates the projected distribution of DVD playback devices,
given the current trends and affordability of the devices.
Figure 10. Homes with DVD Technology
As shown in figure 10, the distribution of DVD devices is growing exponentially,
with the largest growth year occurring in 1999. A recent survey has found that DVD
technology awareness in the public has grown from 18% in November 1997 to 49% in
April 1998. This greater awareness has brought about large increases in player
purchases followed by even greater sales of discs, primarily movies, as shown in the
following graph, depicting DVD movie sales (yellow) combined with DVD-ROM
sales (red).
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Figure 11. DVD Disc Production
12
In addition, the Electronic Industries Association of Japan forecasts the market for
DVD movie players worldwide will expand to 11.53 million units in 2002 from the
796,000 units sold in 1997. This represents a 71 percent annual growth on average
during the period [8:5] . The International Recording Media Association predicts this
growth will also propel the demand for DVD-Video product, increasing the number of
stores selling or renting the new format from 5,000 outlets at the end of 1997, to more
than 32,000 by the end of 1999 [7:15].
A Forrester Research study recently reported that DVD technology could eventually
turn the home PC into a primary home entertainment platform [4:12] . The report
projects the DVD will displace the television as the focal point for electronic
recreation. The study also predicts the PC industry growth to surpass the consumer
electronics industry by the year 2000 [4:15].
13
The development of DVD technology requires a relatively small capital investment in
comparison with the potential revenue, which could be generated through product
sales, as shown in the table below.
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Table 2. DVD Player Sales to Dealers.
Source: Consumer Electronics Manufacturing Association DVD Report, p. 35.
Year
Unit Sales
(Thousands)
Dollar Sales
(Millions)
Average Unit
Price
1997
350
$170
$485
1998
750
$326
$435
14
VI. CONCLUSION
In conclusion, this report gives the initial introduction to DVD technology required to
determine whether to implement the technology in Motorola products in the future.
Given the ease of implementation of this technology and potential growth in sales and
revenues, DVD technology promises to afford many avenues of implementation.
These implementations range from current video, audio, and computer applications to
household combination cable modem and large data storage units for combined
application in multiple use consumer electronics devices. Beginning research as soon
as possible could yield consumer product rollout in as soon as 12 months time. Given
the expansion and partnerships forged by Motorola with other corporations and our
current standing in the communications world, the implementation of DVD
technology in our products beginning in 1999, will provide a large share of the market
share during a period of extreme market growth.
15
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INFORMATION SOURCES
1. Boeler, Kurt. "DVD Systems Expanding." CNET-NEWS.COM. May 29,
1998.
2. Crawford, Albert. Complete Guide to DVD. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1997.
3. "DVD: The Dawn of a New Generation." Computer User. July 1998.
4. "DVD Gaining Momentum." USA Today. August 24, 1998.
5. "DVD Technology Advance." Dow-Jones News. June 19, 1998.
6. "DVD." Encarta Encyclopedia. 1998 Ed.
7. International Recording Media Association. "Optical Media Intelligence
Report." July 1998.
8. Electronic Industries Association of Japan. "Optical Media Report." San
Diego, CA: Toshiba Press, 1998.
9. Taylor, Jim. DVD Demystified: Guide for DVD-Video and DVD-ROM. New
York: McGraw-Hill, 1998.
16
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HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Austin
1215 Red River
Austin, TX 78701
May 6, 1998
Mr. David McMurrey
Association of Texas Two-Year Colleges
25 W. 5th Street
Austin, TX 78705
Dear Mr. McMurrey:
I am submitting the background report, "Cerebral Palsy and Its Treatments," that I
agreed to write on February 22, 1998.
The purpose of this report is to provide useful background on cerebral palsy to
physical therapy and physical therapy assistant students. It covers a variety of nonphysical therapy treatments and then concludes with an in depth look at the role of
physical therapists in managing the condition.
I hope this report will be helpful for those students that will soon become licensed
physical therapists. If you would like to discuss the report with me please let me
know.
Sincerely,
Farah Ananthanarayana, M.P.T.
HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Austin
Encl.: technical background report on cerebral palsy and its treatments
Report
on
CEREBRAL PALSY AND ITS TREATMENTS
submitted to
Dr. David McMurrey
Association of Two-Year Colleges
25 W. 5th Street
Austin, TX 78705
May 6, 1998
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by
Farah Ananthanarayana, M.P.T.
HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Austin
This report contains information on the background of cerebral palsy as well as its
treatments. The background covers the types, causes and symptoms of cerebral palsy.
The treatment sections discuss orthopedic surgery, orthotics, current drug therapies,
selective dorsal rhizotomy, speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical
therapy. The main treatment focused on is physical therapy.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF FIGURES
. . . . iii
ABSTRACT . . .
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INTRODUCTION
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CEREBRAL PALSY . . . . . .
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Types of Cerebral Palsy . . .
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Spastic
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Athetoid . . . . . .
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Causes of Cerebral Palsy
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Developmental malformations
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Neurological damage
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Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy .
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NON-PHYSICAL THERAPY TREATMENTS
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Orthopedic Surgery
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Orthotics
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Drug Therapies
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Botox injections
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Speech Therapy
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Occupational Therapy
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IV. PHYSICAL THERAPY
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Goals
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Techniques and Exercises
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Prone development .
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Supine development .
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Sitting
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Standing and walking
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A. Treatment Summary Table
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16
B. Works Cited Page . . .
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APPENDIXES
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LIST OF FIGURES
Figure
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Baclofen pump
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Head control and the development of the prone position
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Child on his hands and knees
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Counterpoising
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Lateral stepping
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Treatment summary table
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iii
ABSTRACT
Cerebral palsy can be used to refer to any non-curable, non-progressive disorders
which affect a child's ability to move and to maintain posture and balance. Its cause is
related to the type of cerebral palsy (CP). The four types of CP are spastic, athetoid,
ataxic and mixed. Spastic cerebral pasly is characterized by tense, contracted muscles
and is the most common form. It results from brain damage in the motor cortex.
Athetoid and ataxic CP result from damage to the cerebellum. People with athetosis
have constant, uncontrolled mostion of their limbs, head and eyes. However, people
with the ataxic form have a poor sense of balance which often causes stumbles and
falls. Finally, people with the mixed form experience complications of the other three
forms. This is because they have a damaged motor cortex and cerebellum. This brain
damage can occur before, after or during birth. Causes of cerebral palsy before or
during birth are Rh incompatibility, illness of the mother or severe lack of oxygen.
Causes of CP after birth are head injury, lead poisoning or illness. These causes do
not necessarily lead to cerebral palsy, but if they did symptoms can normally be seen
during the first few years of life. The symptoms vary widely and can be physical or
behavioral.
Since the symptoms vary greatly, the treatments do also. The treatments include
orthopedic surgery, orthotics, botox injections, intrathecal baclofen, selective dorsal
rhizotomy, speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy. Orthopedic
surgery corrects muscle and bone deformities caused by spasticity, but does not
directly change the spasticity. Orthotics are casts or braces that reduce spasticity and
stretch contracted muscles. They do so through two methods: (1) static bracing and
(2) dynamic bracing. Botox injection is an extremely quick treatment that can reduce
spasticity, but it is only used on a few muscle groups at a time and needs to be
readministered every 3-4 months. Intrathecal baclofen involves implanting a pump
into your child's lower abdomen. It can also reduce spasticity and its dosage can be
changed throughout the day. Selective dorsal rhizotomy yields a permanent decrease
in spasticity, but intensive physical therapy is needed afterwards for at least a year.
Finally, physical therapy acts to stretch out a child's muscles and improves their
ability to sit and walk. It does so through strengthening exercises and aiding motor
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development. The sequence of motor development is prone development, then supine
development. This is followed by learning to sit, stand and walk. It has no side effects
and can be used alone as a treatment. Physical therapy is very important in managing
cerebral palsy. In fact, it is usually required as follow-up for the other treatments.
iv
Report
on
CEREBRAL PALSY AND ITS TREATMENTS
I. INTRODUCTION
Wanting to be informed and to help others are parts of human nature. Therefore, when
someone learns that their child or someone else they know has cerebral palsy, they are
immediately interested and want to know what can be done to help. Cerebral palsy
(CP) is a condition that is due to neurological damage and inhibits the child's normal
developmental process. The United Cerebral Palsy Association states that 500700,000 Americans have this condition [9] . Although there are many with cerebral
palsy, it is most likely that no two people experience the same complications.
Therefore, there are many different possible treatments. Physical therapy plays a large
role in bettering the lives of these people either alone or in combination with other
therapies. Together with a physician and a team of other health care professionals they
can improve the child's day to day life.
The purpose of this report is to educate potential physical therapists and physical
therapy assistants about cerebral palsy and its treatments. Since both can have a huge
future impact on the lives of these patients, it is important that physical therapy and
physical therapy assistant students know about the condition. It is also important that
they know how they fit into the treatment plan and what their role is in bettering the
lives of children with cerebral palsy. Potential physical therapists and physical therapy
assistants need to be educated about the other cerebral treatments as well. This way
they can later serve as information resources for their patients and can give their
opinion as to which treatment program is best.
This report will be broken into three main sections with the first section containing
background on cerebral palsy. This will include the types of CP, its causes, and its
symptoms. The second section will be the current non-physical therapy treatments
available for children with cerebral palsy. It will discuss orthopedic surgery, orthotics,
two different drug therapies, selective dorsal rhizotomy, speech therapy, and
occupational therapy. The drug therapies that will be discussed are botox injections
and intrathecal baclofen. Finally, the third section will not only give background on
the physical therapy treatment it will also include specific steps therapists use for
motor developmental training in patients with cerebral palsy.
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II. CEREBRAL PALSY
Mosby's Medical Dictionary defines cerebral palsy as "a motor function disorder
caused by a permanent, non-progressive defect or lesion present at birth or shortly
thereafter [1:295] . "Cerebral" refers to brain and "palsy" refers to the lack of motor
control. Therefore, cerebral palsy is used to describe a variety of conditions, which
involve motor control and neurological defects. These conditions are grouped into
four different main types of cerebral palsy.
Types of Cerebral Palsy
The four types of cerebral palsy are spastic, athetoid, ataxic, and mixed forms [8] .
Spastic. Spastic cerebral palsy involves tense, contracted muscles. It is the most
common form of cerebral palsy affecting about 70-80% of all people with the
condition [3:7] . These people are said to have high muscle tone, which is when
muscles are tight [3:4] . As a result, children with spasticity have stiff and awkward
movements. They also have a hard time shifting positions and may grip tightly with
hands such that it becomes hard to let go of things [8] . Spastic CP can be broken up
into 3 subtypes: (1) diplegia, affecting one side, (2) hemiplegia, affecting both arms or
both legs, and (3) quadriplegia affecting all limbs [8] . Spastic cerebral palsy results
from damage to the part of the brain that controls voluntary movements, the motor
cortex. When the motor cortex is damaged, it is hard for the brain to communicate
with the muscles on either side of the body. Gersh states further that, "damage to the
motor cortex on the left side of the brain makes it difficult to control movements on
the right side of the body, and damage to the motor cortex on the right side makes it
difficult to control movements on the left side of the body" [3:8] .
Athetoid. Athetoid cerebral palsy is characterized by uncontrolled motion, especially
in the face, arms and trunk. This can interfere with speaking, feeding, reaching,
grabbing and any other skill, which requires coordinated movements [3:8] . These
individuals have mixed muscle tone, meaning that sometimes the tone is too high and
at other times it is too low. Athetosis is caused by damage to the cerebellum. The
cerebellum is responsible for smooth, controlled movements and the ability to
maintain posture. As a result of this damage, a child may develop purposeless,
involuntary movements [3:8] . It is also possible that movements may increase due to
stress and disappear during sleep [7] .
2
Ataxic. The ataxic form is characterized by poor balance. This poor balance often
results in stumbles and falls [10:6] . Like athetosis, ataxic cerebral palsy is also caused
by damage to the part of the brain called the cerebellum. Again, this results in a lack
of coordination and balance problems. Children with this form of cerebral palsy may
also have tremors that worsen when they reach for objects. Ataxic CP only accounts
for 10% of individuals with the condition.
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Mixed forms. Mixed forms of cerebral palsy are also fairly common, occurring in
25% of people with cerebral palsy. These people have both spastic muscle tone and
involuntary movements. They may also have low muscle tone in some muscles and
high tone in others [8] . As is expected, they have damage to both the motor cortex
and the cerebellum, which are the two areas of the brain damaged in the other types of
cerebral palsy.
Causes of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy can be caused by either developmental malformations or by
neurological damage that occurs before, during or after birth.
Developmental malformations. Developmental malformation is the failure of the
brain to develop correctly. In the first and second trimesters, a human embryos brain
cells divide and proliferate near the inner layers of the brain [3:11] . Then later they
migrate to other areas of the brain depending on the function that they will serve.
Sometimes a fetus' brain may fail to develop the normal number of brain cells,
communication between them may be impaired, or the brain cells may not migrate to
the area that they are supposed to. If these developmental malformations occur in the
areas of the brain responsible for controlling voluntary movement, then cerebral palsy
may result.
3
Neurological damage. Neurological damage can occur before, during or after birth
[3:11] . There are three main causes of CP before and during birth [10:4] :



Rh incompatibility. This refers to a blood conflict between the mother and the
fetus. It occurs when the mother is missing the Rh factor (Rh-) and the fetus
contains this Rh factor (Rh+), because the father was Rh+. Since the mother
does not have the Rh factor, her immune system will set up an attack against
the Rh factor of the baby. This may result in jaundice, which if severe can
cause neurological damage or even be fatal [7] .
Illnesses of the mother. They include viral diseases, poor nutrition, diabetes,
and alcohol or drugs.
Severe lack of oxygen. There are several ways that the baby could be deprived
of oxygen. First, the oxygen supply could be interrupted by premature
separation of te placenta form the wall of the uterus. An awkward birth
position, such as a breached birth, could also be a cause as well as labor that is
too long or abrupt. Finally, interference with circulation in the umbilical cord
could deprive oxygen to the baby.
About 10-20% of people with cerebral palsy acquire the condition after birth.
Accidental injury, lead poisoning or illness are main causes of cerebral palsy
occurring after birth. Accidental injury can become a factor if the damage is to the
head or through repeated shaking or beatings. Illnesses of the baby can lead to
cerebral palsy just like illnesses to the mother. Examples are meningitis or
encephalitis [10:4] .
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4
Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy
The symptoms of cerebral palsy can vary greatly. Remember, "cerebral palsy" is used
to describe "a variety of disorders that affect a child's ability to move and maintain
posture" [3:2] . The symptoms of the different types of cerebral palsy were already
discussed above. Most of the time symptoms are noticeable before the age of three.
This section deals with symptoms of infants with cerebral palsy. These symptoms can
be broken up into two main groups: physical symptoms and behavioral symptoms.
Physical symptoms. There are several physical symptoms that babies with cerebral
palsy may have. These include, difficulty in sucking, poor muscle control, poor
coordination, problems with seeing or hearing, muscle spasms and seizures. In
general, these children have developmental delay in crawling, sitting, walking or any
other milestone [7] .
Behavioral symptoms. In addition to the physical symptoms, there are several
behavioral symptoms which babies with cerebral palsy may exhibit. They include
unusual tenseness, irritability, poor ability to concentrate, emotional problems and
mental retardation in some.
5
III. NONPHYSICAL THERAPY TREATMENTS
Just like there are many different symptoms of cerebral palsy, there are many different
treatments. Remember though, these treatments only serve to help manage the
condition and not to cure it. Cerebral palsy is non-curable. The treatments include
orthopedic surgery, orthotics, drug therapies, selective dorsal rhizotomy, speech
therapy and occupational therapy.
Orthopedic Surgery
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes (NINDS),
an orthopedist is "a surgeon who specializes in treating bones, muscles, tendons and
other parts of the body's skeletal system [7] . Therefore, orthopedic surgery corrects
the muscle and bone deformities caused by spasticity but can not directly change the
spasticity itself. It can involve tendon lengthening, tendon transfer, or osteomy, which
realigns the femur bone to correct alignment of the legs. The benefits of orthopedic
surgery are that it can lead to significant improvements in walking, improved range of
motion and decreased deformity. On the other hand though, this will take time. In
addition to taking time, there is a 25% chance of infection. It is also possible that the
child will regress temporarily. In the meantime, it is essential that the patient get
physical therapy on a regular basis. Orthopedic surgery can be done at any age usually
starting from age four. It is best suited for children suffering from hip dislocations,
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tight muscles and bone or joint deformities. The cost is quite high, usually around
$20,000 or more.
Orthotics
Orthotics can be defined as "plastic, leather, or lightweight metal devices that provide
stability to the joints or passively stretch the muscles" [3:75] . They serve to reduce
spasticity, stretch tight muscles and to hold them in the stretch to prevent contracture.
Contracture is when muscles become fixed in a tight, abnormal position. Orthotics can
serve as treatment alone or in conjunction with other methods. The two main methods
of orthotics are static bracing and dynamic bracing. Static bracing provides a much
needed stretch for a long period of time. Then once this has been achieved the brace
can be replaced with another one to increase the stretch further [2:85] . This method is
referred to as serial casting and allows the muscles to stretch gradually over time with
the goals being support, maintaining range of motion and providing as much mobility
as possible. On the other hand, dynamic bracing is used to improve walking. These
braces act to position the child's foot correctly and stabilize it. This is important since
many people with spasticity tend to land on their toes or with their feet pointed in or
out. As a result of these braces, tripping is reduced and walking may improve.
6
Drug Therapies
There are two main drug therapies that are being administered currently. They are
botox injections and intrathecal baclofen.
Botox injections. "Botox" is short for botulinum toxin. This toxin, as the name
suggests, is toxic in large amounts. However, it is not toxic in this treatment since
only a small amount is used based on the child's body weight. Botox injections are
administered by a small needle injected directly into the spastic muscle and the whole
treatment only takes a quick five minutes. Unlike the other drug therapies, botox
injections are only used on a few muscle groups at a time. According to the article,
"Spasiticity Management for People with Cerebral Palsy", results of the treatment are
usually not seen for 5-7 days but can last up to twelve weeks [5] . These results
include improved walking and spasticity reduction for three months. It is even
possible for the injections to provide permanent increased range of motion and its side
effects are minor. The side effects are minor discomfort during treatment or possible
rejection of subsequent injections by the body's immune system [5] . This treatment is
used for children usually under the age of ten that have spastic diplegia or spastic
quadriplegia. "Cerebral Palsy: Simple Notes on a Complex Problem" states that
spastic diplegia affects the legs and is characterized by high muscle tone, which is
when muscles appear tight [6] . On the other hand, spastic quadriplegia is high or
spastic muscle tone affecting the arms, legs and trunk. The cost of the treatment is
about $365/ml but three to four milliliters may be used each time and usually the
injections are given every 3-4 months [2:74] . Therefore, the cost can really add up,
but that is the same for the other treatments as well.
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Intrathecal baclofen. Intrathecal baclofen is for more diffuse spasticity. It involves
the use of a pump, which looks kind of like a hockey puck. Figure 1 below shows the
baclofen pump and where it is inserted.
Sorry! The illustrations for this report are not
available.
Figure 1. The Baclofen Pump. Baclofen is delivered into the spinal fluid by a pump
implanted under the skin of the abdomen. Source: Albright, "Treatment of Spasticity:
A Perspective". Exceptional Parent. September 1997, 81.
7
It is implanted into the lower abdomen so that the baclofen is delivered directly into
the spinal cord. This procedure lasts about an hour and the pump can be easily refilled
every three months. According to "Spasticity Management for People with Cerebral
Palsy," baclofen can decrease spasms and block abnormal nerve signals so that the
patient can control his or her muscles [5] . This can make walking easier. The benefits
of intrathecal baclofen over other drug therapies are that a smaller dosage is needed
and that this dosage can be easily varied to fit spasm variations during the day.
However, there are some possible risks. Of the patients undergoing this treatment, 510% may get an infection from the pump and 5-10% could have spinal fluid leaks. In
these cases the pump would have to be removed immediately. The cost of this
treatment is fairly high, ranging from $20-25,000 [2:74] . However, it could greatly
improve mobility.
Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy
Another treatment used for diffuse spasticity is selective dorsal rhizotomy. This
therapy is a neurosurgical treatment in which the nerves going to and from the leg
muscles are exposed in the spinal canal [5] . Then 30-50% of the top half of each
nerve is cut off. The advantage of this treatment is that it results in a permanent and
irreversible decrease in spasticity. When combined with follow-up physical therapy,
walking and the patient's active daily life can be greatly improved. This treatment is
for children between the ages of four and eight. Risks involve cutting excess nerve
rootlets, which could create weakness and some loss of feeling to the legs. In addition,
spasticity in the legs could redevelop as a result of growth spurts. The cost is over
$20,000 like baclofen [2:74] . Also, the time spent in the hospital is extensive. Four to
six weeks of inpatient rehabilitation are needed to relearn basic motor and functional
skills. Remember though, it may all be worth it since this treatment can result in a
permanent decrease in spasticity.
Speech Therapy
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A symptom of many people with cerebral palsy is dsyphagia, difficulty in speaking.
As a result, speech therapy is needed to work on these specific difficulties to improve
the speech of these patients. Speech therapists may also help children use special
communication devices to aid their speech, such as a computer with a voice
synthesizer [7] .
8
Occupational Therapy
Occupational therapists often work hand in hand with physical therapists; sometimes
they even doing treatments together with them. Their purpose is to help the patients
develop skills like feeding, tooth brushing and dressing [7] . In general occupational
therapists improve the day to day living of their patients at home, school and work.
NINDS also states that they can help reduce demands on caregivers and boost selfreliance and self-esteem [7] .
9
IV. PHYSICAL THERAPY
Although the other treatments vary greatly, they all have one thing in common. They
all require physical therapy in conjunction with them in order to work on the muscles
that have just been treated. For example, after selective dorsal rhizotomy physical
therapists are needed since some motor skills need to be relearned. This section will
go in depth describing what physical therapists and physical therapy assistants can do
to help these patients. The ultimate goal of physical therapy is to help patients achieve
independence. As for the age requirement, there is none. However, early intervention
is important. Doctor Margaret Barry says that children's muscles and joints tend to get
tighter and or painful as they get older if they are not treated [2:86] . If they are
treated by a physical therapist, expected results are an increased range of motion,
strength and function along with improved ease of care and minimized deformity.
There are no risks, but the cost is $100-150 per session [2:74] . This is much cheaper
than the drug therapies, but there are usually 2-3 sessions per week.
Goals
As was mentioned above the ultimate goal is independence. However this can be
broken down into three smaller goals [7] :
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
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To prevent muscle weakening (atrophy) following lack of use
To avoid contracture which is defined by NINDS as "chronic shortening of a
muscle due to abnormal tone and weakness associated with cerebral palsy. If
contracture is not avoided in can cause loss of previous motor abilities.
To improve the child's motor development
10
Techniques and Exercises
Since there are so many different techniques and exercises done by physical therapists
and physical therapy assistants, they can not possibly all be discussed here. Therefore,
the ones used most commonly will be discussed. There are specific exercises to
achieve each goal, but there is a lot of overlap. For example, impairing the child's
motor development will also get the child to move his or her muscles and thus can
prevent muscle atrophy as well. Therefore, a little will be mentioned about techniques
to achieve each goal. Then the majority will focus on specific motor developments.
First, to prevent muscle atrophy do exercises that get the child moving. Play games
with the child and do other fun exercises to make the child use her or his muscles.
Using the muscles helps to strengthen them.
The next goal to work on is impairing the child's motor development. To do this,
select techniques according to level and not according to age. Sophie Levitt states that
this therapy has two main aspects: (1) specialized techniques for specific motor
problems to initiate dormant motor activity, intensify correction and training of motor
activity, and (2) techniques to integrate motor function with related areas of function
in the child's activities of daily living [4:96] . Since the eyesight of these babies may
be poor, the babies hands are slow to move and explore. Therefore, exercises need to
be done to get their hands moving more. To do this, the therapist can have the baby
practice putting his or her hands together or to stimulate their the body by rubbing it
with towels or cream [4:101] . Also, give the child time to experience touch and
sound whenever possible. All these are things mothers can do with their babies at
home. A technique called "patterning" is based on the principle that motor skills
should be taught in more or less the same sequence that they develop normally [7:28]
. For example, the child is first taught to crawl before he is taught to walk. The
specific steps of motor development, including prone development, supine
development, sitting, standing and walking will be discussed in detail below.
11
Contracture can be avoided or eliminated by following the motor developmental
sequences too. One other method that may be used is the Bobath technique. NINDS
mentions that physical therapists using this technique position the child in opposing
movements to what they are used to [7:27-28] . For example if a child normally keeps
his arm flexed, physical therapists extend it manually or use a air splint to hold the
arm in an extended position.
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Prone development. This is the first development to work on with any child. Of
course, special attention is needed for those with cerebral palsy. Prone is the position
the body is in when it is lying flat on the front side. To get the child comfortable with
this position, it may be necessary to place him or her slowly over your lap or over a
large plastic ball. Figure 2 illustrates this.
Sorry! The illustrations for this report are not
available.
Figure 2. Head Control and Development of the Prone Position. To develop this the
child is rocked back and forth on the ball with arms extended. Source: Levitt,
Treatment of Cerebral Palsy and Motor Delay. (Cambridge: University Press, 1995),
109.
Then bring the child's arms forward over the edge of the ball and rock the child back
and forth with their face hanging over the edge [4:109] . Head control also needs to be
worked on. This can be done by raising the head, holding it steady and turning it from
side to side. Children with cerebral palsy may also tend to be weight bearing on a
particular side [4:111] . To correct this, encourage the child to use the more affected
side and gently push the child's weight on to it. Eventually the problem will be
corrected. Next the physical therapist should encourage the child to rise on to their
knees. Figure 3 shows a child on his knees while he is being entertained.
Sorry! The illustrations for this report are not
available.
Figure 3. Child on His Hands and Knees. The physical therapist should encourage
this. Source: Levitt, Treatment of Cerebral Palsy and Motor Delay. (Cambridge:
University Press, 1995), 117.
12
After several months of developing this, the therapist can get the child to put weight
on their hands and feet to do the bear walk [4:128]
Supine development. The next exercises focus on supine development. Supine is the
opposite of prone. It is the name of the position one is when lying on their back. To
help the child develop this, therapists should start by having the child reach for things
with their arms while in the supine position [4:130] . Then have the children do the
same with their legs, except in this case have the child hold a hand up to grasp their
foot. Levitt states that "raising reactions" are probably the most important activities to
be trained in developing the supine position [4:131] . These exercises contribute to
children learning how to get in and out of bed. Next, teach the children how to
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stabilize their head while in the supine position [4:131] . When this is finally
achieved, the next development to acquire is the task of sitting.
Sitting. Proper sitting is a challenge to develop in a child with cerebral palsy. The
following aspects are involved [4:148] :
1. Vertical head control
2. Control of the head and trunk
3. Head or trunk rising. This involves teaching the child to come to an upright
position from a hunched over position.
4. Counterpoising. This involves having the child bend backwards so that they
are no longer sitting upright. This is shown in Figure 4 below.
5. Finally, tilt exercises will help improve the child's sit. These involve tilting the
child forwards, backwards and sideways.
Sorry! The illustrations for this report are not
available.
Figure 4. Counterpoising. The child is bending backwards and then returning to an
upright position to grab the ball. Source: Levitt, Treatment of Cerebral Palsy and
Motor Delay. (Cambridge: University Press, 1995), 149.
13
For children with high tone or spastic cerebral palsy, development of the correct
posture will take a lot of time and work on the parts of the therapist, child and parents.
This is because spasticity causes the child to have abnormal sitting postures.
Standing and walking. The final stage is the development of standing and walking.
This is by far the greatest challenge for patients with cerebral palsy. It is common for
a child with cerebral palsy to never be able to walk or stand on their own. Support or
the aid of a cane, walker or wheelchair may be necessary alternatives. However, some
children may eventually be able to walk depending on their condition and the goals of
the individual child and their physical therapist. To be able to walk though, these
children must first be able to stand. Children with spastic cerebral palsy often have
abnormal postures in standing due to their shortened muscles. According to Sophie
Levitt, these children often use this spasticity to fix them in upright positions [4:183] .
The following program is one she describes for training patients to walk:
1.
2.
3.
4.
Establish an equal distribution of weight on each foot
Correct abnormal posture
Increase stability
Delay training if necessary
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5. Continue to develop head, trunk and pelvic fixation while sitting or standing
6. Practice weight shift leading to stepping
7. Train lateral stepping and walking holding support on each side. This can be
done having the child side step around furniture while holding on to it Figure 5
is an illustration of a child doing that.
8. Train stopping, starting and turning
9. Train to use steps or inclines
Sorry! The illustrations for this report are not
available.
Figure 5. Lateral Stepping. This child is using furniture to practice side stepping.
Source: Levitt, Treatment of Cerebral Palsy and Motor Delay. (Cambridge:
University Press, 1995), 182.
If this is not possible, physical therapists can teach children to walk with walkers,
canes or simply wheelchairs.
14
V. CONCLUSION
Cerebral palsy is a condition characterized by many different symptoms ranging from
tight muscles to uncontrolled motion and lack of balance. It affects many people and
can not be cured, only managed. This report has discussed the types, causes and
symptoms of CP. It has also provided the main treatments for managing the condition.
They include orthopedic surgery, orthotics, botox injections, intrathecal baclofen,
selective dorsal rhizotomy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical
therapy. For a review of these different treatments and how they compare to each
other see figure 6 in appendix A. Remember that these treatments can be done alone
or in conjunction with one another. However, all treatments work optimally if
followed by physical therapy. That shows how important the physical therapist and
physical therapy assistants are. They can allow the patient with cerebral palsy to learn
to sit, stand or even walk. Overall, they allow the child to lead a more independent
and better daily life. Every person with cerebral palsy is different, and it is the
responsibility of a whole team of healthcare professionals to work together with the
patient and their parents to help improve their day to day life. The physical therapist is
just one of those healthcare professionals.
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15
APPENDIX A: TREATMENT SUMMARY TABLE
Treatment
Age
Age
For Whom?
Expected
Results
Side
Effects
Orthopedic
Surgery
Any
age;
usually
over 4
Hip
dislocations,
muscle
contractures,
bone/joint
deformities
Increased
range of
motion;
improved
gait;
decreased
deformity
Infection
25%;
$20,000+
Bony nonunions
Botox
Injections
Any
age; less
often
over 10
Spastic
piplegia;
spastic
quadriplegia
Decreased
spasticity;
improved
walking
Possible
injection
Intrathecal
Baclofen
Selective
Dorsal
Rhizotomy
Occupational
Therapy/
Physical
Therapy
Cost
$365/ml
Over
age 3
Spastic
quadriplegia
Decrease in
spasticity
Infection
5-10%;
$25,000+
spinal
fluid leaks
Usually
4 to 8
Spastic
diplegia;
spastic
quadriplegia
Permanent
decrease in
spasticity;
improved
walking
Small risk
of
$25,000+
infection
or wounds
Spasticity of
any extremity
Increased
range of
motion,
None
strength,
function;
improved gait
Any age
$100$150 per
session
Source: Rosenbaum, et al. "Treatment of Spasticity: A Perspective". Exceptional
Parent. September 1997, 74.
16
APPENDIX B: WORKS CITED PAGE
1. Anderson, Kenneth, et al. Mosby's Medical, Nursing and Allied Health
Dictionary. Chicago: Mosby, 1994.
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2. Barry, Rosenbaum and McLaughlin, John. "Treatment of Spasticity: A
Perspective." Exceptional Parent. September, 1997.
3. Gersh, Elliot, M.D. "What is Cerebral Palsy". Children with Cerebral Palsy.
1990.
4. Levitt, Sophie. Treatment of Cerebral Palsy and Motor Delay. 3rd ed.
Cambridge: University Press, 1995.
5. Miller-Dwan Medical Center. "Spasticity Management for People with
Cerebral Palsy." 1998.
http://www.millerdwan.com/content/md.managingthecond.html.
6. Mitchell, Jennifer and Quinlan, Teresa. "Cerebral Palsy: Simple Notes on a
Complex Problem." January 1998. http://pwp.ibl.bm/~mitchell/defin.htm.
7. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. "Hope Through
Research." 1993. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/healinfo/disorder/cp/cphtr.htm.
8. Stanford, Anee. "Cerebral Palsy Info Central." May 1998. http://
members.aol.com/anee/index.html
9. United Cerebral Palsy Associations. "United Cerebral Palsy." 1997.
http://www.ucpa.org/text/index.html.
10. "What Everyone Should Know about Cerebral Palsy." Maine: Channing L.
Bete, 1977.
17
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MEMORANDUM
TO: Susanna Kearnsley, Assistant Director
FROM: Michael Calder
DATE: December 14, 1996
RE: Submission of Intranet Feasibility Study
Per our agreement of September 22, 1996, I am submitting the enclosed departmental
intranet feasibility report. I hope that meets with your approval and fulfills your needs
with the Budgeting and Oversight Committees.
Sincerely,
Michael Calder
Report on
FEASIBILITY OF IMPLEMENTING A DEPARTMENTAL INTRANET
Submitted to
Susanna Kearnsley
Office of Admissions
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, Texas
December 14, 1996
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This report details the problems with information distribution systems in the Office of
Admissions, examines the new technology of the intranet as a possible alternative,
and makes recommendations on the feasibility and possible benefits of implementing
the new system. It also provides the basic technical background necessary to
understand intranets and make informed decisions about their use and
implementation.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF FIGURES
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Cost
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Content Publication
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Information Sources
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ABSTRACT
Informative abstract goes here (eventually...)
iv
FEASIBILITY OF IMPLEMENTING A DEPARTMENTAL INTRANET
I. INTRODUCTION
As the University of Texas community undertakes many quality initiatives, customer
service (both internal and external) becomes paramount to the success of the Office of
Admissions. Through decisive and flexible policy-making, the department has been
extremely successful in adapting to the demands of numerous University initiatives,
as well as the challenges of enrollment management. To achieve complete success the
Office of Admissions must now focus on an expedient method of alerting staff to
changes in policy, procedure, and other pertinent office data, so that this information
can be further disseminated to prospective applicants, the general public, and the
department's internal University customers.
The Office of Admissions' current system of paper circulation has proven to be slow
and problematic, often leading numerous inconsistencies, redundancies, and errors in
information distribution. This report details the current problem, examines the new
technology of the intranet as a possible alternative, and makes recommendations on
the feasibility and possible benefits of implementing the new system. It also provides
the basic technical background necessary to understand intranets and make informed
decisions about their use and implementation.
II. INTRANETS AND COMPONENT TECHNOLOGIES
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A minimal technical background on intranets and component technologies is
necessary to make informed decisions concerning their potential benefits and uses.
Definition of Intranets
An intranet is essentially an small, internal version of the Internet--an internal
computer network designed specifically for efficient and easy sharing and distribution
of information, data, and applications. A Web server is established to house data,
electronic documents, and possibly applications. This server is hidden from users on
the Internet and kept secure by means of a firewall (see Figure 1). Intranets make use
of TCP/IP, the extremely robust, stable and portable protocol for transmitting data
between computers used on the Internet. Intranets also employ a the markup language
HTML to format documents which appear the same on any computer. These two core
technologies allow information and applications to be accessed through one
homogenous interface (the web browser), regardless of the client machine used.
Component Technologies
Several core technologies mentioned above are integral to the function of an intranet.
In an intranet, these components work together to determine how the server (computer
providing information and services) and client (computer requesting information and
services) interact.
Intranet server. An intranet server is simply a computer that runs Web server
software. The server application monitors network connections for incoming requests
for information. It then handles every aspect of these requests, i.e., determining if the
client machine or user has clearance to access files, finding information on the server,
and returning any necessary information or communication to the client [6].
Firewall. Firewall is the term for security measures that separate the intranet from the
much larger Internet. The firewall determines what machines and users have access to
the files on the intranet server, and blocks access to unauthorized clients.
Communication protocol. Transfer control protocol/Internet protocol (TCP/IP) is the
universal set of rules that governs how information is passed between many different
types of computers. It is this protocol that is at the core of the Internet and its ability
to link computers and operating systems of all kinds around the world. When this
protocol is used on a smaller scale, over a local area network (LAN), an intranet can
also be employed to enable computers of different kinds to access and share the same
information [1:151-153].
2
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Markup language. Hypertext markup language (HTML) is another important
component of the Internet, specifically the World Wide Web, that enables intranets to
efficiently distribute information to numerous, diverse clients. HTML is a simple
language used to mark-up text, sound, images, and other types of content in such a
way that tells a browser exactly how that content is to be displayed and acted upon.
Content from many popular document formats can be converted to HTML with
filters. Filters are programs that automatically convert formatted content into HTML
files.
Browser. The browser is software on client machines that handles all communication
with servers, and is primarily designed to interpret files formatted with HTML. It is a
single application environment that can handle any type of information available on
the server: text, sound, images, and application. This eliminates the need for multiple
applications to view files of different types.
Figure 1: Diagram of the relationship between Internet, LAN, and
intranet. The red bar indicates the firewall; arrows indicate the
flow of information.
3
III. NEED FOR AN EFFICIENT MODEL OF INFORMATION
DISTRIBUTION
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Accurate and timely information is the key to an efficient workplace. As policies,
procedures, schedules and contacts for the Office of Admissions (as well as the entire
University) constantly change and become increasingly complex, an effective means
of distributing this information among staff of several offices becomes paramount to
our goal of increased customer service--both internal and external. The current system
of hard- copy distribution of office data, manuals, and policy updates is plagued with
obvious issues redundancy, inefficiency and inaccuracy.
Rapid and Frequent Changes in Policy and Procedure
Timely revision of departmental policy and procedure is on key to success for the
Office of Admissions. Perhaps as important is the need to quickly alert staff to
changes and provide them with the necessary tools and information to effectively deal
with new guidelines that may originate from one or more sources.
University-wide. The University must constantly adapt and change to remain
responsive and competitive within the educational community. Being responsible to
groups both numerous and diverse including students, faculty, staff, state and federal
agencies, as well as corporate entities means ever-evolving University policies which
impact departments throughout the institution.
Office-wide. The Office of Admissions must be able to quickly adapt to University
policies and issues, as well as remain responsive to its customer base--student
applicants. From an administrative standpoint this means constantly reviewing and/or
revising office policy and procedure. The Office of Admissions is responsible for
disseminating information about its own policy, as well as that of the University, to its
staff. This is essential to achieving the department's goal of good customer service,
and necessitates an efficient method of information distribution.
Introduction of New Technologies
As departmental procedure becomes more complicated and labor-intensive, new
technology is introduced to the office at an increasing rate to ease the administrative
burden on staff While these new tools often foster improvements if office efficiency,
it is necessary to provide training and information quickly to enable staff to
implement new office technologies.
4
Inadequacies of Paper Distribution Model
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The Office of Admissions current system of paper information distribution is plagued
with potential problems and inefficiencies. In the current system staff members
(usually a single person within each section) produce information which needs to be
distributed to the staff of a given section, or to all offices within Admissions. The
document or documents are then photocopied and distributed by hand or campus mail.
This system has several inherent shortcomings.
Slow and incomplete circulation. Each section has a single staff member responsible
for document publication and circulation. Any information that needs to be published
to a section or the department must first be submitted to this person, who then creates
the necessary documents. Photocopies of these documents are then circulated by hand
or the campus mail system. This means that the average duration from document
inception to full delivery can range from 2 - 5 days. Complex documents are often a
week or more in publication and circulation [5].
Redundancy of storage and information. There is no single repository for
information used by the Office of Admissions, making timely and thorough
maintenance of departmental documents difficult. Rather than a single location for
information which always has the most current information, a single document must
be duplicated and stored by each employee needing access to the information. These
multiple documents cannot be accurately revised--new copies must be distributed to
the entire office each time a change in the material occurs.
Inaccuracy of documents. An inherent problem of the manual distribution system
with redundant storage points is the inaccuracy of dated or poorly circulated
information. As employees either never receive or never replace dated documents,
incorrect and out-of- date information becomes a problem. This information is
subsequently passed on to other University departments or the general public resulting
in poor customer service.
Cost. Printing, duplication and distribution costs average from $50 to $100 per
employee per year [3] . This means that, with its approximately 300 full-time
employees, the Office of Admissions spends $15,000 to $30,000 per year on system
of paper distribution that is fraught with inefficiency and potential errors.
5
IV. BENEFITS OF A DEPARTMENTAL INTRANET
The implementation of a departmental intranet has the potential to remedy many all of
the problems with the current system as well as bring additional benefits to the Office
of Admissions.
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Efficiency, Accuracy, and Accessibility in Information Distribution
A departmental intranet provides instantaneous electronic circulation of published
information through the LAN connections. Once and document has been created and
published on an intranet, it is immediately available to all staff, in all sections or
departments, through the familiar browser software. Additionally, the information
may be selectively circulated according to security clearance or realms.
Intranets serve as a central repository for data and information, eliminating
redundancy and inaccuracy generated by multiple revisions and copies of various
documents. The departmental intranet serves as the sole source for office information,
and always maintains the most current version of any document or application.
Revisions take effect immediately (often transparently), and are seen the next time
any staff member access the site. This eliminates the need for employees to store
potentially outdated material in their work areas, and drastically cuts the office's
duplicating costs.
Intranets also provide a high degree of accessibility to the publishing process. Many
tools which facilitate almost effortless conversion and publication of on-line content
currently exist at little or no cost. Filters for most document formats already in use in
the Office of Admissions are available at no cost to the University. With minimal
training, and readily available tools, any staff member can prepare a document for
publication. This allows the employee who is expert in the subject matter to create the
necessary document, rather than the publication specialist who may know little or
nothing of the content material. This eliminates error that may creep in as a result of
miscommunication. The resulting files may then be forwarded to the site
administrator for immediate distribution on the intranet.
Additional Benefits and Uses
Intranets serve information in many formats (text, graphics, applications, multimedia)
in one familiar interface--the web browser. With the easy addition of these other types
of information, office documents can be more informative and portable across any
type of computer platform [2:107].
Also, with the addition of messaging software, an intranet can become interactive,
allowing staff to discuss internal issues, share ideas on projects, and post important
news on electronic bulletin boards. Again, this type of software is available free on
the Internet, or for more full-featured applications, at minimal cost to the University-approximately $50.00 to $85.00 per license [4:37-38] . Internet mail server software
may be added to the
6
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intranet to provide a more private and standardized means of communication. Apple
Internet Mail Server (AIMS) is a robust and well-respected application of this type,
and is available for free from Apple [4:38].
As an electronic means of distribution, intranets may also be employed to distribute
software upgrades to client machines. Software archives reside on intranet servers,
and users may download applications much as they do from the Internet [3].
Finally, an intranet solution is very cost effective. Intranet server software can be had
at prices ranging from free to $250. The application recommended by this report,
MacHTTP 2.2, would cost the department $65.00 per license.
7
V. IMPLEMENTATION OF AN ADMISSIONS INTERNET
The existing office infrastructure of hardware and networks readily supports the use
of one or more intranet servers. The primary needs for a successful implementation
will come in the area of staff training, for both server administration and content
publication. Security, while important, will not be a key issue or problem. Finally,
costs for the first year of operation will be minimal in relation to the costs of the
current paper system.
Hardware and Software Needs
Computer system needs (both hardware and software) will be minimal, as the
University has already made a significant investment in both to support other office
systems.
Network and servers. The hardware requirements for the network and server side of
the intranet equation are already in place. The Office of Admissions' LAN is equipped
with TCP/IP and the high-performance routers necessary to accommodate it, often the
highest cost associate with intranet implementation [2:107] . Servers can exist on an
one of several Power Mac 7200s already purchased by the department. As intranet
traffic increases, it may be necessary to dedicate a single machine entirely to server
duties. The necessary server software may be purchased for $65.00 per license for
MacHTTP 2.2. This package is easy to administer and configure, and supports all
industry standard upgrade options [4: 39].
Client machines and software. No additional equipment or software will be required
for client computers. Currently all full-time Admissions employees have desktop
Macintosh computers with more than the minimum requirements needed to access an
intranet. All client machines have TCP/IP capability. Netscape provides the industry
standard browser software, Navigator, to educational institutions at no cost.
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Staff Training
The primary focus of an intranet implementation for the Office of Admissions should
be in staff training. Most, if not all, aspects of necessary training can be handled
within the University community and should again be achieved at a low cost to the
department.
Server Administration
Each section's LAN Administrator should have the necessary skill for the initial setup
and maintenance of an intranet server [7:38] . The majority of special skills and
techniques related to site administration can be learned from server documentation,
with analysts from the Universities Data Services Department serving as guides [6].
Content Publication
Employees from all areas of the department should be encouraged to learn to use
HTML or filters for the most common file formats. This relieves the burden of
content production from any single person, and places the opportunity in the hands of
those best qualified to provide information.
8
VI. CONCLUSION
A departmental intranet is an excellent solution to the Office of Admissions current
problem inadequate information distribution. The current system of manual paper
reproduction and distribution of documents is plagued with redundancy, inefficiency,
and potential error. With little additional training, no initial equipment needs, and
minimal server software costs, an intranet can provide a single repository for office
data, instant availability of published documents, and a sole authoritative source for
the most current information available.
9
INFORMATION SOURCES
1. Ayre, Rick. "Intranet How To: Setting Up Shop." PC Magazine (April1996),
151 - 158.
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2. "Building an Intranet Inside Your Company." Fortune [Online]. Available:
http://pathfinder.com/@@VzmQugcAJ1tlcLuS/fortune/specials/intranets/inde
x.html [1996, October 19].
3. Derfler, Frank J. "The Intranet Platform: A Universal Client" PC Magazine
(April1996), 105 - 113.
4. Miley, Michael. "MacWEEK Guide to Intranets" MacWEEK (August 1996),
36 - 41.
5. Olivares, Jaime. Administrative Associate. Office of Admissions, Processing
Division. Personal Interview. Austin, Texas. November 18, 1996.
6. Stewart, Shelby. Senior Systems Analyst. Data Services Division, University
of Texas, Austin. Personal Interview. Austin, Texas. December 3, 1996.
7. Strom, David. "Art, Geeks and Power Ploys." Forbes (August 1996), S38 S40.
10
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REPORT 5
December 9, 1982
David McMurrey, Chairman
Coastal Real-Estate Developers
400 Baywater Blvd.
Corpus Christi, Texas
Dear Mr. McMurrey:
As agreed in our September 21 contract, we are submitting the attached report entitled
The Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide.
This report examines the problem of CO2 accumulation in the earth's atmosphere. The
climatic changes caused by excessive CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere, and the
implications of these changes, will be discussed. Also discussed are the mechanisms
of the greenhouse effect, the sources of atmospheric carbon dioxide, and some
possible remedies to the problem.
I hope you find this report satisfactory.
Sincerely yours,
William R. Waters, President
Environmental Research Associates, Inc.
1212 Trace Dr., Suite 3
Austin, Texas 78741
WRW:mb
Enclosures
Report
on
THE EFFECTS OF INCREASED ATMOSPHERIC CARBON DIOXIDE
Submitted
to
Mr. David McMurrey, Chairman
Coastal Real-Estate Developers Association
Corpus Christi, Texas
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Page 344 of 609
by
Environmental Research Associates, Inc.
December 9, 1982
The report examines the effects of increased CO2 concentrations in the earth's
atmosphere. The shifting of local weather patterns, the mechanisms of the greenhouse
effect, and the sources and sinks of CO2 are also discussed. A list of possible remedies
to the problem concludes the report.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF FIGURES .
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ABSTRACT
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II. NATURAL WEATHER PATTERNS .
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Radiation Absorption by Carbon Dioxide and Water Vapor
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Positive Feedback Mechanisms
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I. INTRODUCTION
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III. MECHANISMS OF THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT
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Natural Greenhouse Effect
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IV. CARBON CYCLE
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Carbon Dioxide Produced by Different Fuels
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Future Levels of Carbon Dioxide
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V. CLIMATIC EFFECTS OF INCREASED CO2 CONCENTRATIONS
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CO2 From Fossil Fuel
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Changes in Local Weather Patterns
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1930s as Climate Analog
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Increased Tropical Storm Activity
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Sea Level Increase
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VI. WAYS TO REDUCE GREENHOUSE EFFECT
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VII. SUMMARY
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Combined Effect of the 180-Year Cycle and Increased CO2
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Growth Rate of Fuel Use: Two Different Models .
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Estimated CO2 Added to the Atmosphere by the Burning of
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Atmospheric CO2 Contribution by Region
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CO2 Contribution by Fuel Type
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Doubling Dates for CO2 Concentrations Models
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APPENDIX
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LIST OF FIGURES AND TABLES
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LIST OF TABLES
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iii
ABSTRACT
Since the Industrial Revolution, man has introduced tremendous amounts of carbon
dioxide into the earth's atmosphere. While some of this CO2 is assimilated into natural
reservoirs, approximately 50% remains airborne. This increase in CO2 concentration
causes what is commonly known as the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is a
result of the absorption of infrared radiation by the surface of the earth. This
absorption causes an increase in the atmospheric temperature. Increasing the earth's
temperature in turn increases the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere. Since
water vapor is also a strong absorber of infrared radiation, a positive feedback
mechanism is created, leading to further infrared-radiation absorption. As
temperatures increase, atmospheric circulation patterns are altered which will change
local weather patterns.
These changes could have an enormous impact on agricultural production. Attendant
to a rise in the mean global temperature is a melting of small but significant portion of
the polar ice caps. This will result in a rise in sea level which would flood coastal
areas including major population centers. The problem of the greenhouse effect might
be remedied by a reduction in the use of fossil fuel, large scale reforestation to
increase the capacity of the biotic sink, and development of alternate energy sources
such as solar and nuclear fusion. However, not much hope is held out for these
remedies.
iv
Report on
THE EFFECTS OF INCREASED ATMOSPHERIC CARBON DIOXIDE
I. INTRODUCTION
Before the year 2020, the climate of the earth may be warmer than any time in the
past thousand years. This change, which is incredibly fast by geological time scales,
will be brought about by increased levels of carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere.
The most important source of excessive CO2 is the burning of carbon-based fossil
fuels for energy production. Carbon dioxide is a by-product of all living systems and
is normally considered harmless. It is a minor element in the earth's atmosphere
comprising only about 0.03% of the total atmosphere. However, this small amount of
CO2, along with water vapor, is responsible for what is commonly known as the
greenhouse effect.
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The fact that changes in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere could cause changes in
the earth's climate has been known for over one hundred years. However, only in the
last 5 to 10 years has significant research been done in this field. The most ominous of
the effects of a warmer climate will be the shifting of local weather patterns. This
shifting will have profound effects on agricultural production in a world that is
already unable to adequately feed its citizens today. There will also be an
accompanying redistribution of wealth which will likely lead to dangerous social
conflicts. It is obvious that the continued introduction of CO2 into the atmosphere will
have consequences far worse than producing a slightly balmier climate.
The purpose of this report is to examine the climatic changes caused by increased
carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and their implications for society. Also discussed
will be the mechanisms of the greenhouse effect, the sources and reservoirs of carbon
dioxide, and some possible methods to reduce the magnitude of the problem. Note,
however, that the most we can do at this point is lessen the severity of the situation.
That the mean global temperature will increase in the next few decades is certain. The
only questions are how much and how fast.
2
II. NATURAL WEATHER PATTERNS
The earth's climate naturally changes over extended periods of time. Temperatures
have been much warmer for 80 to 90 percent of the last 500 million years than they
are today. The polar ice caps, for example, are actually a relatively new phenomenon.
They were formed 15 to 20 million years ago in the Antarctic and perhaps as recently
as 3 to 5 million years in the Arctic.
The climate is still dominated by natural cycles of warming and cooling. The most
influential of these natural weather patterns is the 180-year cycle. The 180-year cycle
predicts that temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere reach a minimum every 180
years. (Climate records for the Southern Hemisphere are incomplete.) The bottom of
the last cycle was in the early 1800s, which suggests that we may now be in a period
of peak coldness. The winters of 1976 through 1979, which were unusually bitter,
seem to reinforce the theory behind the 180-year cycle. This current cooling trend
would mask any warming caused by an increased greenhouse effect.
However, the 180-year cycle predicts a natural warming trend will begin shortly
before the end of this century. At the same time, the effects of elevated CO2 levels on
atmospheric temperatures will have increased to new high levels. Figure 1 shows the
combined effects of these warming trends.
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3
Therefore, temperatures could reach their highest level in several hundred years
shortly after the year 2000, and they will reach their highest level in the last 125,000
years by mid-century [1:7-11].
Figure 1. Combined Effect of the 180-Year Cycle and Increased CO2 Concentrations.
Source: Harold W. Bernard. The Greenhouse Effect (Cambridge: Ballinger, 1980), 10.
4
III. MECHANISMS OF THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT
For the mean global temperature to stay constant, the earth-atmosphere system must
be in radiative equilibrium with the sun. In other words, the incoming solar radiation
must match the outgoing thermal radiation from the earth. Of the incoming solar
radiation, 35% is reflected back into space. The reflectivity of the earth is its albedo.
The albedo is taken into consideration when the total energy flux of the earthatmosphere system is calculated. Of the remaining 65% of solar radiation that is not
reflected back, 47% is absorbed by the surface and 18% is absorbed by the
atmosphere. For the temperature of our system to remain constant, this energy that is
absorbed by the atmosphere must be radiated back out. This radiation primarily takes
place in the 5-micron to 30-micron range of wave lengths, which is in the infrared
portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. A micron is one millionth of a meter [2:755].
Natural Greenhouse Effect
The effective radiating temperature is the temperature the earth should have for the
amount of solar radiation it absorbs. Calculation of the effective radiating temperature
gives a value of -200° C. However, the observed mean global temperature is 140° C.
The difference of 340° C is caused by a natural greenhouse effect that takes place in
the atmosphere [11] . As the earth tries to lose heat into space, the atmosphere absorbs
infrared radiation emitted by
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the surface. Specifically, the atmosphere allows 50% of the incoming solar radiation
to reach the surface but only 10% of the longwave radiation from the surface to
escape. This causes the temperature of the earth-atmosphere system to increase. The
magnitude of the greenhouse effect is defined as the difference between the upward
infrared radiation from the surface and the upward infrared radiation from the top of
the atmosphere [2:755].
Radiation Absorption by Carbon Dioxide and Water Vapor
The greenhouse effect is caused by minor constituents in the atmosphere, mainly
carbon dioxide and water vapor. The earth must radiate in the 5-micron to 30-micron
region. However, water vapor is a strong absorber of radiation over the entire thermal
spectrum except in the 8-micron to 18-micron interval. The 12-micron to 18-micron
interval is largely blocked by CO2 absorption. In fact, current CO2 levels are sufficient
to make the 15-micron band virtually opaque to infrared radiation. The earth is,
therefore, constrained to radiate its excess thermal energy in a nearly transparent
window from 8 microns to 12 microns. As anthropogenic carbon dioxide is
introduced into the atmosphere, mostly by combustion of fossil fuels, absorption of
infrared radiation in the 10-micron band and in the wings of the 15- micron band is
increased. This increased absorption results in an overall warming of the earthatmosphere system.
6
Positive Feedback Mechanisms
As the climate becomes warmer, positive feedback mechanisms tend to exacerbate the
problem. Elevations in temperature decrease the solubility of CO2 in the oceans.
Therefore, as temperature increases, the oceans release more CO2 into the atmosphere,
which causes another increase in temperature. Even more threatening is the
greenhouse water vapor coupling. The atmosphere tends to attain a definite
distribution of relative humidity in response to a change in temperature. If the
temperature is increased, the relative humidity, which is a measure of the amount of
water vapor in the atmosphere, is also increased. At the same time, the vapor pressure
of water is raised. The result is more water vapor in the atmosphere, which causes
more greenhouse effect, which raises temperatures even higher, which again increases
the water vapor in the atmosphere. This positive feedback mechanism approximately
doubles the sensitivity of surface temperature to a change in the amount of energy
absorbed by the earth [1:19].
7
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IV. THE CARBON CYCLE
The annual increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is dependent on several
factors. First is the amount of carbon dioxide produced by consumption of carbonbased fuels. Subtracted from this amount is the carbon dioxide that is removed from
the atmosphere and stored in reservoirs, or sinks. The most prominent sinks of carbon
dioxide are the atmosphere, the oceans, and the biosphere. Also contributing to a net
increase in CO2 is the deforestation of large land areas each year. The amount of
carbon dioxide produced from fossil fuels and the annual increase in atmospheric
concentrations are both well known. Approximately 50% of the CO2 produced from
fossil fuel remains in the atmosphere. The rest is absorbed into sinks. The proportion
of CO2 that goes into each sink and the mechanisms of CO2 removal are poorly
understood.
CO2 From Fossil Fuel
Since the advent of the Industrial Revolution, about 154.4 gigatons (G ton) of carbon
have been added to the atmosphere. One gigaton is equal to one billion tons. Even
more alarming is the fact that of this 154.4 G tons, about 27%, or 45 G tons, were
produced from 1970 to 1978. Overall, the use of carbon-based fuels has increased at
an exponential rate of 4.3% per year from 1860 to the mid-1970s. (See Table 1.) High
energy costs should help to slow the use of fuels,
8
although no significant reductions in demand have yet been observed.
Table 1. Estimated Carbon Added to the Atmosphere
by the Burning of Fuels (G tons per year)
Year
Carbon Added (G tons)
1950
1.63
1960
2.16
1970
3.96
1975
4.87
1978
5.62
Source: Gordon J. MacDonald. The Long-Term Impacts of Increasing
Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Levels (Cambridge: Ballinger, 1982), 152.
It is expected that industrialized countries will be able to significantly reduce the use
of fossil fuels for energy production by using clean energy sources such as solar and
nuclear. However, a growing world population will place heavy pressure for increased
energy use, especially in developing countries. The percentage of CO2 produced by
geographical regions in 1974 and the projected contribution expected in 2025 is listed
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in Table 2. Even though the United States will reduce its contribution from 27% to
8%, the amount produced by developing regions in the same time will more than
triple [4].
9
Carbon Dioxide Produced by Different Fuels
The amount of carbon added to the atmosphere depends on the type of fuel being
burned. Fuels with a high hydrogen- to-carbon ratio produce the most energy for each
unit of carbon released. The dirtiest fuels, in terms of carbon dioxide, are the various
synthetic fuels that are produced from coal. Synfuels release large amounts of CO2
because energy must be expended to extract them from coal. Therefore, the carbon
dioxide generated from producing the synfuel must be added to that released by
combustion. Because the world has very large coal reserves, research into synfuel
production has increased greatly. Although synfuels could significantly reduce the
dependence of the United States on petroleum, they would tend to accelerate the
buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Table 3 lists the amount of CO2 released
by each type of fuel.
Table 2. Percent of Atmospheric CO2 Contribution by Nation
and Continent
Nation or Continent
1974
2025
USA
27
8
USSR & Eastern Europe
25
17
Western Europe
18
10
Central Asia
8
19
Japan, Australia, N. Zealand
7
4
Developing Asia
--
4
Developing America
4
40
Developing Middle East
--
3
Developing Africa
--
2
Source: Committee on Governmental Affairs, U. S. Senate. Carbon Dioxide
Accumulation in the Atmosphere, Synthetic Fuels and Energy Policy (1979), 451.
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Table 3. CO2 Contribution by Fuel Type. Carbon released per
100 quads of energy produced (1 quad=1015 Btu).
Fuel
Carbon in 10[-15] Grams
Oil
2.00
Gas
1.45
Coal
2.50
Synfuels
3.40
Source: Committee on Governmental Affairs, U. S. Senate. Carbon Dioxide
Accumulation in the Atmosphere, Synthetic Fuels and Energy Policy (1979), 451.
Future Levels of Carbon Dioxide
Future inputs of carbon from fossil fuels are dependent upon world energy
consumption and on the mix of fuels used. Two models have been devised to estimate
the world consumption of carbon-based fuels in the future. The first model is based on
the historical growth rate of 4.3% per year.
Figure 2. Growth Rate of Fuel Use Computed With Two Different Models. Source:
Gordon J. MacDonald. The Long-Term Impacts of Increasing Atmospheric Carbon
Dioxide Levels (Cambridge: Ballinger, 1982), 34.
11
If the world use of fossil fuels is maintained at that level, the proven energy reserves
would be exhausted by 2010 to 2015. The second model, and probably the more
accurate one, postulates that the current growth rate will continue until 1990, and then
the rate of growth will decline to zero over a fifty-year period. Figure 2 graphically
compares growth rates from both models. This tapered growth scenario would
postpone the exhaustion of proven reserves by ten to fifteen years. However, actual
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use of carbon-based fuels could continue for some time after this, since the total
amount of recoverable reserves is much greater than the proven reserves. Obviously,
these estimates are greatly simplified, since they were devised to give minimum times
to exhaustion of energy reserves.
As conventional fossil fuels become more expensive, it is likely that world fuel usage
will shift to a different combination of fuels than used today. Changes in this fuel mix
causes more uncertainty in estimates of future CO2 inputs into the atmosphere. Table
4 gives the dates for doubling of CO2 concentrations for various fuel use
combinations [9].
Table 4. Doubling-Dates for Carbon Dioxide Concentrations for
Different Fuel Use Combinations.
Fuel
4.3% Exponential
Growth
Tapered
Growth
Current Fuel Mix
2035
2055
All Coal After 1990
2030
2045
All Synthetics After
1990
2022
2030
All Natural Gas After
1990
2043
2075
Source: Gordon J. MacDonald. The Long-Term Impacts, 84.
12
V. CLIMATIC EFFECTS OF INCREASED CO2 CONCENTRATIONS
Current estimates for doubling-dates of carbon dioxide concentrations range from
about 2020 to 2075. A doubling of atmospheric CO2 levels will cause an increase in
the mean global temperature of about 30° to 50° C with an increase of about 120° C at
the polar regions. The reason for the amplified effect at the poles is that the
atmosphere has a much lower concentration of water vapor at the poles than at lower
latitudes. Therefore, an increase in atmospheric CO2 will cause a relatively larger
increase in the greenhouse effect over the poles. This warming then increases the
water vapor present by melting ice, which causes the process to be self-enhancing.
Changes in Local Weather Patterns
As the temperature of the atmosphere is increased, the global circulation patterns will
be shifted. This will cause widespread changes in local weather patterns. Although
mathematical models devised by meteorologists can describe overall climatic
changes, they are not able to predict these small-scale variations in local conditions.
One method that can be used is to examine weather records for a period when the
temperature was higher than it is today.
The 1930s As Climate Analog
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The most recent global peaked in the 1930s. The 1930s averaged about 10° C warmer
than recent decades have. In the United States, a
13
greater number of state records for high temperatures were set in the 1930s than in
any decade since the 1870s. The 1° C increase is analogous to the initial decade of
CO2-induced warming which should occur shortly after the turn of the century.
Drought
The most significant feature of a warmer climate is the absence of adequate
precipitation. The drought of the 1930s has been called the greatest disaster caused by
meteorological factors. Research into climate records by studying tree rings has
determined that 1934 was the driest year in the western United States since 1700. If
the atmospheric circulation patterns of the 1930s return early next century because of
warmer temperatures, agricultural production and water supplies could be seriously
affected. Even though food production would decline, modern agricultural practices
would probably prevent a catastrophe like the dust bowl of the 1930s. Water supply,
however, is a different situation. Particularly hard hit will be the region of the West
that draws water off the Colorado River basin. This region, which is already plagued
by water shortages, could be devastated by a drought that lasts several years.
Increased Tropical Storm Activity
The warming of the atmosphere will cause the sea temperature to rise as well. This
will result in more tropical storms being generated. The 1930s were a period of
increased tropical storm activity.
14
Twenty-one tropical storms blew up in 1933, seventeen in 1936; the current average is
nine per year. These storms will also be able to reach higher latitudes because of
warmer seas [1:35-50].
Sea Level Increase
Researchers have suggested that conditions similar to those of the 1930s could persist
for as long as 25 years. During this time the earth's temperature will still be increasing
and a longer range problem will become evident. The polar ice caps would begin to
melt, raising the sea level. This will be a slow process, but one that will be irreversible
once the greenhouse threat is fully realized. A rise in ocean levels of between 15 to 25
feet is possible in as little as 100 years. Coastal regions would be flooded causing
tremendous destruction of property. Along the Texas coast, for example, Galveston,
Corpus Christi, Beaumont, and Port Arthur all would be permanently inundated. As
many as 10 nuclear reactors would be in danger of flooding and contaminating the
ocean. The 15- to 25-foot raising of sea levels is for normal tides with storm tides
reaching even farther inland [4].
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15
VI. WAYS TO REDUCE GREENHOUSE EFFECT
The severity of the consequences of this major climatic change requires that action be
taken to lessen man's input of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The greenhouse
threat is a global problem that calls for global action. Unfortunately, the political
structure of the world tends to impede cooperation on a global scale. Even with these
difficulties, it is imperative that the use of carbon-based fuels be reduced significantly.
The United States, as the world's leading consumer of energy, could influence world
opinion and stimulate action by taking decisive measures. Some of the steps that need
to be taken are:
1. A concerted effort must be made to conserve fuel with a goal of reducing
global consumption 20% worldwide by the year 2000. Public knowledge of
the effects of CO2 on the climate is needed. A tax on fossil fuel would provide
an extra incentive to conserve. The revenue from such a tax could be used to
further development of alternate energy sources.
2. The use of a combination of fossil fuels that will minimize the input of CO2
into the atmosphere must be emphasized. Natural gas is the cleanest of the
fossil fuels and large reserves of gas have been found. Coal is also found in
abundance in the United States and is therefore likely to be increasingly used
for energy production. However, coal releases 75% more CO2 into the
atmosphere per unit of energy produced than does natural gas. Because of this,
use of coal should be de-emphasized and use of natural gas emphasized.
16
3. Alternate energy sources, such as solar and nuclear, should be developed.
There is a substantial amount of emotional opposition to nuclear power, which
will impede the expansion of its use. Solar power, as are wind and wave
power, is ideal in that it is constant and non-polluting. The technology is not
quite at a stage where solar power is economically feasible. A strong effort
must be made to develop this highly attractive source of energy.
4. Reforestation on a massive global scale is needed to provide a large biotic sink
in the next few decades. The total respiration of CO2 should be less than the
total photosynthesis on a regional and worldwide basis. Fast- growing trees,
such as the American Sycamore, can absorb as much as 750 tons of carbon per
square kilometer per year. Water hyacinths can absorb 6000 tons of carbon per
square kilometer per year. The growth of biomass for energy production could
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serve as an additional method of reducing CO2 accumulation because it would
only involve recycling between carbon pools of the biosphere and the
atmosphere.
5. Research into the carbon cycle is needed to reduce the uncertainties
surrounding predictions of climatic changes. Although the amount of carbon
dioxide that is released and the amount that
17
remains airborne is well known, the method by which CO2 is assimilated into
sinks, such as the ocean and the biosphere, is poorly understood. Typical
estimates of the amounts of CO2 absorbed annually by the ocean and the
biosphere are 2 G tons and 1 ton, respectively [4].
18
VII. SUMMARY
Carbon dioxide accumulation in the atmosphere is the most dangerous
pollution problem today. This excess of CO2 will cause an increase in the
mean global temperature which should be detectable shortly before the end of
this century. This warming is caused by the greenhouse effect. CO2 allows
incoming radiation from the sun to enter the atmosphere. The heat from the
earth's surface, which must radiate in the infrared region of the spectrum, is
absorbed by CO2 and water vapor, thereby raising the atmospheric
temperature. The greenhouse water-vapor coupling provides a strong positive
feedback mechanism. Fossil-fuel use increases at an exponential rate of 4.3%
annually. This should cause a doubling of CO2 concentrations by between the
year 2020 and the year 2075. This doubling of atmospheric CO2 will cause an
increase in the mean global temperature of about 30° to 50° C. Warmer
temperatures will cause a shift in atmospheric circulation patterns. This will
cause local weather patterns to change. The results for the United States could
be intensive drought, increased tropical storm activity, and a rise in the sea
level caused by melting of the polar ice caps. To lessen the severity of the
problem, fossil fuel consumption must be curtailed and alternate energy
sources developed. Also, a global reforestation program should be undertaken
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to provide a large biotic sink for CO2 in the new few decades.
19
INFORMATION SOURCES
1.
Bernard, Harold W. The Greenhouse Effect. Cambridge: Ballinger, 1980.
2. Bryson, Reid A. "A Perspective on Climate Change." Science (May 17,
1974), 753-759.
3. Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, U. S. Senate. Hearings
on the Effects of Carbon Dioxide Buildup in the Atmosphere.
Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1980.
4. Committee on Governmental Affairs, U. S. Senate. Carbon Dioxide
Accumulation in the Atmosphere, Synthetic Fuels and Energy Policy.
A symposium. Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office,
Washington: 1979.
5. Gribbin, John. "Fossil Fuel: Future Shock?" New Scientist (December
1980), 541-543.
6. Idso, S. B. "Climate Significance of Doubling CO2 Concentrations."
Science (March 28, 1980), 128-134.
7. Kellog, W. W. and Schneider, S. H. "Climate Stabilization for Better
or For Worse?" Science (December 18, 1974), 1163-1171.
8. Lewin, Roger. "Atmospheric CO2: A New Warning." New Scientist
(April 1975), 211-214.
9. MacDonald, Gordon J. The Long-Term Impacts of Increasing
Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Levels. Cambridge: Ballinger, 1982.
10. Manabe, S. and Wetherald, R. T. "Distribution of Climate Change
Resulting From Increase in CO2 Content of the Atmosphere." Journal
Atmospheric Science (January 1980), 99-118.
11. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Inadvertent Climate
Modification: Report of the Study of Man's Impact on Climate.
Cambridge, 1971.
12. Stuiver, M. "Atmospheric CO2 and Carbon Reservoir Changes."
Science (January 20, 1978), 253-258.
20
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3209 S. IH-35, #1073
Austin, Texas 78741
May 6, 1983
David McMurrey
Department of Safety Engineering
Automotive Research Corporation
Detroit, Michigan 83901
Dear Mr. McMurrey:
I am submitting the accompanying report entitled Video Alert and Control Dashboard
System for your consideration.
The report describes the Video Alert and Control dash system and its functions. Each
component of the system is also described and a general operating process is given.
Discussion also includes economic feasibility and advantages of the VAC dash
system.
I sincerely hope you find this report helpful in future safety engineering of ABC
Corporation's cars.
Sincerely yours,
Reed W. Barrett
President
M&M Enterprises
Encl. Report on the Video Alert and Control dashboard system
Report on
THE VIDEO ALERT AND CONTROL DASHBOARD SYSTEM
Submitted to
David McMurrey
Online Technical Writing
Page 359 of 609
Department of Safety Engineering
Automotive Research Corporation
June 6, 1996
This report is an informative study of the Video Alert and Control dashboard system.
The report describes the different components and their functions as well as a
complete cycle of operation of the system. Also included are sections concerning
economic feasibility and advantages of the system.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
ABSTRACT
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I. INTRODUCTION
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II. DESCRIPTION AND FUNCTION OF COMPONENTS . . . . . .
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Infrared Detector . . . . . . . .
Radar Sender and Receiver . . . .
X-ray Sender and Receiver . . . .
On-Board Computer . . . . . . . .
Map Discs
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Receptions from the Detectors
Video Screen
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Keyboard
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Car Positioning . . . . . . .
Intersection Statements . . .
Brake Applicator
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IV. ECONOMIC FEASIBILITY OF THE VAC SYSTEM . . . . . .
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III. OPERATING CYCLE OF THE VAC SYSTEM
V. ADVANTAGES OF THE VAC SYSTEM
VI. CONCLUSION
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List of References
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Page 360 of 609
LIST OF FIGURES
Figure
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Component Placement in Car
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Detection Range
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Mounting of Detection Units . . . . . . . . . . .
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Components Mounted on Dash
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Graphic Projection on Video Screen
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Keyboard
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Coordinate Projection on Video Screen . . . . . .
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LIST OF TABLES
Table
1.
Page
U. S. Auto Accidents, Injuries, Deaths by Year. .
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iii
ABSTRACT
The Video Alert and Control dashboard system is a newly developed system by
M&M Enterprises which helps drivers avoid car accidents. It graphically projects an
image of the road ahead and its dangers to the driver. The driver views this image on a
video screen which is mounted on the dash of his car before his car approaches too
close to the danger. A computer receives information from four different sources and
projects the image on the screen. The four sources are (1) a map disc, (2) an infrared
detector, (3) a radar, and (4) an x-ray beam. These sources tell the computer what the
danger is and where it is located in respect to the road. By knowing this pertinent
information, the driver can see upcoming danger and make adjustments in the car's
speed so he can avoid a collision.
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iv
Report on
VIDEO ALERT AND CONTROL DASHBOARD SYSTEM
I. INTRODUCTION
Automobile safety is becoming one of the major concerns of auto manufacturers
today. The engineers in this industry have saved many lives by developing injuryprotecting devices, such as strengthened metal parts and inflatable pillows to cushion
against physical injury, but have not developed anything to prevent accidents by
foreseeing and avoiding them [5] . For this reason, the Video Alert and Control
(VAC) dashboard system has been developed by M&M Enterprises. This system has
the ability to "visualize" the road ahead and its dangers and to display this information
graphically to the driver on a video screen on the dashboard. Thus, the driver has a
view of dangerous objects in or near the road ahead and has time to slow down to
avoid them. The purpose of this report is to inform product-planning executives at
XYZ Corporation of the basic functions and operation of the VAC dashboard system
and to explore the advantages it offers in terms of saving human lives and automobile
damage.
This report does not provide design or manufacturing detail and is intended only to
provide executives basic information with which to assess the feasibility of installing
these systems in XYZ cars.
II. DESCRIPTION AND FUNCTION OF COMPONENTS
The main units of the system are three information gathering devices mounted on the
front of the car, a computer which analyzes the incoming information, and a video
screen in the dash which graphically shows a bird's-eye view of the road ahead with
any upcoming danger plotted as a dot on the screen. In all, the seven components
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which work together to give the driver a complete knowledge of the unseen road
ahead are (1) the infrared detector, (2) the radar sender and receiver, (3) the x-ray
sender and receiver, (4) the computer, (5) the video screen, (6) the keyboard, and (7)
the brake applicator. See Figure 1.
Figure 1. Component Placement in Car
Infrared Detector
The infrared detector is the key detecting device in that it is constantly searching for
warm objects in or near the path ahead of the car. Locating these objects is necessary
because in many areas of the United States, loose wildlife is a major cause of
nighttime and some daytime accidents. Therefore, the infrared detector "sees" the
2
upcoming trouble (before the driver) by sensing its warm-bloodedness and then alerts
the driver. The detector will sense the warmth of any warm-blooded animal larger
than a rabbit, which includes deer and cattle--the two main causes of wildlife-related
accidents.
Equally important is the fact that other cars on the road give off detectable heat. By
detecting these other cars, the driver is informed of upcoming traffic, a recent accident
blocking the road ahead, or a stalled car, if some heat is still present in that car [6].
The driver is informed graphically by the video screen in his car, and to differentiate
the wildlife from another car, the x-ray unit is used to check for metal in the detected
object. So, if a warm object is detected with metal in it, the computer reads it as a car
and shows it on the screen as a yellow dot. Contrastingly, if no metal is detected in the
warm object, an animal is assumed and plotted as a red dot.
Radar Sender and Receiver
In order to find the exact location of the detected trouble, a radar sender and receiver
is used. It is one of the three detecting devices mounted on the front of the car which
constantly scans the road ahead for trouble. If the infrared detector detects heat from
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an upcoming object, the radar sender is activated immediately and radar waves are
sent to the object. When the waves bounce off, they return to a parabolic mirror which
contains the radar receiver. Here, the object's distance and position are calculated by
the computer from the time of wave travel, and coordinates are found and plotted on
the screen as a dot. This entire process takes less than 1/10th of a second once the heat
is detected [1] . See Figure 2 for the detection range of the detecting devices.
Figure 2. Detection Range
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X-Ray Sender and Receiver
The x-ray sender, used to detect metal in the upcoming object, is activated
simultaneously with the radar sender. Working similarly to the radar, the x-rays are
sent out and bounced back if metal is present. If no metal is present the wave is not
returned to the receiver and the computer reads the information as an animal since
nearly anything which is warm and does not contain metal is usually an animal. So,
the instant at which heat is detected, the radar and x-ray senders are activated to
acquire position and metal content knowledge of the object.
The three units mounted on the front of the car are the parabolic mirror (which
contains the infrared, radar, and x-ray receivers), the radar sender, and the x-ray
sender. These units are shown in mounted position in Figure 3. The units rotate in
unison through a 90 degree angle every 1/2 second. This rotation gives a detection
range of 150 yards in front of the car and 105 yards on each side. See Figure 2. They
are also enclosed in a plexiglass box for protection from stones and insects. (The
plexiglass is a very high grade so that refraction of the detecting waves is minimal.)
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Figure 3. Mounting of Detection Units
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On-Board Computer
The computer is mounted under the dash and preprogrammed to read and analyze two
things: (1) the map discs and (2) the receptions from the detectors.
Map Discs. There are three map discs each of which contains a section of the United
States' highways and roads. The computer reads the discs and projects a bird's-eye
view of the road the driver is on onto the video screen. (The driver determines the
road by plotting coordinates on the keyboard as will be discussed later in the report.)
As the car travels down the road, the map flows along respectively to the car. The
graphic projection is very similar to the popular road-race video games. The car
appears at the bottom of the screen as a blue dot. Since the computer knows when an
intersection in the road is approaching, it notifies the driver by a statement at the top
of the screen. The driver then pushes a certain button to let the computer know if he
wants to turn at the intersection, and if so, in which direction. The map then follows
that direction on the new road or stays on the same one, whichever was indicated.
Receptions from the detectors. The receptions, as mentioned earlier, are analyzed by
the computer to give the exact location of the object in reference to the car, and to
determine what the object is. To calculate the location, the computer uses a
trigonometric method from which initial information is supplied by the radar waves.
To determine what the object is, the computer analyzes information from the infrared
and x-ray detectors. As has been said, if heat
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and metal are both detected inthe same object, the computer analyzes it as another car
and produces a yellow dot on the screen. But if only heat is detected, an animal is
assumed and a red dot appears.
Video Screen
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The video screen is the component mounted on the face of the dashboard. As shown
in Figure 4, it is in easy view of the driver just to the right of the steering wheel. Its
graphic projection is very similar looking to that of a video game screen. Its functions
are to display the flowing map and to show the driver exactly where any trouble is
ahead so he can make adjustments in speed. An example of the graphic projection is
shown in Figure 5.
Figure 4. Components Mounted on Dash
Figure 5. Graphic Projection on Video Screen
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Keyboard
The keyboard, which is mounted next to the video screen on the dash, is a collection
of 19 keys which transfers commands from the driver to the computer. See Figure 6.
The keyboard's two basic functions are to (1) position the car (blue dot) at the exact
location of the actual car and (2) respond to the upcoming intersection statements.
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Figure 6. Keyboard
Positioning Car. When a disc is inserted into the slot above the keyboard, a map of
the chosen section of the country appears with coordinates on the video screen. The
numbers and letters which correspond to these coordinates are punched in the
keyboard so that the screen will zoom in on a smaller area. See Figure 7. The driver
keeps zooming to a smaller area until the exact area where his car sits appears. (This
process is done by pushing the "number/letter" key then the "zoom" key.) Next, one
of the four direction keys are pushed to tell the computer which direction the car will
be traveling. Then the " " key is used to position the blue dot even more exactly. The
"start" key is the last key in the positioning process and is to be pushed immediately
before the car starts in motion.
Figure 7. Coordinate Projection on Video Screen
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Intersection Statements. When an intersection approaches, the computer will need to
know if the map should follow another road. Therefore, when the intersection is aobut
250 yards in front of the car, the top of the video screen reads: HIGHWAY 260
AHEAD The statement stays on the screen for 10 seconds and if the driver does not
want to turn he pushes no keys. But if he wants to go west on 260, he pushes the "w"
direction key. The computer then follows Highway 260 West instead of the previous
road.
Brake Applicator
The brake applicator is the only automated control device of the car's safety system. It
is wired to the computer which tells it if the infrared detector has detected something
not moving and directly in front of the car. This could be, for example, a recent car
wreck or a deer in the car's lane. If an object is detected in this area, the brake
applicator slowly starts applying the brake in case the driver's reflexes are not quick
enough. The applicator will not stop the car completely, but will apply the brake for
five seconds. If the object is not directly in front of the car, the brake is not applied
automatically. This device is used simply because it is very likely that the car will
collide with the object if not slowed immediately.
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III. OPERATING CYCLE OF THE VAC SYSTEM
The normal operating cycle of the VAC dash is described by the following steps and
procedures:
1. Insert the map disc in the slot, and press the ON key to turn unit on. A map of
section of U. S. with coordinates will display.
2. Enter number coordinates by pressing the number corresponding to the map.
Enter letter coordinates by pressing the SHIFT key and then appropriate letters.
3. Press the ZOOM key to enlarge the chosen area.
4. Repeat the preceding steps until the exact location is reached.
5. Press one of the direction keys to indicate direction of travel. Press " " key if
necessary to further position blue dot.
6. Press "start" key, and begin driving the car. As the car moves, a continuous
map goes by the screen.
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7. As the driver proceeds:
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o
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If a red dot (an animal) appears on the screen, a beep is sounded and
the driver should notice the location of the trouble and make
adjustment in speed.
If a yellow dot (another car) appears on the screen, no beep is sounded,
but the driver should still notice its location.
If either the yellow or red dot is stationary in the driver's lane ahead,
the brake will automatically be applied.
If an intersection approaches, a notice will be displayed at the top of
the screen. The driver should do one of two things:
 Press the direction button desired if he will be turning.
 Press the NO button if he does not choose to turn.
These steps will be repeated by the system whenever necessary throughout the
traveling process until the unit is turned off.
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IV. ECONOMIC FEASIBILITY OF THE VAC SYSTEM
The prototype of the VAC dash system was completed in March, 1983, and its final
cost was $3,050. This price is definitely unfeasible to add on to the already high price
of a car. Therefore, the key to the economic feasibility of the system is to mass
produce this system. One of the main causes for the expensive prototype was the
programming of more than four million miles of roads and highways [7] onto the
three computer discs. But, not that the prototype discs have been made, the following
ones can be mass produced off of these intial ones at a much lower price. Also, now
that the program in the computer itself has been written, it will be much cheaper to
duplicate. The projected price of the entire system installed into a new car while being
mass produced is $1,200 to $1,300. These prices may still sound slightly expensive,
but the lives and cars that this system will save will be well worth the cost.
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V. ADVANTAGES OF THE VAC SYSTEM
Each year the number of auto accidents increases by the thousands. See Table 1. This
continual increase is the factor which spurred the development of the VAC dash
system. Obviously, not all accidents can be avoided by installing a VAC dash in every
American's car, but a percentage of the accidents is sure to be decreased.
Table 1. U. S. Auto Accidents, Injuries, and Deaths by Year.
Year
Accidents
Injuries
Deaths
1975
16,500,000
1,800,000
44,500
1980
18,100,000
2,000,000
51,700
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Source: Statistical Abstract of the U. S. (1981), 74, 75, 78.
Most auto deaths are caused by severe accidents in small cars. A government report
states that "annual fatalities in the United States are expected to increase by 10,000 by
1990 due solely to changes in the size and weight of vehicles on the road . . . fatalities
in smaller cars will increase at a rapid rate while large car fatalities will decline" [5] .
These small cars are much lighter than large cars and are much more dangerous. But,
with the high gasoline prices today, drivers prefer to drive these economical cars.
Because the continual use of these small cars, M&M Enterprises has made it equally
as easy to incorporate the VAC dash system into any size of car. Also, the system
functions equally as well and is no more expensive than if it were installed in a large
car.
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VI. CONCLUSION
Detection of unseen trouble is not new to all transportation methods. For example,
some airports use a very efficient system similar to the VAC system for aircraft
collision avoidance. The main difference is that the radar sits in the control tower (not
the airplane itself) so the air traffic controller has a better view of where the incoming
planes are in reference to one another. He can then radio this information to the pilots
[2] . Radar is also very commonly used in ocean-going vessels. On small ships, radars
can detect danger such as rough water, whereas on a larger ones, they detect things as
large as mountain ranges and icebergs many miles away [4] . With these two modes
of transportation highly advanced in their collision avoidance systems, it seems only
reasonable to have the United States' major transportation device, the car, created just
as safe by utilizing the Video Alert and Control dash system.
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LIST OF REFERENCES
1. Callard, Jack. "How Radars Work" in Man and Machines. London: Plenum,
1981
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2. FAA Research and Development Authorization (Federal Aviation
Administration Publication #H701-51). Washington, DC: U. S. Government
Printing Office, 1982.
3. Nicole, Anne. "Computerized Tomography." McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of
Science and Technology. 5th ed. New York.
4. "Radars." Motor Boating and Sailing. October 1980. 88-89.
5. Small Car Safety: An Issue That Needs Further Evaluation. (U. S. Department
of Transportation Publication #26113-50). Washington, DC: U. S.
Government Printing Office, 1982.
6. Sutton, Caroline. "How a Heat Sensor Works." How Do They Do That? New
York: McGraw-Hill, 1981.
7. U. S. Bureau of the Census. Statistical Abstract of the United States.
Washington: GPO: 1983.
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1092 Willowcreek Dr.
Austin, Texas 78741
April 27, 19XX
Mr. David A. David McMurrey
Energy Research Consultants, Inc.
1307 Marshall Lane, Suite 3200
Austin, Texas 78712
Dear Mr. McMurrey:
In keeping with our January 22 agreement, I am submitting the accompanying
technical background report entitled Light Water Nuclear Reactors.
The purpose of this report is to provide introductory information to city council
members who are considering membership in a regional consortium. This report
provides an explanation of how each type of light water reactor operates. In addition,
the report discusses some of the basic safety mechanisms used in this type of reactor.
The report concludes with a review of the economic aspects of nuclear power plants.
I hope this report will prove to be satisfactory.
Respectfully yours,
Jeffrey D. Lacruz
Encl. Technical background report on light water reactors
Report on
LIGHT WATER NUCLEAR REACTORS
submitted to
Mr. David A. McMurrey
Energy Research Consultants, Inc.
Austin, Texas
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Page 372 of 609
April 27, 19XX
by
Jeffrey D. Lacruz
This report examines light water reactors as a possible alternative source of energy for
Luckenbach, Texas. Both types of light water reactors are described, and an
explanation of how each reactor produces electricity is presented. Safety systems and
economic aspects conclude the main discussion of the report.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF FIGURES
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LIST OF CHARTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
ABSTRACT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
I. INTRODUCTION
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II. PRESSURIZED WATER REACTORS (PWR)
Description of Major Parts
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Core
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Fuel
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Fuel Rod
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Fuel Assembly . . . . . . .
Control Rods
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Reactor Vessel
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Steam Generators
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Heat Exchangers . . . . . .
Steam Drum
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Pressurizer . . . . . . . .
Production of Electricity . . .
Circulating Water to Primary
Producing Steam in Secondary
Separating the Steam
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Producing the Electricity .
III. BOILING WATER REACTORS (BWR)
Description of Major Parts
Core
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Fuel
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Fuel Rod
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Fuel Assembly . . . . .
Control Rods
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Core Shroud and Reactor Vessel
Recirculation System
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Steam Separators
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Steam Dryers
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Production of Electricity
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Circulating Water . . . . . .
Separating Steam
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IV. SAFETY MEASURES . . . . . . . . . . . .
Measures Used in the PWR
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Residual Heat Removal System
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Emergency Core Cooling System . . .
Containment Building
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Measures Used in the BWR
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Drywell . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Emergency Core Cooling System . . .
Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Role
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V. ECONOMIC ASPECTS
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Busbar Costs
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Construction Costs
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Operation and Maintenance Costs
Fuel Costs
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Operating Capacity
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Availability Factor
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Capacity Factor .
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VI. CONCLUSION
APPENDIX
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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Figure
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Schematic of a Pressurized Water . . . . .
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Control Rod of a Pressurized Water Reactor
Heat Exchangers
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Pressurizer
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Control Rod
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PWR Emergency Core Cooling System
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2. Economic Data from Other Consortia
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LIST OF TABLES
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v
ABSTRACT
Light water reactors are a category of nuclear power reactor in which water is used as
both a coolant and a moderator. There are two types of light water reactors: the
pressurized water reactor and the boiling water reactor. In a pressurized water reactor,
steam is produced in a secondary system. The main components of a pressurized
water reactor are the core, control rods, reactor vessel, steam generators, and
pressurizer. The core contains fuel assemblies that contain fuel rods filled with fuel
pellets. The coolant flows through the core where it is heated at high pressure. Then
coolant then flows to a series of steam generators where the collant flows through the
heat exchangers and the steam drum. The pressure is lowered and ateam is allowed to
form which then flows to a turbogenerator where electricity is produced. The control
rods control the amount of nuclear fission reactions in the core while the pressurizer
maintains the operating pressure in the reactor coolant system. The reactor vessel
contains the fuel elements, the control elements, and the core monitoring instruments.
In a boiling water reactor, steam is allowed to form directly in the core. The main
components of a boiling water reactor are the core control rods, the core shroud and
reactor vessel, the recirculation system, the steam separators, and the steam dryers.
The core of a boiling water reactor is slightly larger than that of a pressurized water
reactor but contains the same elements. The coolant is circulated through the system
by the recirculation system that consists of two loops containing pumps external to the
reactor vessel and jet pumps inside the vessel. After steam in formed in the reactor
vessel, it flows to a series of steam separators where it is separated from the coolant.
The steam then flows through steam dryers where additional drying is done, and then
it proceeds to turn a turbogenerator. The control rods and reactor vessel function in
the same way as in the pressurized water reactor.
Safety system are designed to prevent meltdown in both types of light water reactors.
The safety systems in a pressurized water reactor include the residual heat removal
system, the emergency core colling
vi
systems, and the containment building. The residual heat removal system removes
decay heat from the primary coolant system during plant shutdown. The emergency
core cooling systems are designed to deal with loss-of-coolant accidents. The passive
system consists of accumulators which inject coolant into the vessel when an accident
occurs. The low pressure injection systems and the high pressure injection systems
also provide make-up water. The safety systems of a boiling water reactor include the
drywell and emergency core cooling systems. The reactor core isolation cooling
system pumps water into the reactor during a loss-of-coolant accident while the low
and high pressure core spray systems provide make-up water. The drywell encloses
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the reactor vessel, and the containment vessel encloses all the components of the
reactor. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspects all nuclear power plants to
ensure than these safety systems are adequate.
The economics of a nuclear power plant are determined by the busbar cost and the
operating capacity costs. The busbar cost is determined by the construction cost, the
cost of operating and maintaining the plant, and the cost of the fuel. The operating
capacity costs are determined by the availability of fuel and the capacity of the plant.
vii
Report on
LIGHT WATER NUCLEAR REACTORS
I. INTRODUCTION
There are approximately five hundred nuclear power plants in operation or under
construction worldwide. These plants can produce as much as 370,000 megawatts of
electricity. These nuclear power plants can be categorized into four types: (1) light
water reactors, (2) heavy water reactors, (2) gas-cooled reactors, and (4) breeder
reactors. Basically, a nuclear power reactor operates by having a central unit, called
the core, in which nuclear fission reactions take place and produce heat. A liquid,
called the coolant, flows through the system and absorbs the heat produced in the
core. The liquid is then converted into steam that drives a turbogenerator to produce
electricity.
The purpose of this report is to present the basic design, operation, and safety
measures of light water reactors to the city council. The city council is currently
investigating the possibility of membership in a regional consortium as an alternative
to increased coal-fired production of electricity. This report will explain how the two
types of light water reactors, the design to be used by the consortium, operate and
present the key safety and economic aspects of these reactors. Although the
operations of nuclear power reactors does involve complex chemistry and physics,
these aspects of the discussion have been avoided; only an introductory discussion of
the mechanical operation of the reactor will be presented.
The four parts of this report discuss (1) the design and operation of pressurized water
reactors, (2) the design and operation of boiling water reactors, (3) safety measures
employed in these reactors, and (4) economic aspects of these reactors' operation. The
sections on the two types of light water reactors will describe the components and
explain their operation. The section on safety measures will discuss the causes of
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meltdown, safety systems used in both types of reactors, and the role of the Nuclear
Regulatory Commission plays to ensure the safety of these reactors. The final section
will review the various costs involved in the construction and operation of a nuclear
power plant.
2
II. PRESSURIZED WATER REACTORS
This section of the report describes the key components of the pressurized light water
reactor and explains their operation in the production of electricity.
Description of the Major Parts
In a pressurized water reactor (see Figure 1), the reactor cooling water entering the
core is highly pressurized so that it remains below the boiling point. The water leaves
the reactor to pass through steam generators where a secondary coolant is allowed to
boil and produce steam to drive the turbine.
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Figure 1. Schematic of a Pressurized Water Reactor. Source: Nero, Anthony V. A
Guidebook to Nuclear Reactors, p. 78.
The key components in this process are the core, the control rods, the reactor vessel,
the steam generators, and the pressurizer.
Core . The core is the active portion of the reactor providing heat to the system. The
core contains fuel assemblies that contain fuel rods filled with fuel pellets.
Fuel . The fuel in the pressurized water reactor consists of cylindrical pellets of
slightly enriched uranium dioxide with a diameter of 0.325 in by 0.39 in. The pellets
are dished at the ends to allow for thermal expansion [12:2004].
Fuel Rod . A fuel rod consists of a cylindrical tube made of Zircalloy, a steel-gray
alloy that highly resistant to corrosion. This tube is 13 ft long with an outer diameter
of 0.39 in and a 0.025-in thich wall. The tube is filled with fuel pellets and is sealed
[10:122].
Fuel Assembly . A fuel assembly is formed when about 230 of the fuel rods are
grouped in a bundle. The fuel assembly is about 8 in on a side and 177 in long
[10:122] . The reactor core is formed when about 240 of these assemblies are
arranged in a cylindrical array. These assemblies are supported between upper and
lower grid plates and are surrounded by a stainless steel shroud. The grid plates
consist of an assembly of spring clips interlocked to form an egg-crate arrangement
providing rigid support and spacing of the fuel rods [3:259].
Control Rods . Control rods provide a means of changing the amount of heat
produced in the core . . .[text deleted]
3
V. ECONOMIC ASPECTS
This section presents some of the key costs that determine the economics of a nuclear
power plant. These costs will be compared to those associated with other energyproducing systems, primarily those involving coal. Costs are determined by the
busbar cost and the operating capacity costs.
Busbar Cost
The busbar cost is the total cost of electricity leaving the power station. The busbar
cost consists of several factors: (1) construction cost, (2) operation and maintenance
costs, and (3) cost of the fuel. The per-kilowatt cost of electricity estimated by the
Energy Research and Development Administration, generated from 1000-megawatt
nuclear, coal, and oil plants beginning operation in 1980 is as follows:
Table 1. Busbar Costs
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Electricity costs (in mills* Costs per kilowatt hour)
Category
Nuclear
Coal
Oil
Capital costs
18.7
15.2
10.5
Fuel cost
5.8
13.7
25.7
Operation & maintenance costs
2.8
3.3
2.2
TOTAL
27.3
32.2
38.4
* A mill is 1/10 of a cent ($0.001).
Construction Cost . The construction costs include the hardware, labor, original
capital borrowed, interest generated on that capital, and inflation of capital costs. The
construction costs for a nuclear power plant are 18.7 mills per kilowatt hour, while
those of coal are 15.2 mills per kilowatt hour [8:20] . However, there is evidence to
show that complete or nearly complete nuclear power plants cost about twice as much
in real dollars than they do at the time they are ordered [1:1] . This inflation is the
result of additional quality assurance, inspection, and
24
documentation requirements. The rise in costs can also be attributed to increases in
the cost of engineering manpower and of materials such as concrete, steel, and wire
[11:113] . However, the actual cost of nuclear steam supply system and the turbine
generator together amount to only 15% of the total cost [11:117] . Most of the cost of
a nuclear plant can be attributed to interest on capital during construction. Industry
experts hope that reducing the time between initial plans for and operation of nuclear
power plants will cut these costs [8:23] .
Operation and Maintenance Costs . The operation and maintenance costs for a
nuclear power plant are 2.8 mills per kilowatt hour compared to 3.3 mills per kilowatt
hour for a coal power plant. The difference can be attributed to recent requirements
for installation of environmental protection scrubbing equipment in coal plants.
Another factor . . .[text deleted]
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25
APPENDIX
INFORMATION SOURCES
1. Bupp, Irwin C., Jr., and Robert Trietel. 1976. The Economics of Nuclear
Power. Boston: MIT.
2. Burn, Duncan. 1978. Nuclear Power and the Energy Crisis. New York: New
York University Press.
3. Cameron, I.R. 1980. Nuclear Fission Reactors. New York: McGraw-Hill.
4. Glasstone, Samuel and Alexander Sesonske. Nuclear Reactor Engineering.
Princeton, N.J.: D. Van Nostrand.
5. Kessler, G. 1983. Nuclear Fission Reactors. New York: Springer-Verlag
Wien.
6. Lahey, R. T. and F. J. Moody. 1977. The Thermal-Hydraulics of a Boiling
Water Nuclear Reactor. American Nuclear Society.
7. Murray, Raymond I. 1974. Nuclear Energy. New York: Permagon.
8. Myers, Desaix III. 1977. THe Nuclear Power Debate. New York: Praeger.
9. Naval Reactors Branch, Division of Reactor Development, United States
Atomic Energy Commission. 1958. The Shippingport Pressurized Water
Reactor. Reading, Mass.: Addison Wesley.
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10. Nero, Anthony V. 1979. A Guidebook to Nuclear Reactors. Berkeley, Calif.:
University of California Press.
11. The Nuclear Energy Policy Study Group. 1977. Nuclear Power Issues and
Choices. Cambridge, Mass.: Ballinger.
12. "Nuclear Reactor." 1980 ed. Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia. Vol. 2.
13. Pickard, James K., ed. 1957. Nuclear Power Reactors. Princeton, N.J.: D. Van
Nostrand.
30
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General Formatting Guidelines
Here are some general formatting guidelines that apply to the entire report:
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Use 1- or 1-1/2-inch margins for all four margins of the report.
You might want to use a 1-1/2-inch margin at the top and 1inch margins for the left, right, and bottom.
Use a 1-1/2-inch left margin if your binding uses a lot of space
(for example, brad-type binders that require 2- or 3-hole
punch).
Generally use doublespaced typing except in those areas where
singlespacing is shown (for example, in the transmittal letter,
descriptive abstract, figure titles, short vertical lists, and items
in the information-sources list).
Use one side of the paper only.
Formal Reports--Component by Component
This section examines each component of the formal report and points out the key
requirements in terms of content, design, and format. Remember that these are
requirements, or "specifications." Much of the work that professional technical writers
do is governed by specifications. Just as an electric component much be built
according to certain design specifications, so must most technical documents such as
instructions manuals, reference books, and so on. Your job, like any technical writer's,
is to stay as close to the specifications as you possibly can.
Covers and Label
Your final report should use some sort of cover and label. The best is the plastic spiral
binding that you can have done at most copy shops. It uses only a quarter-inch of the
left margin, and the bound report lies flat when open. The least expensive binding is
the type for which you punch holes in the left margin and fix the pages in the folder
with brads. Loose-leaf, ring binders are generally too large and bulky-also the pages
tear. Copy shops offer other kinds of binding that work well also. However, avoid the
clear or colored plastic ones with the plastic sleeve that fits on the left side-not only is
it grade-schoolish, it's aggravating to use.
As for the label, the best option is to design your own and print it out on an ordinary
sheet of paper, then take it to the copy shop and have it copied onto the cover of your
choice. Adhesive labels are okay-but you have to buy hundreds of them and then find
a typewriter to type them.
Figure 11-1. Report cover with label (the label can be photocopied onto the cover).
Transmittal letter
The transmittal letter basically says "here's that report we agreed I'd write!" Notice
that it mentions the contract date, briefly discusses the purposes and main contents of
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the report, and then closes with a polite suggestion to get in touch after the recipient
has had time to review the report. (Notice that the middle paragraph is very repetitious
of the descriptive abstract and the introduction-that's okay. Reports are designed to
accommodate multiple entry points by readers.)
Figure 11-2. Transmittal letter. It's not "officially" a page inside the report; normally
it's attached to the outside of the front cover. But to help your instructor, make it the
first page inside the bound report. (A mouse tried to sign this letter.)
Title page and descriptive abstract
At the bottom of the title page is the descriptive abstract. See the section on
descriptive abstracts for further details.
Figure 11-3. Title page and descriptive abstract. This is the first "official" page in the
report. No page number is displayed on this page (but it is "i").
Table of contents
The table of contents (TOC) lists the headings from the body of the report and the
page numbers on which they occur. It is not required to list all headings. This TOC
could have excluded all third-level headings and fit on one page.
Figure 11-4. Table of contents. Notice the use of initial caps and all caps as well as
the use of right alignment on the Arabic and Roman numerals. No page number is
displayed on this page (but it is "ii").
Figure 11-4--continued. Second page of the table of contents. Notice the format if you
have more than one section in the appendix.
List of Figures
In the list of figures, you list all of the titles for figures and tables in your report. If
any title is too long, trim it to a meaningful portion. In this example, notice that
instead of having a separate list of tables, the tables (Figures 13 and 14) are included
here.
Figure 11-5. List of figures page. Notice that the page number would be "iii" if the
table of contents had been only one page long.
Abstract (informative)
See the section on informative abstract for details.
Figure 11-6. Informative abstract (first page).
Figure 11-6--continued. Second page of the informative abstract
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Body of the report--introduction
See the discussion on introductions for details.
Figure 11-7. First page of the body of the report--the introduction. Notice that the title
of the report is set at the top, just above the first-level heading and that no page
number is displayed (although it is Arabic "1").
Figure 11-7--continued. Second page of the introduction. Notice that the next section
(section II) does not start directly below the end of this introduction. The next section
starts with a first-level heading (Roman numeral "II") and therefore starts a new page.
Page with headings and graphics
In the body of your report, be sure to use the standard format for headings (as
described in Chapter 4), for lists (as described in Chapter 5), and for graphics (as
described in Chapter 7). If you are writing instructions, don't forget to use the
standard format for special notices as described in Chapter 6.
II.
PRESSURIZED WATER REACTORS
This section of the report describes the key
components of the pressurized light water reactor and
explains their operation in the production of
electricity.
Description of the Major Parts
In a pressurized water reactor (see Figure 1),
the reactor cooling water entering the core is highly
pressurized so that it remains below the boiling point.
The water leaves the reactor to pass through steam
generators where a secondary coolant is allowed to boil
and produce steam to drive the turbine.
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Figure 1.
Reactor.
Schematic of a Pressurized Water
Source:
Nero, Anthony V.
A Guidebook
to Nuclear Reactors, p. 78.
The key components in this process are the core, the
control rods, the reactor vessel, the steam generators,
and the pressurizer.
Core.
The core is the active portion of the reactor
providing heat to the system.
The core contains fuel
assemblies that contain fuel rods filled with fuel
pellets.
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Fuel.
The fuel in the pressurized water reactor
consists of cylindrical pellets of slightly enriched
uranium dioxide with a diameter of 0.325 in by 0.39 in.
The pellets are dished at the ends to allow for thermal
expansion [12:2004].
3
Figure 11-8. Page from the body of the report. First- and second-level headings are
used, along with a graphic and figure title. (This one uses the long form of citing the
source. Directions for a shorter form can be found in Chapter 7.)
Appendixes
The appendix is a good place to put information that just will not fit in the main body
of the report, but still needs to be in the report. For example, big tables of data, large
maps, forms used in an organization, or background discussion-these are good
candidates for the appendix. Notice that each one is given a letter (A, B, C, and so
on).
Figure 11-9. The appendix divider page. Call it "Appendix" if there is only one
appendix (for example, the list of information sources); call it "Appendixes" if there is
more than one appendix. (No page number is shown, but it would be "32").
Information sources
Remember to put all information sources in this list, including nonprinted,
nonpublished ones. For style and format of these entries, see the section on
documentation.
Figure 11-10. List of information sources. If this list is the only appendix, omit the
"APPENDIX B." part and just have "INFORMATION SOURCES."
Figure 11-10--continued. Second page of the information-sources list. Remember that
titles of books, encyclopedias, and magazines are underlined (or in italics) and titles
of magazine or encyclopedia articles are in double quotation marks.
Page-numbering style
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Page numbering in technical reports may seem a little peculiar. However, it is pretty
much the same style used generally in traditional publishing. Go back through the
example pages in this chapter and check whether a page number is shown and what
style is used.
1. All pages within the front and back covers are numbered
(except for the transmittal letter); but the page number is not
always displayed.
2. All pages coming before page 1 of the introduction use
lowercase Roman numerals.
3. All pages beginning with page 1 of the introduction use with
Arabic numerals.
4. Page numbers are not displayed on the transmittal letter, title
page, first page of the table of contents, page 1 of the
introduction, and the appendix divider page.
5. There are several choices of pagination style for the main-text
pages:
o Center page numbers at the bottom (halfway between
the last text line and the bottom edge of the paper).
o Place page numbers in the top right corner (on the right
margin, halfway between the top text line and the top
edge of the paper). Do not display page numbers on any
page with a centered (first-level) heading (display it
centered at the bottom).
6. Some word-processing software causes problems in
implementing these pagination guidelines; let your instructor
know.
Final production
The following discussion focuses on what you should do to get your final report ready
to hand in. You don't need to format your pasteup/format assignment like this,
however. Also, these guidelines need not be followed for the preliminary draft of your
final report.
Once you have your final draft as polished as you can get it, you are ready to
"package" it for final production. Here are the steps:
1. Make a good printout (or final typing) of your report, on good
paper, using fresh print supplier (ribbon, toner, cartridge,
whatever you printer or typewriter uses). Remember to design
and type or print your cover label (just type or print it out on a
clean white sheet of paper).
2. Make sure your graphics are good quality. If they are, tape
them down onto the pages. Make sure they fit neatly within the
margins-top and bottom, left and right. (See the section on
graphics for more on creating graphics and incorporating them
into your reports.)
3. Make sure all the components (discussed in the first part of this
chapter) are in place and everything looks okay.
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4. Head for a good copy shop-there, get a good photocopy of your
text pages. Check to see how the pages with taped-in graphics
look. If they are not right, ask a copy-shop person for help.
5. Now select the cover and have the label you design printed on
it. Most shops have numerous colors and thicknesses of covers
to choose from. (Spare us the leatherette look with the fake
gold-embossed trim-make it plain, simple, honest!)
6. Finally, get the report with its cover bound. The plastic spiral
binding works great. There are other bindings that work nicely
too. Remember, though-no clear plastic cover with those plastic
sleeves on the left side!)
You can have your final copy back-just call your instructor after the semester is over
or hand the report in with a self-addressed, stamped envelope that can hold it.
Take special pride in this part of the project! If you've not produced a report this way
before, you'll probably be very pleased and impressed with the results (I'll be out there
somewhere muttering, "See--I told you this would all be worth it...")
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Online Technical Writing: Highlighting & Emphasis
Note: This chapter refers to certain other chapters that are not yet complete. Sorry for
the inconvenience.
One of the problems in technical writing---in particular, technical writing about
computers--involves the use of the various techniques for emphasis. Unfortunately,
some technical texts go overboard on the use of the various emphasis techniques
which are discussed here. This chapter discusses the following:

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Common highlighting problems
Highlighting fundamentals
Specific emphasis techniques
o Bold
o Italics
o Underscores
o Capitalization
o Single or double quotation marks
o Alternate fonts
o Color
o Combinations of the preceding
o Emphasis techniques in computer text
Further explorations
Common Highlighting Problems
Actually, several problems involving emphasis can occur:
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
Overkill. Emphasis techniques can be used in excess---the text
swarms with a dizzying array of bold, italics, alternate fonts,
caps, color.
Inconsistency. Emphasis techniques can also be used
inconsistently, which sends conflicting, confusing messages to
readers.
Illogical function. Emphasis techniques can also not be in
keeping with readers' needs. Writers may choose the wrong
things to emphasize and fail to emphasize the right things.
What is the point of using emphasis techniques? Used properly, they highlight text
that readers must see, for example, alerting them to actions they must take or avoid.
Emphasis techniques can make following a procedure considerably easier. But the
design of the highlighting scheme (which organizes the emphasis techniques around a
system of use) must be based on the reader, the tasks that the reader must accomplish,
and the characteristics of the text (or the technology) that the reader is using.
Highlighting Fundamentals
Consider a few fundamental principles of emphasis:
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Practically anything that is different from regular body text can
function as an emphasis technique.
Things like italics, bold, underscores, caps, different size type,
alternate fonts, color, the various graphical ingenuities
(showing, reverse color, outline fonts) can act as emphasis
techniques.
Used in excess, any emphasis technique or combination of
emphasis techniques can lose their ability to emphasize and
become busy and distracting.
Used in excess, any emphasis technique or combination of
emphasis techniques can cause readers to be reluctant to read a
text, if not avoid it altogether.
When extended text must be emphasized, use the special-notice
format (rather creating all-bold or all-caps paragraphs, for
example).
A carefully planned functional relationship must exist between
the text that is emphasized and the emphasis technique that is
used.
Emphasis techniques must be used consistently to prevent
readers from becoming confused.
To promote consistency, you must use a style guide or style
sheet, which records all of your decisions about how you are
going to use emphasis techniques.
To help your readers understand your highlighting scheme, you
must include a brief section somewhere in your document
(usually in the preface) explaining how you're going to be using
the emphasis techniques.
In the following discussion, you'll notice that any system of emphasis techniques can
get quite complicated and hard to remember. You'll notice that there are many equally
valid ways of using emphasis techniques: for example, in some cases, it's arbitrary
whether you use bold or italics. To offset this complexity, you must document your
guidelines for emphasis in a style guide. A style guide is simply a record of the
decisions you and your documentation team have made about how you want your
documents to look.
Your readers also need to be informed as to the highlighting scheme you plan to use.
This can be handled in the preface: include a section called "Highlighting" or
"Typographical Conventions" where you list how you use italics, bold, fonts, and
other such effects. For an example, see the discussion of prefaces in the chapter on
standard components of technical books
Specific Emphasis Techniques
This next section goes one by one through the various emphasis techniques,
explaining the common practices.
Bold. In publishing, technical publishing in particular, usage is mixed as to whether
to use bold or italics for basic emphasis. For example, if you want to emphasize that
readers should not turn off the computer without first shutting it down, the "not" can
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be bold or italics. Traditionally, italics has been used, but, perhaps because of
computers, bold is commonly used as well.
Whichever technique you use, use it consistently throughout your text or library of
related texts. By the way, readers are not likely to be able to distinguish between
levels of emphasis: for example, using italics for important text and bold for very
important text is likely to be lost on most readers.
If you are tempted to make an entire paragraph bold, remember one of the principle of
emphasis discussed above: using too much of an emphasis technique causes the effect
of the technique to be lost. Not only that, but too much emphasis makes readers less
inclined to read. Instead of carefully reading an all-bold paragraph, readers may just
ignore it entirely!
Instead of creating an all-bold paragraph, use the special-notice format. In it, a key
word (for example, Important, Note, Danger, Caution, Warning) is bolded, while the
rest of the text is left regular roman (that is, the same font and style as the regular
body text).
Legitimate use of bold in technical texts varies widely. As long as you develop a
scheme that is directly related to the reader's need and to the characteristics of the text
(or technology) and that does not lead to overkill, your use of bold should work fine.
Here are some common, standard uses of bold:

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


Simple emphasis. As discussed in the preceding, some technical
texts use bold for simple emphasis instead of the traditional
italics. For example, "Do not turn off the computer before
shutting it down."
Headings. Obviously, headings use bold in addition to other
typographical effects such as different fonts, large type sizes,
italics, and even color.
Commands. Computer texts commonly use bold for commands,
for example, "Use the move command to rename UNIX files."
See the section on highlighting computer text for a review of
the complete set of emphasis techniques.
Buttons that initiate commands. In a graphical user interface,
some of the buttons initiate commands. For example, "press the
Exit button to exit the application."
Field labels. While some computer text bolds field labels, it is
not general practice because it leads to highlighting overkill.
For example, "In the Indentation area of the dialog box, click
on Left." More common is to use the cap style used on the
screen. Though by no means standard, it's preferable to write
this: "In the Indentation area of the dialog box, click on Left."
Keyboard or mouse buttons. Another highlighting technique
not commonly in practice is to bold the name of a keyboard key
or mouse button. For example, "Press the Q key or the left
mouse button."
Information that readers supply. Some computer texts bold text
that readers are to type in, but certainly not all. For example,
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"Type guest and press the Enter key." (The section on common
highlighting schemes for computer text points out that an
alternate font, typically Courier, is used for text that readers
must type in: "Type guest and press the Enter key.")
Information displayed on the equipment or screen. Some
computer texts also bold messages that are displayed on the
screen, for example, "The system will then display Do you
want to continue?" Some texts also bold the code numbers and
letters displayed in the digital read-out windows on computer
hardware. For example, "As the computer boots up, the digital
read-out window will display 8888." (Again, computer text
commonly uses an alternate font such as Courier for systemdisplayed text.)
Labels on hardware. Another practice that is not particularly
common in computer publishing is to bold the name of a
hardware label. For example, "Press the Reset button to reboot
the computer."
Lead-in labels in list items. When you have a long list of
bulleted or numbered items, a nice touch is to create a lead-in
labels for each item and either bold or italicize it. (The bulleted
items you are currently looking at use italics for the lead-in
labels because there is so much bold in the text already.)
Labels on special notices. As mentioned earlier, special notices
are the best technique for emphasizing extended text. If you
have a sentence or short paragraph you want to emphasize,
don't make it all bold---use a special notice instead. With
special notices, typically only the Danger, Warning, Caution,
Important, or Note label is bolded.
Definitions in definition (two-column) lists. In a two-column
list in which the terms to be defined are in the left column and
the definitions of those terms are in the right column, it's
common for the terms to be bolded. And of course, this practice
extends to any two-column list, not just to those where terms
are being defined.
Labels in figures. It's fairly common for labels used within
figures to be bolded: for example, the label On/Off switch
would be bold with an arrow leading to the part of the figure
depicting that switch.
Table or figure titles. It's quite standard for the titles of tables
and figures to be bold.
Column headings in tables. Standard too is to bold table
column headings. For example, if you had a table that
compared autombile costs over a five-year period, the first
column "Autombiles" would be bold. The column headings for
each of the five years, for example, "1995," would also be bold.
(Row headings are also bolded under certain conditions.
You'll notice that the preceding discussion stated no absolute rules. that's the way it is:
technical publishing practice is quite varied. The main idea is to develop a logical,
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controlled system of highlighting, use it consistently, and document it in a style guide
so that you and your documentation team members can refer to it.
Italics. Here are some of the standard uses for italics:


Simple emphasis. As mentioned earlier, usage is mixed on
whether to use bold or italics for simple emphasis, although
italics has been traditional: for example, "Do not turn off the
computer before shutting it down." Whichever you use, be
consistent with it, and document it in your style guide or style
sheet so that everybody on your document team can see it. If
you're not sure which to use, use italics for simple emphasis:
it's less busy.
Variables. In computer publishing, one of the most common
uses of italics is for variables. For example:
copy oldfile newfile
Users know not to type oldfile or newfile but to substitute their own file
names instead.






Table titles; row and column headings. Some table styles use
italics instead of bold for table titles, row and column headings,
or both. For some document designers, the look is cleaner,
smoother, cooler to the eye.
Special-notice labels. The "note" special notice uses italics for
the label "Note:" as you'll see elsewhere in this current
discussion. Warning, caution, and danger notices use varying
styles of bold, however, to attract more attention.
Figure titles and labels. You'll notice that some style use italics
for figure titles, as opposed to bold. The choice is arbitrary,
although italics is cooler and less busy to the eye. Similarly,
you'll see labels -- those words within a figure naming and
pointing to portions of the graphic -- using italics instead of
bold.
List lead-in headings. As already mentioned, when you have a
long list of bulleted or numbered items, a nice touch is to create
a lead-in labels for each item and either bold or italicize it. (The
bulleted items you are currently looking at use italics for the
lead-in labels.)
Headings. In headings, italics is often used in combination with
other effects such as bold, larger type sizes, or alternate fonts.
Definitions in definition (two-column) lists. While bold is more
common for the items in the left column of a two-column list,
italics is also used. (See the discussion of two-column lists in
the preceding section on bold.)
Underscores. There is almost no reason for using underscores in technical text. In
the days of typewritten text, there certainly was. However, in these times, when bold,
italics and other such typographical effects are readily available, underscores look
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obsolete. If you want to emphasize something, use your standard guidelines -- for
example, use italics or bold. Don't try to create gradations of emphasis: for example, a
scale of increasing importance ranging from italics to bold to underscore will be lost
on your readers.
If you see good use of underscores in technical text, it will probably occur in heading
design.
Capitalization. In technical publishing, there seems to be a running battle between
technical writers and technical experts over capitalization. Technical experts like to
use initial caps for practically every component and process in a system, while
technical writers insist on using caps for proper names only. Also, technical experts
(and management) typically use all caps for text they consider important and want
readers to attend to.
As a technical writer, hold the line against capitalization. Capital letters are
distracting; all-caps text is uncomfortable to read. Capital letters create a busy text,
which sends lots of unnecessary signals. Capital letters are traditionally intended for
proper names such as Microsoft, Netscape, Gateway, Dell Computers, WordPerfect,
Pagemaker, and so on. The classic guidelines in technical publishing is to capitalize
the names of separately orderable products only. However, the politics of
organizations bends this guideline considerably. If a company is proud of a certain
feature in its new release, for example, EnergyMiser, it will capitalize it, even though
you can't order it separately. This is the point at which capitalization is being for
emphasis. As a technical writyer, you'll want to user caps for proper names and keep
the use of caps as an emphasis technique to a minimum.
Here are some typical guidelines for capitalization:




Use the exact capitalization style of messages shown on the
computer screen, menu or screen names, field names, hardware
labels, and so on.
Do not use capital letters for emphasis; use italics or bold
instead.
Do not use all-caps for any extended text; use the special-notice
format instead.
Do not capitalize the names of the components or processes of
a product. Capitalize only the names of products, that is,
components that are separately orderable.
For example, your product may be called WordStuff and of course it must be
capitalized according to the style dictated bny the marketing and product
planners. However, one WordStuff's features called "spell checker" shouldn't
be capitalized -- just about everybody has one of those. However, WordStuff
may have a feature called "ZippyFormat" and other called "Image Worker."
Even though these are not separately orderable, you will want to use the
initial-cap style because of their specialstyle and the ir marketing value.
"Image Worker" is obviously something WordStuff, Inc., wants to show off -therefore, the caps.
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But when you have to break rules like this, the exceptions need to go in the
style guide or style sheet.
Single or double quotation marks. Quotation marks are often mistakenly used
as emphasis techniques in technical text. As a technical writer, limit quotation marks
to the traditional usage, which includes quoted speech; numbers, letters, or words
referred to as such. Quotation marks, like capital letters, tend to create a busy,
distracting text and therefore should be avoided.
Well-designed computer text avoids quotation marks rather vigorously. One of the
primary reasons is that some readers might mistakenly assume that they must include
the quotation marks in the commands they enter.
Instead of Use the "move" command.
Write
Use the move command.
Instead of Enter "copy install installnow."
Write
Enter copy install installnow.
Note: While some technical texts have well-defined uses for single quotation marks,
in general there is no standard use for single quotation marks, other than the
traditional quotation-within-a-quotation rule. When you see single quotation marks
within technical text, there is usually no more rationale for their use than there is for
double quotation marks.
Alternate fonts. One of the most common styles in volving alternate fonts is to use
Courier or some similar monospaced, old-typewriter-style font in contrast to the
standard body font (such as Times New Roman or Helvetica). You can create this
effect in web page by using the <KBD> tags. For example, "type install to install
the program."
Here's a review of the common uses of alternate fonts:

Example text. To signal that an example rather than a required
entry is being shown, an alternate font like Courier is often
used:
For example, if you want to copy a file, type "copy yourfile.txt
myfile.txt" A file called myfile.txt will be created, and its contents will
be the same as yourfile.txt.

Displayed text. Computers and other equipment typically
display things such as warning or status codes or error
messages. These appear on monitor or in LCD panels and the
like. When you refer to this displayed text, you can use an
laternate font such as Courier. For example, "If the directory
does not exist, the system will respond with No such file or
directory." Or, "As the computer boots up, the digital readout window will display 8888."
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
Extended code samples. In computer programming texts,
extended programming samples are often shown in Courier, for
example:
#check for naughty hackers
if ($address1 eq "" & $address2 eq "")
{
&wicked_address (500, "Search Error", "Please
enter a name.");
}
elsif ($address1 =~ /[;<>&\*`\|]/ | $address2 =~
/[;<>&\*`\|]/)
{
&wicked_address (500, "Search Error",
"Malformed e-mail address.
Please do not destroy our poor, humble, one-vitual-room
schoolhouse!.");
}

Screens and menus. This one may sound like the previous one
on displayed text, but there is a difference. Menuing systems
that do not use a graphical interface (which usually provides
fancy proportional fonts) typical have a monospaced-font
appearance. For example, DOS-based menus have this look.
When a technical writer wants to show readers such menus,
they use an alternate font like Courier. However, when they
want to show screns or menus in a graphical interface (such as
a Windows or Macintosh system), they use a screen capture in
order to retain the authentic look of the screen.
Color. Color is used in technical text but it is expensive and hard to manage through
the publishing cycle.
However, color is easy to use in online information. It's common to see hypertext
links, for example, using color. Online helps typically use green while web pages
typically use blue for new links and purple for links the user has already explored.
The tendency to use color indiscriminately in online information is much like the
tendency to go wild with bold, italics, type sizes, and alternate fonts in hardcopy
information. The feeling must be something like, "It's there, it's cool, so let's use it!"
There are not any strongly developed trends in the use of color in technical text, either
online or hardcopy, other than the use of green and blue for hypertext links,
mentioned earlier. Printed technical texts rarely use color because of the cost.
If you want to use color, plan it carefully. Don't expect readers to remember that red
signals one idea, blue another idea, and green still some other idea. Just stick to one
color. In general, avoid using color for extended text. Instead of making an entire
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warning notice red, just make the Warning label red and leave the warning text
regular roman.
Better still, read some of the standard literature on color in the technical
communication field. There are general design issues and international issues:
Combinations of the preceding. In general, it's a bad idea to combine emphasis
techniques, for example, bold and italics. In nonprofessional technical text, you'll see
such garish combinations as all all-caps bold-italics or all-caps bold-italics with
double quotation marks. Avoid these!
One legitimate combination is to use italics with alternate fonts. For example, when
you show the syntax of a command, you want the entire text to be in Courier, but you
also want the variables to be in italics:
copy OldFileName NewFileName
Emphasis Techniques in Computer Text
Computer texts may use some of the most complicated highlighting schemes in all of
technical publishing. This may have to do with the desire to help beginning users, or it
may be because computers make such techniques so readily available to writers. As of
1997, computer publishing seems to have grown away from excessive use of
emphasis techniques. You may have used or seen earlier computer texts that
embedded graphics of keytops right in the procedures or that used lots of color to
highlight keys or commands. These busy, excessive practices seem to be fading,
however.
Emphasis techniques used in computer texts vary widely. The following discussion
provides an example, not a prescription, of how emphasis techniques can be used
together in a scheme that is logical and that avoids overkill. Please don't view this
discussion as a series of rules; instead, spend some time browsing computer manuals
and guides to get a sense of how widely practice varies. (And as you browse, be
critical: highlighting overkill or illogic is common!) Ultimately, you must design a
highlighting scheme (a system of emphasis techniques) that works best for your
readers, your text, and the tasks and technology that your text documents.
Here is a typical highlighting scheme for a user guide that discusses both hardware
and software:



Commands. Use bold for any command or subroutine, unless it
is in an example. For example, "Use the move to change the
name of the file."
Variables, placeholders. Use italics for placeholder names for
which readers substitute values. For example, "To change
directories, use the cd NewDirectoryName command." Readers
will replace NewDirectoryName with the name of an actual
directory on their own computer.
Text that the user enters. Use an alternate font, such as Courier,
for text that readers must type in verbatim. For example, "To
install the program, type setup speedpro and then press
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






Enter." Courier is traditionally used because it resembles
typewriter text, which resembles text on computer screens.
Text displayed on the screen. Also use an alternate font, such as
Courier, for text that is displayed on the computer, such as error
messages. For example, "If the directory does not exist, the
system will respond with No such file or directory." Or,
"As the computer boots up, the digital read-out window will
display 8888."
Examples. Use an alternate font, such as Courier, for examples.
The most common usage here is for extended code or
representations of screens (such as menus).
Menu and command buttons. Use bold for buttons on graphical
user interfaces (Windows or Mac interfaces). For example,
"Press Exit to exit the program." Or, "Press Format for a list of
choices."
Menu names. Use regular roman (the standard type style for
body text, without emphasis) for meny or screen names, but
copy the cap style used in the menu or screen. For example, "In
the Format dialog box, you have a number of choices."
Field names (labels). Use regular roman for field names (those
text labels beside boxes in which you enter data or make
choices), but copy the cap style used on the screen. For
example, "In the Row to Delete Field, enter the number of rows
you want to delete."
Keyboard keys and mouse buttons. Use regular roman for
names of keys on the keyboard, but copy the exact spelling and
cap style. For example, "Press the Home key to move the text
cursor to the beginning of the line." For mouse buttons, use
lower case, for example, "Press the left mouse button."
Extended emphasis. If any text more than two or three words
must be emphasized, use special-notice format instead of
making the extended text all bold, all italics, all caps, or some
combination.
Although this highlighting scheme is fairly common, you may have spotted some
areas of concern. For example, it might be confusing to readers for both example text
and text they must enter to be Courier. They might mistake an example for text they
must enter, or they might mistake required text for an example. It's considerations like
these that explain the variability of highlighting schemes that you see in computer
texts---along with the different needs of technology and readers.
Further Explorations
Once you've read the preceding, a good thing to do next is to explore technical
publications to see what highlighting schemes they use. Watch for the way things like
bold, italics, caps, alternate fonts, and other such effects are used. Most likely, you'll
see very different usage than what you've read about here. As you explore, think
about the logic of the emphasis techniques you see being used; try to formulate the
rules that the writers seem to be using; watch for inconsistencies in highlighting; and
think critically about the usage you see -- is it logical? overkill? "underkill?"
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After you've done some exploring like this, the next logical step is to read the chapter
on style guides, if you've not already done so. Highlighting schemes must be
documented in style guides so that you won't forget them and so that your
documentation team members can refer to them.
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Online Technical Writing:
Indexing
As a technical writer, you'll typically have to create indexes for the print books and
for online helps you develop. The type of index we mean here is the classic back-ofbook index that shows page numbers on which topics and subtopics occur within the
book. An online index is much the same except that you supply hypertext links rather
than page numbers.
Index in an online-help system
The following gives you a relatively quick system for creating a thorough, functional
index, for either print or online
Rough-Drafting an Index
As with any writing project, there is a rough-drafting phase for indexing. And of
course, you need to think about your audience — who they are, how they'll use the
index, why they'll use it, and what sorts of terminology they might be accustomed to.
1. Convert each heading into multiple index entries. Headings are
a good place to start: they indicate topics and subtopics —
precisely what an index does. However, don't just copy
headings directly into an index. Tools like RoboHELP and
FrameMaker lure you into this trap — just don't go there.
Instead, "clone" each headings as many times as you can. For
example, a heading such as "Changing screen resolution" can
be indexed as "screen resolution, changing" as well as
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"changing screen resolution." You might also include
"resolution, changing screen." These cloned entries attempt to
anticipate all the likely ways a reader might look for this topic
in an index: "screen," "resolution," or "changing."
Here are some additional examples:
Heading
Index entries
Optimizing Video Display
video display, optimizing
optimizing video display
display, optimizing video
Playing Streaming Multimedia
streaming multimedia, playing
playing streaming multimedia
multimedia, playing streaming
Networking Basics
networking
networks
Introducing Streaming Multimedia
streaming multimedia
multimedia, streaming
Notice that you can't always clone index entries on every word. For example,
"introducing streaming multimedia" in the preceding just wouldn't work.
Would any reader ever look for this topic starting with "introducing"?
2. Create synonym entries. Readers don't necessary use the same
terminology as you do in your documentation. They may call a
diskette drive a "floppy drive." They may refer to a display as a
"monitor." As an indexer, you must anticipate these common
variations in terminology. In the preceding entries, it would be
a good idea to have a synonym for "video display" such as
"monitor." But instead of repeating the page numbers, use a See
reference. That way, you point readers to the preferred term.
(Of course, if there is only one page number, just repeat it with
the synonym entry.)
Here are some additional examples:
Index entry
Synynom entries
volume, adjusting
loudness, adjusting
transmission rate
speed, transmission
capturing video
copying video
3. Review the text for additional index entries. It's ordinarily not
enough just to index by headings. You have to dig down in the
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text for concepts, terms, and tasks that are not represented by
the headings. For example, under the heading "Creating a
Multimedia Stream," you might see definitions of "capturing"
and "encoding." These are important terms, but they appear
nowhere in the headings — index them too! In this case, you'd
want to create these additional index entries: "capturing
streams" and "encoding streams."
4. Index front and back matter. Don't forget to dig around in the
preface, safety notices, appendixes, and other such peripherals
for additional index entries. Typically, technical-support
numbers and addresses are shown in the preface. Index them —
and don't forget to create cloned entries and synonym entries
for them as well.
Index entry
Cloned and synynom entries
technical support
support, technical
help desk
problems
Revising and Finetuning an Index
Once you've brainstormed all the index entries that you can think of, it's time to see
what the thing looks like and start working it over.
1. Build a first-draft index. Once you've created as many index
entries, clones, and synonyms as you can, it's time to "build" a
first draft of the index. Unless you are working the oldfashioned way with index cards, you can get your software
application to do this for you. For example, if you work in
FrameMaker, you've gone through your text inserting index
entries. The same process applies to RoboHELP. When you
build the first-draft index, don't be dismayed. It's just a rough
draft, which you'll need to do several kinds of revision to.
2. Toss useless entries. In the preceding steps, you've been roughdrafting the index. In the phase, you don't get hung up about the
exact phrasing of entries or the likelihood that anybody would
ever use them. But now the time to start weeding out the entries
that no reader would ever use. For example, first-level entries
beginning with "introducing," "using, "about" are not likely to
be useful. Delete them! But don't delete them from the built
index. Go back into your document and get rid of the original
index entry.
3. Consolidate entries with similar phrasing. You'll also find lots
of enries that have only minor variations in phrasing. For
example:
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Rough-draft entries
Revised entries
technology, streaming
multimedia
technologies, streaming
multimedia
technologies, streaming
multimedia
video display
video displays
video displays
change screen resolution
changing screen resolution
changing screen resolution
4. As you can see in these examples, singular/plural entries and
verb variations are the most common causes of similar phrasing
in index entries. Your house style may dictate using singulars
as opposed to plural. Whichever way you handle these, just be
consistent.
5. Group similar entries. You'll also see entries that need to be
grouped and subordinated. For example, they may all begin
with the same word, but have different modifiers. Here's an
example:
Similar entries
Grouped and subordinated entries
projector, defined
projectors, compiling
projectors, considerations
projectors, creating
projectors, troubleshooting
projectors
compiling
considerations
creating
defined
troubleshooting
6. Rework entries with over excessive page entries. Some
organizations have actual style-guide rules concerning how
many page references following an index entry are allowable.
Three is a common maximum; two is aggressive, ambitious.
For example, "programming syntax, 12, 45, 74, 122, 219, 222."
A string of anonymous page references like this helps no one.
Instead, identify the subtopic for these page references. Here's a
example:
Too many unidentified page
references
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entries
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projectors, 124, 136, 154-155, 156
157
projectors
compiling, 154-155
considerations, 156
controls, 136
defined, 124, 136, 157
7. Look for entry groupings. A nice useful touch in indexes is to
hunt for ways that you can group entries. For example, imagine
a user guide that mentions explains the various dialog boxes
that pop up in the application. There's the Password dialog box,
the New User dialog box, the Delete User dialog box, and so
on. How about repeating all those entries under "dialog boxes"?
Entries
Grouped entries
(entries are scattered throughout the index)
Add User dialog box
...
Delete User dialog box
...
New User dialog box
...
Password dialog box
Add User dialog box
...
Delete User dialog box
...
dialog boxes
Add User
Delete User
New User
Password
...
New User dialog box
...
Password dialog box
8. Look for See also and additional See references. Toward the
end of your revising phase, take a look at your index for the
possibility of See also references. See also references are for
closely related terms that readers might choose by mistake. For
example, in the old DOS systems, there was the copy command
and the xcopy command. The two commands are so closely
related in name and in function that you'd want to put See also
references to each other. And don't forget the See references:
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those point readers from synonym terms to the terms you prefer
to use and index by in your book.
9. Check the style and mechanics of index entries. The
organization for which you work may have its own house style
guide or refer you to some standard style such as the Chicago
Manual of Style. Look at these very carefully for how they tell
you to capitalize and punctuate index entries. Indexes
commonly use lowercase on all nonproper-noun entries, but a
certain percentage do use initial caps on first-level entries. Most
styles have you put a comma just after the index term and
before the page numbers; but a few do not. Some styles require
you to use the same highlighting in the index as you do in the
main text. If something is bold in the main text, they want it
bold in the index too.
One common index style
Another common index style
projectors, 123
Projectors 123
compiling, 154-155
compiling 154-155
considerations, 156
considerations 156
controls, 136
controls 136
defined, 124, 136, 157
defined 124, 136, 157
project profiles, 451-461
Project profiles 451-461
10. Notice in the righthand example, init caps are used on the firstlevel entry only, not on subentries. Notice too that there is no
comma between the index term and the page references. Also,
you'll find that some indexing standards and styles disapprove
of having a page reference on an index entry that has
subentries: for example, "projectors, 123." Why isn't the page
123 reference down amongst the subentries? Just what is the
subtopic on page 123?
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Online Technical Writing: Writing Process
The writing process takes you from the very beginning of a writing project—finding
topics and analyzing audience and purpose—all the way to the end—writing and
revising the rough draft. The following sections focus on the key phases of that
process:












Strategies for team-writing
Audience analysis
Topic ideas
Brainstorming
Invention
Narrowing
Outlining
Libraries, documentation, cross-referencing
Note-taking
Rough-drafting
Strategies for peer-reviewing
Power-revision techniques
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Online Technical Writing:
Strategies for Peer-Reviewing and Team-Writing
Note: I'm still gathering information for this section; stay tuned...
Peer-reviewing (also called peer-editing) means people getting together to read,
comment on, and recommend improvements on each other's work. Peer-reviewing is a
good way to become a better writer because it provides experience in looking
critically at writing.
Team-writing, as its name indicates, means people getting together to plan, write, and
revise writing projects as a group, or team. Another name for this practice is
collaborative writing-collaborative writing that is out in the open rather than under
cover (where it is known as plagiarism).
Strategies for peer-reviewing
When you peer-review another writer's work, you evaluate it, criticize it, suggest
improvements, and then communicate all of that to the writer. As a first-time peerreviewer, you might be a bit uneasy about criticizing someone else's work. For
example, how do you tell somebody his essay is boring? Read the discussion and
steps that follow; you'll find advice and guidelines on doing peer reviews and
communicating peer-review comments.
At the beginning of a peer review, provide your peer-reviewers with notes on the
writing assignment and on your goals and concerns about your writing project. Alert
reviewers to these problems; make it clear what kinds of things you were trying to do.
Similarly, ask writers whose work you are peer-reviewing to supply you with
information on their objectives and concerns. Figure 1 shows a cover note, attached to
a rough draft, indicating to a peer-reviewer what to watch for.
Figure 1. Note to reviewers attached to the front of a draft for peer review. Provide
your reviewers with an idea of your writing-project details (topic, audience, purpose,
situation, type),and alert them to any problems or concerns.
Specifically, give peer-reviewers information on any of the following about which
you think there may be problems:
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
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xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
When you peer-review other people's writing, remember above all that you should
consider all aspects of that writing, not just--in fact, least of all--the grammar,
spelling, and punctuation. If you are new to peer-reviewing, you may forget to review
the draft for certain aspects:








Make sure that your review is comprehensive. Consider all
aspects of the draft you're reviewing, not just the grammar,
punctuation, and spelling. To make sure that your review is
thorough, use the checklist in Figure 2.
Read the draft several times, looking for high-level matters
such as interest level, persuasiveness, general organization, and
clarity of discussion in your first reading.
Be careful about making comments or criticisms that are based
on your own personal style. Base your criticisms and
suggestions for improvements on generally accepted
guidelines, concepts, and rules. If you do make a comment that
is really your own preference, explain it.
Explain the problems you find fully. Don't just say a paper
"seems disorganized." Explain what is disorganized about it.
Use specific details from the draft to demonstrate your case.
Whenever you criticize something in the writer's draft, try to
suggest some way to correct the problem. It's not enough to tell
the writer that her paper seems disorganized, for example.
Explain how that problem could be solved.
Base your comments and criticisms on accepted guidelines,
concepts, principles, and rules. It's not enough to tell a writer
that two paragraphs ought to be switched, for example. State
the reason why: more general, introductory information should
come first, for example.
Avoid rewriting the draft that you are reviewing. In your efforts
to suggest improvements and corrections, don't go overboard
and rewrite the draft yourself. Doing so steals from the original
writer the opportunity to learn and improve as a writer.
Find positive, encouraging things to say about the draft you're
reviewing. Compliments, even small ones, are usually wildly
appreciated. Read through the draft at least once looking for
things that were done well, and then let the writer know about
them.
Figure 2. Comprehensive checklist for the peer reviewer. Use a checklist like this one
to make sure that in your peer review you consider the paper from every angle.
Figure 3. Excerpt from a peer-reviewed paper. Notice that the comments are fully
explanatory and that the peer reviewer refrains from merely making corrections.
Notice also that the peer reviewer includes positive comments.
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Use the following suggestions to peer-review the rough draft in specific ways:
PHASES OF REVIEWING

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Organize a writing team, if necessary or possible
Review how well the draft is adapted to its audience
Assess how well the draft achieves its purpose
Analyze whether the writing topic has been narrowed
sufficiently
Review the organization of the draft
Check the content of the draft
Review the coherence of the draft, that is, its use of transition
techniques
Analyze the title, introduction, and conclusion
Review the use of topic sentences in the draft
Analyze the draft for sentence style and clarity
Check whether quotations, paraphrases, and summaries are
handled correctly
Review the handling of graphics, if they are used in the draft
Review the documentation of the draft, that is, its method of
handling source references and the works-cited list
Check format details
Check for grammar, punctuation, usage, and spelling problems
Once you've finished a peer review, it's a good idea to write a summary of your
thoughts, observations, impressions, criticisms, or feelings about the rough draft.
Figure 4 shows a note written by a peer-reviewer, summarizing her observations on a
rough draft. Notice in the note some of the following details:





The comments are categorized according to type of problem or
error--grammar and usage comments in one group; higher level
comments on such as things content, organization, and interestlevel in another group.
Relative importance of the groups of comments is indicated.
The peer-reviewer indicates which suggestions would be "nice"
to incorporate, and which ones are critical to the success of the
writing project.
Most of the comments include some brief statement of
guidelines, rules, examples, or common sense. The reviewer
doesn't simply say "This is wrong; fix it." She also explains the
basis for the comment.
Questions are addressed to the writer. The reviewer is
doublechecking to see if the writer really meant to state or
imply certain things.
The reviewer includes positive comments to make about the
rough draft, and finds nonantagonistic, sympathetic ways to
state criticisms.
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Figure 4. A note summarizing the results of a peer review. Spend some time
summarizing your peer-review comments in a brief note to the writer. Be as
diplomatic and sympathetic as you can!
Strategies for team-writing
As mentioned earlier in this chapter, team-writing is one of the common ways people
in the worlds of business, government, science, and technology handle large writing
projects.
When you begin picking team members for a writing project, choose people with
different backgrounds and interests. Just as a diverse, well-rounded background for an
individual writer is an advantage, a group of diverse individuals makes for a wellrounded writing team.
If you are the team leader, you might even ask prospective team members for their
background, interests, majors, talents, and aptitudes. These following writing teams
combine individuals with diverse backgrounds and interests:
Writing team 1
Project: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Team members
Backgrounds, skills, interests
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
x
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
x
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
x
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
x
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Writing team 2
Project: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Team members
Backgrounds, skills, interests
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
x
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xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
x
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xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
x
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
x
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Once you've assembled your writing team, most of the work is the same as it would
be if you were writing by yourself, except that each phases is a team effort.
Specifically, meet with your team to decide or plan the following:
Planning Stages
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Analyze the writing assignment.
Pick a topic.
Define the audience, purpose, and writing situation.
Brainstorm and narrow the the topic.
Create an outline.
Plan the information search (for books, articles,
etc., in the library).
Plan a system for taking notes from information
sources.
Plan any graphics you'd like to see in your writing
project.
Agree on style and format questions (see the
following discussion).
Develop a work schedule for the project and divide
the responsibilities (see the following).
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Much of the work in a team-writing project must be done by individual team members
on their own. However your team decides to divide up the work for the writing
project, try for at least these minimum guidelines:

Have each team member responsible for the writing of one
major section of the paper.
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
Have each team member responsible for locating, reading, and
taking notes on an equal part of the information sources.
Some of the work for the project that could be done as a team you may want to do
first independently. For example, brainstorming, narrowing, and especially outlining
should be done first be each team member on his own; then get together and compare
notes. Keep in mind how group dynamics can unknowingly suppress certain ideas and
how less assertive team members might be reluctant to contribute their valuable ideas
in the group context.
After you've divided up the work for the project, write a formal chart and distribute it
to all the members.
Figure 5. Chart listing writing team members' responsibilities for the project
Early in your team writing project, set up a schedule of key dates. This schedule will
enable you and your team members to make steady, organized progress and complete
the project on time. As shown in Figure 6, include not only completion dates for key
phases of the project but also meeting dates and the subject and purpose of those
meetings. Notice these details about that schedule:

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
Several meetings are scheduled in which members discuss the
information they are finding or are not finding. (One team
member may have information another member is looking
everywhere for.)
Several meetings are scheduled to review the project details,
specifically, the topic, audience, purpose, situation, and outline.
As you learn more about the topic and become more settled in
the project, your team may want to change some of these
details or make them more specific.
Several rough drafts are scheduled. Team members peer-review
each other's drafts of individual sections twice, the second time
to see if the recommended changes have worked. Once the
complete draft is put together, it too is reviewed twice.
Figure 6. Schedule for a team writing project
When you work as a team, there is always the chance that one of the team members,
for whatever reason, may have more or less than a fair share of the workload.
Therefore, it's important to find a way to keep track of what each team member is
doing. A good way to do that is to have each team member keep a journal or log of
what kind of work he does and how much time he spends doing it. (See Figure 7 for
an example of such a journal.)
Figure 7. Excerpt from a journal kept by a writing team member. Notice that details
such as hours worked, type of work, pages read, page written are included.
At the end of the project, if there are any problems in the balance of the work, the
journal should make that fact very clear. At the end of the project, team members can
add up their hours spent on the project; if anyone has spent a little more than her share
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of time working, the other members can make up for it by buying her dinner or some
reward like that. Similarly, as you get down toward the end of the project, if it's clear
from the journals that one team member's work responsibilities turned out, through no
fault of his own, to be smaller than those of the others, he can make up for it by doing
more of the finish-up work such as typing, proofing, or copying.
Because the individual sections will be written by different writers who are apt to
have different writing styles, set up a style guide in which your team members list
their agreements on how things are to be handled in the paper as a whole. These
agreements can range from the high level, such as xxxxxxxxxxxx, all the way down to
picky details such as xxxxxxxxxxxx. Figure 8 shows an example of such a project
style sheet.
Before you and your team members write the first rough drafts, you can't expect to
cover every possible difference in style and format. Therefore, plan to update this
style sheet when you review the rough drafts of the individual sections and,
especially, when review the complete draft.
Figure 8. Style guide for a writing project. The items listed represent agreements team
writers have made in order to give their paper as much consistency as possible.
Try to schedule as many reviews of your team's written work as possible. You can
meet to discuss each other's rough drafts of individual sections as well as rough drafts
of the complete paper. When you do meet, follow the suggestions for peer-editing
discussed in the previous section of this chapter, "Steps for peer-reviewing."
A critical stage in team-writing a paper comes when you put together into one
complete draft those individual sections written by different team members. It's then
that you'll probably see how different in tone, treatment, and style each section is (see
Figure 9 for an example.) You must as a group find a way to revise and edit the
complete rough draft that will make it read consistently so that it won't be so
obviously written by three or four different people.
Figure 9. An example of how different sections of a team-written report can be
radically unlike each other. Notice how the tone, sentence length, paragraph length,
word choice, and other details vary strikingly in this example.
When you've finished with reviewing and revising, it's time for the finish-up work to
get the draft ready to hand in. That work is the same as it would be if you were
writing the paper on your own, only in this case the workloads can be divided up.
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Online Technical Writing:
Audience Analysis
The audience of a technical report--or any piece of writing for that matter--is the
intended or potential reader or readers. For most technical writers, this is the most
important consideration in planning, writing, and reviewing a document. You "adapt"
your writing to meet the needs, interests, and background of the readers who will be
reading your writing.
The principle seems absurdly simple and obvious. It's much the same as telling
someone, "Talk so the person in front of you can understand what you're saying." It's
like saying, "Don't talk rocket science to your six-year-old." Do we need a course in
that? Doesn't seem like it. But, in fact, lack of audience analysis and adaptation is one
of the root causes of most of the problems you find in professional, technical
documents--particularly instructions where it surfaces most glaringly.
Note: Once you've read this section on audiences, try using the audience planner. You
fill in blanks with answers to questions about your audience and then e-mail it to
yourself and, optionally, to your instructor. Use the audience planner for any writing
project as a way of getting yourself to think about your audience in detail.
Note: Students enrolled in the Online Technical Writing are encouraged to take the
reading quiz on this chapter. (Anybody else is welcome to try it as well.)
Types of Audiences
One of the first things to do when you analyze and audience is to identify its type (or
types--it's rarely just one type). The common division of audiences into categories is
as follows:
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Experts: These are the people who know the theory and the
product inside and out. They designed it, they tested it, they
know everything about it. Often, they have advanced degrees
and operate in academic settings or in research and
development areas of the government and business worlds. The
nonspecialist reader is least likely to understand what these
people are saying-but also has the least reason to try. More
often, the communication challenge faced by the expert is
communicating to the technician and the executive.
Technicians: These are the people who build, operate,
maintain, and repair the stuff that the experts design and
theorize about. Theirs is a highly technical knowledge as well,
but of a more practical nature.
Executives: These are the people who make business,
economic, administrative, legal, governmental, political
decisions on the stuff that the experts and technicians work
with. If it's a new product, they decide whether to produce and
market it. If it's a new power technology, they decide whether
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
the city should implement it. Executives are likely to have as
little technical knowledge about the subject as nonspecialists.
Nonspecialists: These readers have the least technical
knowledge of all. Their interest may be as practical as
technicians', but in a different way. They want to use the new
product to accomplish their tasks; they want to understand the
new power technology enough to know whether to vote for or
against it in the upcoming bond election. Or, they may just be
curious about a specific technical matter and want to learn
about it--but for no specific, practical reason.
Audience Analysis
It's important to determine which of the four categories just discussed the potential
readers of your document belong to, but that's not the end of it. Audiences, regardless
of category, must also be analyzed in terms of characteristics such as the following:
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Background-knowledge, experience, training: One of your
most important concerns is just how much knowledge,
experience, or training you can expect in your readers. If you
expect some of your readers to lack certain background, do you
automatically supply it in your document? Consider an
example: imagine you're writing a guide to using a software
product that runs under Microsoft Windows. How much can
you expect your readers to know about Windows? If some are
likely to know little about Windows, should you provide that
information? If you say no, then you run the risk of customers'
getting frustrated with your product. If you say yes to adding
background information on Windows, you increase your work
effort and add to the page count of the document (and thus to
the cost). Obviously, there's no easy answer to this question-part of the answer may involve just how small a segment of the
audience needs that background information.
Needs and interests: To plan your document, you need to know
what your audience is going to expect from that document.
Imagine how readers will want to use your document; what will
they demand from it. For example, imagine you are writing a
manual on how to use a new microwave oven--what are your
readers going to expect to find in it? Imagine you're under
contract to write a background report on global warming for a
national real estate association--what do they want to read
about; and, equally important, what do they not want to read
about?
Other demographic characteristics: And of course there are
many other characteristics about your readers that might have
an influence on how you should design and write your
document--for example, age groups, type of residence, area of
residence, sex, political preferences, and so on.
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Audience analysis can get complicated by at least two other factors: mixed audience
types for one document, wide variability within audience, and unknown audiences.
More than one audience. You're likely to find that your report is for more than one
audience. For example, it may be seen by technical people (experts and technicians)
and administrative people (executives). What to do? You can either write all the
sections so that all the audiences of your document can understand them (good luck!).
Or you can write each section strictly for the audience that would be interested in it,
then use headings and section introductions to alert your audience about where to go
and what to stay out of in your report.
Wide variability in an audience. You may realize that, although you have an audience
that fits into only one category, there is a wide variability in its background. This is a
tough one--if you write to the lowest common denominator of reader, you're likely to
end up with a cumbersome, tedious book-like thing that will turn off the majority of
readers. But if you don't write to that lowest level, you lose that segment of your
readers. What to do? Most writers go for the majority of readers and sacrifice that
minority that needs more help. Others put the supplemental information in appendixes
or insert cross-references to beginners' books.
Audience Adaptation
Okay! So you've analyzed your audience until you know them better than you know
yourself. What good is it? How do you use this information? How do you keep from
writing something that will still be incomprehensible or useless to your readers?
The business of writing to your audience may have a lot to do with in-born talent,
intuition, and even mystery. But there are some controls you can use to have a better
chance to connect with your readers. The following "controls" have mostly to do with
making technical information more understandable for nonspecialist audiences:

Add information readers need to understand your document.
Check to see whether certain key information is missing--for example, a
critical series of steps from a set of instructions; important background that
helps beginners understand the main discussion; definition of key terms. (See
the section on ideas on content for details.)

Omit information your readers do not need.
Unnecessary information can also confuse and frustrate readers--after all, it's
there so they feel obligated to read it. For example, you can probably chop
theoretical discussion from basic instructions.

Change the level of the information you currently have.
You may have the right information but it may be "pitched" at too high or too
low a technical level. It may be pitched at the wrong kind of audience--for
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example, at an expert audience rather than a technician audience. This happens
most often when product-design notes are passed off as instructions.

Add examples to help readers understand.
Examples are one of the most powerful ways to connect with audiences,
particularly in instructions. Even in noninstructional text, for example, when
you are trying to explain a technical concept, examples are a major help-analogies in particular.

Change the level of your examples.
You may be using examples but the technical content or level may not be
appropriate to your readers. Homespun examples may not be useful to experts;
highly technical ones may totally miss your nonspecialist readers.

Change the organization of your information.
Sometimes, you can have all the right information but arrange it in the wrong
way. For example, there can be too much background information up front (or
too little) such that certain readers get lost. Sometimes, background
information needs to woven into the main information--for example, in
instructions it's sometimes better to feed in chunks of background at the points
where they are immediately needed. (See the sections on structure and
organization of information in a report.)

Strengthen transitions.
It may be difficult for readers, particularly nonspecialists, to see the
connections between the main sections of your report, between individual
paragraphs, and sometimes even between individual sentences. You can make
these connections much clearer by adding transition words and by echoing key
words more accurately. Words like "therefore," "for example," "however" are
transition words--they indicate the logic connecting the previous thought to the
upcoming thought. You can also strengthen transitions by carefully echoing
the same key words. In technical prose, it's not a good idea to vary word
choice-use the same words so that people don't get any more confused than
they may already be. (See the section on transitions.)

Write stronger introductions--both for the whole document and
for major sections.
People seem to read with more confidence and understanding when they have
the "big picture"--a view of what's coming, and how it relates to what they've
just read. Therefore, make sure you have a strong introduction to the entire
document--one that makes clear the topic, purpose, audience, and contents of
that document. And for each major section within your document, use miniintroductions that indicate at least the topic of the section and give an
overview of the subtopics to be covered in that section. (See the section on
introductions both for whole reports and for sections within reports.)
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
Create topic sentences for paragraphs and paragraph groups.
It can help readers immensely to give them an idea of the topic and purpose of
a section (a group of paragraphs) and in particular to give them an overview of
the subtopics about to be covered. Roadmaps help when you're in a different
state! (See the section on using overviews and topic sentences.)

Change sentence style and length.
How you write--down at the individual sentence level--can make a big
difference too. In instructions, for example, using imperative voice and "you"
phrasing is vastly more understandable than the passive voice or third-personal
phrasing. For some reason, personalizing your writing style and making it
more relaxed and informal can make it more accessible and understandable.
Passive, person-less writing is harder to read--put people and action in your
writing. Similarly, go for active verbs as opposed to be verb phrasing. All of
this makes your writing more direct and immediate--readers don't have to dig
for it. (See the section on common sentence-style problems for details.)
And obviously, sentence length matters as well. An average of somewhere
between 15 and 25 words per sentence is about right; sentences over 30 words
are to be mistrusted.

Work on sentence clarity and economy.
This is closely related to the previous "control" but deserves its own spot.
Often, writing style can be so wordy that it is hard or frustrating to read. When
you revise your rough drafts, put them on a diet-go through a draft line by line
trying to reduce the overall word, page or line count by 20 percent. Try it as an
experiment and see how you do. You'll find a lot of fussy, unnecessary detail
and inflated phrasing you can chop out. (See the section on common sentencestyle and clarity problems for details.)

Use more or different graphics.
For nonspecialist audiences, you may want to use more graphics--and simpler
ones at that. Writing for specialists and experts tends to be less illustrated, less
graphically attractive--even boring to the eye! Graphics for specialists tend to
be more detailed, more technical. In technical documents for nonspecialists,
there also tend to be more "decorative" graphics--ones that serve no strict
informative or persuasive purpose at all. (See the section on graphics for
details.)

Break text up or consolidate text into meaningful, usable
chunks.
For nonspecialist readers, you may need to have shorter paragraphs. Notice
how much longer paragraphs are in technical documents written for
specialists. (Maybe a 6- to 8-line paragraph is the dividing line.)
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
Add cross-references to important information.
In technical information, you can help nonspecialist readers by pointing them
to background sources. If you can't fully explain a topic on the spot, point to a
book or article where it is. (See the section on cross-references for details.)

Use headings and lists.
Readers can be intimidated by big dense paragraphs of writing, uncut by
anything other than a blank line now and then. Search your rough drafts for
ways to incorporate headings--look for changes in topic or subtopic. Search
your writing for listings of things--these can be made into vertical lists. Look
for paired listings such as terms and their definitions--these can be made into
two-column lists. Of course, be careful not to force this special formatting-don't overdo it. (See the sections on headings and lists for details.)

Use special typography, and work with margins, line length,
line spacing, type size, and type style.
For nonspecialist readers, you can do things like making the lines shorter
(bringing in the margins), using larger type sizes, and other such tactics.
Certain type styles are believed to be friendlier and more readable than others.
(Try to find someone involved with publishing to get their insights on fonts.)
These are the kinds of "controls" that professional technical writers use to finetune
their work and make it as readily understandable as possible. And in contrast, it's the
accumulation of lots of problems in these areas--even seemingly minor ones--that add
up to a document being difficult to read and understand. Nonprofessionals often
question why professional writers and editors insist on bothering with such seemingly
picky, trivial, petty details in writing--but they all add up! It reminds me of some
Chinese saying about "death by a thousand cuts."
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Online Technical Writing:
Report Topics Ideas
Use this page as a brainstorming site for report topics. (Scroll down to the list of
topics.)
Topic Possibilities on the Web
Here are some links to web sites that might give you some interesting topic ideas (let
me know if you find additional ones):

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
New, Interesting, and Alternative Technologies. Provided by
Allyn & Bacon's TechCommunity, a collection of links to
websites featuring such topics as wind energy, global
positioning systems, robotics, "green" automotive technology,
extraterrestrial intelligence, superluminal motion, cloning, and
much more.
Galaxy Listing of Topics
Science and Technology Exhibits (some exciting web sites
involving related areas of interest to our technical writing
course)
Titles of Past Technical Reports
Also check out the listing of titles for technical reports written by past students in
technical writing courses.
Report Topics List
The following is a grab-bag of topic ideas for the technical report. If you think of
some additional ones that ought to be listed here, send e-mail to [email protected]
global warming
deforestation
acid rain
disposal
Mount St. Helens
ozone depletion
rain forests
continental drift
solar energy devices
nuclear power
energy
mass transportation
nuclear fusion
automotives
microwave technologies
solar automobiles
freon
wind energy
petroleum-based
bomb detection methods
thermal power
high-tech weaponry
advances in
xeriscaping
agriculture
hydroponics
alternative
Online Technical Writing
greenhouse effect
endangered species
industrial waste
plate tectonics
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recycling
drip irrigation
techniques
desalination methods
genetic engineering
soil analysis
hybridization
World Wide Web
computer video
multimedia
intelligence
telecomputing
cellular telephones
digital imaging
computer memory
computer animation
fiber optics
computer audio
virtual reality
artificial
advanced compact disks
digital interactive TV
neural networks
videoconferencing
object oriented
programming
satellite TV
distance education
education
computer crime
Tech Prep
computer graphics
cable TV
advances in telephony
teleconferencing
computer-aided
robotics
CD-ROM technology
expert systems
virtual classroom
artificial heart
replacements
Alzheimer's disease
diabetics
advanced prostheses
diabetes
carcinogens
hyperkinetic behavior
magnetic resonance
imaging
kidney transplants
knee/hip
AIDS
devices for
artificial limbs
effects of caffeine
sacchrine
psychosomatic disoders
ultrasound
sickle cell anemia
hypoglycemia
effects of nicotine
genetic engineering
vitamin therapies
recombinant DNA
technology
inflation
capital punishment
handwriting analysis
dyslexia
recession
abortion methods
biorhythms
wellness programs
balanced budget
dream research
pheromones
Big Bang Theory
UFOs
Saturn expedition
space shuttles
Life on Mars
Uranus expedition
Supernova
The Moon
Extraterrestrial
intelligence
Black holes
Venus
volcanoes
hurricanes
tornadoes
droughts
earthquakes
monsoons
whales
boa constrictors
rattlesnakes
coyotes
dinosaurs
sharks
geckoes
panda bears
eagles
black widows
iguanas
wolves
dolphins
heart attacks
lung cancer
influenza
gout
breast cancer
migraines
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Online Technical Writing:
Planning Reports—Brainstorming
Overview of Technical Reports
o
o
o
Informational Reports
Feasibility Reports
Instructions
Finding a Subject for the Technical Report
o
o
o
o
o
o
Major, Future Courses, and Textbooks
Instructors' Ideas and Topic Lists
Magazines, Journals, and Periodical Indexes
Career Plans, Interviews, and Current Work
Ideas for Local Improvements
Problems
Exercises
Model: Example Report Topic Proposal (memo)
This chapter shows you some techniques for the early stages of your report-writing
project. Specifically, you can use this chapter:


To find a subject to write a report on
To "brainstorm" on that subject
Overview of technical reports
While Chapters 12, 13, and 14 describe the different kinds of reports in detail, all you
need right now to choose a topic for your report is a quick overview. Terminology for
the different kinds of reports varies, but reports can be divided into those that inform,
recommend, and instruct.
Informational reports. A great variety of informational reports simply present
information in an objective, organized way. People often need informative reports that
gather and present information on a subject in one neat package. These people don't
have time to do an exhaustive library search nor time to read stacks of books and
articles looking for their information. Instead, they find individuals or groups to do
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the information gathering and report writing for them. Here are some examples of the
kinds of information these people might need:
New methods in helping diabetics
The laser in eye surgery
Survey of recycling programs in major U.S. cities
Technologies used in wind-powered electrical generators
Chemical and non-chemical methods of insect control
Feasibility reports. Recommendations, or feasibility reports as they are called here,
go one step further than informational reports. They not only provide information but
argue for certain courses of action (to build or not to build, to purchase or not to
purchase).
Feasibility reports present information to prove whether a project can be done and
whether it is worth doing. For example, a company may benefit from a new
technology: but no one is sure whether the expense, the downtime, and the pay-off
will be worth it. A community may be considering a plan to build some new facility
or to start some new program: but people disagree about its value or potential benefit
to the community. Again, a feasibility report tries to answer these questions. Here are
some more specific examples:
The acceptability of
The profitability of
Whether a salt water
county's fresh water
Whether solar energy
city-owned housing
bikelanes in the city
recycling municipal waste
conversion facility would solve the
problems
devices will save money if installed in
Instructions. Another common use of technical writing is instructions: explanations
of how to operate or repair machinery, how to perform certain actions, or what to do
in certain situations. Informational-report-type information is also supplied in
instructional writing: descriptions of the devices being used or explanations of
principles and theory related to the activity being explained. Here are some examples
of instructional topics:
How
How
How
How
How
How
to
to
to
to
to
to
write a metric conversion program in Pascal
read architectural drawings
develop your own photographs
graft a fruit tree
take blood pressure
overhaul a carburetor
Step 1. On your worksheet, briefly explain which type of report you
are going to write. If it's not quite like any of the types described
above, explain.
Brainstorming: Finding a subject for the
technical report
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To find a good report topic, let your mind wander; do some casual, relaxed browsing
around. Scribble down the ideas that come to you. If you have several ideas, keep
them all in mind through the early stages of your report work until one proves to be
more interesting or manageable.
Step 2. On your worksheet, write the information requested in the
following sections.
Major, future courses, and textbooks. An obvious place to start your search is your
major. On your worksheet, jot down a description of your major; include any
information on special areas of interest or curiosity and on reasons you are majoring
in the field. Also, list descriptions of majors or fields that you almost went into or
have some interest in. When you've done this, think about what you've written down
for a moment: what report topics does the list suggest? On your worksheet, write any
topic that comes to mind during this process.
Nursing
Data processing
Biology
Real estate
Criminology
Business
Technical communications
Financial
planning
Computer science
Accounting
Physical education
Elementary education
Take a look at your degree plan or your course catalog: what specialized courses will
you be taking? Write brief descriptions of these on your worksheet, particularly ones
you are looking forward to. Think about these descriptions, and scribble down any
topics that come to mind. Courses or fields like these suggest a variety of technical
report topics:
Management of small business
Computer graphics
Technological innovation:
Economics of health care
bioethical issues
Issues in nutrition and
Pascal programming
health
Business law
Urban transportation problems
Development of the young
Introduction to word proceschild
sing
Criminology
Interior design
Introduction to artificial
COBOL for business applicaintelligence
tions
The money market
Nonverbal communication
Investigate textbooks in your major, in particular, textbooks in advanced or
specialized courses such as those you listed above in the section on future courses.
Glance at the tables of contents of these books and at the headings (titles and subtitles
within the chapters). As this process begins to suggest ideas for report topics, scribble
them out on your worksheet.
Instructors' ideas and topic lists. Instructors in your major or related fields are also
good prospects for helping you find report topics. Drop by their offices for a chat; see
what ideas they have. If they make interesting suggestions, jot them down (and
remember that these instructors can also serve as helpful guides in your future work
on the report). Librarians are also good prospects. Ask your librarian (or your
technical writing instructor) for a list of report subjects. Scan lists like the one below
for interesting subjects. As you glance at this list, jot down the topics that interest you.
Pain relief without drugs
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Types of investments
Rotary drilling
Offshore oil ports
Handling your own divorce
Hurricanes
Flat-rate taxation
Microprocessors
Multiphase telemetry
Artificial heart
Continental drift
Windpower
Nuclear fusion
B-vitamin complex
Welllogging
Computer crime
Treating sickle cell
Waferboard
Growing strawberries, grapes, etc.
Adopting a child
CPR
procedure
Taking blood pressure
Electric cars
Dream
analysis
Soil analysis
Secondary oil recovery
CAT
scanners
Hypoglycemia
Solar Panels
Greenhouses
The Viking spacecraft
The planet Venus
IQ
The Moon landing
Mount St. Helens
Drip
irrigation
Drafting techniques
Desalination plants
IV
machines
Effects of caffeine
Synthetic fuels
Hemodialysis
Fetal alcohol syndrome
Industrial waste disposal
Bridge design
Automotive uses of plastics
Computer chips
Space
Shuttle
Computer sound synthesis
Obstructive lung disease
Oil
shale
Reconstructive surgery
Implants
Holograms
Missile guidance systems
Archeological technology
Dietary fiber
Computer graphics
Ultrasound
Cryogenics
Genetic engineering
Scuba diving equipment
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Euthanasia
Hydraulic fracturing
Wood-burning stoves
Diodes
Artificial intelligence
Geriatric nursing
Lasers
Pyramid power
Thermal power
Beekeeping
Drill bit design
Aphasia
Restaurant management
Turbomachines
brain
Hyperkinetic behavior
Cancer
Hormones
Psychosomatic disorders
Food additives
Pesticides
Chemotherapy
Interferon
Biorhythms
Animal migration
Pheromones
Pascal
ENIAC
TV
Integrated circuits
Recycling
Cocombustion
Jogging
Word processors
forests
Sahara Desert
Atomic bomb
Nuclear war
Three Mile Island
Plate tectonics
Earthquakes
Tornadoes
Fire alarms
Motorcycle maintenance
Burglar alarms
Cameras
Photographic techniques
Microwave oven
equipment
UFOs
The
COBOL
Cable
Rain
Ozone
Video
Figure 1. Sample list of report subject possibilities
Magazines, journals, and periodical indexes. Another good strategy (and an
enjoyable pastime as well) for finding report topics is to do some selective browsing
through magazines and journals. Check the tables of contents, and skim the titles for
interesting articles in both recent and back issues. Look into magazines and journals
of fields that you are curious about but may have shied away from because of their
technicality. As you browse, jot down brief descriptions of possible report topics.
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A good way to look at a lot of magazine article titles at once is to do some selective
browsing through periodical indexes. (See the section on finding periodical indexes.)
Career plans, interviews, and current work. An interesting strategy is to sit back
and imagine what you'll be doing in five to ten years. Visualize the work you'll be
doing or would like to be doing, and in particular, the situations that might require
you to write reports. As you muse upon your future, jot down the technical subject
areas you think you'll be involved in. For example:
drafting
electronics
wildlife preservation
nursing
agriculture
city planning
medical technology
programming
forestry
college administration
Similarly, talk to business and professional people whom you know: ask them about
the reports that they write or that they know about. Who knows? You may end up
writing a technical report for someone! And, if you currently have a job, take a look
around you and see what kinds of things are going on that might require written
reports. Ask:





What reports are written or, in fact, need to be written?
What changes or innovations are needed?
What new equipment can be acquired to streamline the office?
Can you propose that the business open up a new store
somewhere else in town or in a nearby city?
Projects like these often require written reports. As these ideas occur to you, jot them
down on your worksheet.
Ideas for local improvements. Another way to find topics is to jump in the car with a
friend and go driving around looking for civic projects that would make your
community a better place in which to live:








Are there esplanades or vacant areas that could be planted with
trees or turned into community gardens?
Is parking a problem in certain areas of the city?
How is municipal garbage handled?
Is there a recycling program in town?
Are there bike lanes?
Are more recreational facilities, for example, softball parks,
needed?
Are there old, unused, run-down buildings that could be
renovated and used for worthwhile causes or projects?
Would city residents be attracted to an outdoor theater for
concerts, plays, and musicals?
You can also visit business people, government officials, or directors of nonprofit
organizations and ask them about their needs. For example, the local senior citizens
center may need barriers removed and other facilities built so that its members can get
to the nearby park. For such needs, you can do the design work, calculate costs, and
find out about administrative approvals that are needed. If you do your work well, the
senior citizens will receive a useful report that will save them much time and effort.
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Problems. Good report topics can also be found by free associating around the word
"problems." Think about the problems that exist in your community, your city, your
county, or your state. (Just take a look at today's newspaper or watch the evening
news if you need some stimulation!) Think about problems geographically (as above)
or socially (in terms of age, sex, race, handicaps) or in other ways (medicine,
environment, politics, energy, or military). Does your field or major offer solutions, or
are you interested in some of the new solutions under research? As ideas come to you,
jot them down on your worksheet.
Exercises
1. Pick any report topic from the list in Figure 1 or pick a topic of
your own, decide on an audience and purpose for a report on
that topic, and then use the Checklist of Invention Questions
(Figure 2) for brainstorming the topic (jot your ideas on scratch
paper).
2. Imagine that you have an audience of real estate developers and
sales representatives for whom you are writing an informational
report on solar devices, which they are considering as options
on housing within a new development. Decide which of the
following topics you'd select for the report for this specific
audience and how you'd discuss the selected topics:
3.
Basic components of a
operation of a solar
4.
solar device
5.
Current research in
solar device
6.
solar device technology
manufacturers
7.
Costs to purchase, operate,
consumer tests on
8.
and maintain solar devices
devices
9.
Historical background on
solar power
10.
the use of solar power
heat transfer
11.
Architectural considerations
to benefit users
12.
in using solar devices
power
13.
How to determine angle of
to other common
14.
inclination for a collector
sources
Online Technical Writing
Basic
device
A survey of
Results of
solar
Economics of
Dynamics of
Tax programs
of solar
Comparison
energy
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Online Technical Writing:
Planning Reports—Invention
Analyzing Your Report's Audience and Purpose
Audience Analysis and the Invention Stage
Exercises
Model: Example Report Topic Proposal (memo)
This section shows you an important technique for the early stages of your reportwriting project: the invention stage, brainstorming what you can say about a reoport
topic you have chosen.
Analyzing your report's audience and purpose
Early in your planning for a technical report, you must identify the specific audience
that will read your report and the purpose your report will serve. To analyze the report
audience, you must consider these questions carefully:





Why does the audience need or want this report?
What is the audience's technical background (knowledge,
training, first-hand experience)?
What is the report's purpose?
What kinds of information will have to be included and
excluded from the report, considering the audience?
How should the information in the report be presented?
If you are not familiar with analyzing report audiences and purposes, return to the
section where this is covered. Understanding the audience and purpose of your report
becomes very important when you narrow your report subject.
Step 3. Briefly describe your audience, its background, capabilities,
and interest in your report. (See the step-by-step method of
analyzing audiences.)
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Invention stage
Once you've picked a subject for your report, the next step is to list the topics related
to it. During this stage, the "invention" or "brainstorming" stage, use the following
suggestions to explore your report idea:














Let your report subject itself suggest topics: for example,
Subject
Possible topics
The sun
its
its
its
its
temperature
composition
unusual phenomenon
relative size
Ultrasound in
medicine
its physical properties
equipment used
medical uses
advantages
Free associate on your report subject; sit back, relax, and let
your mind wander freely around the report subject. Keep
scratch paper handy, however. Don't expect the ideas to come
all at once in a ten-minute session: ideas for reports come at the
oddest moments--in the shower, on the bus, in your backyard,
in your car, or on your bicycle.
Use an invention checklist like the following. If you ask
yourself the questions listed below, you'll be less apt to
overlook important topics; and, with use, these questions
eventually become almost automatic.
GENERATING TOPICS FOR REPORT OUTLINES:
A Checklist of Invention Questions
Set up a report worksheet to scribble answers to any of the following
questions that apply to your report project.
Problems or needs
itself with a problem or a need?
Does your report concern
Solutions and answers
potential solutions or answers
Should your report discuss
to the problems or questions
presented in the report?
Historical events and natural
itself with some historical event
phenomena
phenomenon?
Does your report concern
Causes and effects
the causes, effects, or both related
Should your report discuss
or natural (or mechanical)
to the phenomenon, historical
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event, or problem you are discussing?
Descriptions
subject require description?
Which aspects of your report
Processes
Does your report subject
involve processes, procedures, routines,
or repetitive events that
must be discussed in steps?
Classes
Can any topic within your
report be divided into classes or types?
Comparisons to similar or
report be or compared to each other?
familiar things
complex in your report to something
Can similar things in your
Can you compare something
familiar or common?
Illustrative examples
related to your report subject be
Will a discussion of examples
effective?
Theoretical background
Are there unfamiliar terms in
your report? Can they be presented
(definitions)
in a theoretical or
background section? If so, list the terms.
Applications
Can you discuss the
applications related to your report subject?
Advantages and benefits
advantages or benefits related to your
Should you discuss the
technical report subject?
Disadvantages and limitations
problems, limitations, or drawbacks
Are certain disadvantages,
associated with your report
subject?
Warnings, cautions, and guidelines
cautionary or guideline statements?
Does your report need
Economics or financial considerations
Should you discuss cost
factors, purchase expenses, maintenance and
operation costs, production
or output costs, or savings?
Importance of the report subject
Should you discuss the
importance of your subject, why people should
concerned about it or
interested in it?
Historical background and important
historical background--events and
names
discussed in your report?
Future developments
about future developments or possi-
Online Technical Writing
Is there some important
names--that should be
Should your report speculate
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bilities related to the
report subject?
Social, political, legal, or ethical
Does your report subject
raise certain social or ethical questions,
implications
as for example, certain
medical technologies do?
Reasons for or against
In your report, should you
try to convince readers to take certain
actions or think a certain
way concerning your report subject?
Conclusions
Should your report draw
certain conclusions about what it discusses?
Recommendations
Should your report make
certain recommendations to its readers?
Alternatives or choices
Should your report discuss
several alternatives or choices related to
report subject matter?
Criteria
criteria to draw its conclusions or to
Will your report use certain
make its recommendations?
Tests and methods used
the tests you perform, the methods or
Should you have a section on
theories you use, or the
procedures and equipment you use?
Statistical presentations and analyses Should you include sections
that summarize and analyze the data you
collect in your project?
Legal and administrative demands
Should your report discuss
which agencies to apply to, which forms to
fill out, or which steps to
take in order to accomplish the purpose of
your report?
Business or professional contexts
Should you describe the
specific business or professional situation,
for example, a supervisor's
orders, that generates the need for
your report? (This applies
if you invent a report-writing situation
also.)
Figure 2. Invention checklist for reports
Here is an excerpt of a brainstorming session in which these questions were used:
Comprehensive topic list for a report on windpowered electrical systems
how does a wind-powered electrical system (WPES) work? what are the
steps in its operation?
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savings: discuss the amount of money that can be saved using WPES
relationship between average windspeeds and electrical output: what
happens when there's no wind,
only very light breezes? too much wind?
basic parts: rotor, generator, tail assembly, tower
different manufacturers of WPES: how to get a good system and avoid
being ripped off
dimensions, materials, construction of common models of WPES;
sensitivity to low wind speeds
historical background on WPES: the time when more WPES were being
used, just before rural electrification in the 1930s; who were the first developers? when has interest
in WPES reappeared? why?
two general class of wind machines: lift and drag machines
lightning protection of WPES
aerodynamic principles as they apply to WPES
understanding weather patterns and seasonal and geographical factors
affecting wind
principles of electricity: circuits, generators, types of current,
meanings of terminology
Federal tax credits and research support in wind systems research and
WPES purchase by consumers
Figure 3. Example of a topic list developed with the invention checklist
Step 4. Use any of the invention questions in Figure 2 that apply to
your report project, and make a topic list like the one in Figure 3. (If
you are not quite ready for this step, go directly to Step 6, and
return to this step.)
Exercises
1. Pick any report topic from the list in Figure 1 or
pick a topic of your own, decide on an audience
and purpose for a report on that topic, and then
use the Checklist of Invention Questions (Figure
2) for brainstorming the topic (jot your ideas on
scratch paper).
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Online Technical Writing:
Planning Reports—Narrowing
Narrowing Report Subjects
Exercises Model: Example Report Topic Proposal (memo)
This section shows you an important technique for the early stages of your reportwriting project: narrowing a report subject to a more manageable topic.
Narrowing report subjects
No matter how fascinating your report subject is, you still must spend some time
narrowing it. Narrowing a report subject means reducing it to a manageable size:
something you can accomplish within a certain amount of time and within a certain
number of pages. Narrowing is like zooming in on a subject and selecting only a few
topics to report on, according to your report-writing situation, specific audience, and
specific purpose. Narrowing also means deciding whether to cover those topics in a
general, specific, technical, or nonspecialist way.
To narrow a report subject, follow these steps:
1. Make as complete a list of topics related to your report subject
as you can by following steps in the section "The invention or
brainstorming stage."
2. Look up entries on that subject in both general and specialized
encyclopedias to help develop this topic list also. (See the
section on finding reference books). Encyclopedia entries are
usually written in a comprehensive way; use them to build your
topic list.
3. When you have a sizeable list of topics related to your report
subject, you are ready to do the real work of narrowing, which
means asking questions like these:
o Is this section necessary to my audience's needs?
o Will my audience be lost and confused without this
subsection?
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o
o
o
Is the information included in this section crucial to my
audience's understanding and to the uses to which
they'll put my report?
Could I delete this section without harming the overall
effect or purpose of my report?
Is the level of discussion in this section too general for
my audience? too technical? not technical enough?
The audience and purpose of your report act like filters, screening out the
unnecessary topics. An audience of homeowners interested in wind-powered
electrical systems would want to read general information on how such
systems work, what are the financial savings, and how to select a system
(topics 2, 4, 5, and so on in the narrowed topic list in the diagram below):
Figure 4. Audience and purpose used to narrow a report topic
If you are not familiar with the different audiences that reports commonly
have, see the section on types of audiences. The steps there show you how to
analyze your audience systematically and what to do if you're not sure who
your audience is.
4. One last step in the narrowing process is to decide how to
discuss the topics you've selected. You can discuss topics
within a report in several ways:
o General discussion gives a rapid overview of a topic
and can take up less space in a report. General
discussion can be for either specialist or nonspecialist
readers. In a general discussion for specialists, you save
space by assuming those readers have a certain level of
knowledge.
o Specific discussion gives much detail about a topic and
thus usually takes up more space within a report.
Specific discussion can also be for either specialist or
nonspecialist readers. In a specific discussion for
nonspecialist readers, you make sure every detail is
explained thoroughly so that those readers can
understand.
Here are two excerpts, one of which is discussed generally; the other, specifically and
technically:
General discussion
A common component found on modern
launch vehicles is the
fairing. Its purpose is to protect the
payload of the space
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mission, satellites, space capsule, or
other types of
payloads. Basically, it is a metal
covering that surrounds
most of the payload during takeoff and
that is jettisoned with
the second or third stage.
Specific discussion
Fairing. The metal fairing, which
protects the payload
during the ascent phase through the
atmosphere, is jettisoned
in flight during the second-stage burn
at an altitude of
approximately 120 km. The fairing,
which weighs 826 kg and
has a diameter of 3.2 m and a height of
8.65 m (external
dimensions), is bulb-shaped to provide
a diameter and useful
volume compatible with satellites or
payloads. The bottom, or
boat-tail, section of the fairing is
made of radio-transparent
material to allow communications with
the payload. If two
satellites are to be carried, the
bottom satellite is placed
in an egg-shaped structure called the
DOSLAS (double satellite
launch system). The DOSLAS is a 180-kg
aluminium-honeycomb,
carbon-filament-covered structure that
. . . .
Figure 5. General and specific discussion of a technical subject
Based on the audience and purpose described above, here's how the individual topics
for the wind-power report might be handled:
Report section
Engineering background on WPES
Basic components of WPES
Basic operation of WPES
Selection of a WPES system
Economics of WPES
Other considerations
WPES designs and manufacturers
Level of detail
general
general
general
specific
specific
specific
general
The three sections labelled specific are vital to an audience that wants to decide on
wind systems and to be able to select a particular design.
Step 5. On your worksheet, select from your topic list the topics
you think should be discussed in your report, and then indicate
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which ones you'll discuss in detail and which you'll discuss
generally.
Exercises
1. Imagine that you have an audience of real estate developers and
sales representatives for whom you are writing an informational
report on solar devices, which they are considering as options
on housing within a new development. Decide which of the
following topics you'd select for the report for this specific
audience and how you'd discuss the selected topics:
2.
Basic components of a
operation of a solar
3.
solar device
4.
Current research in
solar device
5.
solar device technology
manufacturers
6.
Costs to purchase, operate,
consumer tests on
7.
and maintain solar devices
devices
8.
Historical background on
solar power
9.
the use of solar power
heat transfer
10.
Architectural considerations
to benefit users
11.
in using solar devices
power
12.
How to determine angle of
to other common
13.
inclination for a collector
sources
Online Technical Writing
Basic
device
A survey of
Results of
solar
Economics of
Dynamics of
Tax programs
of solar
Comparison
energy
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Online Technical Writing: Planning Reports—Outlining
Outlining Stage
o
o
o
Exploratory Reading
Arranging the Parts of the Outline
Elaborating the Rough Outline
o
o
o
o
o
o
Comparing the Outline to the Rough Draft
Adjusting Items in the Outline
Eliminating One-Item Outline Entries
Checking for Parallel Phrasing
Making Outlines Self-Explanatory
Adjusting the Graphics
Finishing the Outline
Exercises Model: Example Report Topic Proposal (memo)
This section shows you an important technique for the early stages of your reportwriting project: developing a detailed outline for a report project
Outlining stage
When you write a technical report, not only must you think of the right information to
include (or exclude); you must also find a good way to arrange it. The first task
involves invention (or brainstorming) and narrowing; the second, outlining.
Outlines for technical reports are usually hard to handle solely in your mind; it's a
little like trying to add a list of large numbers in your mind. You must get report
outlines on paper in order to think about the arrangement of the topics within them. A
good working outline serves you in at least four important ways:
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



It shows you which areas of information to investigate and
gather information on.
It shows you which areas you can safely ignore (thus saving
you plenty of time).
It enables you to schedule your work into manageable units of
time.
It gives you a "global" view of your report project, an overall
sense of the contents, parts and organization of the report.
Exploratory reading. If you have trouble getting started on the rough outline, do
some exploratory reading in nonspecialist encyclopedias, introductory chapters of
general audience books, or articles in science magazines for nonspecialists. If
necessary, move on from these resources to more specialized ones like the McGrawHill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology or Van Nostrand's Scientific
Encyclopedia. As you do this exploratory work, read briskly without taking detailed
notes; try for a general sense of the subject.
Step 6. If you need a general introduction to your report subject,
refer to nonspecialist encyclopedias listed above, or see the section
on finding encyclopedias.
Arranging the parts of the outline. If you went through the brainstorming and
narrowing steps, you have a list of topics that you can rearrange into a rough outline.
It will be a "rough" outline because it may still need further rearrangement and
addition of other topics or subtopics. The topic list below concerns cocombustion,
which is the incineration of municipal solid waste (MSW) with conventional fuels to
reduce conventional fuel consumption costs and related MSW disposal problems.
Imagine that you had developed a topic list on this subject and then had narrowed the
list to these topics:
Advantages of cocombustion
Disadvantages of cocombustion
cocombustion
Economics of cocombustion
cocombustion
Composition of MSW
Steps in cocombusting MSW
Historical background on
Special components for
The next step in outlining is to arrange the items in an appropriate order. There are so
many different patterns of arrangement that only most common ones can be reviewed
here.

One of the most common patterns in outlining is the
chronological one. In a historical background section of an
outline, the chronological approach is just about the only one
you can use. Here is an outline excerpt concerning the
historical background of nuclear research:
II. Historical background of nuclear
research
A. Becquerel's theory of radition in
uranium (1896)
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B. The work of the Curies
(far
C. The work of Rutherford
past)
1. Demonstration of the internal
structure of
the atom (1911)
2. Transmutation of atoms (1919)
D. Development of technology to
study atomic
structure
1. Cascade transformer (1928)
2. Linear accelerator (1931)
3. Cyclotron (1932)
4. Betatron (1940)
E. Hahn-Strassmann discovery of
uranium fission
(1938)
F. Oppenheimer work on nuclear chain
reactions
(near
(1940s)
past)
G. Explosion of the first atomic
bomb (1945)

In some outlines, however, you almost don't notice the
chronological pattern. For example, effects come after causes;
solutions, after problems; or findings, after research method.
The chronological pattern is most important in a research
proposal outline:
I. Introduction
A. Historical background on
caffeine studies
(past)
B. Objectives of the study
C. Limitations of the study
D. Plan of development
II. Review of the literature on
caffeine
III. Experimental method to be used
IV. Results of the tests
V. Discussion of the results
VI. Summary and conclusions
VII. Implications for further research
(future)


Chronologically, the researcher first defines the problem, the
reviews the literature on the problem, plans a research method,
conducts the research and gathers data, analyzes the data and
draws conclusions from it. Afterward, she may consider areas
for further research on the problem.
Another common outlining pattern is to start with an object at
rest, motionless as if in a photograph, and then to move to a
discussion of it in operation, in action as if in a motion picture.
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II. Basic Components of Wind-Powered
Electrical Systems
A. Rotor
(motionless)
B. Generator
C. Tower
III. Basic Operation of Wind-Powered
Electrical Systems
A. Wind energy into mechanical
energy
B. Mechanical energy into
electrical
(in motion)
energy
C. Stabilization of electrical
energy
D. Conversion to household current

Some outlines move from a specific, close-up focus to a more
general, panoramic focus. They seem to start with a
microscope, examining the minute details of a subject, and end
with a telescope, considering the subject from a distance in
relation to other things. (This pattern can also be reversed.)
I. Introduction
II. Characteristics of municipal
solid waste (MSW)
III. Methods of disposal of MSW
(microscope)
IV. Processing municipal solid
waste
V. Plant modifications for
cocombustion
VI. Advantages of cocombusting MSW
A. Environmental advantages
B. Economic advantages
(telescope)
VII. Case studies of three
cocombustion plants

In this next outline, the focus broadens after part III, changing
to aspects related to computerized voice recognition
technology:
I. Introduction
II. Human voice production
A. The generation of sound
B. Factors affecting the human
(microscope)
voice
III. Components of the isolated word
recognition
system
A. The preprocessor
B. The feature extractor
C. Components in the
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classification phase
D. Decision algorithms
IV. Problems with computerized speech
recognition
A. Accuracy
B. Limited vocabulary size
C. Privacy
V. Applications of voice recognition
systems
A. Data entry
B. Mobility
C. Security
D. Telephone access
E. Devices for the handicapped
(telescope)
VI. Current availability of speech
recognition systems
VII. The future of the computerized
speech recognition industry

Elements in outlines can also be arranged rhetorically, in other
words, according to what is most effective for the reader. Here
are some examples of rhetorical patterns:
o Simple to complex
o Least important to most important (or vice versa)
o Least controversial to most controversial
o Most convincing to least convincing (or vice versa)
o Most interesting to least interesting
This list is by no means complete: but you can see that elements in it are
arranged according to impact on the reader--that is, the impact the writer
would like to have. Here are some excerpts of outlines where these patterns
are used:
If you have ever studied computer programming, you know that commands
like PRINT are simple; variable assignment commands (like LET A = 30),
less simple; and FOR-NEXT loop statements, rather complex. If you were
outlining a report on fundamental BASIC commands for the beginner, you'd
probably start with the simple ones and work your way to the complex:
Simple-to-complex
order
III. USEFUL BASIC COMMANDS
A. PRINT
B. LET
C. IF-THEN
D. FOR-NEXT
E. DIM
If you were writing a report on cocombustion of municipal solid waste (MSW)
for a city concerned about skyrocketing coal costs, you could arrange your
advantages section two ways: (a) save the "reduction of coal consumption" for
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last in order to build up to a climax, or (b) introduce it right away to grab the
citizens' attention:
Climax order
Attention-getting order
(least-most important)
(most-least important)
A. Recovery of revenue from
Reduction of coal use and
recyclable MSW
and related costs
B. Reduction of landfill
Reduction of landfill
use, costs, and other reuse, costs, and other related problems
lated problems
C. Reduction of coal use
Recovery of revenue from
and related costs
recyclable MSW

A.
B.
C.
An obvious outlining principle is to avoid creating interruptions
within an outline sequence. Here's an example:
Outline excerpt with
interruption
I. Municipal solid waste
generated in the US
A. Total amounts of MSW
1. Increases since 1950
2. Projected increases to
the year 2000
B. Processing MSW for
cocombustion
1. Primary storage
2. Grinding
3. Air sorting
4. Magnetic separating
5. Screening
6. Secondary storage
C. Characteristics of MSW
1. Composition of MSW
a. food waste
b. paper and other
rubbish
c. noncombustibles
2. Factors affecting enery
content
a. moisture content
b. areas of MSW
origination
II. Power plant modifications for
cocombustion
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Revised outline
excerpt
I. Municipal solid waste
generated in the US
A. Total amounts of MSW
1. Increases since 1950
2. Projected increases to
the year 2000
B. Characteristics of MSW
1. Composition of MSW
a. food waste
b. paper and other
rubbish
c. noncombustibles
2. Factors affecting enery
content
a. moisture content
b. areas of MSW
origination
II. Processing MSW for
cocombustion
A. Primary storage
B. Grinding
C. Air sorting
D. Magnetic separating
E. Screening
F. Secondary storage
III. Power plant modifications
for cocombustion


In the problem version, the municipal solid waste discussion is
interrupted by the MSW-processing discussion. A better
arrangement would be to discuss MSW fully before going on to
the discussion of how it is processed.
Use these common arrangement principles to get your topic list
into an initial rough order. The rearranged version of the topic
list shown previously might look this way:
1. Historical background
-rising energy, utility costs
-search for alternatives
(review)
2. Composition of MSW
3. Special components of the
cocombustion plant
4. Steps in the cocombustion of
MSW
5. Economics
-cost to build or convert
-cost to operate
-cost of produced electricity
6. Advantages
-less coal used
-reduction of utility rates
-less landfill used
-reduction of landfill costs
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and needs
7. Disadvantages
-expense of converting
existing facilities
-handling MSW
-increased emissions

Figure 6. Rough outline (built from the rough-draft topic list
Step 7. Arrange the topics you selected in Step 5 using the
strategies discussed in the preceding section, and then identify the
patterns (for example, chronological or simple-to-complex) you've
used.
Elaborating the rough outline. When you "elaborate" a rough outline, you divide
and subdivide the items already listed. Even without having done much research,
you'll have a fair idea of what these second- and third-level items will be.
1. Historical background
rising costs of conventional
fuels
problems with coventional MSW
disposal
alternatives
2. Composition of MSW
properties
sources
energy content
...
3. Special components of the
cocombustion plant
component 1
component 2
component 3
...
4. Steps in the process of cocombustion
with coal
step 1
step 2
step 3
...
Notice how the basic kinds of writing and organizational patterns (covered in Part 1)
are used in elaborating the rough outline. With an elaborated outline, you can begin to
read and take notes: each item represents a question mark that you need to get
information on. As you get this information, you can make the wording of outline
items more specific: for example, "Component 1" would change to "Collection
receptacles." Here's an excerpt of the same outline above, but much further along:
3. Special components of the
cocombustion plant
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a.
b.
c.
d.
collection receptacles
power compaction unit
storage pits
incinerator feed system
1. gravity chute
2. ram feeder
3. hopper
4. furnace
5. charging gate
Elaborating the rough outline is essentially a process of dividing that outline using
two basic principles:

Division into similar elements. Many elements in a rough
outline can be divided into groups of similar elements:
Elements of discussion
Subdivisions
An object or mechanism................
Parts, components, or
characteristics
A process or event....................
Steps, phases, or stages
A classification......................
Types, kinds, or sorts
A comparison..........................
Points of similarity or
difference
Causal discussions....................
Causes, effects, benefits,
problems, or solutions

Thus, a discussion of the main element "incinerator feed
system" in a rough outline could be elaborated this way--into
parts:
Rough outline
Elaborated outline
3. Special components of
Special components of a
cocombustion plant
cocombustion plant
3.
a.
collection receptacles
b.
power compaction unit
c.
storage pits
d.
incinerator feed system
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
Division into elements related topically. Elements in an outline
can subdivide by topics that are all related but that are not
similar to each other as above:
Rough outline
Elaborated outline
(D. Incinerator feed system)
Incinerator feed system)
4. Furnace
Furnace
5. Charging gate
a. purpose
(D.
4.
b. main types
c. main components
d. materials
e. dimensions
f. design problems
5. Charging gate

As a result of elaborating procedures like these, an excerpt of a
more detailed outline of the cocombustion report might look
like this:
I. Municipal solid waste generated in
the US
A. Total amounts of MSW
1. Increases since 1950
2. Projected increases to the
year 2000
B. Characteristics of MSW
1. Composition of MSW
a. food waste
b. paper and other rubbish
c. noncombustibles
2. Factors affecting enery
content
a. moisture content
b. areas of MSW origination
II. Processing MSW for cocombustion
A. Primary storage
B. Grinding
C. Air sorting
D. Magnetic separating
E. Screening
F. Secondary storage
III. Power plant modifications for
cocombustion
A. Storage areas
B. Conveyor lines
C. Boiler modifications
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D. Air control equipment
IV. Advantages of cocombusion
A. Environmental advantages
1. Reduction of landfill needs
2. Reduction of coal use
3. Recovery of recyclable
materials
B. Economic advantages
1. Reduction of MSW disposal
costs
2. Revenue from recyclables
3. Reduction of utility bills
V. Disadvantages of cocombustion
A. Potential for increased air
pollution
B. Problems with processing MSW

Figure 7. Example of a more detailed outline
With an outline this well developed, the next step is to begin doing some serious
reading, researching, investigating, and note-taking. During this next phase, however,
the outline will continue to change as new and different information turns up.
Step 8. Use the strategies described above to elaborate the rough
outline you developed in Step 7.
Finishing the outline
You need not be concerned about the finishing touches for your outline until after
you've written and revised the rough draft. Writing the rough draft is the true test of
an outline: during that stage you are likely to discover parts of the outline that don't
work, are out of place, or do not belong at all. When you "finetune" an outline after
writing the rough draft, however, you are actually transforming it into a table of
contents that you can use in the finished, bound copy of the report. Here are some
specific things to look for in your final work on an outline:
Comparing the outline to the rough draft. Even the most carefully prepared
outlines rarely match the resulting rough drafts. Even the most straightforward of
technical subjects can take off in their own unexpected directions. Therefore, you
must compare your completed rough draft to the original outline in the following
ways:
1. A good way to start is to insert the outline phrases into your
rough draft; in other words, insert the headings into your report,
if you have not already done so.
2. Make sure that the sequence of items in the outline matches the
sequence of topics in the rough draft of the report.
3. Check to see if any items in the outline did not get discussed at
all.
4. Check to see if any new topics cropped up in your rough draft
but do not appear in your outline.
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5. Look for longer-than-usual sections in your rough draft for
which there are few outline items. Try to find additional outline
items within those pages. Here is an example of a longer
section; notice that in the original version, there is only one
outline item (or heading) whereas there are seven in the revised
version:
Passage without
headings
II. SOLID WASTE
GENERATED
This country is a great producer of
solid waste. In the
U.S. in 1980, each person will produce
about 8 pounds of solid
waste a day, whereas in Europe the
average production rate is
3 to 4 pounds per person per day. An
added difference is that
in Europe there 243 facilities to
utilize solid waste
(although none are for the production of
electricity), whereas
in the U.S. there are only about 20.
As can be seen in Table 1, this
country has increased the
generation of waste from 1970 to 1980 by
50 percent, and will
increase another 50 percent from 1980 to
2000. These
quantities represent only that portion
which is collected;
there is another 5 to 10 percent that is
not collected. These
percentages add up to an undeniably
large quantity of
potential energy that goes almost
totally unused in the U.S.
Table 1. Quantities of
Municipal Waste
Generated in the U.S.
Year
Tons/year x 106
1950
102
1965
156
1970
199
1980
314
2000
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Lbs/person/day
3.5
4.5
5.3
8.0
12.0
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526
Disposal of solid waste is by far the
most useless method of
eliminating the refuse. Most methods of
disposal currently
employed do not utilize the waste
material. Disposal costs in
this country amount to over $1.02
billion per year.
Sanitary landfills involve the
placement of solid waste in
valleys, ravines, or other natural
depression in the earth.
The waste is placed in the landfill in
18- to 24-inch layers
and then covered with soil. This process
is repeated until the
hole is full and a new location is
needed. The average life of
a landfill is 5 to 10 years. The cost
of a landfill varies
from $1.35 to $2.70 per ton of refuse.
This rate involves
disposal cost only; collection costs are
omitted.
Land spreading is a method of waste
disposal in which waste
is placed in a field and then is plowed
into the soil. This
method is used only when small
quantities of waste are
generated because large land areas are
required for such
operations. The process is a clean one,
but the life of such
facilities is only 2 to 5 years.
Disposal costs range from
$0.60 to $4.05 per ton of waste,
depending on the quality of
the land.
Open dumping, one of the most
undesirable of all methods of
disposal of solid waste, involves
placing the waste in open
pits or on level areas. The refuse is in
constant exposure and
is a haven for vermin. Open dumping
costs from $0.65 to $1.00
per ton of refuse and is illegal in most
areas.
Incineration in which no energy is
recovered is the most
commonly used method of solid waste
disposal in the U.S. The
primary purpose of incineration is to
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reduce the volume of the
waste before it is carried to a
landfill. The cost of
incineration ranges from $6.75 to $20.00
per ton of waste and
represents an enormous waste of both
money and energy.
Revised outline
II. SOLID WASTE GENERATED
A. Quantities of Solid
Waste
B. Methods of Solid
Waste Disposal
1. Sanitary
landfills
2. Land spreading
3. Open dumping
4. Incineration
Passage revised with
headings
(to indicate new outline
items)
II. SOLID WASTE
GENERATED
This country is a great producer of
solid waste. In the
U.S. in 1980, each person will produce
about 8 pounds . . . .
Quantities of MSW Generated
As can be seen in Table 1, this country
has increased the
generation of waste from 1970 to 1980 by
50 percent . . . .
Methods of Solid Waste Disposal
Disposal of solid waste is by far the
most useless method
of eliminating the refuse. Most methods
of disposal currently
employed do not utilize the waste
material. Disposal costs in
this country amount to over $1.02
billion per year.
Sanitary Landfills. Sanitary landfills
involve the
placement of solid waste in valleys,
ravines, or other natural
depression in the earth. The waste is
placed . . . .
Land Spreading. Land spreading is a
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method of waste
disposal in which waste is placed in a
field and then is
plowed into the soil. This method is
used only when . . . .
Open Dumping. Open dumping, one of the
most undesirable of
all methods of disposal of solid waste .
. .
Incineration. Incineration in which no
energy is recovered
is the most commonly used method of
solid waste disposal in
the U.S. The primary purpose of
incineration is to . . . .
Figure 8. An example of using rough drafts to elaborate outlines
Step 9. When you have written a rough draft of your report,
compare it to your outline, and update your outline using the
suggestions discussed above.
Eliminating one-item outline entries. Here is an excerpt of an outline with a oneitem entries:
Outline with single
item entry
II. Characteristics of municipal solid
waste
A. Composition
1. Food waste
2. Paper
3. Other rubbish
III. Current methods of disposal
Revised outline
II. Characteristics and Composition of
MSW
A. Food waste
B. Paper
C. Other rubbish
III. Current Methods of Disposal
In this example, there is no "B" to go along with the "A". To fix this problem, either
(a) insert additional items, or (b) delete the single item by combining some of its
phrasing into the preceding item.
To insert additional items into the outline, you try to add at least a "B" for any
unaccompanied "A"; at least a "2" for any unaccompanied "1"; at least a "b" for any
unaccompanied "a". Of course, any Cs, Ds, 3s, 4s, cs, ds, and so on are also welcome.
Here is an example of a single-item entry and its corresponding report section:
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One-item outline entry
problem
and corresponding report
excerpt
IV. Solid Waste
Characteristics
A. Energy Content
V. Processing Solid Waste
IV. SOLID WASTE CHARACTERISTICS
The amount and characteristics of
solid waste vary considerably over a year and in different
locations. In the fall, for
example, leaves change the nature of
solid waste in a significant
way. The figures discussed below are
averages that account for
both the variations in time and in
location.
Composition
Municipal refuse is composed of a
vast array of products that
have lost their usefulness. These wastes
include home wastes,
commercial wastes, and city wastes.
While home and commercial
wastes are usually placed in receptacles
for periodic removal by
collection agencies to landfills or
incinerators, city wastes
usually collect elsewhere and require
special handling and
disposal.
Home wastes include such diverse
products as glass bottles,
cans, plastic toys, cellophane, paper,
cardboard, nails, small
appliances, tools, light bulbs, clothes,
rubber products, and
wood and food items. If these wastes are
not separated into
classes, such as metal, glass, and
paper, they are described as
"heterogeneous" wastes.
Commercial wastes are generated by
retail businesses and
institutions such as hospitals, banks,
and schools. Although
these wastes are also considered
heterogeneous, they contain high
percentages of office waste and packing
materials . . .
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Energy content is often referred to
in British Thermal Units
(BTUs) per pound of waste. A BTU is the
amount of energy
required to raise one gram of water one
degree centigrade. With
moisture present in the material the
energy content decreases in
the heating value by approximately 30 to
40 percent. The range in
energy content of typical municipal
solid waste is from 3
thousand to 60 thousand BTUs per pound,
with an average value of
4500 BTUs per pound. This last figure
assumes a moisture content
of from 15 to 40 percent and an average
of 20 percent.
In comparison, coal has an average
heating value of 1100 BTUs
per pound and a moisture content of 20
percent on the average.
V. PROCESSING SOLID WASTE
Processing MSW involves certain
modifications to existing
incinerator designs....
Revised outline and
corresponding passage
(with headings revised to show
the new outline item)
IV. Solid Waste
Characteristics
A. Composition
B. Energy Content
V. Processing Solid Waste
IV. SOLID WASTE CHARACTERISTICS
The amount and characteristics of
solid waste vary considerably over a year and in different
locations. In the fall . . .
Composition
Municipal refuse is composed of a
vast array of products that
have lost their usefulness. These wastes
include ...
Energy Content
Energy content is often referred to
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in British Thermal Units
(BTUs) per pound of waste. A BTU is the
amount of energy ...
V. PROCESSING SOLID WASTE
Processing MSW involves certain
modifications to existing
incinerator designs....
Figure 9. Solving the one-item outline entry problem
One way to revise the problem in Figure 9 would have been to delete "A. Energy
Content" altogether and rephrase the preceding item as "IV. Solid Waste:
Characteristics and Energy Content." But another and usually better way to handle the
problem is to scan the corresponding passage for at least one other item, in this case,
"Energy Content."
Adjusting items in an outline. You should also make sure that items in your outline
are on the right level. Here is an example of this problem and a revision:
Unadjusted outline
Revised outline
A. Plant Modifications for CocPlant modifications for Cocombustion
combustion
1. Storage areas
1. Storage areas
2. Conveyor lines
2. Conveyor lines
3. Boiler modifications
3. Boiler modifications
4. Air control equipment
4. Air control equipment
B. Economic Benefits
Benefits of Cocombustion
C. Environmental Benefits
1. Economic benefits
A.
B.
2. Environmental benefits
In this revision, the problem was solved by adding a more general item ("Benefits of
Cocombustion") and downshifting the original "B" and "C" items. Now, here's
another example:
Unadjusted outline
Revised outline
B. Environmental Benefits
Environmental benefits
C. Reduction of Landfill Needs
1. Reduction of landfill
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B.
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D. Economic Benefit
needs
2. Reduction of Coal
Consumption
C.
Economic benefits
Here, "Reduction of Landfill Needs" is really a subdivision of "Environmental
Benefits". Downshifting it to a "1" creates a single-item entry, however. Therefore,
we might add a second item like "Reduction of Coal Consumption."
Checking for parallel phrasing. The phrasing of any related group of outline items
must be "parallel." To be "related," the items must be on the same level and make up a
separate group of items. Parallelism is explained in detail elsewhere, but essentially it
means sticking with similar kinds of phrasing in related outline items. In the example
of a non-parallel outline below:



Items I and II are related and must be parallel to each other.
Under I, items A and B are related and must parallel to each
other.
Under IB, items 1, 2, and 3 are related.
Non-parallel outline excerpt
Parallel version
I. Municipal Solid Waste GenerI.
Municipal Solid Waste
ated in the U.S.
Generated in the U.S.
A. What is the total output?
A. Total Output of MSW
B. Disposal methods
B. Disposal methods
1. Sanitary landfills
1. Sanitary landfills
2. Spreading MSW in open
2. Open spreading
fields and plowing it under
3. Open dumping
3. Open dumping
II.
Characteristics of MSW
II. What Are the Characteristics of
MSW?
Figure 10. Revising for parallelism in outlines
Making outlines self-explanatory. The wording of outline items should clearly
indicate the content of the corresponding sections. Items like the following simply
don't say enough about the contents of the sections that they represent:
Background
Applications
Description
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Discussion
Technical Discussion
Function
Page 456 of 609
The Future
Economics
Operation
Review
Here is an outline excerpt revised with much more self-explanatory phrasing:
Weak outline phrasing
Revised outline phrasing
I. Background
Rising Utility Costs
II. Composition
of MSW
III. Processes
Cocombusting MSW with
I. Background:
II. Composition
III. Processes in
Coal
IV. Components
IV. Basic
Components of Cocombustion
Plant
Facilities
V. Economics
V. Economics of
Cocombustion: Construction,
Conversion, Operation, Return
Adjusting the graphics. The final step in outlining is to make the numbering,
lettering, spacing, and capitalizing—the graphics of the outline—consistent.



Use a consistent style of capitalization.
Use consistent indentation.
Skip lines between outline items in a consistent manner.
Step 10. Use the strategies above to (a) locate and eliminate oneitem outline entries, (b) make sure that the items in your outline are
on the right level, (c) make the items in your outline parallel, (d)
locate and rephrase items that are not fully self-explanatory, and (e)
make the graphics of your outline consistent.
Exercises
1. Revise the outline here using the finishing-up suggestions
discussed in this section.
A report on weather
forecasting
I. Historical
A. Weather Lore
1. what phase the moon
is in
2. reactions of people
to weather
3. reactions of animals
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to weather
4. optical phenomena
5. Rainbows
6. Certain sequences of
weather conditions
B. Technological advances
have changes weather
forecasting practices.
1. predicting storms was
the early concern.
2. use of radio to
collect information
3.Radiosondes for upper
atmosphere information
4.computers
II. BASIC PRACTICES
A. Observations and Reports
1. reports of land
stations once or twice a day
to a central bureau
B. Analyzing weather charts
1. Examination of welldefined pressure systems
i. low pressure
areas
ii. high pressure
areas
iii. troughs of
low pressure
iv. ridges of
high pressure
v. cols, or
saddle-backed regions
III. Techniques Used in ShortRange Forecasting
A. Computation of
Displacements
B. Forecasting Based on
Physical Theory
C. Analogues and types
D. Regression equations and
diagrams
E. Time-series analyses
F. Success rate of timeseries analyses
IV. Extended-Range Forecasts
A. The Namias chart
1. use of several days'
averages
2. comparsons to longterm normals
3. limited usually to 30
days
V. SPECIAL WEATHER FORECASTS
2. Find an encyclopedia article of at least 3 pages or more on a
subject you know something about or have an interest in, and
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create an outline of that article. Include as many levels of detail
in your outline as possible.
3. Outline one of the following descriptions of a report project.
Beware, however: the ideas are scattered, mixed up and
fragmentary.
A Report on the
Greenhouse Effect
This report is concerned with the
greenhouse effect, the way
in which atmospheric carbon dioxide is
increasing and leading
to a group of potentially catastrophic
consequences for this
planet. It discusses the climatic
effects of increased carbon
dioxide which include changes in local
weather patterns,
drought, increased tropical storm
activity, and sea level
increases. The report uses the 1930s as
an analogue, or model
of comparison; the 30s was a period of
unusually higher
temperature. The report also discusses
what can be done if
anything about the greenhouse effect,
such as reducing fossil
fuel use, reduction of the burning of
wood and other
substances, use of cleaner fossil fuels,
development of solar
and nuclear power resources, massive
reforestation on a global
scale, and further research into the
carbon cycle. The report
discusses the basic steps in the natural
greenhouse effect, in
which a certain amount of carbon dioxide
is trapped in the
atmosphere, causing higher global
temperatures than there
would be without the effect. The report
discusses the major
contributors to increased concentrations
of carbon dioxide:
deforestation, burning of fossil fuels,
burning of wood, etc.,
and it also discusses how there is a
positive feedback
mechanism in which increased carbon
dioxide in the atmosphere
increases the trapping of more carbon
dioxide.
A Report on the Saccharine
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Controversy
In this report, the controversy over
saccharine as a cancercausing substance is discussed.
Important in the report is the
discussion of a number of
carcinogenicity studies, in
particular, the Canadian rat studies
which nearly led to the
ban on saccharine in the 1970s, the Ames
test for mutagens and
a group of studies generally referred to
as promotion studies.
One section of the report discusses
health risks associated
with saccharine such as bladder cancer;
risks of other cancers
such as uterus, ovary, breast and lung
cancers are also
reviewed. The health benefits of
saccharine are also
discussed; these include reducing sugar
intake which is
helpful or necessary to the overweight
or diabetic. The
clinical aspects of the studies and the
risks and benefits
that they found are also discussed--how
the studies were run,
their findings, the implications of
those findings, and their
reliability. The report discusses the
original synthesis of
saccharine in 1879, the chemical
structure of the substance,
its metabolic effects. The report also
discusses what the
legislation has been on saccharine--the
Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act of 1938 and the Food
Additives Amendment of 1958
(this amendment contained the Delaney
Clause which states that
no substance found to be carcinogenic to
man or animal can be
added to food). The report goes into the
history of the
proposed ban on saccharine in 1977 upon
publication of the
Canadian rat studies and then the
postponement of that ban a
few weeks later after public outcry,
lobbying--lobbying in
particular by the Calorie Control
Council, a group of Japanese
and American manufacturers of
saccharine.
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Online Technical Writing:
Libraries, Documentation, Cross-Referencing
This sections in this appendix focuses on:



Libraries--Finding information libraries
Documentation--Indicating sources of borrowed information
Cross-referencing--Pointing to other information in your own
documents.
Online Technical Writing: Libraries
This section focuses on finding information for your technical-documentation projects
in libraries.
Note: Students enrolled in the Online Technical Writing are encouraged to take the
reading quiz on this chapter. (Anybody else is welcome to try it as well.)
Preliminaries
Before getting into the details of how to find information in the library or in
nonlibrary sources, consider these two general issues.
Library Requirement. One of the requirements for the final report in this course is to
find and use information in external sources--either published, unpublished, or both.
Of course, you might feel that your project needs no external information--that you
already know it all. However, you should be able to identify information that you
don't know and that needs to be in the report. For example, imagine you were writing
backup procedures for running some sort of high-tech equipment at your workplace.
Sure, you may be able to operate the thing in your sleep, but you may not know much
about the technical processes or scientific principles behind it. And of course, it could
be argued that such discussion is not needed in backup procedures. Background of
that sort, however, might indeed be useful. Instructions often benefit by having this
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kind of background information--it can give readers a fuller sense of why they are
doing what they are doing and a way of knowing what to do in case things go wrong.
And of course, it's important to have some experience using the library and other
information sources in a more professional, business-like manner. In freshman writing
classes, for example, writers are not challenged to push the library's resources for all
it's worth--which is normally what typically happens in a technical writing project.
Descriptors and Keywords. Another big issue when you begin your library search is
finding those words and phrases that enable you to find the books, articles, reports,
and encyclopedias that have all that information you need. Sometimes it's not so easy!
A keyword (also called a "descriptor") is a word or phrase under which related
information sources are listed. Imagine you're writing a report on the latest theories
about the greenhouse effect: you'd check book catalogs and periodical indexes for
"greenhouse effect," hoping to find lists of books or articles under that keyword. But
that might not be the right one; things might be listed under the keyword "global
warming" instead. So how do you find the right keywords? Here are some
suggestions:





Brainstorm like crazy! Imagine the possibilities for artificial
intelligence: computer-simulated intelligence? machine
intelligence? Of course, as it turns out, one big area of this field
is called neural networks--who would ever think of that? That's
why you need to try some other possibilities as well.
Try to find someone who is familiar with your topic; explore
how they refer to it.
Take a look in the Library of Congress Subject Headings. This
a giant, multi-volume set of keywords. Big problem with it is
that it is not updated and reissued often. If you've got a newtechnology topic, it may not be much help.
Try using a system called Dynix: type in your search word
followed by two questions marks, and it will give a list of
possibilities (ask an ACC librarian for help on this one).
Try to find any book or article on your topic--anything! Then
explore it for the vocabulary it uses. In particular, check its
listings for titles of other books and articles. You're likely to
find words and phrases that are the common keywords.
Where to stop. If you faithfully go through the following suggestions, you're likely to
have a long list of books, article, reports, and other sources--more than you could ever
read in one semester. What to do? First of all, don't back away from at least knowing
what's "out there" on your topic. Once you start looking at your list, you'll see many
things that seem to duplicate each other. If, for example, you have five or six books
with roughly the same title, just pick the one that is the most recent and that seems the
most complete and thorough. Many other sources will branch out into subtopics you
have no interest in. And of course many of the items won't even be available in any
nearby library or bookstore.
All you really need are those one or two books, those two or three articles, several
encyclopedia articles--that's your "critical mass" that you can begin working with.
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You consult the items on your big list only when you run into areas that seem
controversial (you sense that you're getting only one side) and areas where the
information seems contradictory, confusing, or just too vague.
Finding Information Sources
Once you've convinced yourself that you need to go after some external information
sources (if you haven't, get in touch with your instructor) and have found some pretty
reliable keywords to use, it's time to start the search. Where to start though? The
logical starting point is whichever information source you think is likely to have the
best stuff. For hot, late-breaking topics, articles and proceedings (talks given at
conferences that are published) may be the best bet. For stable topics that have been
around awhile, books and encyclopedias may be better.
However, if you're not sure, you may want to systematically check a number of the
common types of information sources.
Internet Resources. It's increasingly possible to do much if not all your information
gathering on the Internet and particularly through the World Wide Web. Take a look
at these web resources for information searching:

Purdue Online Writing Lab Search Indexes
Books. One good starting place for your information search is books. At ACC, there
are three immediately available resources you can use to find books:
1. First, there is ACC's online book catalog. Check it using as
many different keywords that are related to your topic as you
can think of. (See the discussion in "Descriptors and
keywords," starting page B-1, for information on finding these.)
As you find potentially useful titles, print them (most of the
ACC library displays are hooked up to printers).
2. Another step you should take is to check the UT book catalog.
No, you don't have to drive to UT; the ACC library has a
computer that is logged into the UT catalog. Go search it with
the same keywords you searched the ACC catalog. And again,
print out your results on the printer that is attached to the
computer.
3. Another useful strategy for finding books is to check Books in
Print, in particular, the online version that is issued on CDROM (the ACC library has the books only). Use your
keywords here also.
If you do all these searches, you're likely to end up with a monster list of books. No,
you don't have to read every one of them. In fact, you may not be able to lay your
hands on most of them. Check the list and try to find a book that seems the most
recent and the most definitive. (Check tables of contents and indexes to see which are
the most thorough, complete, authoritative.) And, no, you don't have to read all of it
either--just the parts that relate directly to your topic.
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Figure B-1. Searching for books by topic in ACC's online book catalog. To look for
books on your report topic, type 3 and press Return. (Type 7 and press Enter to get to
the main menu where you can select to search for magazine and journal articles.)
As soon as you can, try to get your hands on as many of these books as you can.
Check their bibliographies (list of books, articles, and other information sources
consulted) at the end of the book, at the ends of chapters, and in footnotes. These will
be good leads to other books that your other searches may not have found. Also, while
you're in the stacks, check the books nearby the ones you have on your list; you may
see other ones that could prove useful.
Magazine and Journal Articles. While books give you fairly stable information and
often at a higher level of generality, magazines, journals, and newspapers often give
you much more specific, up-to-date information. There are two ways to approach
finding journal articles: through general indexes and through specialized indexes.
(Know what an index to periodicals is? It saves you from having to look at the table of
contents of every issue of every magazine in the field in which you are searching for
articles. You use an index to look up a topic like "greenhouse effect" and find articles
written in every magazine that index covers for the period of time covered by that
particular volume of the index.) Here are some strategies for finding articles:
1. Check several general indexes for your topic. These indexes
cover a broad range of magazines and journals--they are more
popular and are for general audiences and therefore can't be
relied on specialized, technical material. Still, they are a great
place to start, and if you are not being very technically
ambitious with your report, they may supply you with all you
need. At ACC, the general indexes include Reader's Guide to
Periodical Literature. Try finding your topic in the most recent
volume of each of these (unless you have a topic that was "hot"
several years ago, in which case you'd want to check the index
volumes for those years).
2. Try to find a good specialized index for the field that is related
to your topic. At ACC, try UMI Periodicals Abstracts,
Academic Abstracts, Social Issues Research Series, Business
Periodicals Index, General Science Index, Public Affairs
Information Service (PAIS), and Applied Science and
Technology Index. Again check for your topic in an appropriate
volume of whichever of these indexes you use.
Once you get a list of promising articles, don't assume that ACC has them all. If you
use Academic Abstracts or UMI Periodicals Abstracts, there's a greater chance that
ACC will. If ACC doesn't have a periodical you need, check the listing of UT
periodicals (also available at ACC libraries).
As with books, you won't be able to read all of the articles you find, nor will you even
be able to get access to them (or at least right away). Try finding and reading the
abstracts of the article on your list; this is a good way to get a brief picture of what the
article contains and whether it will be useful to you. Just try to find the articles that
relate directly to your topic, and read them selectively when you get them.
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Figure B-2. Main entry point for searching ACC information resources (usually you
see the screen shown in Figure B-1). Select 6 to search an index of over 1000
magazines and journals. Select 1 to search for books (to go to the screen shown in
Figure B-1).
Encyclopedias. Another good source of introductory information is encyclopedias.
You can use these either to get yourself up to speed to read and understand the more
technical information you come across, or you can use the encyclopedia information
itself in your report (in which you'll need to document it, as discussed later in this
appendix).
1. Check for your topic in a general encyclopedia, using all the
various keywords related to that topic you can think of. As with
periodical indexes, encyclopedias are available in general and
specialized varieties. You're familiar with the general
encyclopedias such as World Book Encyclopedia and the
Britannica. And of course a number of encyclopedias are now
available online in CD-ROM format (however, the content of
most of these seems rather slight compared to the printed
versions). These are great for starters, and in some cases they
may provide all the information you need in your report. Also,
check any bibliography--lists of related books, articles, and
reports--that may be listed at the end of individual articles.
2. Also try to find an appropriate specialized, or technical
encyclopedia in which to search for your topic. You may need
more technical detail, or your topic may be a tough one not
covered very well in general information sources-in which case
you may want to consult specialized encyclopedias. Even in
this group, there are general ones that cover a broad range of
scientific and technical fields--one well-entrenched one is the
McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology.
Another one is VanNostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia. Look
for your topic in these. Again, check the bibliographies at the
end of the articles you consult. These may point you to articles,
books, and reports that will be useful in your report work.
But there are even more specialized encyclopedias--ones focusing directly on a field
or profession, for example, solar energy, computers, biology, nursing, and so on. If
you can find these, you may be able to zero in on your topic even more--and once
again, be sure to check out the lists of other sources at the end of the articles. For help
in finding these specialized encyclopedias, check with a librarian.
Reference books--handbooks, guides, atlases, dictionaries, yearbooks. Another
source of information reports is all those reference books out there. Every field has its
handbooks (repositories of relatively stable, "basic" information in the field), guides
(information on literature in the field, associations, legalities, and so on), atlases
(more than just maps, great repositories of statistical data), dictionaries and
encyclopedias, and finally yearbooks (articles, data, and summaries of the year's
activity in a given field). The ACC library has many of these kinds of reference
books, and the UT library has even more. You look for them in the catalogs: when
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you look up your topic, you'll find entries for these sorts of reference books as well as
for the books mentioned earlier in this appendix.
If you browse around the reference area of the ACC library, you'll see titles such as
these:





Prentice-Hall Encyclopedia of Information Technology
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of the Life Sciences
Robotics Sourcebook and Dictionary
Energy: A Guide to Organizations and Information Resources
in the United States
McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science and Technology
Government reports. One enormous source of technical information is the U.S.
government. The only problem is getting to the indexes of it, and then getting the
documents themselves. If you're willing to make a trip to the UT main (PerryCastaneda) library or to the Texas State Library (just east of the Capitol), you can get
at most of both. Both libraries are like dumpsites for selected U.S. government
documents--and that amounts to a lot! And of course many of these documents are on
various kinds of microforms in order to conserve space. But if you wanted a pile of
technical reports related to your topic, you could get them this way. Try these
strategies for checking in government documents for your topic:
1. Check in a recent volume of Congressional Indexing Service
for reports on your topic (be sure to read the companion
abstracts).
2. Check a recent volume of the Government Reports and
Announcements index for reports and other information sources
related to your topic.
3. Check Index to U.S. Government Periodicals for articles
appearing in U.S. government magazines and journals related
to your topic.
These sources give you just a taste of what's available in government documents.
Better indexed methods of finding this type of information are probably now
available; check with a librarian for help.
Information from non-profit, association sources. One interesting and
nonacademic strategy for finding information is to check for interest groups and trade
associations that may be related in some way to your report topic. While there are
probably many different ways of finding organizations like these, the Encyclopedia of
Associations is one readily available way. Use its topic listings to find your topic
(remembering to check all possible keywords), make a list of organizations you find.
Some of these will be glad to send you information--although it will likely be strongly
biased toward their particular viewpoint. If you have enough time, write inquiry
letters to a few of these organizations, and see what additional information you can
get.
Checklist for Information Searches
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Try following each of these suggestions to see what sorts of information you can find
for your topic (everything mentioned here is in the ACC Northridge library):













Using Library of Congress Subject Headings, list as many
related keywords (subject headings, descriptors) for your topic
as you can.
Using each of your keywords, search the ACC and UT online
catalogs for books related to your topic. (Print your results.)
Check Books in Print: Subjects for books on your topic (using
your keywords).
Check one or two annual volumes of Reader's Guide to
Periodical Literature for articles on your topic (again, using
your keywords).
Use Academic Abstracts, Social Sciences Research Issues, or
both to check for articles. (These are online databases; you can
print out your results.)
If applicable, check for articles on your topic in one or two
volumes of Applied Science and Technology Index, General
Science Index, Business Periodicals Index, Public Affairs
Information Service (PAIS)--any that apply to your topic.
Check one volume of the New York Times Index for newspaper
articles on your topic.
Check ACC's online magazine and journal index for articles on
your topic (and print out your results).
Check a general encyclopedia (such as the Britannica or
Americana) for articles related to your topic.
Try to find a specialized encyclopedia related to your topic;
look for articles on your topic in it. (In particular, check in
McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology).
Try to find a yearbook related in some way to your topic and
see what information it has on your topic. (In particular, check
two or three volumes of the McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science
and Technology.)
Find Encyclopedia of Associations and look for interest groups,
trade associations, and other kinds of organizations that might
have something to do with your topic.
Using the information sources you actually find, check the
bibliographies at the ends of books and articles and the ends of
chapters in books, as well as the footnotes, for additional
information sources.
Documentation: Citing Sources of Borrowed
Information
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When you write a technical report, you can and should borrow information like crazy-to make it legal, all you have to do is "document" it. If your report makes you sound
like a rocket scientist but there's not a single source citation in it and you haven't even
taken college physics yet, people are going to start wondering. (In Night Court, you'd
be guilty of plagiarism. Fine--an F on the paper in question.) However, if you take
that same report and load it up properly with source citations (those little indicators
that show that you are borrowing information and from whom), everybody is all the
more impressed--plus they're not secretly thinking you're a shady character. A
documented report (one that has source indicators in it) says to readers that you've
done your homework, that you're up on this field, that you approach these things
professionally--that you are no slouch.
Note: For format on citing Internet and Web information sources, see
http://www.cas.usf.edu/english/walker/mla.html. Also, take a look at
http://www.uvm.edu/~xli/reference/estyles.html.
Note: Students enrolled in the Online Technical Writing are encouraged to take the
reading quiz on this chapter. (Anybody else is welcome to try it as well.)
Number System of Documentation
If you've taken other college writing courses recently, you have probably been
exposed to other documentation systems--specifically the MLA, or works-cited
system. The problem with that system is that it is used rather narrowly in the literature
field. Unfortunately, it is not widely used outside that field--especially not in technical
and scientific fields. One of the more common systems used in technical fields is the
number system. It's too bad you have to learn a different system, but at least this one is
easy to learn and use. ACC libraries have a handout entitled CBE (Scientific)
Documentation--this is one of the specific incarnations of the number system; get a
copy in case the information here does not cover your needs. (Notice that we are using
"Method III" and that we use brackets, not parentheses for the source indicators.)
In the number system, you list your information sources alphabetically, number them,
and put the list at the back of your report. Then in the body of your report, whenever
you borrow information from one of those sources, you put the source number and,
optionally, the page number in brackets at that point in the text where the borrowed
information occurs. Figure B-3 shows how this system works. [4] would refer to
source 4 in the list; [4:231] to refer to page 231 of source 4; [4:231-235] would refer
to pages 231 through 235 of source 4; and [4;7] would indicate that the information
was borrowed from source 4 and source 7.
What to Document
This question always comes up: how do I decide when to document information-when, for example, I forgot where I learned it from, or when it really seems like
common knowledge? There is no neat, clean answer. You may have heard it said that
anything in an encyclopedia or in an introductory textbook is common knowledge and
need not be documented. However, if you grabbed it from a source like that just
recently--it really isn't common knowledge for you, at least not yet. Document it! If
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you just flat can't remember how you came by the information, then it has safely
become common knowledge for you. (All that's really going on here is that we're
trying to protect the efforts of those poor devils who worked themselves into the
ground originating the information we want to borrow--give 'em a break, give 'em
their due!)
One other question that is often asked: do I document information I find in product
brochures or that I get in conversations with knowledgeable people? Yes, most
certainly. You document any information, regardless whether it is in print, in
electronic bits, magnetic spots, or in thin air.
How to Place the Source Indicators
It's a bit tricky deciding exactly where to place the source indicators--at the beginning
of the passage containing the borrowed information, at the end? If it makes sense to
"attribute" the source (cite the name of the author or the title of the information), you
can put the attribution at the beginning and the bracketed source indicator at the end
(as is shown in Figure 3).
Figure 3. Number documentation system: the code numbers in the text of the report
are keyed to the references page. For example, [6:5] in the middle of the page from
the body of the report indicates that the information came from source 6 (in
References), page 5. Notice the attribution of the quotation marks the beginning of the
borrowed information and the bracketed source indicator marks the end.
Setting Up the Sources List
A bit more challenging is setting up the list of information sources--that numbered,
alphabetized list you put at the end of the document. The best thing to do is use
examples. Figure B-3 shows you how to handle books, government reports, article
from magazines and journals, encyclopedia articles, and personal interviews.
Internet and Web information sources. For format on citing Internet and Web
information sources, see http://www.cas.usf.edu/english/walker/mla.html.
Books. For books, put the name of the author (first name last) first, followed by a
period, followed by the title of the book (in italics if you have; otherwise, underline),
followed by a period, followed by the city of the publisher, followed by a colon,
followed by the publisher's name (but delete all those tacky "Inc.," "Co.," and "Ltd."
things), followed by the year of publication, ending with a period. In this style, you
don't indicate pages.
Example: book entry
Magazine and journal articles. Start with the author's name first (last name first),
followed by a period, then the title of the article in quotation marks and ending with a
period, followed by the name of the magazine or journal (in italics if you have it;
otherwise, underline), followed by a period, followed by the date of issue of the
magazine the article occurs in, followed by the beginning and ending page. If the
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article spread out across the magazine, you can write "33+." or "33(5)." The latter
style seems to be taking hold; in it, you estimate how many pages the article would be
if it were continuous.
If there is no author, start with the article or book title. If there are two authors, add
"and" and the second author's name, first name first. If there are too many authors, use
the first one (last name first), followed by "et al.," which means "and others."
Example: magazine entry
Encyclopedia articles. Encyclopedia articles are easy! Start with the title of the
article in quotation marks ending with a period, followed by the name of the
encyclopedia (in italics if you have it; otherwise, underline), followed by the period,
then the year of the edition of the encyclopedia.
Example: encyclopedia entry
Reports. With reports, you're likely to dealing with government reports or local
informally produced reports. With most reports, you may not have an individual
author name; in such cases, you use the group name as the author. For government
reports, the publisher is often the Government Printing Office; and the city of
publication, Washington, D.C. Also, for government documents, you should include
the document number, as is shown in the following example.
Example: entry for a report
Personal interviews, correspondence, and other nonprint sources. With these
sources, you treat the interviewee or letter writer as the author, follow that name with
the person's title, followed by a period, then the company name, followed by a period,
then what the information was ("Personal interview" or "Personal correspondence")
followed by a period, then the city and state, followed by a period, ending with the
date.
Example: entry for unpublished information
Product brochures. For these kinds of information sources, treat the company name
as the author, followed by a period, use something identifying like the product name
(including the specific model number), followed by anything that seems like the title
of the brochure, followed by a period, ending with a date if you can find one
(otherwise, put "N.d.").
Example: entry for a product brochure
Documenting borrowed graphics. As Chapter points out, it's certainly legal to copy
graphics from other sources and use them in your own work--as long as you document
them. You indicate the source of a borrowed graphic in the figure title, which is
located just below the graphic. In the figure title, you can show the source of the
graphic in two ways--the long traditional way and a shorter way that uses the format
of the number system:
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Figure 4. Two ways to indicate the source of borrowed graphics.
Online Technical Writing: Cross-Referencing
Technical reports and instructions often require cross-references--those pointers to
other places in the same document or to other information sources where related
information can be found.
Cross-references can help readers in a number of different ways. It can point them
toward more basic information if, for example, they have entered into a report over
their heads. It can point them to more advanced information if, for example, they
already know the stuff you're trying to tell them. Also, it can point them to related
information.
Related information is the hardest area to explain because ultimately everything is
related to everything else--there could be no end to the cross-references. But here's an
example from DOS--that troll that lurks inside PC-type computers and supposedly
helps you. There are several ways you can copy files: the COPY command, the
DISKCOPY command, and XCOPY command. Each method offers different
advantages. If you were writing about the COPY command, you'd want crossreferences to these other two so that readers could do a bit of shopping around.
Of course, the preceding discussion assumed cross-references within the same
document. If there is just too much background to cover in your report, you can crossreference some external book or article that does provide that background. That way,
you are off the hook for having to explain all that stuff!
Now, a decent cross-reference consists of several elements:



Name of the source being referenced--This can either be the
title or a general subject reference. If it is a chapter title or a
heading, put it in quotation marks; if it is the name of a book,
magazine, report, or reference work, put it in italics or
underline. (Individual article titles also go in quotation marks.)
Page number--Required if it is in the same document; optional
if it is to another document.
Subject matter of the cross-reference--Often, you need to state
what's in the cross-referenced material and indicate why the
reader should go to the trouble of checking it out. This may
necessitate indicating the subject matter of the cross-referenced
material or stating explicitly how it is related to the current
discussion.
These guidelines are illustrated in Figure B-5. Notice in that illustration how different
the rules are when the cross-reference is "internal" (that is, to some other part of the
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same document) compared to when it is "external" (when it is to information outside
of the current document).
Figure B-5. Examples of cross-references. Internal cross-references are crossreferences to other areas within your same document; external ones are those to books
and documents external to your document.
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Online Technical Writing:
Developing Reports—Note Taking
Traditional Note-Taking System: An Overview
Developing the Rough Outline
Information on the Bibliography Cards
Information on the Notecards
Methods of Recording Information on Notecards
o
o
o
o
Direct Quotation
Paraphrasing
Summary
Plagiarism
Updating the Outline
Final Stages in the Note-Taking Process
Other Systems of Note-Taking
Exercises
When you've located the right sources of information for your report, it's time to start
gathering the right information from them and developing it into a report. In other
words, it's time to start reading, summarizing, paraphrasing, interviewing, measuring,
calculating, and developing information any other way your report project requires.
The technical report may be one of the largest writing projects that you've ever
tackled: you may wonder how you are going to do all that reading and remember all
that information. Concerning the reading, here are several suggestions:



Develop as specific an outline as you can: it shows you what
information you must gather and, more importantly, what
information you can ignore
Use the indexes, tables of contents, and headings within
chapters to read books selectively for just the information you
need.
Divide your work into manageable, hour-long chunks (make
progress rather than relying on big blocks of weekend or
vacation time).
As for remembering the information you gather for your report, the most practical
suggestion is to use some form of note-taking. Note-taking refers to any system for
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collecting and storing information until you can use it in the report. Note-taking
involves the skills of summarizing, paraphrasing, or quoting. A good system of notetaking is one that enables you to gather a large amount of information over a long
period of time and to be able to use that information without having forgotten it or lost
it in the meantime.
Traditional note-taking process: an overview
In the traditional system of taking notes for a long report, you:
1. Develop a rough outline.
2. Do any preliminary reading necessary to construct a rough
outline.
3. Locate your information sources, and make bibliography cards
for each source.
4. Take the actual notes on index cards.
5. Label each notecard according to its place in the outline.
6. Provide bibliographic information on each notecard.
7. Change or add extra detail to the outline as the note-taking
process continues.
8. Check off the areas of the outline for which sufficient notes
have been taken.
When you have taken sufficient notes to cover all parts of an outline, you transcribe
the information from the notecards into a rough draft, filling in details, adding
transitions, and providing your own acquired understanding of the subject as you
write. Naturally, you may discover gaps in your notes and have to go back and take
more notes.
Developing the rough outline
As the section on outlining emphasizes, you must have a working outline before you
begin gathering information. The rough outline shows you which specific topics to
gather information on and which ones to ignore. Think of the outline as a series of
questions:
Rough outline for a report
Questions generated
light water nuclear reactors
by the outline
I. Pressurized Water Reactors
What are the main differA. Major Components
ences? what are the main
B. Basic Operation
components? what are the
materials? design? dimensions? how many are in op-
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eration? where? who designed
them?
II. Boiling Water Reactors
How does they differ from
PWRs?
A. Major Components
What are the main components?
B. Basic Operation
What are the materials? design? dimensions? designers?
where used? how many?
III. Safety Measures
What are the chief dangers?
A. Pressurized Water Reactor
What are the dangers and safety
measures associated with PWRs?
B. Boiling Water Reactors
What are the dangers and safety
measures associated with BWRs?
C. Role of the Nuclear ReguHow does the NRC regulate
latory Commission
nuclear power plants? what
standards does it enforce? how?
IV. Economic Aspects of Light Water
What are the construction,
Reactors
operation, maintenance, and
A. Construction Costs
fuel costs? what about the availaB. Operation and Maintenance
bility of fuel? how do these
Costs
costs compare to output? how
do the PWR and the BWR compare
in terms of costs and output?
C. Operating Capacity
How much electricity can a LWR
generate at full capacity
Figure 1. Viewing an outline as a series of questions
If you don't have a good, specific outline, the sky is the limit on how many notes you
can take. Think of the outline as a set of boxes that you fill up with the information
you collect as you do your research for the report:
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Figure 2. Gathering information and taking notes: you continue gathering
information from the various sources until all the boxes are filled
Step 1. If you have not already done so, use the suggestions here or
the steps in the section on outlining to create as detailed a rough
outline of your report project as you can.
Information on the bibliography cards
On the bibliography cards you should record information that enables you or your
readers to locate the books, articles, reports, and other sources. Remember that you'll
use this information to create the bibliography or list of references for your report. See
the examples of bibliography cards for books, magazine articles, encyclopedias, and
government documents; the section on documentation shows you details on the
information to record on many different types of sources, but remember these general
guidelines:





For books, record the "facts of publication": the city of
publication, the publisher, and the date of publication.
For magazines, record the title of the magazine, the date of
issue of the specific magazine, and the beginning and ending
page numbers of the article.
For encyclopedia articles, record the edition number and date of
the encyclopedia, and look up the authors' initials.
For government documents, disregard the authors' names, use
the department, administration, or agency name as the author,
and copy the cataloguing number.
For any private sources of information you use, for example,
interviews or letters, record the date of the communication, the
source's full name, title, and organization with which he or she
is affiliated.
Information on the notecards
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In the traditional note-taking system, a notecard typically looks like this:
BWR-fuel rod (III,A,1,b)
fuel rod
material--Zircaloy
(same as PWR fuel rod)
148 in. long X 0.493 in. diam.
slightly longer >' PWR fuel rod
16
D, 749
Figure 3. A typical notecard
This notecard has the following features:




A word, phrase, or number that indicates where it fits into the
outline (the "locator").
Bibliographic information: that is, an abbreviation for the
source of the note (book, article, etc.) and a page number.
The note itself, the information that will go into the report.
A number that indicates the notecard's place in the final
arrangement of all the notecards.
Locator. The "locator" phrase or number tells you where the note fits into the outline,
that is, when and where you'll use this information in the report. Locaters must be
updated regularly. As you read, take notes, and learn more about your subject, you
can flesh out, or "elaborate," your outline more and more, subdividing it into third,
fourth, and even fifth levels. This process is illustrated in the section on updating the
outline.
Bibliographic information. Each notecard must also contain bibliographic
information, those details about the source of the note: the author, title, page number,
and so on. Rather than write all such information on each notecard, use abbreviations:
assign a letter to each source, and keep track of the sources on bibliography cards, as
shown above.
Step 2. If you've not already done so, locate sources of information
that may be useful to you in your report work. See the section on
finding information sources, and follow the steps there, if
necessary.
Methods of recording information on notecards
The actual information that you record on the index card is rather small: a few
statistics or a sentence or two, and not much else. You take such small bits of
information to make it easier to "shuffle" your notecards into the sequence in which
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you'll use them in writing the rough draft. There are three ways of recording the
information on notecards:




Directly quoting it, copying the information directly from the
source word-for-word
Paraphrasing it, retaining the full detail of the information but
in your own words
Summarizing it, condensing the main points in the information
in your own words
Direct quotation. In most technical reports, direct quotation is needed only for the
following situations:



Statements by important or well-known authorities or leaders
Controversial statements you do not want attributed to you
Statements expressed in unusual, vivid, or memorable language
Here is an example notecard with a direct quotation:
Myers, author of The Nuclear Power
Debate and somewhat of
a supporter of nuclear, emphs heavy
inspect and penalties:
During the period between July
1, 1975 and September 30,
1976 the NRC listed 1,611 items
of noncompliance. Only six
of these were considered serious
violations, 923 were classified as infractions, and 682
were noted as deficiencies. The
NRC issued fines to ten
utilities totaling $172,250 between
July 1, 1975 and December 15,
1976. NRC officials report
that the limited use of fines
and the efforts to get industry
to regulate itself have worked.
"By and large," one NRC official told IRRC, "I think our
enforcement program is working."
H, 46
Figure 4. Original passage and notecard with direct quotation
When you copy a direct quotation onto a notecard, remember to do a few extra things
that will save time and frustration later on:


Write a lead-in to introduce the quotation, citing the author's
name and any other important information about the author.
Write a brief explanation, interpretation, or comment on the
quotation you've just copied.
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There are essentially two types of direct quotation: "block" quotations and "running"
quotations. Here is an example of a block quotation (any quotation over 3 lines long,
which is indented):
In Myers' view, the nuclear power
industry has every reason
to comply with the NRC's regulations
to the very letter:
The NRC issues an order to shut
down or imposes
civil fines only after repeated
violations have indicated what the NRC considers
"a pattern of noncompliance." The NRC argues
that, particularly with
power plants, civil penalties
are unnecessary for the
most part. "The greatest
penalty," one official said,
"is to require the plant to shut
down, forcing it to
buy replacement power (often at
a cost of $100,000 to
$200,000 per day) elsewhere. A
civil penalty's largest
cost--the NRC is limited to a
$5,000-per-violation
ceiling per 30 days--is the
stigma attached to it."
(8:46)
The "stigma" refers to the fact that,
once a nuclear power
plant is fined, it will likely be the
target of public concern and even more stringent and
frequent NRC inspection.
Figure 5. Block quotation and a running quotation
"Running" quotations are direct quotations that are trimmed down and worked into
the regular sentences of a report. Notice how much smoother and more efficient the
running quotation is in the revised version below:
Ineffective
direct quotation
There are two types of light water
reactors: the pressurized
water reactor and the boiling water
reactor. "LWRs of both types
convert heat to electricity with an
efficiency of about 32
percent--significantly less than the
best fossil-fueled plants,
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although about equal to the national
average for all thermal
electricity generation" [13:438]. As
for harnessing the energy
potential of uranium, LWRs are
estimated to average only between
0.5 and 1.0 percent.
Revision with running
quotation
There are two types of light water
reactors: the pressurized
water reactor and the boiling water
reactor. According to Paul
Ehrlich, who has been a consistent
critic of nuclear power, both
these types of LWRs "convert heat to
electricity with an
efficiency of about 32 percent-significantly less than the best
fossil-fueled plants, although about
equal to the national
average for all thermal electricity
generation" (13:438). As for
harnessing the energy potential of
uranium, LWRs are estimated
to average only between 0.5 and 1.0
percent.
Figure 6. An ineffective block quotation revised as a running quotation
Guide for using direct quotations
When you use direct quotations in your report, keep these guidelines in mind.





Never use "free-floating" quotations in reports. Always
"attribute" direct quotations; that is, explain who made the
quoted statement. Notice how this is done in Figure 6.
Always provide adequate introduction for direct quotations and
explain their meaning and importance to your readers. Notice
how the block quotation above on NRC penalties (a) prepares
the reader for the quotation, and, afterwards, (b) provides
interpretive comment, on the meaning of the word "stigma" in
particular.
Use indented or "block" quotations whenever a direct quotation
goes over three lines long. With any lengthy quotation, make
sure that it is important enough to merit direct quotation.
Whenever possible, "trim" the quotation so that it will fit into
your own writing. Notice how the words that are less important
are omitted in Figure 5.
Punctuate direct quotations correctly. You can see the rules for
punctuating direct quotations; however, here are some
examples of the most common ways to punctuate quotations:
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According to Desaix Myers in his The Nuclear Power
Debate, "The
NRC has nearly 400 staff members assigned to inspect
nuclear
plants now operating or under construction."
NRC officials also inspect nuclear power plants "an
average of 50
times during the period before operation" when they
are under
construction and "a minimum of four times a year"
after the
plants go into operation.
Myers points out that standardization of nuclear power
plant
design is an important next step: "The NRC estimates
that by
standardizing plants..., the time between a decision
to go
nuclear and start-up of plant operations can be
reduced from 11
to 6 years."

Use ellipses to shorten direct quotations. When you do,
however, make sure that the resulting quotation reads as good
English. Here is an example passage:
Ehrlich argues that a mistaken notion of
the breeder reactor
has been promoted in the United States:
[Although breeder reactors] can
harness so much more
of the potential energy in uranium
and thorium than nonbreeders[, i]t is worth
emphasizing that a breeder does
not get something for nothing....
Paul R.
Ehrlich, Anne H. Ehrlich
and John
P. Holdren, Ecoscience:
Population, Resources, and Environment,
(San Francisco: Freeman,
1977),
p. 441.
Ehrlich goes on to argue that breeder
reactors are ...

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Figure 7. Using ellipsis in direct quotations
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

The three dots "..." show that words are omitted from the
sentence. The brackets "[ ]" indicate changes made by the
writer using the quotation so that it would read as good English
and make sense.
Use direct quotations only when necessary: if the passage
doesn't fit one of the reasons for direct quotation cited at the
beginning of this section, paraphrase or summarize it instead.
Paraphrasing. In technical-report writing, usually the better approach to note-taking
is to paraphrase. When you paraphrase, you convey the information fact-by-fact, ideaby-idea, and point-by-point in your own words. The writer of the original passage
ought to be able to read your paraphrase and say that it is precisely what she or he had
meant. Here are some example paraphrased notecards:
BWR--fuel assembly
(III,A,1,3)
fuel assembly--63 f rods spaced,
supported in a sq
(8 x 8) arrangement by upper +
lower plate
3 kinds: (a) tie rods; (b)
water rod); (c) stand
f rods
3rd, 6th f rods on a bundle's
outer edge act as
tie rods
the 8 tie rods screw into
castg of lower tie plate
water rod: acts as spacer
support rod, as source
of moderator material close
to the center of f
bundle
K, 2001
BWR--fuel assem
(III,A,1,3)
fuel channel--enclosure for f
bundle; f bundle +
f channel make up fuel assem
is a tube with a square shape,
made of Zircaloy
dimensions: 5.518 in. X 5.518
in. X 166.9 in.
function: channel core coolt
thru f bundle and
guide control rods
K, 2001
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Figure 8. Paraphrased notecards
Paraphrases are necessary and preferable for a number of reasons:





You paraphrase because the content of the passage is so
important to your report that you need every bit of it.
When you paraphrase, you adjust the wording of the original to
meet the needs of your audience, the purpose of your report,
and your own writing style. In other words, you "translate"
other writers' material into your own.
A report of mostly direct quotations would be hard to read.
Readers tend to skip over direct quotations, particularly long
ones.
One final reason for paraphrasing: you are actually writing bits
of the rough draft of your report as you paraphrase.
Here is an example of an original passage and its paraphrases, with the unique
wording of the original (which must be changed in the paraphrase) underlined.
Original passage
About a third of light-water
reactors operating or under
construction in the United States are
boiling-water reactors.
The distinguishing characteristic of
a BWR is that the reactor vessel itself serves as the
boiler of the nuclear steam
supply system. This vessel is by far
the major component in the
reactor building, and the steam it
produces passes directly to
the turbogenerator. The reactor
building also contains emergency
core cooling equipment, a major part
of which is the pressure
suppression pool which is an integral
part of the containment
structure. . . . . earlier BWRs
utilized a somewhat different
containment and pressure suppression
system. All the commercial
BWRs sold in the United States have
been designed and built by
General Electric.
Several types of reactors that
use boiling water in pressure tubes have been considered,
designed, or built. In a
sense, they are similar to the CANDU,
described in Chapter 7,
which uses pressure tubes and
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separates the coolant and moderator. The CANDU itself can be
designed to use boiling light
water as its coolant. The British
steam-generating heavywater reactor has such a system.
Finally, the principal reactor type now being constructed in the
Soviet Union uses a
boiling-water pressure tube design,
but with carbon moderator.
Anthony
V. Nero, A Guidebook
to
Nuclear Reactors, Berkeley:
University of California Press,
1979.
Paraphrased
version
Boiling water reactors, according
to Anthony V. Nero in his
Guidebook to Nuclear Reactors, either
completed or constructed,
make up about one third of the lightwater reactors in the
U.S. The most important design
feature of the BWR is that
the reactor vessel itself acts as the
nuclear steam supply
system. The steam this important
component generates goes
directly to the turbogenerator.
Important too in this design is the emergency core cooling
equipment which is
housed with the reactor vessel in the
reactor building.
One of the main components of this
equipment is the pressure suppression pool. The
containment and pressure suppression system currently used in
BWRs has evolved since
the early BWR designs. General
Electric is the sole designer and builder of these BWRs in the
U.S.
The different kinds of reactors
that use boiling water
in pressure tubes are similar to the
CANDU, which separates
coolant and moderator and uses
pressure tubes also. CANDU
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can also use boiling light water as a
coolant. The British
have designed a reactor generated
steam from heavy water
that uses just such a system. Also,
the Soviets have developed and are now building as their
main type of reactor
a boiling pressure tube design that
uses carbon as the
moderator. [12:232]
Figure 9. Avoiding the original wording in paraphrases
Guide for writing and using paraphrases
Here are some guidelines to remember when paraphrasing:







In most cases, paraphrase rather than use direct quotation.
Avoid the distinctive wording of the original passage.
Do not interpret, criticize, or select from the original passage.
Include bibliographic information on the author, source, and
page numbers.
In the rough draft, cite the author's name and other important
details about her or him just as you would if were quoting
directly. In Figure 9, notice how the paraphrased author's name
is given early.
Refer to the paraphrased author in such a way to make it clear
where the paraphrase begins and ends. (See Figure 9.)
Document a paraphrase just as you would a direct quotation.
Mark the area of the paraphrase by citing the paraphrased
author's name at the beginning of the paraphrase and by
inserting a footnote or parenthetical reference at the end.
(Again, see Figure 9.)
Summary. Summaries are usually much shorter than their originals. A summary
concentrates on only those points or ideas in a passage that are important. Unlike in a
paraphrase, the information in a summary can be rearranged. Here is a passage from
which summaries below will be taken:
Numerous systems are available for
controlling abnormalities [in boiling water reactors]. In the event
that control
rods cannot be inserted, liquid neutron absorber
(containing
a boron compound) may be injected into the
reactor to shut
down the chain reaction. Heat removal systems
are available
for cooling the core in the event the drywell is
isolated
from the main cooling systems. Closely related
to the heat
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removal systems are injection systems for coping
with decreases in coolant inventory.
Both abnormalities associated with the
turbine system
and actual loss of coolant accidents can lead
closing of
the steam and feedwater lines, effectively
isolating the
reactor vessel within the drywell. Whenever the
vessel is
isolated, and indeed whenever feedwater is lost,
a reactor
core isolation cooling system is available to
maintain
coolant inventory by pumping water into the
reactor via
connections in the pressure vessel head. This
system operates at normal pressures and initially draws
water from
tanks that store condensate from the turbine,
from condensate from the residual heat removal system,
or if necessary, from the suppression pool.
A network of systems performs specific ECC
[emergency
core cooling] functions to cope with LOCAs
[loss-of-coolant accidents]. (See Figure 6-9.) These all
depend on
signals indicating low water level in the
pressure vessel
or high pressure in the drywell, or both.
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Figure 6-9. BWR emergency core cooling
systems
The systems include low-pressure injection,
utilization
of the RHR system, and high- and low-pressure
core spray
systems. The high-pressure core spray in
intended to
lower the pressure within the pressure vessel
and provide
makeup water in the event of a LOCA. In the
event the
core is uncovered, the spray can directly cool
the fuel
assemblies. Water is taken from the condensate
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tanks and
from the suppression pool. On the other hand,
should it
become necessary to use low-pressure systems,
the vessel
must be depressurized. This can be accomplished
by opening
relief valves to blow down the vessel contents
into the
drywell (and hence the suppression pool). Once
this is
done, the low-pressure core spray may be used to
cool
the fuel assemblies (drawing water from the
suppression
pool) or RHR low-pressure injection (again from
the suppression pool) may be initiated, or both. The
RHR system
may also be used simply to cool the suppression
pool.
(Two other functions of the RHR are to provide
decay heat
removal under ordinary shutdown conditions and,
when necessary, to supplement the cooling system for the
spent fuel
pool and the upper containment pool.)
Anthony V. Nero, A
Guidebook to Nuclear
Reactors,
Berkeley: Univ. of
California
Press, 1979, pp.
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104-107.
Figure 10. Passage to be summarized
Sentence-length summaries. Often summaries are only a sentence long. To create
sentence-length summaries, use one or a combination of the following methods:

Locate a sentence or two in the original passage that
summarizes the information that you want, and simply rewrite
it in your own words. Find the sentence in the third paragraph
of the original that is the basis for this summary:
BWR--safety sys
(IV,B,2)
The systems that perform emergency
core cooling functions in
loss-of-coolant accidents include
low-pressure injection,
utilization of the RHR system, and
high- and low-pressure core
spray systems.
I, 104

If no individual sentence will work, locate several sentences
that contain the right information, and combine them. (This
summary sentence is built from paragraphs 1 and 2 of Figure
10.)
BWR--safety sys
(IV,B,2)
In case of problems with control rods
or loss of coolant, BWRs
use an absorber to stop the reaction
or emergency systems to
replenish and maintain coolant
around the reactor core,
respectively.
I, 104-107

Sometimes, the summary sentence is like a new sentence,
scarcely resembling any in the original. Here is a different
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summary sentence on the passage above; notice how new it
seems:
BWR--safety sys
(IV,B,2)
If the control rods malfunction, a
substance can be introduced to
shut down the reaction altogether,
and if water is prevented from
reaching the reactor core, BWRs are
equipped with backup sources
of coolant that can be sprayed or
injected into the pressure
vessel.
I, 104-107
Extended summaries. A summary can be longer than a single sentence because of
the important information contained in the original passage. (Remember, however,
that a paraphrase is a point-by-point recap of the original, while the summary is a
selection, reordering and condensation of the original.) Here's an extended summary
of the passage above on BWR emergency safety systems (Figure 10):
Boiling water reactors use numerous
systems to control
abnormalities in reactor operations.
If a problem with control
rods occurs, a liquid neutron
absorber can be injected to halt
the chain reaction. If coolant is cut
off from the reactor core,
a reactor core isolation cooling
system can maintain coolant
inventory by pumping water from
various storage areas. This
system includes low-pressure
injection, the residual heat removal
system, and the high- and lowpressure core spray systems. The
water supply for these various
emergency systems ultimately come
from the suppression pool.
Guide for using summaries
Whenever you summarize, you must handle the resulting summary the same way you
would a direct quotation or paraphrase.

Cite the name of the author and other important information
about that author.
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

Document that summary using whichever system is appropriate
for your report.
If it is an extended summary, make it clear where that summary
begins and ends, for example, by referring to the author's name
at the beginning and placing a footnote or parenthetical
reference at the end.
Step 3. With the notetaking system described above, take at least 10
notes using the following steps: (a) find information that you want
to summarize, paraphrase, or directly quote; (b) take each note on
separate index card; (c) key each notecard to your outline; and (d)
include bibliographic information on each card.
Plagiarism. If you follow the guidelines presented in the preceding, plagiarism
should not be a problem at all, but make sure you understand what it is. Plagiarism
refers to two kinds of theft:



Plagiarism is the practice--whether deliberate or not--in which a
writer borrows other people's facts, ideas, or concepts and
presents them as if they were her or his own.
Plagiarism is also the practice--again whether deliberate or not-in which a writer uses other writers' exact words without
quotation marks.
In all cases, plagiarism is the lack of proper documentation:
documentation refers to any system of footnoting or reference
that indicates the author and source of the borrowed
information.
Reports with plagiarized information are often easy to spot for several reasons:



A reader may recognize the ideas or facts in the report as those
of someone else. An expert in a field of knowledge can spot
this theft of information right away.
A reader may realize that the report writer could not possibly
have developed certain information in the report. If a writer
who is at the beginning of his studies sounds like an advanced
physicist, something is fishy.
Most readers can also spot a sudden change in the style or tone
of the language of a report. Most people's writing style is as
readily identifiable as their voices over the telephone.
Plagiarism is bad business: the plagiarizer can fail an academic course or lose his or
her reputation among business and professional associates. It only takes simple
documentation to transform a report with plagiarized material in it into one with
legally borrowed material. The section on documentation explains these procedures in
detail.
Updating the outline
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As you take notes, you must regularly update the locators on all your notecards
because as you read, take notes, and learn more about your technical subject, your
outline may either change or become more specific. Imagine that you started with this
excerpt of a rough outline and had taken these notecards:
Rough sketch outline
IV. Safety Measures
A. Pressurized Water Reactor
Safety Measures
B. Boiling Water Reactor
Safety Systems
C. Role of the Nuclear
Regulatory Commission
Corresponding notecards
BWR--safety
sys.
(IV,B)
safety sys incl control rods, containmt bldg,
resid heat removl sys
there work like those in PWR
unique to BWR: drywell, emergency core
coolg sys
1
I,
100
BWR--safety sys
(IV,B)
drywell--encloses react vess +
assoc equip
(includes recirc sys, press
relief valves on
main steam lines)
2
I, 100
BWR--safety sys
(IV,B)
emergency core coolg sys-handles loss-of-coolt
accidents; includes reactor core
iso sys, hipress core spray sys, lo-press
core spray sys
(figure for this, p.106)
3
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I, 105-6
BWR--safety sys
(IV,B)
react core iso coolg sys: if
loss-of-coolt accidt
(causg closing of steam
lines,feedwtr lines to
react vessel), RCICS activated
(maintains coolt
inventory by pumpg water to
reactor via connex
in press vess head
4
I, 104
BWR--safety sys
(IV,B)
hi-press core spray: lowers
press w/in press
vessel, provides suppl water
in loss-of-coolt
accidt.
with uncovered cores, spray
directly cools fuel
assemblies (wtr fr condensed
wtr storge tanks
+ suppress pool
5
I, 104
Figure 11. Notecards and the corresponding outline before updating
As you took these notecards, you would update your outline periodically; at the end,
the outline might look like this:
Revised outline
IV. Safety Measures
A. Pressurized Water Reactor
Safety Measures
B. Boiling Water Reactor
Safety Systems
1. The Drywell
2. Emergency Core Cooling
Systems
a. Reactor core
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isolation cooling system
b. High-pressure core
spray
Figure 12. Updated outline
Notice that all five of these notecards are about "IV. B. Boiling Water Reactor Safety
Systems." Notecard 1 divides this safety system into the drywell and the emergency
core cooling systems. This division produces "1" and "2" under "B." Notecards 3
through 5, about the subsystems making up the emergency systems, produce "a," "b,"
and "c" under "2."
If you had taken these notes and updated your outline, you would revise the locators
on the individual notecards like this:
Notecard
Alternate
no.
locators
Original
Updated
locators
locators
1
IV. B
Safety/Boil.Wtr.React.
2
IV. B
Safety/BWR/drywell
3
IV. B
Safety/BWR/Em.Cor.Cool.
4
IV. B
2. a
Saf./BWR/Em.Cor.Cool/
React.Cor.Cool.
5
IV. B
2. b
Saf./BWR/Em.Cor.Cool./
same
IV. B. 1
IV. B. 2
IV. B.
IV. B.
Hi.Pres.Cor.Spray
Remember that if you don't like the number-combinations as locators, you can
substitute short phrases, as is shown in the alternate locators above.
Step 4. Review the notes you took in Step 3, compare them to your
report outline, and update your outline as necessary.
Final stages in the notetaking process
As you take notes, check off sections of your outline for which you gather sufficient
information, as is done in this outline excerpt. In this example, the writer has taken
sufficient notes for much of IV.B. but still needs information for the rest of the
outline.
III. Boiling Water Reactors
A. Description of the Basic Components
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1. Core
a. core
b. fuel
c. fuel rod
d. fuel assembly
2. Control Rods
3. Core Shrouds and Reactor Vessel
4. Recirculation System
5. Steam Separators
6. Steam Dryers
B. Production of Electricity
1. Circulating Water
2. Separating Steam
3. Drying the Steam
4. Producing Electricity
IV. Safety Measures
A. Pressurized Water Reactor Safety
Measures
1. Residual Heat Removal System
2. Emergency Core Cooling Systems
a. passive system
b. low-pressure injection systems
c. high-pressure injection systems
3. Containment Building
B. Boiling Water Reactor Safety Systems
1. The Drywell
2. Emergency Core Cooling Systems
a. reactor core isolation cooling
system
b. high-pressure core spray
c. low-pressure core spray
C. Role of the Nuclear Regulatory
Commission
V. Economic Aspects of Light Water Reactors
A. Busbar Cost
1. Construction Cost
2. Operation and Maintenance Costs
3. Fuel Costs
B. Operating Capacity
1. Availability Factor
2. Capacity Factor
Figure 13. An outline for which note-taking is partially complete
Step 5. Review the notes you've taken to see whether you can cross
off any items in your outline. Once you've done this, return to Step
3, and repeat the process until you've gathered enough information.
In the final step in notetaking, you arrange the notecards in the order that you'll use
them as you write the rough draft. Read through your cards several times to make sure
the sequence is right and that there are no gaps in the information you've gathered.
When you're sure that the order is right, write sequence numbers on each of the cards
to preserve the order (see the sequence numbers on the notecards in the next section).
With the notecards in the right order and numbered, you are ready to write the first
draft, which is discussed in the section on rough drafting.
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Step 6. Put the notes that you've taken in the preceding steps into a
proper sequences, and number them.
Other systems of notetaking
There are plenty of other ways to take notes. The main point of any form of notetaking of course is to make your report work easier and less time-consuming. You
may prefer some other note-taking system because of your own work style or because
of your report project. Or, you may end up using some other system in combination
with the traditional one. Any system that enables you to get your work done
efficiently is a good one.





Mental notetaking. With short reports, it is possible to
remember all the information and not writing any of it down is
possible. But few of us are able to remember all of the
information for long, highly technical reports.
Book marks. If you use only a few articles or books, you can
mark the important passages with slips of paper and write the
rough draft with them. If you have many books and articles,
this approach can get to be quite chaotic.
Photocopying. You can also photocopy everything you think
you need in your report. With the photocopied pages, you
highlight the important passages, or cut out the important
passages and paste them on notecards. Two problems with this
approach are that (a) you may photocopy many unnecessary
pages and waste money and (b) you still have the job of
paraphrasing and summarizing ahead of you. Still, this is a
system some report writers use occasionally to supplement their
more traditional note-taking procedures.
Exploratory drafts. If you are already familiar with your report
subject, you can try writing a rough skeletal draft to show you
what information you need. You may discover that all you lack
is specific names, statistics, or terminology. You can take notes
and plug the information into the draft (especially if you have
computerized word processing). Writing the exploratory draft
shows you what you know and don't know.
Notetaking by the source. If you have only a few sources, you
can also use one other fairly common system of notetaking:
1. You take notes from individual sources onto long sheets
of paper rather than onto notecards.
2. You take all the information you need from the source
onto as many sheets of paper as necessary; you don't
split it up into bits of information on separate notecards.
3. At the top of each notesheet, you give full bibliographic
information on the book or article.
4. Throughout each notesheet, you indicate the exact pages
the information comes from.
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5. Also, you label these pages of notes with locators, the
letter-number combinations from the outline.
6. You mark off sections of the outline as you gather
sufficient information for them.
7. In some cases, you can cut up these full-page notes and
actually handle them as if they were notecards.
Here is an example sheet of notes using this approach:
Outline
Pages
area
Source:
J
1. BWR core--large nbr of fuel
(94)
ea one a sq array 7
X 7 or 8 X 8
III,A,1
fuel pin: active
length 12 ft
contains water rod
(providg
(95)
moderator w/in f
bundles)
III,A,2
large BWR contains
764 assems w
40-50,000 f rods +
about 180 tons
of uran. diox
2. reactor vessel--contains core
(99-100)
and assoc equip,
also control rods
above core, steam
separators/dryers
3. vessel dimensions: 72 ft
high, 21 ft diam
(100)
material: carbon
steel, 6-7 in thick
III,A,3
clad
w 1/8 in
stainls steel
withstands 1000 psi
at operatg temps
4. coolant--recirculates w/in
react vessel of BWR
IV,B,2-3
no external loop
jet pumps in
annulus
(101)
pump: reactor inlet
nozzles
assembls
Figure 14.
taking notes by the
Sample notesheet:
source
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In this system, the source (book, article, report, etc.) is indicated at the top of the
page; the page numbers are indicated down the right margin in parentheses; and the
sheet of notes is keyed to the outline down the left margin in parentheses.
When you've gathered enough information and know your report subject well enough,
it's time for the last three major steps in writing a technical report: writing the rough
draft, revising and editing, and doing the "final packaging."
Exercises
For exercises on this phase, See the full set of exercises for the note-taking, roughdrafting, revising, and final-packaging phases.
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Online Technical Writing:
Strategies for Peer-Reviewing and Team-Writing
Note: I'm still gathering information for this section; stay tuned...
Peer-reviewing (also called peer-editing) means people getting together to read,
comment on, and recommend improvements on each other's work. Peer-reviewing is a
good way to become a better writer because it provides experience in looking
critically at writing.
Team-writing, as its name indicates, means people getting together to plan, write, and
revise writing projects as a group, or team. Another name for this practice is
collaborative writing-collaborative writing that is out in the open rather than under
cover (where it is known as plagiarism).
Strategies for peer-reviewing
When you peer-review another writer's work, you evaluate it, criticize it, suggest
improvements, and then communicate all of that to the writer. As a first-time peerreviewer, you might be a bit uneasy about criticizing someone else's work. For
example, how do you tell somebody his essay is boring? Read the discussion and
steps that follow; you'll find advice and guidelines on doing peer reviews and
communicating peer-review comments.
At the beginning of a peer review, provide your peer-reviewers with notes on the
writing assignment and on your goals and concerns about your writing project. Alert
reviewers to these problems; make it clear what kinds of things you were trying to do.
Similarly, ask writers whose work you are peer-reviewing to supply you with
information on their objectives and concerns. Figure 1 shows a cover note, attached to
a rough draft, indicating to a peer-reviewer what to watch for.
Figure 1. Note to reviewers attached to the front of a draft for peer review. Provide
your reviewers with an idea of your writing-project details (topic, audience, purpose,
situation, type),and alert them to any problems or concerns.
Specifically, give peer-reviewers information on any of the following about which
you think there may be problems:
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
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xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?
When you peer-review other people's writing, remember above all that you should
consider all aspects of that writing, not just--in fact, least of all--the grammar,
spelling, and punctuation. If you are new to peer-reviewing, you may forget to review
the draft for certain aspects:








Make sure that your review is comprehensive. Consider all
aspects of the draft you're reviewing, not just the grammar,
punctuation, and spelling. To make sure that your review is
thorough, use the checklist in Figure 2.
Read the draft several times, looking for high-level matters
such as interest level, persuasiveness, general organization, and
clarity of discussion in your first reading.
Be careful about making comments or criticisms that are based
on your own personal style. Base your criticisms and
suggestions for improvements on generally accepted
guidelines, concepts, and rules. If you do make a comment that
is really your own preference, explain it.
Explain the problems you find fully. Don't just say a paper
"seems disorganized." Explain what is disorganized about it.
Use specific details from the draft to demonstrate your case.
Whenever you criticize something in the writer's draft, try to
suggest some way to correct the problem. It's not enough to tell
the writer that her paper seems disorganized, for example.
Explain how that problem could be solved.
Base your comments and criticisms on accepted guidelines,
concepts, principles, and rules. It's not enough to tell a writer
that two paragraphs ought to be switched, for example. State
the reason why: more general, introductory information should
come first, for example.
Avoid rewriting the draft that you are reviewing. In your efforts
to suggest improvements and corrections, don't go overboard
and rewrite the draft yourself. Doing so steals from the original
writer the opportunity to learn and improve as a writer.
Find positive, encouraging things to say about the draft you're
reviewing. Compliments, even small ones, are usually wildly
appreciated. Read through the draft at least once looking for
things that were done well, and then let the writer know about
them.
Figure 2. Comprehensive checklist for the peer reviewer. Use a checklist like this one
to make sure that in your peer review you consider the paper from every angle.
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Figure 3. Excerpt from a peer-reviewed paper. Notice that the comments are fully
explanatory and that the peer reviewer refrains from merely making corrections.
Notice also that the peer reviewer includes positive comments.
Use the following suggestions to peer-review the rough draft in specific ways:
PHASES OF REVIEWING















Organize a writing team, if necessary or possible
Review how well the draft is adapted to its audience
Assess how well the draft achieves its purpose
Analyze whether the writing topic has been narrowed
sufficiently
Review the organization of the draft
Check the content of the draft
Review the coherence of the draft, that is, its use of transition
techniques
Analyze the title, introduction, and conclusion
Review the use of topic sentences in the draft
Analyze the draft for sentence style and clarity
Check whether quotations, paraphrases, and summaries are
handled correctly
Review the handling of graphics, if they are used in the draft
Review the documentation of the draft, that is, its method of
handling source references and the works-cited list
Check format details
Check for grammar, punctuation, usage, and spelling problems
Once you've finished a peer review, it's a good idea to write a summary of your
thoughts, observations, impressions, criticisms, or feelings about the rough draft.
Figure 4 shows a note written by a peer-reviewer, summarizing her observations on a
rough draft. Notice in the note some of the following details:




The comments are categorized according to type of problem or
error--grammar and usage comments in one group; higher level
comments on such as things content, organization, and interestlevel in another group.
Relative importance of the groups of comments is indicated.
The peer-reviewer indicates which suggestions would be "nice"
to incorporate, and which ones are critical to the success of the
writing project.
Most of the comments include some brief statement of
guidelines, rules, examples, or common sense. The reviewer
doesn't simply say "This is wrong; fix it." She also explains the
basis for the comment.
Questions are addressed to the writer. The reviewer is
doublechecking to see if the writer really meant to state or
imply certain things.
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
The reviewer includes positive comments to make about the
rough draft, and finds nonantagonistic, sympathetic ways to
state criticisms.
Figure 4. A note summarizing the results of a peer review. Spend some time
summarizing your peer-review comments in a brief note to the writer. Be as
diplomatic and sympathetic as you can!
Strategies for team-writing
As mentioned earlier in this chapter, team-writing is one of the common ways people
in the worlds of business, government, science, and technology handle large writing
projects.
When you begin picking team members for a writing project, choose people with
different backgrounds and interests. Just as a diverse, well-rounded background for an
individual writer is an advantage, a group of diverse individuals makes for a wellrounded writing team.
If you are the team leader, you might even ask prospective team members for their
background, interests, majors, talents, and aptitudes. These following writing teams
combine individuals with diverse backgrounds and interests:
Writing team 1
Project: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Team members
Backgrounds, skills, interests
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
x
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
x
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
x
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
x
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Writing team 2
Project: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Team members
Backgrounds, skills, interests
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
x
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
x
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
x
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
x
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Once you've assembled your writing team, most of the work is the same as it would
be if you were writing by yourself, except that each phases is a team effort.
Specifically, meet with your team to decide or plan the following:
Planning Stages

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

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


Analyze the writing assignment.
Pick a topic.
Define the audience, purpose, and writing situation.
Brainstorm and narrow the the topic.
Create an outline.
Plan the information search (for books, articles,
etc., in the library).
Plan a system for taking notes from information
sources.
Plan any graphics you'd like to see in your writing
project.
Agree on style and format questions (see the
following discussion).
Develop a work schedule for the project and divide
the responsibilities (see the following).
Much of the work in a team-writing project must be done by individual team members
on their own. However your team decides to divide up the work for the writing
project, try for at least these minimum guidelines:
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

Have each team member responsible for the writing of one
major section of the paper.
Have each team member responsible for locating, reading, and
taking notes on an equal part of the information sources.
Some of the work for the project that could be done as a team you may want to do
first independently. For example, brainstorming, narrowing, and especially outlining
should be done first be each team member on his own; then get together and compare
notes. Keep in mind how group dynamics can unknowingly suppress certain ideas and
how less assertive team members might be reluctant to contribute their valuable ideas
in the group context.
After you've divided up the work for the project, write a formal chart and distribute it
to all the members.
Figure 5. Chart listing writing team members' responsibilities for the project
Early in your team writing project, set up a schedule of key dates. This schedule will
enable you and your team members to make steady, organized progress and complete
the project on time. As shown in Figure 6, include not only completion dates for key
phases of the project but also meeting dates and the subject and purpose of those
meetings. Notice these details about that schedule:



Several meetings are scheduled in which members discuss the
information they are finding or are not finding. (One team
member may have information another member is looking
everywhere for.)
Several meetings are scheduled to review the project details,
specifically, the topic, audience, purpose, situation, and outline.
As you learn more about the topic and become more settled in
the project, your team may want to change some of these
details or make them more specific.
Several rough drafts are scheduled. Team members peer-review
each other's drafts of individual sections twice, the second time
to see if the recommended changes have worked. Once the
complete draft is put together, it too is reviewed twice.
Figure 6. Schedule for a team writing project
When you work as a team, there is always the chance that one of the team members,
for whatever reason, may have more or less than a fair share of the workload.
Therefore, it's important to find a way to keep track of what each team member is
doing. A good way to do that is to have each team member keep a journal or log of
what kind of work he does and how much time he spends doing it. (See Figure 7 for
an example of such a journal.)
Figure 7. Excerpt from a journal kept by a writing team member. Notice that details
such as hours worked, type of work, pages read, page written are included.
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At the end of the project, if there are any problems in the balance of the work, the
journal should make that fact very clear. At the end of the project, team members can
add up their hours spent on the project; if anyone has spent a little more than her share
of time working, the other members can make up for it by buying her dinner or some
reward like that. Similarly, as you get down toward the end of the project, if it's clear
from the journals that one team member's work responsibilities turned out, through no
fault of his own, to be smaller than those of the others, he can make up for it by doing
more of the finish-up work such as typing, proofing, or copying.
Because the individual sections will be written by different writers who are apt to
have different writing styles, set up a style guide in which your team members list
their agreements on how things are to be handled in the paper as a whole. These
agreements can range from the high level, such as xxxxxxxxxxxx, all the way down to
picky details such as xxxxxxxxxxxx. Figure 8 shows an example of such a project
style sheet.
Before you and your team members write the first rough drafts, you can't expect to
cover every possible difference in style and format. Therefore, plan to update this
style sheet when you review the rough drafts of the individual sections and,
especially, when review the complete draft.
Figure 8. Style guide for a writing project. The items listed represent agreements team
writers have made in order to give their paper as much consistency as possible.
Try to schedule as many reviews of your team's written work as possible. You can
meet to discuss each other's rough drafts of individual sections as well as rough drafts
of the complete paper. When you do meet, follow the suggestions for peer-editing
discussed in the previous section of this chapter, "Steps for peer-reviewing."
A critical stage in team-writing a paper comes when you put together into one
complete draft those individual sections written by different team members. It's then
that you'll probably see how different in tone, treatment, and style each section is (see
Figure 9 for an example.) You must as a group find a way to revise and edit the
complete rough draft that will make it read consistently so that it won't be so
obviously written by three or four different people.
Figure 9. An example of how different sections of a team-written report can be
radically unlike each other. Notice how the tone, sentence length, paragraph length,
word choice, and other details vary strikingly in this example.
When you've finished with reviewing and revising, it's time for the finish-up work to
get the draft ready to hand in. That work is the same as it would be if you were
writing the paper on your own, only in this case the workloads can be divided up.
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Online Technical Writing:
Power-Revision Techniques
This appendix covers some of the most important aspects of writing-what's more
important than the information you put in a document, how you organize it, how you
link it all up together? Writing teachers tend not to do much with this sort of stuff in
their classrooms because it's just plain old hard and tedious. Yet, if we were to find a
way to make these revision concepts and techniques easier (or even fun?) to learn,
practice, and apply, we might have achieved one of the most important breakthroughs
in the teaching of writing.
When you look at all these powerful ways you can review (look for potential
problems) and then revise (fix those problems), you're likely to be put off by how
tedious and time-consuming it looks. This stuff can become second nature rather
quickly though. If you spend some time analyzing writing in the ways outlined in this
appendix, the way you write and the way you review what you write will change.
You'll start operating-and not even be fully aware of it-with this stuff in mind.
Therefore, if we had the proper materials, the proper equipment for you to work out
on for several weeks (some sort of verbal NordicTrac), these concepts and techniques
would become nearly second nature to you and really give a big boost to this most
important area of your writing.
Specifically, this appendix covers these paragraph- and higher-level elements:






Overview of structure-level revision
Contents
Structure
Organization
Topic sentences and overviews
Transitions
This appendix also covers these sentence-style problems:








Overview of sentence-level revision
Weak be verbs
Overnominalization ("noun stacks")
Redundant phrasing
Weak use of expletives (there is, it is)
Weak use of the passive voice
Subject-verb mismatch
Sentence length
Online Technical Writing:
Power-Revision Techniques—Structure-Level
Revision
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For lack of a better phrase, "structure-level revision" refers to the techniques you can
use to improve the content of a document, make it better organized, and facilitate
readers' ability to follow and understand it. At this level, we're not tinkering with
commas or subject-verb agreement—we're tossing around whole paragraphs, adding
whole new sentences, deleting chunks of useless text, reorganizing sections, and
adding various kinds of signals to make things easier to follow.
Specifically, this section on structure-level revision techniques covers the following:





Contents
Structure
Organization
Topic sentences and overviews
Transitions
Check contents
One of the most important ways you can review a rough draft is to check the contents.
All the good transitions, good organization, and clear sentence structure in the world
can't help a report that