Writing Technical Information Annotated Bibliography

Ehrenberg, A.S.C. (1982). Writing technical papers or reports. The American Statistical Association, 34 (4), 326-329.

This article outlines specific rules and techniques that facilitate suitable brevity and clarity in technical writing. The article provides five specific rules, which include the following: 1. Start at the End, 2. Be Prepared to Revise, 3. Cut Down on Long Words, 4. Be Brief, and 5. Think of the Reader. The customary chronological approach to writing, chronological time tracking is used in almost every form of writing. Technical writers should first present their conclusions, and then elaborate on the means by which they reached these conclusions.  Short words and sentences help readers comprehend technical material. In particular, authors need to determine the needs of readers by asking questions such as who will read the work, how readers will communicate the information to others, and what will they do with the work? These questions focus attention on the audience in order to tailor the literature to custom-fit their needs. Conclusively, writers’ understanding of audiences generally results in the production of organized, readable, and effective documents.

White, L. (2005). Writes of passage: writing an empirical journal article.  Journal of Marriage and Family, 67, 791-798.

White advises that the only specific requirements for publication when submitting research articles to professional journals are good article framework and the simple practice of following her straightforward, general advice. Gleaned from three decades of experience in reviewing, writing and revising research papers, the essence of the article is plainly laid out in these two discussions. Framework – format and structural elements – should be topically arranged. The advice section expounds on focus, length, peer review, editing, and journal guidelines. She urges learning from past mistakes with enlightening heart-to-heart advice on what writers should do when rejected for publication. Both the experienced and inexperienced writer alike are convincingly informed that the goal of being published is not altogether unrealistic, but attainable. Providing excellently organized instruction, and lacing it with empirical advice, White rhetorically wraps an experienced arm around the potentially rejected writer, and gives an encouraging push.

Wright, Patricia. Writing Technical Information.  (1987). American Educational Research Association. Retrieved from JSTOR database.

This article compares technical texts to nontechnical text, and efffort is made to clearly define a technical writer; however the author clearly predicts that the field is quickly growing, and that opportunities for technical writers are growing. Legal text is categorized as a technical text, and even media is classified the same. Much effort is made to distinguish technical writing from nontechnical writing, and many of the principals taught in modern day classes are within the text. Function, visuals, usage, and considering the audience are major points within the article. Considering the audience, ironically, was at the end. Writing examples  further explain that appropriate technical writing can instruct, explore, or explain almost any situation mankind may experience.