How to Write a Technical Report
Have you read a material that appears to be very interesting but is too overwhelming for you to handle? Have you ever thought about writing your own technical report that is less complex but is equally informative, but you just don’t know if you have what it takes to write? No need to worry, below there are some guidelines on how to write a technical report and become a good technical writer.
Writing is one of the most challenging tasks a person could have. Unlike any verbal instructions, reading written instructions most often than not has been very tricky. But, writing is not only limited to several groups of people. Anyone can become a technical writer. You just have to know the basics and get very familiar with the process. And it takes a lot of practice!
Technical writing, to be particular, demands a lot of a writer’s time. It is not just about an expert gathering sets of methods that are useful in conducting research and documenting technical processes or products. The clarity of information, a technical writer passes on to the audience especially that provides how to do something, regardless of the task’s technical nature is very important.
Practices of a Good Technical Writer
First, a good technical writer PLANS. When you write, you just don’t wake up in the morning and decide you want to write something. This is way different from blogging. It requires you to:
- Identify who your audiences are and their expectations;
- Know your purpose on why you’re writing the report and gather all the information needed to write it;
- Understand what you’re writing. This will help you organize your thoughts and the content of your work; and
- Allocate time to write, read and revise.
2. Be Clear.
Second, a good technical writer ensures CLARITY. You should avoid jargons and make sure to define words that are unfamiliar. Jargons are vocabularies that are particular to one’s place of work. These could be abbreviations or slangs. Words that are unfamiliar, if necessary to be included in your material, should be defined or could be written in bold or italic.
3. Be Concise.
Third, a good technical writer guarantees CONCISENESS. KISSing (Keeping it Short and Simple, ing) does the trick. You have to remember: Less is more. Avoid redundancy. Prepare your language down to the essential message that you want to get across to your audience. Make sure the most important information comes first.
4. Be Simple
Fourth, a good technical writer practices SIMPLICITY and is very careful in WORD CHOICE. This is not just limited to using lay mans terms. As a writer, using details wisely balances every detail with every audience’s need for clarity. If you need to be specific, make sure you choose your words wisely. Avoid complex words. It should have clear meaning. Overusing of the pronouns, particularly “it” and “this” finds an antecedent difficult to identify. Avoid excess words, always practice KISS.
5. Use Active Voice
Fifth, although they write, good technical writers always us ACTIVE VOICE. As a writer, it is very important for you to get across your point. To do this, read passages out loud to identify the natural sound. That sound is reflected in your writing. You would also like to communicate as efficiently as possible, so be straightforward.
As mentioned above, a good writing doesn’t happen overnight. There are no shortcuts. Just like anything else, it takes a lot of planning, drafting, rereading, revising and editing. You could improve by reviewing on your own or asking feedback from subject-matter experts. If you don’t get it the first time, there is always a next time. Practice makes perfect!
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