We should start with a trigger warning as technical writing techniques may remind you of those physics laws from high school. Of course, they may look quite daunting at first sight, but they are actually quite simple and will help you work more efficiently! Ready? Let’s take a closer look at these techniques, and don’t forget to use free help authoring tools to accomplish your projects faster.
This technique is used for creating clear descriptions of the shape and arrangement of mechanisms or, academically saying, objects in space. Typical mechanism descriptions explain the following:
- What the object in space is;
- What functions it has;
- How it looks;
- How it works;
- What parts it includes (some parts may require standalone descriptions).
This technique involves explaining motions. It’s quite similar to the previous technique but explains a sequence of motions rather than the parts and their order. The description steps usually explain the following:
- What this process is;
- What function it has;
- When and where it has to take place;
- What (or who) runs the process;
- How the process works;
- What steps it includes.
As you can see, the sake of using this technique is to explain sequences and procedures and to provide instructions. Real-life tasks may require you to write either step-by-step instructions or sequence descriptions for “self-occurring” processes.
In other words, if you know that the target audience will take part in performing the described processes, you have to instruct them to guide their actions. If they only activate and observe the process, they need a description of how the process occurs.
This one is essential for grouping things based on similarities, dividing them based on differences, or both at the same time. Classification is necessary for a fuller comprehension of a covered topic. It helps readers clearly understand:
- Types of similar/different things;
- Types of similar/different processes.
Partition is an important part of mechanism and process description techniques. It helps to divide classified things into component parts. There are two types of partition:
- Spatial – for describing how each part looks;
- Functional – for describing how each part works in a step-by-step manner.
The definition involves the use of words in the right sequences to make descriptions of things and processes as clear and exact as possible. You start using definitions when explaining what something is. Definitions are usually quite short but can take multiple sentences too. You should also remember that definition is possible through the description and vice versa. A definition can also be quite extensive if a subject is complex and requires several phases of definition. This usually happens with complex scientific things.
The truth is that most aspects of these techniques form in your head naturally, so it’s quite easy to understand them all in a single reading. What you should do next is practice each technique to master it. You’re doing well if you succeed in using each technique in place and properly enough to reach the goal of a project. These techniques have always been in your head, but now you know what they’re called. Don’t hesitate to start practicing!