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Writing a technical report should be lively and interesting.
The real challenge is to express complex ideas simply. Too often technical writing has a flat style making documents difficult and tedious to read. As in all good writing, you should put across your message in clear English and avoid complex words, acronyms, jargon and passive verbs. You should also keep your average sentence length low.
The real challenge in technical writing is to express complex ideas simply. Click the link below and follow my guidelines to help improve your reports.
Understand the type of technical report you are writing.
Technical reports come in all shapes and sizes, but they all share the same goal of communicating information clearly. Deciding what type of document you need to write is an important first step as it influences your approach.
Writing Simple Technical Information Report
This document explains a technical subject. It has no aim other than to make sure readers understand the topic clearly. For example, a technical report on a investing in the futures market would probably explain how the market evolved, how it works, the specialist terms used and so on. A simple technical report for information does not put forward a view on the merits of investing in the market or have recommendations.
Technical Report Specifications
Specifications typically consist of descriptions of the features, materials, uses and workings of new product. Good specifications concentrate on graphics, data and illustrations rather than written descriptions. Think of a patent application as a good example.
Technical Evaluation Reports
Evaluation reports, sometimes called feasibility reports, present technical information in a practical and logical way to decide whether something is possible. For example, a technical evaluation report into setting up an intranet site for a corporation would examine if this was possible, set out the steps needed and point out any problems. It does not recommend if the corporation should set up its own intranet site.
Technical Recommendation Reports
These reports lead to specific recommendations. It builds on the evaluation report and comes to specific recommendations to help the decision-maker adopt the best solution. Of course, some reports often have both the evaluation and recommendation reports rolled into one
Writing Technical Manuals and Instructions
Here the emphasis is on using appliances, equipment or programs. The task here is to write step-by-step procedures anyone can understand and follow.
Write down your specific report aim
Ask yourself ‘why am I writing’ and ‘what am I trying to achieve?’ If you don’t know, the chances of writing good technical specifications are remote. If you define your aim, you can then evaluate all information, arguments and recommendations against that aim. For example, you might be writing a report on Firewall Software, but your aim is different if you need to write a one-page summary or a 100-page technical specification.
So it’s a good idea to write down the sections and subsections you need to plan your document. This helps you think about your aim and your readers’ needs, drop unnecessary information, stress important information and so on.
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