Writing Better Technical Reports

Technical reports require attention to sentence, paragraph, and document structure. They also demand careful word choice, avoidance of ambiguity, proper treatment of jargon, and awareness of style issues. This course shows how to be a better writer.
Course info
Rating
(10)
Level
Beginner
Updated
Nov 2, 2017
Duration
1h 8m
Table of contents
Description
Course info
Rating
(10)
Level
Beginner
Updated
Nov 2, 2017
Duration
1h 8m
Description

Technical professionals must occasionally write technical reports. Although there is no one right method for doing so, certain techniques and methods usually improve the results. In this course, Writing Better Technical Reports, you'll be encapsulated with a wide-ranging discussion of structure and style into successfully writing technical reports. First, you'll learn many of the more common writing mistakes and discover techniques for avoiding them. Next, you'll delve into a reader-oriented approach that will improve your reports' reception and effectiveness. Matters of sentence, paragraph, and document structure receive consideration here, along with tone, ambiguity, and technical jargon. Additionally, you'll explore tips specific for electronic document formats. Finally, you'll cover techniques for joining paragraphs using transitions, facilitating navigation within the report, avoiding confusing or opaque references, and exorcising bad habits, such as redundant, superfluous, and imprecise verbiage. By the end of this course, you'll have a solid understanding of how to efficiently make your technical reports leaner and more readable.

About the author
About the author

Glenn is President of Independent Software Inc., a Denver IT consultancy. He has been teaching advanced computer seminars around the world since 1988. He developed official Server 2008 courseware for Microsoft. Glenn has written 18 commercial books for McGraw-Hill, Wiley, IDG and Sybex. He is also a sought-after expert witness.

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Section Introduction Transcripts
Section Introduction Transcripts

Course Overview
Hi everyone. My name is Glenn Weadock, and welcome to my course Writing Better Technical Reports. I'm a consultant and seminar leader at Independent Software Inc. in Colorado and an author of over a dozen books on Windows, networking, and certification. You're a technical professional not an English major, but every now and then you have to write a report like a project status update, an analysis of competitive products, a proposal for a new system. In this course we'll explore nine ways you can write a tighter, clearer, and more compelling technical report. Some of the major topics that we will cover include how to tailor your report's style and structure to your audience, evaluate the best way to provide supporting details for you main points, trim your pros to be more active, compact, and precise, and consider the pros and cons of different digital report formats. By the end of this course, you'll know how to choose individual words, build strong sentences, and craft organized paragraphs. You'll understand the importance of unambiguous pronoun use, you'll discover ways to make your reports leaner and more readable, we'll discuss how to recognize tone in your writing and whether you should use it or suppress it, and you'll discover some best practices for whether, when, and how to use technical jargon, all in just a little over an hour of your life. You don't need any prior knowledge of English grammar or punctuation to benefit from this course. English doesn't even have to be your first language. I hope you'll join me on this journey to learn how to become a more polished communicator with the Writing Better Technical Reports course at Pluralsight.

Know Your Audience
Hello, and welcome to Writing Better Technical Reports. I'm Glenn Weadock, and I've been doing technical writing for about 30 years: white papers, books, videos, seminars, feasibility studies, and expert briefings and legal proceedings. I've learned some things along the way and I'm happy to share a few of those with you in this short overview. Why spend the next hour or so of your life on this topic? Well just about every technical professional has to write something occasionally. You might spend 75% of your life writing code, but you'll spend some time on progress reports, design documents, proposals, and so on. And those reports can be important, affecting projects on which we're working, the organizations to which we belong, and even our own careers. A report I wrote back in 1998 ended up changing the direction of my professional career and that could happen to you too. Finally, no matter how much experience we have, every one of us can become a better writer. Now the nine modules in this course line up as follows. First we have a discussion on what it means to know your audience, the number one rule of any kind of writing. Next we present four modules on structuring a good report, choosing your words carefully, crafting a good sentence, and assembling a good paragraph, followed by building a good document. The next three modules deal with style, clarity, and techno-speak. And finally, we'll chat a little bit about special issues having to do with electronic documents. Our first module effects word choice, paragraph and document construction, style, and level of jargon. So it's arguably the most important concept to keep in mind as you write a technical document. The topics we'll discuss in the first module include the report's technical level, the circumstances in which your readers will use the report, and the appropriate level of detail for your audience.