Whenever youre writing academic papers or technical documents, youll have to identify, evaluate, and integrate appropriate source information. You wont be able to rely solely on your own knowledge. But, often, scholarly sourcessuch as those you would use in support of an academic essaymay not make the cut in terms of whats really considered appropriate for what youre writing. Other sourcesincluding articles from trade magazines, blog posts, podcasts, and so forthmay be more effective in helping you convey your point of view.
The goal of this activity is to help you become familiar with the various types of source material that can be used in support of your technical writing. Given that youre going to be writing a technical brief this week, well use that as our starting point for this activity. While it would be useful to complete your Module Readings and review both Module Notes pages before completing this exercise, doing so is not a requirement.
Step 1: Review the Situation
In last weeks group discussion and collaborative memo activities, you used the following scenario:
You are part of the technical writing department of a software company, and your department employs 20 different writers, editors, and graphic designers. Your department head has been talking about how challenging it has been during the last several months to produce consistent documents within the department. Given that you recently learned about the technical writing process, you have some ideas about how to improve the consistency of the documents in your department.
As a reminder
the intended reader for the collaborative memo was your department head;
the purpose of the memo was to convince the department head to implement a standardized writing process; and
the document format was a technical memo.
After you presented the memo to your department head, she decided to move forward with the project and has now asked you to lead a project team to implement a standardized writing process. The next step in the project is to write a technical brief that describes the project in more detail. Your department head will need to sign off on what you include in the brief before any actual work is completed on the project.
Step 2: Gather Evidence and Information
To ensure that you present a technical brief that provides as much evidence as possible that what youre proposing to do is the right solution, youll want to gather evidence and supporting information from outside sources. Since everyone in the class is writing about the same topic, the goal of this icebreaker activity is to brainstorm different sources of information that everyone should consider. Find one source that you think meets recency, relevance, and reliability standards.
Step 3: Craft Your Initial Response
In your initial response, please provide the following information:
The title and author of the source you have identified
A very brief explanation (one or two sentences) of how it meets relevance, recency, and reliability standards
A very brief explanation (one or two sentences) of how the source could be used to support the technical brief you will write this week
*SHOULD NOT EXCEED 150 WORDS*