Technical writing class

Technical writing class
Carefully read “Projects, General, Topic 1” at the end of Chapter 19. Revise the instructions (regarding the flat tire) including more detail and at least two graphics. Describe the entire process of changing the tire, not just the procedure for jacking up the vehicle. Present the revised instructions in a memo of no more than two pages. DO NOT simply use wording you find on the Internet. To do so is plagiarism. Use your own wording, but you may research the appropriate steps and take your graphics from Internet sources. Cite your sources at the end of the memo.

Improve readability by revising the style and design of these instructions.

What to Do Before Jacking Up Your Car

Whenever the misfortune of a flat tire occurs, some basic procedures should be followed before the car is jacked up. If possible, your car should be positioned on as firm and level a surface as is available. The engine has to be turned off; the parking brake should be set; and the automatic transmission shift lever must be placed in “park” or the manual transmission lever in “reverse.” The wheel diagonally opposite the one to be removed should have a piece of wood placed beneath it to prevent the wheel from rolling. The spare wheel, jack, and lug wrench should be removed from the luggage compartment.


Instructions and Procedures

Use the following Checklist when writing instructions or procedures.


Does the title promise exactly what the instructions deliver? (See “Clear and Limiting Title” in this chapter.)

Is the background adequate for the intended audience? (See “Appropriate Level of Detail and Technicality” in this chapter.)

Do explanations enable readers to understand what to do? (See “Appropriate Level of Detail and Technicality” in this chapter.)

Do examples enable readers to see how to do it correctly? (See “Appropriate Level of Detail and Technicality” in this chapter.)

Are the definition and purpose of each step given as needed? (See “Appropriate Level of Detail and Technicality” in this chapter.)

Are all obvious steps and needless information omitted? (See “Appropriate Level of Detail and Technicality” in this chapter.)

Do notes, cautions, or warnings appear before or with the step? (See “Notes and Hazard Notices” in this chapter.)

Is the information rate appropriate for the reader’s abilities and the difficulty of this procedure? (See “Appropriate Level of Detail and Technicality” in this chapter.)

Are visuals adequate for clarifying the steps? (See “Visuals” in this chapter.)

Do visuals repeat prose information whenever necessary? (See “Visuals” in this chapter.)

Is everything accurate and based on your thorough knowledge? (See “Informed and Accurate Content” in this chapter.)


Is the introduction adequate without being excessive? (See “Introduction-Body-Conclusion Structure” in this chapter.)

Do the instructions follow the exact sequence of steps? (See “Logically Ordered Steps” in this chapter.)

Is each step numbered, if appropriate? (See “Guidelines for Designing Instructions” in this chapter.)

Is all the information for a particular step close together? (See “Guidelines for Designing Instructions” in this chapter.)

For lengthy instructions, is a layered approach, with a brief reference card, more appropriate? (See “Guidelines for Designing Instructions” in this chapter.)

Is the conclusion necessary and, if necessary, adequate? (See “Introduction-Body-Conclusion Structure” in this chapter.)


Does the familiar material appear first in each sentence? (See “Readability” in this chapter.)

Do steps generally have short sentences? (See “Readability” in this chapter.)

Does each step begin with an action verb? (See “Readability” in this chapter.)

Are all steps in the active voice and imperative mood? (See “Readability” in this chapter.)

Do all steps have parallel and affirmative phrasing? (See “Readability” in this chapter.)

Are transitions adequate for marking time and sequence? (See “Readability” in this chapter.)

Page Design

Does each heading clearly tell readers what to expect? (See “Guidelines for Designing Instructions” in this chapter.)

Are steps single-spaced within, and double-spaced between? (See “Guidelines for Designing Instructions” in this chapter.)

Is the overall design simple and accessible? (See “Guidelines for Designing Instructions” in this chapter.)

Are notes, cautions, or warnings set off or highlighted? (See “Guidelines for Designing Instructions” in this chapter.)

Are visuals beside or near the step, and set off by white space? (See “Guidelines for Designing Instructions” in this chapter.)

Will the design work well in print and PDF? What changes need to be made if the document becomes a Web page? (See “Online and Social Media Instructions” in this chapter.)

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