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Module 03

Posted on Sunday, February 20, 2011 by Angel

Module 03: Some Basic Technical Writing Technique
Posted by: Angelita P. Oblianda
Sources: Technical Writing Technique c/o Ms. Illoran's note
              Interactive Technical Writing by P.C. Villamarzo et al.



       Aside from the definition that is one of the basic technical writing techniques, there are also some which are not commonly used by many.


A. Description of a Process
     A process is a series of steps to get something done. There are processes that can easily be demonstrated by showing how the procedure is dine step by step. The demonstrator must explain first what the process is; give the steps to be followed and then show how these steps should be executed. To avoid errors or complications, the things to be avoided must also be mentioned and explained. Some examples of these processes are as follows: how to make a terrarium; how to make a simple-give away items; how to clean a microscope; and how to operate a computer.


How to Operate a Computer

Level of difficulty: Beginner

This procedure attempts to outline the basics in operating a computer system based on the assumption that it is running under the Microsoft Windows XP Operating System platform with normal components such as CD or DVD drive, Network Interface Card, and video card installed in the CPU. The steps outlined are formatted in such a way that it is applicable to the two most common computer system architectures: the desktop and the laptop. Essentially, a desktop computer is just what its name suggests. It is big enough to sit on the desk and is considered as the most common type of computer system. A laptop or sometimes referred to as a “notebook” is a smaller and more mobile version of the desktop machine and is normally used in the same manner but with relatively lower power requirements.

Materials Needed:
- keyboard
- monitor
- mouse
- speakers
- printer
- Operating System

Step 1
Prior to powering up the computer system, make sure that the power cord is firmly connected to the back panel of the CPU and is plugged into the wall socket.

Step 2
Check if the video cable is firmly screwed to the port of the video card with the other end connected to the back panel of the monitor.

Step 3
Make sure that both the keyboard and mouse pointing device are securely plugged to the back panel. Also, check if they are connected to the correct port by checking on the markings. Steps 1 to 3 are essentially easy to do because aside from the mouse and keyboard devices, other components can only be plugged into their proper ports preventing the novice user from interchanging them.

Step 4
When all connections are secure, start up the machine by pressing the power button normally located in the front panel of the CPU.

Step 5
Depending on the configuration of the machine, a username and password may be requested; otherwise, the Operating System may be loaded directly to display the desktop to the user.

Step 6
Other basic operations that can be done include adjusting monitor settings in Step 8. Installation and launching of software is outlined in Step 10. Navigation of the file system is detailed from Step 15.

Step 7
The proper way to shut down or turn off the computer system is by clicking on the 'Start' button and choosing the 'Turn Off Computer' option. This will display the options to 'Standby', 'Restart', or 'Turn Off' the machine.

Step 8
To adjust the monitor settings, right click on any blank portion of the desktop and select the 'Properties' option from the context menu.

Step 9
On the 'Display Properties' window, select the 'Settings' tab to adjust the resolution of the screen. The 'Themes' tab will allow the loading of pre-designed Windows themes. The 'Desktop' tab provides the way for changing the color of the desktop as well as the displayed wallpaper. The 'Appearance' tab provides the various options of changing the behavior of the windows, icons, and other elements of the platform, while the 'Screen Saver' tab shows the option to allow the monitor to go on standby or display animation.

Step 10
To extend the functionality of any computer system, software is normally installed into the local hard drive. A software installer may be through some media like a CD or DVD or from being downloaded from the Internet.

Step 11
For CD or DVD installers, insert the installation disk in the CD or DVD drive of the machine. This will be automatically read and launched by the Operating System.

Step 12
When the installation process is initiated, a new window will normally be displayed to the user. Majority of newer installers provide either a default or an advanced installation procedure. In most cases, simply click on the default process to allow the installer to complete the entire process with minimum user intervention.

Step 13
Upon completion of the installation process, a user may be prompted to reboot the machine. Follow the guide in Step 7 to accomplish this task.

Step 14
To launch the software, simply click on the 'Start' Menu, choose 'All Programs' and select from the menu the program intended to be run. An alternative to this process is to check if a shortcut link is created on the Desktop. Clicking this icon will also launch the associated program.

How to organize a process description:

   1. Introduction
        1.1 Definition of Process
        1.2 Purpose
   2. Raw Material
   3. Equipment
   4. Description of the Process
   5. Conclusion

B. Description of a Mechanism

       Mechanism is an assembly of movable parts having one part fixed with respect to the frame of reference and designed to produced an effect. Mechanism are combination of such moving members as links, gears, cams, belts, chains, and springs held in a rigid frame. A mechanism may be designed primarily to transmit power greatly in excess of that required to overcome the frictional and dynamic requirements of the mechanism itself or to produce a desired relative movement of its parts.


     A cellular phone comes in different brands, models and types. The most popular brands are Nokia, Sony Ericson, Siemens, Panasonic, and Samsung. The different models are identified through numbers; thus, for Nokia, some of the more popular models are Nokia 6800, 2100, 3510, 6610 and 3530. The other models of the other brands are likewise identified through numbers. These different models and types also differ in functions. Some are small and light, yet they can function as calculators, alarm clocks, calendars, organizers, and cameras. Others are moderately heavy and big, but they are also capable of performing the same functions that smaller models do. Most of these highly technical devices are expensive. The parts of the cellphone are the built in mouth-piece, the screen, the keyboard that contains the letters and numbers and the buttons for the different functions. 

 Organizing a Mechanism Description

   1. Introduction
        1.1 Definition of the mechanism
        1.2 Use or function of the mechanism
        1.3 General statement of the principle governing its operation
        1.4 Physical description of the mechanism
        1.5 Principal parts which make up the mechanism
   2.Description of Mechanism
        2.1 Principal part # 1 
   3. Brief Description of how the mechanism works and how it is used.

C. Classification

     It is the process of dividing material into kinds or classes. It involves not only dividing the subject into its constituent classes but also grouping similar units in a sub-class which in turn falls into a larger class.

Principles Involved:

   1. Classify constituently in a single basis which points to a fundamental distinction among the members of the class. For example, the characteristics of the paper may be divided into physical, optical, chemical, electrical, and microscopical.

   2. The basis of clssification should further the purpose controlling it.

   3. Classification should not overlap.

   4. Name all the species according to a given basis.


roses, tulips, violets, forget-me-nots, orchids, lotus, water lilies, tiger lilies

lotus, water lilies                      roses, tulips, violets,                          orchids
                                            forget-me-nots, tiger lilies  
D. Partition

       It is an analysis that divides a singular item into parts, steps, or aspects. Only singular subjects can be partitioned; plural subjects are clssified. Parttion breaks down into its componoents a concrete subject such as a tree (parts: roots, trunk, branches and leaves), or an abstract subjects, such as inflation (aspects: causes, effects on consumers, etc.).

   The above example is a claw hammer. Claw hammer has different parts- eye, cheek, neck, poll and face.

Characteristics of partition

1. The division must be coordinate.
2. The division must be mutually exclusive.
3. The division must not overlap.
4. The divisions must be complete.

Points to Remember:


1.      You must always have the purpose when you write. From beginning to end, keep this in mind to make every sentence contribute to the achievement of that purpose.

2.      Whatever you write will be read by one or more persons. These persons may not know the information you are conveying or sharing, but, certainly, they are capable of understanding what they read.

3.      You must present your ideas in sentences that are coherent, cohesive, logical, and grammatically correct. Use formal language, too. It might be necessary to use some technical or special terms. The general principle, however, is to use simple and familiar words.

4.      Follow a pattern that is suitable to your purpose. To have a well-organized paper, you can follow the three Ts formula. In your introduction, tell your readers what you want to tell them; in the body, tell them; and in the conclusion, tell them what you have told them.

Evans and St. John (1998) suggest the acronym M.A.P. to guide technical writers. M for message or topics;  A for audience or reader;  and P for purpose. Keep this MAP and the three Ts always in your mind as you write an academic paper.


Module 02

Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011 by Angel

Module 02: Basic Technical Writing Techniques
Posted by: Angelita P. Oblianda
Sources: Technical Writing and Reporting by J.I.L. Igoy, Ph.D. et al.
              Interactive Technical Writing by P.C. Villamarzo, J.G. Relis and E.E. Cruz
              Technical Writing notes c/o Ms. Illoran



              Some author call this process in Technical Writing; others call it dominant pattern. For the purpose of this module, I shall call this basic technical writing technique. You often meet this in your different subjects, its just that, you do not have the knowledge, if it is also one of the techniques in Technical Writing.

              Let us discuss the common technique in detail.


              There are several words and phrases that we need to understand to comprehend a given text. Some may be relatively familiar or easy but when used in science, mathematics, or any other related fields, they may acquire different meanings. Some may be totally unfamiliar to us. Others are the big words, which have simpler counterparts, yet these big and more difficult words are preferred by those who like to impress other people with their mastery of the language. These are the technical terms in the various fields of disciplines and professions. Technical terms should be defined in technical writing because of the unfamiliarity of a great number of these terms. The problem of definition may be avoided entirely if the writer knows how to use simple and familiar terminology. Definition as one of the special techniques in technical writing exemplifies the meaning of a term. It could be stated formally or informally.

              In summary, these are the words that you need to define:

        a. simple words with special meaning in science or any other technical field
        b. technical terms
        c. difficult or high sounding words

                                                2 Types of Definition

            It focuses special attention on a term. If the writer finds the formal sentence definition, more effective than the informal definition, the technique of formal definition must be employed. 

        Formal Sentences Definition

                 It has three parts: term, genus, and differentia

a.       Term – the concept defined

b.      Genus – the family to which the term belong

c.       Differentia – the specific characteristics of the species which sets it apart from all         
                              others of it  class


                  TERM                       GENUS                          DIFFERENTIA

              A triangle            a plane figure        bounded by three straight lines having three angles

 Extended Formal Definition

        A one-sentence definition sometimes is not in defining a complex or highly specialized term. A reader might be dissatisfied with this explanation, especially if it occurred in a report particularly concerned with the subject . He might very well ask what the term is not, where it is located, what its function is, what its effects are.

 Take the term “ozone” as an example.

A formal sentence goes like this:

“A bluish gaseous reactive form of oxygen that is formed naturally in the atmosphere and is used for disinfecting, deodorizing, and bleaching”.

           POINTERS                                                          TEXT

What ozone is                                    -which some people wrongly think is the refreshing               
                                                           air at the Seaside,is a poisonous type of oxygen .At
                                                           ground level, it  makes up less than one part per       
                                                            million of the air. However,
Location of Ozone                             -a thin layer of ozone about 24 kms, above ground level the
                                                           stratosphere, blocks outmost of the sun’s burning            

 Function of ozone                             - ultraviolet rays
 Effect of ozone destroyed                 - If these rays reached the ground, they would kill all
                                                           land animals and plants. That is why, this poisonous
                                                           gas shield is important. There is considerable concern
                                                           over reports of the possible destruction of this ozone
                                                           layer by the pollutants.

There are different ways by which we can expand a formal definition. Some of these ways are as follows:

     1. giving the uses or the functions of a term


     One of the organs we cannot live without is the liver, which is the largest organ in our body. It enables the body to function efficiently by filtering toxic substances from the blood. It is responsible for producing proteins, bile, and immune agents, without which, our body will not be able to combat infection and disease.

      2. giving the origin of the term


     The word placebo comes from a Latin word which means pleasing or acceptable. It refers to the desire of a person who seeks the help of the doctor to be healed.

     3. giving its causes and or effects, advantages or disadvantages


     Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, can cause headaches and intestinal and rinary problems when taken in excess doses. It can also increase iron absorption, a condition which can have adverse effects on people with certain blood disorders.

     4. illustrating or describing its appearance


     An organ is a large complex musical wind instrument with pipes, stops, and a keyboard.

     5. explaining what is not


     A good breakfast cannot be equated with just a cup of coffee and a cookie. Neither that it just consist of one serving of fruit and a glass of water. Nor should it be a bowl of rice and coffee.

    6. analyzing its parts


     The process of writing consists of four stages: getting ideas, getting started, writing drafts, and revising.
( Raimes, 1983) The first require the  writer to brainstorm with peers and other persons to generate topics to write on. The second requires him or her to start locating sources and taking down notes. The third is the writing stage itself. The last requires the writer to polish the initially produced manuscript.

     7. classifying it


     Theobromen belongs to a class of alka loid molecules known as methylxanthine found in cocoa beans.

     8. stating where it is from


     Stress is a term which was introduced in 1956 in the American vernacular.

     9. giving its collocations


     Stress has always been associated with changes, worries, pressures, and problems.

     10. giving examples


     Examples of lyric poems are sonnet, song, ode, simple lyric, and the elegy.


        According to Mills and Walter, it does not require the application of an unchanging, rigid formula; rather, it is a “technique” that can be used only when the writer is certain that the term alone  and not the referent which is unfamiliar to the reader. It consists of one or more synonymous expressions substituted for the unfamiliar term used.


            TERM                                                  INFORMAL DEFINITION                                      

         Broadcast                                                    report (synonym)
         Broadcast                                                 the transmission of sounds or images                    
                                                                                (synonymous phrase )

Here are some guides when you are writing using the Definition Technique:

1.Try to use simple terms. Do not define an unfamiliar term by using more difficult terminology which would rather confuse the reader.

2.If the term being defined is a noun, the word after should also be a noun. Do not begin you definition with when, what or where.  

3.In defining a term, avoid using the term itself or any of its derivative.  

4.Do not put the term you ae defining into two broad or too narrow a class.


    Module 01

    Posted on Wednesday, February 9, 2011 by Angel

    Module 01: Sequence of Activities in the Writing Process
    Posted by: Angelita P. Oblianda
    Sources : Interactive Technical Writing by Perla C. Villamarzo, J.G.Relis and  E.E.Cruz

                 As a college student, you are expected to come up with a scholarly papers. In order for you to write an effective writing, you need to know the sequence of activities in writing process.


    • Planning
    • Gathering Information 
    • Drafting 
    • Revising
    • Editing

          These sequence of activities are just like a ladder that you need to follow step by step. 

                Planning is the first activity in the writing process. Under planning, are several preliminary activities. Brainstorm with a small group to enable you to explore different topics. As you brainstorm with your peers, jot down all the ideas given by everybody in the group. Do not reject nor discuss any idea. Give everyone the opportunity to suggest a possible topic for your writing task. The idea need not be expressed in English. Neither should you require your members to give only grammatically correct statements. In fact no explanation is necessary as each searches his or her brain for the possible topics. The process require as many ideas as the group can generate; thus, nobody should refrain from contributing an idea or a topic. Then, narrow down your choices to those topics which you and your group members believe you can effectively write about. Show your list to your professor to know which topics are most relevant or useful to you and your peers.

                Before you proceed to the next step, you must decide on your purpose.Whatever your purpose is, think of your target readers and anticipate their own purpose. It is important that your purpose should match the readers' desired purpose.

                During the pre-writing stage and before you even locate your sources, you must also ask yourself these questions:
                    1. Will the information be beneficial to the readers?
                    2. What do they already know about the topic?

                All the preliminary activities in planning serve as your guide in locating sources. The internet is a good source of summaries or digests of books and studies. Be sure to choose only the books, journals, and other references materials such as reading from the internet that can give you insights about your topic. Write the complete title of the books and journals you have chosen, names of the authors, titles of the articles, and publication data. All of these will be cited in your list of references or bibliography.If you lift a phrase, sentence, or a paragrah from any of your sources, you should not fail to cite this in the text and in your bibliography.

      Example of a lifted sentence:

                     Although one of the obvious characteristics of technical writing is its technical subject   
                     matter, it would be very difficult to say precisely what a technical subject is (Mills,1981).

                After gathering information and before writing your first draft, you should cluster interrelated ideas first.As soon as you have written your draft, ask again yourself these questions:

                     1. Is the purpose clear?
                     2. Are the sentences coherent, logical, ad grammatically correct?
                     3. Are the words understandable to the readers?

                When you are making a draft, at the same time you are also revising whatever you are writing.When you draft and revise, simply cross out the word or phrases that would like to change instead of using a liquid eraser because you might change your mind and revert to your first choice. The time you need to finish a draft depends on your content, your purpose and your reader.

                Have your draft be read and evaluated by your peers to take note of their comments and then write another draft. Another round of peer reading and evaluating should follow until you are satisfied with your final draft. You are now ready for the editing.

                These are the things that you need to consider in editing:
                     2. errors in grammar
                     3. sentences that need to be reworded or rephrased to make them clearer and more effective
                Examine closely the edited work and write another draft incorporating all the corrections. Repeat the editing procedure until you are very much satisfied with your work. Remember that the rule is : EDIT UNTIL IT IS ALMOST PERFECT.

      Here are some of the guide questions which you need to follow when you are in the process of writing:

             1. Do you have the possible topics for your writing task?
             2. Have you shown them to your professor?
             3. Have you selected any of those which you believe you can effectively write about?
             4. Have you decided on your purpose of writing?
             5. Are you sure your purpose matches the desire purpose of your reader?
             6. Are you sure that your information would be beneficial to the readers?
             7. Are you sure you tell them the things which they have not know yet?
             8. Have you gathered lots of information about your topic?
             9. Have you clustered the interrelated ideas? Then , its your time to make the first draft.
            10. Are you sure your purpose is very clear? your words are understandable? and your sentences are
                 coherent, logical and grammatically correct?
            11. Have you let your draft read and evaluated by your peers? Then, take notes of their comments and
                  write another draft which is better.
            12. Were you satisfied with your final draft? Then, its your time to edit your draft.
            13. Were you careful with the spelling, grammar and the sentence structure?
            14. Now, you have a very effective writing. You will find writing challenging and rewarding task.