Encompasses computer and technology writing, end-user documentation, code documentation, engineering, the sciences, consumer manuals, and more.

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13answers
2k views
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1answer
10 views

APA Headings- Frequency

How often should you use a heading? Are there any guidelines or limitations to using headings too often (i.e., every paragraph, every other paragraph, etc.)?
2
votes
3answers
474 views

Use of the Oxford comma

The oxford comma is the second comma in the sentence I like the colors red, white, and blue. Every grammar textbook I've ever seen, as well as the major style guides, feels that this is "proper" ...
1
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2answers
81 views

Report writing: should I use ® © symbols?

I am busy writing a report for university. For this, I did some programming in MATLAB and simulations in Aspen Plus and HYSYS. When referring to these software in the report, should I symbols such ...
16
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5answers
7k views

Writing a programming book: how to present directory structures

What is good/preferred way of presenting directory trees in programming books? My main criteria are following: It should be readable and intuitive It shouldn't take too much page space It shouldn'...
2
votes
1answer
78 views

How to reference an ISO/IEC?

I'm doing some college work and I'm using ISO/IEC 27000 Information technology — Security techniques — Information security management systems — Overview and vocabulary. In Word, I have set up the ...
1
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2answers
103 views

How I should handle gender-neutral pronoun in technical writing? [duplicate]

I am writing API documentation for a mobile loyalty program and I am not sure which of the following is better wording: 1) When the user requests for their visit and order to be registered in their ...
1
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1answer
30 views

Is it necessary to explain what is written in upcoming chapters?

When writing a technical report, is it necessary to explain what is written in upcoming chapters? For example in my introduction chapter, I may have a sub-chapter called "Forthcoming chapters" which ...
2
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2answers
55 views

Wording of comparing X vs Y and X vs Z but not X vs Y vs Z

As per the title I compared my system against two other systems separately but I'm worried about it coming across as that it was a three way comparison. Neither of the below titles convey what I want ...
5
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1answer
97 views

Format keyboard keys in documents

I'm writing a guide to give step-by-step instructions to complete some tasks on the computer. At some points, I need to indicate pressing keys on the keyboard; how may I format the letter/symbol to ...
5
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2answers
72 views

How long is too long for a blog post?

I'm at the very beginning of a blog post for Worldbuilding Stack Exchange's blog, Universe Factory, written in conjunction with an answer to a question on Worldbuilding. It's going to about astronomy (...
1
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1answer
86 views

Relative clause or a new sentence. Which is better in an introductory paragraph?

I wrote In our approach, we rely mainly on the page's content to detect a data region, which in our definition is comprised of a node or a range of nodes in the DOM tree, constituting a ...
2
votes
2answers
212 views

Documenting Agile Sprints

I'm responsible for documenting a huge ERP - its being changed from an old language to .NET. I'm the only one responsible for documenting ( and I'm doing it off-site - the developers' office is an ...
0
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1answer
258 views

What is it called when an author uses vague words for concrete concepts, “hedging”?

As an editor for an academic press, my pet peeve is when authors write sentences like "attempt to conceive of a possible approach to resolve X" instead of "try to resolve X". Obviously one big ...
4
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3answers
82 views

How to work on a new software feature that affects different topics

We're working on a software manual with several chapters and topics and, so far, these are mostly self-contained. This means we have a dedicated chapter for "connectivity" and do not mention ...
5
votes
5answers
351 views

How do I get rid of the tic of paired adjectives, predicates, etc.?

In technical writing, I have a tic of writing in pairs. Some examples from a recent piece: "When you speak, be sure to be clear and concise." "Face to face conversation is personal and private." "...
-1
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1answer
52 views

Are there any proper ways of using/implementing “e.g.” in a “Research Narrative”?

Are there any proper ways of using/implementing e.g. in a "Research Narrative"? I am working on a "Research Narrative" (I must write in both ALA and MLA format). I am curious about this e.g. but I ...
0
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1answer
50 views

How to cite a report in APA style

I have been trying to go through Mayfield Book on Technical Writing to find out how to do an in-text and parenthetical citation of a source that I found online. The source looks like a report with ...
3
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1answer
229 views

Technical writing — best solutions for gathering and compiling data/information

Seek best solutions for information collection, compilation, aggregation Background I'm a newer technical writer working for an industrial fabrication company. We make an awesome B2B product that ...
0
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3answers
43 views

academic writing: direct quote

I have a simple question regarding scientific quotes. Which of the following alternatives is correct? Alt. 1: The literature has made substantial strides towards identifying causal effects of X on Y ...
0
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1answer
34 views

Footnote placement — inside or outside terminal quote?

When you are referencing inforamtion in the footnote, is it customary to put the footnote number inside the quote or outside? For instance is it: "The pink pig."1 or: "The pink pig.1"
0
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2answers
66 views

Can you use et al. in a Bibliography?

In the text, I have, e.g. "...a major role to play in role-playing (Smith et al., 1990)." But can I use the same abbreviation in the bibliography? Smith, K. et al. 1990. Playing major roles ...
2
votes
3answers
123 views

How to find the balance between research and the obvious

I'm embarking on writing my first popular science book on a controversial subject. For sure the writing must be rational, coherent with a clear train of thought and littered with references to be ...
1
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5answers
123 views

technical subjects - non-fiction vs fiction

This is a question I tried to ask in Novelizing non-fiction, is it worth it? But was un-clear and maybe too generic. Let’s say I am a scuba diving expert and I could write a non-fiction book about ...
6
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4answers
132 views

The fine line between accurate science, and confusing my reader

I recently wrote a blog post (original here) about a scientific study. At the end, I included some "fine print" which states, among other things: Correlation does not mean causation. It’s ...
0
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1answer
102 views

How to change Microsoft Word Heading style [closed]

For example, Heading 1 is automatically typeset as Chapter 1: Chapter 1 Title. I would like to change this to Chapter 1 - Chapter 1 Title however. How can I achieve this? I'm using Word 2013.
1
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1answer
366 views

Should I write “what do the data show” or “what does the data show”? [closed]

I wonder what the proper way of writing this question is: What do the data show? What does the data show?
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5answers
516 views

What's the best text editor for a technical reference manual?

It is my first time writing tech manuals and I don't know what to use. Some people recommend me LATEX but I think it's too complex. I basically need a text editor that let me: Type latin characters ...
1
vote
3answers
128 views

Technical writer degree with an English BA?

I'm desperately trying to get out of my dead end Federal job. I have a BA in English and a love of a lot of different topics, including several science fields. I would have Majored in science if I ...
3
votes
2answers
149 views

How to create a functional document for in-house reference?

I'm the only technical writer in my company with 2 years of experience. I have been assigned with a task of creating a functional document for a web-based (FMCG) product which has been around a long ...
2
votes
2answers
43 views

Ethics of incorporating a supplier's technical documentation into one's own documentation?

A company, M, buys components from company, S, to build into their product. Company S has technical documentation regarding safety and maintenance available in many languages and publicly available in ...
3
votes
2answers
80 views

What's the common practice for warranty chapters in technical manuals?

I'm working on a technical manual project for industrial machines and the original documents have some warranty warnings and statements at the beginning. We decided to keep them on the new documents ...
1
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1answer
112 views

Order of names in title

I and two other students are writing a proposal to a corporation to donate some equipment to the Electrical Engineering department at my school. When I put our names under the title of the proposal, ...
4
votes
1answer
106 views

Writing a PhD thesis. Question about (an informal) introduction

I am preparing scientific thesis for the degree of PhD. It is a mathematical thesis. It is usually very difficult to tell your colleagues and friends what are the things you exactly work on with ...
2
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3answers
166 views

How to structure a sentence containing long code examples?

In the context of a technical manual, I need to write instructions guiding users through several standard manipulations. When providing examples of these manipulations, I have written a short sentence ...
17
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7answers
1k views

Best practices for maintaining documented code examples?

A good SDK (software development kit) includes plenty of well-documented examples. It also includes good tutorials and developer guides, which introduce concepts in logical progressions, typically ...
2
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1answer
92 views

Is the Microsoft Manual of Style appropriate for writing general IT related instructional documents?

I'm currently working for a company's IT department, and one of my tasks is to write documentation for common procedures that we perform, in order to get new employees acquainted with them more ...
1
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4answers
204 views

How to indicate the topic has been changed without using words?

I am writing an an article to share knowledge, not novel. Usually, when you change the current topic, at the beginning of the new paragraph you would like to use some transition words such as Addition,...
3
votes
1answer
66 views

Is there any research about the efficacy of illustration and example placement in procedure writing?

In writing procedural documentation, I have the choice of writing the complete step-by-step instructions with references to an appendix of illustrations, For instance: 1. Do task 1 (see Fig. 1) 2. ...
2
votes
3answers
170 views

Ending a PhD thesis by saying “there is more to do”

I am ending the conclusion of my PhD thesis by saying something like this (not even remotely in these words): There was a lot of work gone in the thesis, yada yada yada, however there is room for ...
4
votes
1answer
409 views

in English, is it necessary to capitalize after a colon?

I've seen that each language has its own rules when using the colon. In Spanish, it's not needed to capitalize: Los elementos incluyen: secado, lavado, etc. In French is the same, and even they put ...
6
votes
6answers
2k views

Overusing “the” and “I”

I'm not a native English speaker, and I find that my English writing contains too many definite article "the" when writing scientific reports, and too many "I" when writing in informal settings (like ...
1
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1answer
319 views

How much detail is considered enough for literature review of a research paper

I and a few of my friends are conducting a small research project to determine the prevalence of hypertension, where we live. I was hoping I could get an opinion on how to write our literature review....
5
votes
3answers
145 views

Software for keeping track of book edits?

So I'm writing a new edition of an old textbook, and I need some way of keeping track of what needs to be done, and what I have done. I could use paper - but I tend to lose that. Or even a plain text ...
8
votes
3answers
893 views

In end user documentation, should screenshots come before or after the text that references them?

The end user documentation I'm writing makes use of screenshots (and partial screenshots) to show the user what I'm referring to in procedural instructions for or conceptual explanations of the ...
3
votes
2answers
304 views

What is the average cost of software for DITA authoring?

I'm looking to buy some software for technical document authoring with DITA. The tech writing group will have at least 5-10 users, writing 100-pages long documents for several products in various ...
3
votes
3answers
245 views

How to research and discover topic popularity and trends to determine topic selection for article writing?

I have been asked to write various technical and non-technical articles about computer usage, Windows usage (perhaps some Mac and *nix as well if they let me), Windows repair, and various other ...
1
vote
1answer
45 views

How do I build a better blog website? [closed]

I've spent the last few days building a website that I want to use a showcase for my written work, and as a personal blog. What fundamental changes should I make to improve a viewer's experience? The ...
2
votes
1answer
209 views

Copyright of examples used in books?

I'm getting into non-fiction technical writing (a blog, but potentially ebook or otherwise). Often the best technical advice come from dissecting and synthesising good and bad examples from the ...
-2
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1answer
97 views

How to write “number of cups per user” for short using symbols?

I want to insert a text segment in a figure in my conference paper. Like "number of cups per user", can I use #cups/user ? I think "cups/user" means an average value, right? What I need is a X-Y ...