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61 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. ...
3
votes
2answers
327 views

API reference doc: best practices for describing opaque parameters?

The reference documentation for an application programming interface (API) is, in modern systems, usually generated from the code itself automatically. For example, for Java interfaces a typical tool ...
3
votes
1answer
424 views

What is the style used in ISO/IEC publications?

I'm in the process of preparing a document to be sent to ISO/IEC WG14. What is the official style used in ISO/IEC publications (if there is one)? If there is no official style guide, is there a ...
3
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2answers
130 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
36k views

Multiple authors in MLA header

I'm writing a group paper and I was wondering whether there's a correct way to list multiple authors at the top of the first page in MLA format. Normally the header would look something like: My Name ...
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3answers
348 views

How can we make compiling release notes less chaotic?

Each of our software releases is accompanied by a set of release notes, which include short descriptions of the following: new features, important or breaking changes to old features, and important ...
3
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1answer
2k views

How to write time duration correctly

Within a user manual, I need to convey the maximum time period allowed as "365 days 23 hours 59 minutes 59 seconds" - are commas expected between each component? Is the word "and" expected before the ...
2
votes
2answers
185 views

Is this blog post clear and coherent?

I wrote a pseudo-technical blog post trying to apply some game theory concepts to s/w startup industry. This is my first serious attempt at tech blog writing. Iwas left feeling disappointed by the ...
2
votes
3answers
420 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" ...
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2answers
166 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 ...
2
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2answers
975 views

Present tense in user manuals

I am writing a user manual for an IT system. And inside the user manual I have sentences such as: Users can delete Servers that do not have Customers assigned to them. Is the use of ...
2
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2answers
137 views

What are “industry leading royalties”?

In the breakdown description I received from a publisher, they mention that they also pay industry leading royalties of ##%. What does that mean?
2
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3answers
118 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 ...
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3answers
2k views

When should I use italics in scientific writing?

I noticed that proper nouns, such as names of theorems or techniques are often set in italics in scientific writing but not always. Are there rules about it, for example each proper noun should be set ...
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3answers
188 views

Thesis writing: how to address “self”

This came up when I was writing my thesis: Usually it is recommended that when writing a thesis, one sticks to passive voice and use sentences that read like "The study showed the effect that blah ...
2
votes
1answer
486 views

Can I use the same figure twice in a report?

Is it alright to use the same figure twice (but different figure number) in a report? If so, do I have to use separate captions, to avoid confusion in the table of figures?
2
votes
3answers
148 views

Would it be weird if I write “a simple sample something”?

Not getting too technical, I am writing a configuration file for a piece of software I have developed. This software allows others to write "services" and attach them to my software. I have written a ...
2
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3answers
367 views

Should Game Genre Types Be Capitalised?

I am currently writing a report for college about computer games and I am wondering whether genres need to be capitalised. Usually I do not but for some reason it just feels that I should. For ...
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3answers
132 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 ...
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4answers
410 views

How to reference a figure from text in a technical document

I'm preparing technical documentation for some software. For the installation, there are lots of screen grabs and they all have Figure x captions. What's the correct styling and means of referencing ...
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1answer
600 views

What are best practices when writing technical descriptions?

Occasionally, in my job as an engineer, I write process descriptions of the technology we are selling. Those are part of commercial offers, intended to win the customer. Those are bundled with ...
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4answers
95 views

Advice on interface text in a videogame

[This fits somewhere between technical writing and user experience, so perhaps this is the wrong board] I'm developing a modification to a popular videogame (a Playstation One RPG), with the ...
2
votes
1answer
101 views

Resources for thesis writing

Will be writing my master's thesis in a few months. I have never written a thesis yet though. I was unlucky enough not to be required to have a thesis during my undergrad years. Anybody know some good ...
2
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2answers
39 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 ...
2
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3answers
141 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 ...
2
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2answers
125 views

Template for IT technical report?

I'm looking for a template or guidelines for how to write a technical report. The report is IT-related and intended for a project manager to review the work of the investigation of a IT-related ...
2
votes
4answers
2k views

What are the tool choices for producing technical documentation in PDF and web site ready HTML?

My company currently maintains our technical documentation (User's Guide) in Google Docs. With each release I produce a PDF that we host on our website. Here are the features of Google Docs that work ...
2
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1answer
516 views

In what narrative mode should you explain a process or task?

I want to explain a psychological and behavioural process to someone via email. I start off in first-person and speak to them in second-person, but what do I use when I want to explain a process ...
2
votes
1answer
254 views

Using Glossary Instead of Footnotes (for translation/transliteration)

I am writing a technical report with keywords which are mainly English. I am using a Glossary at the end, which describes translated keywords. Is it a replacement for footnotes or I should just keep ...
2
votes
2answers
266 views

List of figures and diagrams?

I was wondering what is the most acceptable way of including a large diagram in my thesis. The diagram takes up a full page and splits a paragraph. In your opinion is this bad? Should I put the ...
2
votes
1answer
197 views

Use of Registered trademark

I'm writing a book on Windows and I need some guidelines. On the cover of the book, as part of the subtitle, may I include Windows® in it? Inside the book, do I have to use the ® every single little ...
2
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1answer
152 views

Metrics for assessing the persuasiveness of a paper?

Are there any known variables to measure, or questions to ask in survey, in order to asses the persuasiveness of a paper? For example, I'm not sure if omitting a section from my paper might actually ...
2
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1answer
127 views

How to combine a visual and textual outline

I am a Ph.D. student in engineering, so most of my writing fits into a fairly strict idiom: the IMRaD (Introduction, Methodology, Results, and Discussion). In general, I like to use an outline to help ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

APA (sixth edition) citation for the Fourth Assessment Report

I'm trying to cite a source from the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/publications_and_data_reports.shtml I'm fairly new to APA in general and I'm struggling to ...
2
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1answer
165 views

How should be the format for literature references that are websites (URLs)?

In technical writings are good established standards for formatting literature references. But that doesn't work this well for URLs. How should these references be formatted?
2
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1answer
26 views

Should I use figure titles for diagrams on the web?

Should I use figure titles for diagrams in web content if the diagram already has a caption? Guidance or references are appreciated. The context is a marketing page whose basic structure is shown in ...
2
votes
1answer
48 views

Plural of single letter variables

Excuse me if I am on the wrong StackExchange site. I write about Physics in English and typeset that with LaTeX. So I have a variable c, and there are two of them in the same expression. I want to ...
2
votes
1answer
73 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
360 views

Can Google Docs be used for technical product documentation?

My company is hiring a contract technical writer to improve our product's documentation. As the maintainer, I'm currently using Google Docs, and very happy with it's collaborative nature (multiple ...
2
votes
2answers
116 views

How to represent dependencies in outlines

The bulk of my writing consists of technical papers, reports, notes, and memos. Because of the mathematical nature of my work I spend a lot of time writing definitions, and it is very important that I ...
2
votes
1answer
68 views

Ways to influence the readers subconscious?

Are there any proven techniques of influencing the readers on a subconscious level? Preferably techniques involving only words as I'm interested in writing technical books and I don't have the liberty ...
2
votes
2answers
43 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 ...
2
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2answers
97 views

Authoring tool for interactive documentations

I am searching for an application (Desktop- or Web-App) to write and create interactive documentation (especially technical documentation). I like Madcap Flare for technical writing, but I'm looking ...
2
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1answer
748 views

What is Content Testing?

What is Content Testing? Are there content testing tools available, or is content simply tested manually for quality?
2
votes
2answers
1k views

What software is good for writing a technical book? [duplicate]

I must write a book for the university and I am looking for software. The style that I want is like the books of O'Reilly, Apress or Packt. I need: Insert a table of contents (automatic). Divide ...
2
votes
3answers
202 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
142 views

How does one avoid incomplete changes to documentation?

Having encountered errors in technical documentation that almost certainly came from incomplete editing after copying from earlier documentation, I am curious about what techniques can be used to ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

Mashery vs. Apigee

I was wondering if anyone could lend some advice as to the pros and cons between using Mashery versus Apigee for documenting an API? I have do some evaluating and have about 2 weeks to come up with a ...
2
votes
3answers
83 views

Introducing the next sub-section or not?

I am writing my phd dissertation in a technical field and I have a question. When in the same chapter, I finish a section and want to connect it with the next section I am not sure what is better. ...
2
votes
1answer
43 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 ...