Technical Description

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Select a technical process and write a description of it. Be aware that it is a good idea to select something with which you are already familiar, so you can focus on learning how to write the description rather than focusing on both learning how to write the description and learning about the process. A process description explains how a complex, technical event occurs, for instance a mechanical process (i.e. how atoms are split) or natural event (i.e. how lightning is produced). You can choose a process that is specific to your field, or one that people may be curious about: How a specific drug works How steel is made How fuel cells work How a computer compiles and executes a program How a photosynthesis works How food products are irradiated A process description is not an instruction set. An instruction set provides steps a user would take in order to complete a task (for example, steps to change oil in a car). In contrast, process descriptions describe how something occurs (for example, how oil functions to cool an engine). Assignment Requirements: Statement of Audience, Scope, and Purpose Select an audience that would be interested in learning about the process or product you explain. For example, you could assume an audience of students reading about your topic in a textbook. You could write a marketing document to persuade people to buy a product. Or, you could write a description that would be part of a proposal being sent to win a grant for funding. In the assignment you should assume that the description is crucial to the work of your audience. Your final document should include a paragraph (or possibly more than one paragraph) clearly indicating the intended audience, the scope of information to be included in the document, and hat the intended purpose of the document is. Overview of Topic Your document should include an introduction section or paragraph that gives a broad overview of your topic. Include definitions, associations, jargon, etc., here that may help readers as they navigate the document.. Many introductions also include a visual, though this is not required. Technical Description This the “body” of your document. Describe each aspect, stage, or step in detail. Remember to make all language/discourse choices based on the audience’s level of interest, experience, and knowledge about the topic. Include images, graphics, visuals as needed. Be sure that all images are fully labeled/captioned, explained, and cited. Visuals You are required to include at least two visuals/graphics, and you have two options here. You can develop your own images/figures/visuals, or you can use a “reference visual,” which is a copy of a published image. If you use a published image, be sure to cite the source. All visuals must be labeled, captioned, and cited. Conclusion/Discussion The document should not end abruptly. Your final paragraph or section should not merely summarize the description, but also provide the context and significance of the process described (this is often thought of as the “so what?” section). You may also remind your audience of how this process will ultimately help them solve a problem, if applicable. Works Cited/Works Consulted Be sure that all sources are clearly cited, when and if applicable. Figures/images must be cited. If you do not cite in text, you must include a Works Consulted list of 3-5 credible, substantive resources for your readers (we will discuss this in class). Note that while we won’t be using a specific bibliography format, you must include full bibliographic information (i.e. not just URLs) for all sources. Format Include design features to help the reader locate information and understand the product or process better: images, diagrams, headings etc. Include a cover page that includes the project title, your name, and the date. Learning Outcomes: To identify and practice the rhetorical principles underlying effective scientific style. To analyze and practice the style and tone that are associated with “methods” sections in academic research papers. To think and write critically about a complex issue. To practice academic research using various databases and multi-media tools. To critically assess the import and validity of various texts. To critically evaluate and synthesize texts. To practice pre-writing and drafting techniques. To engage peer editing techniques to help improve your writing.

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