- Who needs this definition and what is their familiarity with terms in this field?
- What amount of detail is needed?
- Where and how will this definition be used?
- How might a sentence definition be used in the document and elsewhere (consider different contexts; in this case, the fact that this is an entry for Wikipedia)?
- “Definitions clarify a description of a new development or a new technology in a technical field” (565).
- “Definitions help specialists communicate with less knowledgeable readers” (585).
Types of Readers
- Primary-wants to learn, action takers, decision makers
- Secondary-proofread, fact check, advisors
- Tertiary-“accidental readers” evaluators
- Basic knowledge/background info/history
- Most recent info
- What level of familiarity will reader have
- Valid references
Sentence Definitions: Terms, Categories, and Distinguishing Characteristics
- Specify the category and characteristics
- Differentiate between a specific item and a class of items
- Avoid circular definitions
- Use a noun or noun phrase rather than a who, what, where, when phrase.
Extending the sentence definition
- Indicate the scope and nature of the description
- Provide a clear description
- Use sufficient amount and appropriate detail
- Conclude (Markel, 574)
Markel identifies 8 strategies/tools for extending your sentence definitions:
- Graphics/Visual Aid
- Principle of Operation
- Etymology of term/history
Example: personal computer
Style (Keeping it Simple and Usable)
- Use familiar words and terms
- Keep sentences short
- Use definitions within definitions (use links to existing Wiki pages)
- Leverage visuals appropriately
Common Problems with Project One Executions (and common strategies for avoiding them)
1. Entry does not serve knowledge base
- Expand a stub, make an entry for a section of an existing article, or choose a “wanted” or “most wanted” entry
- Enter your contribution into Wikipedia in advance of the due date (to allow time to gauge readers/editors responses)
- Familiarize yourself with what kinds of entries are cut (and why)
2. Entry does not follow formatting/style guidelines of knowledge base
- Study the wikipedia style guidelines and content criteria and makes sure you are aware of common writing practices for this site
- Use an article on a similar topic as your style sheet/example
- Be aware of, in particular, when images/diagrams would be of use for a given topic
3. Entry contains inaccuracies, unverified claims, and/or grammar/punctuation mistakes
- Research your topic thoroughly
- Be sure to cite sources appropriately (using Wikipedia’s guidelines)
- Perform common editing/spell check functions, including importing your text into a word processor
Let’s take a look at our memos.
One Card OverAchievers: Evan L. Joshua, Ali, Mohammad, Peter Dolcinek.
We’ve Gone Plaid: Martin, Nate , Kelly , Evan C.
The U. N. Group: Ritwik, Abe, Kento, Branden, Billal
Brad’s Undergrads: Lauren, Peter Dolba, Gi Tae, Vandit
The Creative Ones: Brittany, Tayler, Nick, Jason, Ronald
Strategies for Writing Good Memos (from Chapter 23 of Technical Communication)
- Adopt a “You-Centered” Attitude
- State your Main Points Quickly
- Keep it Short
- Provide Necessary Background
- Use Headings, Lists, and Graphics when Appropriate
- Follow Format Conventions
In Regards to this Memo specifically:
- Keep the receiver’s (my) desires in mind
- Address major objectives at the start of subsections
- Keep the memo to a single page
- Provide necessary context when discussion challenges and strategies
- Use a To/From/Date/Subject top heading
- Use Headings
- Bullet lists are appropriate for a work plan
- Graphics are appropriate only in special circumstances
Assignments for this Week/Next Week and Beyond
- Before 11:59 pm tonight: Tweak your Memo Assignment for Project One and email a MSWord doc. file to me. Make sure it includes a sentence definition of your topic.
- Write an evaluation (@ 300-500 words) describing the blog you found by 11:59 pm, Mon. 9/8/14
- Before class on Tuesday, 9/9: Read Chapters 4 (“Planning for Usefulness”), 5 (“Planning Your Persuasive Strategies,” p. 117-146),
- Quiz on Thursday 9/11
- Project One Due by 11:59 pm Tuesday, 9/16/14: Post to Wikipedia (or other knowledgebase) and provide a copy of the text with a link to the Wikipedia entry (see an example here). Provide “before” and “after” screenshots as linked files with your references on your team blog page.