Table 1. Conventions & Characteristics of Technical Writing
Criteria Technical Writing
Purpose To communicate technical and specialized information in a clear, accessible, usable manner to people who need to use it to make decisions, perform processes, or support company goals.
Audience Varied, but can include fellow employees such as subordinates, colleagues, managers, and executives, as well as clients and other stakeholders, the general public, and even readers within the legal system.
Writing Style Concise, clear, plain, and direct language; may include specialized terminology; typically uses short sentences and paragraphs; uses active voice; makes purpose immediately clear.
Tone Business/professional in tone, which falls between formal and informal; may use first person or second person if appropriate; courteous and constructive.
Structure Highly structured; short paragraphs; clear transitions and structural cues (headings and sub-headings) to move the reader through and direct the reader.
Formatting Can be in electronic, visual, or printed formats; may be long (reports) or short (emails, letters, memos); often uses style guides to describe required formatting features; uses headings, lists, figures and tables.
Other Features Typically objective and neutral; ideas are evidence and data-driven; descriptors are precise and quantitative whenever possible.

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