Assignment 3: Instructions ENGL2338: Technical Writing Department of English University of Texas at Arlington Assignment Overview Instructions are among the most common types of document in technical writing. Instructions are everywhere informing readers how to make, assemble, or create something. You may have followed instructions on how to log onto a computer at work, to download and use an App on your smart phone, or to make a gourmet dinner at home following recipes. It is likely that you will create them often in your career if not as a formal document then at least in a variety of informal written and oral communications. Keep in mind the differences among instructions, process descriptions, and procedures: • Instructions inform readers how to assemble, make, create something or perform a specific task. • Process descriptions tell how something works (for example, how a drug works to relieve symptoms of seasonal allergies). While instructions are about how to use something, descriptions are about how that thing works (e.g., how to take a prescription drug vs. how that drug works in the human body). • Procedures are standardized ways of doing things in organizations. For this assignment, you should focus on creating clearly written, well designed, and effectively illustrated instructions. Assignment Guidelines Choose a Technical or Scientific Topic. Begin by reviewing Gurak & Lannon, Chapter 13: Instructions and Procedures. You will choose your own topic for this assignment. In order to give you the practice in technical writing, your must choose a technical or scientific topic. Ideally, a topic requiring a series of steps for assembly or various specific tasks to complete is best. A topic relevant to nursing may be a good idea, but such a topic is not required. Consider your hobbies and interests or various topics you know well. Choose a topic involving 10 or more steps. The following are just a few examples of instructions projects from previous classes: • Setting Up a Small Network in Your Home or Office • Building and Hosting Your Own Web site • Detailing Your Car • Creating a Backyard Butterfly Garden • Designing and Installing a Solar Heating System in Your Home • Helping Parents Apply First Aid • Assembling a Skateboard • Grooming a Horse • How to Change an Electrical Outlet 2 • How to Bid an Acoustical Ceiling Project • How to Sew an A-Line Skirt Write to a Specific Audience. You must specify an audience for your instructions. In most instances, your audience should be a novice audience—someone who has never performed the task before. Sample audiences for the instructions mentioned above include home computer owners, gardeners, small business owners, and parents. Acknowledge all Sources. If you use any sources for your instructions, acknowledge your sources on an APA references page and include this page with your instructions (see Gurak & Lannon, Appendix A: Documentation Sources). If you use or adapt illustrations from another source, place the source directly below each illustration. Warning Against Copying Instructions! You should write the instructions yourself.
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