There are three skills that are vital to any kind of technical writing: research, organization, and revision. Research is the ability to find information relevant to the topic. Research can take many forms ranging from print materials at a library to electronic sources found via Internet searches. An often overlooked area of research is self-conducted polls, surveys, and interviews. Without the information gathered via research, the ability to organize would be wasted (VanAlstyne, 2005).
In relation to technical writing, organization has two meanings. The first thing that comes to mind is the ability to organize information gathered during research. This type of organization is the ability to know which facts relate to each other and should be presented together. But, organization is also the ability to construct the flow of a document so that it makes sense to the audience. This kind of organization often manifests itself as proper formatting.
The third vital technical writing skill is revision. It’s not enough to simply research and organize information; it has to be presented in a manner that can be clearly understood. Revision is the ability to analyze a document and weed out any mistakes of spelling, grammar, or sentence structure. Not only can these mistakes impact the audience’s perception of the information, some mistakes can actually unintentionally change the meaning of the data. Along with research and organization, revision is a vital skill for any technical writer.
VanAlstyne, J. S. (2005). Professional and technical writing strategies: Communicating in technology and science. Sixth ed. Upper Saddle River: Pearson-Prentice Hall.