Using the Extended Definition Paper to Teach Organization
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Audience and definition are the two foundation concepts of technical writing, for all technical writing is, in a broad sense, definition. Reports that classify, partition, analyze, describe, illustrate, compare, and contrast essentially define a concept or problem. Thus, classification, partition, description, illustration, comparison, and contrast represent seven of fifteen devices which can be used to expand definitions. The expanded definition, as a beginning assignment (after audience analysis), can show how these same devices are embedded in the major ways of organizing information for reports, technical descriptions, process analyses, and instructions - topics later introduced in the course. Furthermore, developing content about these specific devices helps students to catalog mentally information about a subject and to organize and present this information precisely.
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