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Technical Writing 3

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    Technical Writing 3

    Question 17.1

    Question 1. How would you describe the tone used by the writer?  Provide an example to support your claim.  The tone is very formalized and impersonal.  This is true right off the top when it is written, “It has come to my attention…” This is a passive writing style which detracts from personal connections being made.  The writer reinforces this tone at the end with, “…irregularities that have been brought to my attention.”

    Question 2. The writer presents examples of what he calls violations of the state travel policy.  Do these examples provide solid evidence that violations of the policy have in fact occurred?  The incidences described do not reach the level of solid evidence.  This is because the so called policies are not quoted.  That leaves a lot of ambiguity regarding whether these were actual violations of the letter of the policy or the spirit of the policy.

    Question 3. How effectively has the writer encouraged his staff to abide by the travel policy?  How might he improve the persuasiveness of the directive?  Unfortunately this is not effective communication.  Because of his lack of personal connection in tone – which can be accomplished in business communication – and because of his vague descriptions of violations, all this has accomplished is alienating the employees from the management.  These employees will most probably point to the loopholes and be outraged at these accusations.

    Question 17.2

    1.  As the manager of Lewis, Lewis, and Wollensky Law, LPC, you have received some complaints from clients that the tattoos on the arms and chests of some employees create negative impressions. Write a directive in the form of a memo defining a new policy: employees are required to wear clothing that covers tattoos on their arms and chests.


    Dated: 10 July 2010

    To: All Employees

    From: The Manager (insert personal name here to replace this title)

    Subject:  New dress code

                Employees of Lewis, Lewis, and Wollensky,  We have recently heard from some of our clients regarding the presence of tattoos in our workplace.  They have commented that this creates a negative impression of our company and detracts from the appearance of professionalism.  In order to give us a more solid footing in this area, then, please be advised of the following:  All employees that have tattoos on their arms and chests which would otherwise be visible in the workplace will wear clothing that prevents them from being seen.  In no way is this a statement about the character of our employees.  We value all of your hard work and professionalism and anticipate your cooperation.  Thank you.

    2. The following report could be improved in tone, substance, and structure. It is flawed in several ways. 1) It has an imprecise subject heading. 2) It does not begin with a purpose statement, so the reader doesn’t know what the writer wants him to know or do. 3) The writer spends more time on the background of the situation—paragraph one—than on the actual message. 4) The writer does not make clear exactly what she wants her reader to do or how he is supposed to go about doing it. 5) Finally, the tone is curt and condescending and therefore counterproductive. Revise the report to increase its effectiveness, adding any reasonable details.


    Date: 1 September 2006

    To: Mike Framson

    From: Fran Sturdiven

    Subject: Review and Revision of Deviance Master Record Procedures

    After reviewing the process we use to prepare and file deviance master records (DMR) I see some updates that need to be made now.  We are required to follow the FDA directives which state the specific steps we need to follow and implement.  Please see the FDA policies 3.2 and 6.4.

    Specifically, we need to define and index of DMR according to policy 3.2.  Additionally we will need to designate an individual to sign changes for the DMR from now on.  Please accomplish these two steps and return your results to me in writing by 15 September 2009.

    Question 17.3 Write a memo breaking the bad news.


    Dated: 10 July 2010

    FROM: My Personal Name, title

    TO: Personal Name, title of manager

    SUBJECT: Progress Report

    You recall the proposal approved to have me visit American Equipment in California and Consolidated Industrial Equipment in New Jersey.  I will review the equipment used at these two facilities to best determine our upcoming expenditures related to new rollers.  I will be leaving next week for these visits.

    Upon reviewing my papers for this trip I see an additional opportunity to gather further information.  At the time of the proposal I failed to include a third company using these same rolling machines – Southern Printing Equipment in Atlanta.  Their equipment and processes are fully competitive with the two companies currently on my agenda.  I feel that the cost of an additional trip to Atlanta would be more than justified given the chance to make a more informed decision on the future direction of United Paper Company.

    I apologize for the late addition to this update.  Please consider adding this stop to next week’s trip.  I will supply the detailed papers upon your request.

    Question 19.1

    1.   How clearly does the writer explain the background? Identify the problem or opportunity described in this executive summary.  This background to the proposed purchase of Blackberry devices is very clearly explained.  The problem is that without these types of devices, employees were disorganized and inefficient at carrying out their responsibilities.  As well, there were complaints of injuries pursuant to their current methods of operating.

    2.   Does the writer discuss the methods? If so, identify the discussion.  The methods to pursue these purchases were discussed well.  The second paragraph identified the specific details of problems experienced in the current system.  The third paragraph specifically identified criteria for solving the problem.  The fourth paragraph clearly identifies the recommendation for purchase and follow up.

    3.   Identify the findings: the results, conclusions, and recommendations.  How clearly has the writer explained the benefits to the company?  The benefits are clearly explained.  The results of the research identified specific problems encountered and established criteria for a method to solve these problems.  The conclusion is that one specific product in particular would accomplish this.  The recommendations included not only the current plan, but also a way of following up on the success and next steps needed.

    Question 19.2

    1).   On page 501 of Technical Communication, there’s a bulleted list of four “examples of the kinds of questions a recommendation report addresses.”  Using the specific examples as models, write 4 original questions that a recommendation report might address.

    1.      We currently use two individuals to install each part.  Should we reduce this process to one worker per part?

    2.      Should we increase the speed of the assembly line to increase efficiency?

    3.      Is the lack of seating for employees on the line responsible for back injuries?  Should we provide seating on the work floor?

    4.       Should we add a fourth work shift to the weekly schedule?

    2)  What are the six basic steps of the problem-solving model?

                1. Identify the problem or opportunity.

                2. Establish criteria for responding to the problem or opportunity.

                3. Determine the options.

                4. Study each option according to the criteria.

                5. Draw conclusions about each option.

                6. Formulate recommendations based upon the conclusions.

    3)  What is the purpose of a feasibility report?  What are the three kinds of questions a feasibility report answers?  Give a hypothetical example of a feasibility report.

    A feasibility report is designed to measure the practicality of a course of action.  The kinds of questions are questions of possibility, questions of economic wisdom, and questions of perception.  Sample:

                Our company would like to add a new, fourth shift to the weekly work schedule.  Can we do so with our current work staff or would we have to undergo a new hiring process?  Is it likely that we could accomplish this during this fiscal quarter?

                If we were to add this shift, would the profits provided make up for the additional salary expenditure?  Considering the additional money spent training combined with the salaries, would we actually be losing money per quarter?

                How would the community view this added shift?  Would we be seen as a boon to the community by creating new jobs?  Would we be seen as becoming too large and impersonal of a corporation?

    4) In a recommendation report, what is a matrix?  What is the main advantage of using a matrix in a recommendation report?  The matrix is a method of evaluating all options use a systematic approach.  It is a table or spreadsheet.  The main advantage of using it is that it is the most clear and objective method for looking at this data.

    5) After the introduction, what are the four main sections in the body of a recommendation report?  What questions are answered by these four sections?

    Methods, results, conclusions, recommendations.  They answer “what did you do?”; “what did you see?”; “what does it mean?”; “what should we do?”

    6) What are the two types of abstracts?  How are the two different?  The two types are descriptive and informative.  They differ in that descriptive merely presents the information kinds and the informative presents the major findings.

    7) Abstracts often contain a list of keywords.  Why?  Because these keywords will be entered into an electronic database and are the method by which outside readers will find your report.

    8) Why should you ask an outside reader to review your draft of an executive summary?  If an outside reader who has no knowledge of the project is able to fully understand and explain it, then the summary is successful in its communication.

    9) What are the three purposes of using documentation in a recommendation report?  It acknowledges your debt to your sources, establishes your credibility as a writer, and helps readers locate and review your sources.

    10) What are the basic rules for the pagination of a recommendation report?  The table of contents does not contain an entry for itself; front matter is numbered using lowercase Roman numerals often centered at the bottom of the page; the body of the report is numbered with Arabic numerals typically in the upper outside corner of the page.

    11)  This feature is very useful when it comes to ensuring a desk reference for business communication.  Prior to the sending of memorandums and reports, this would give me a chance to briefly review the headings and contents for effectively sharing my messages.  Additionally I could create templates for each style based upon this checklist which would save me time and prevent errors when communicating.

    Question 19.3


    Dated: 10 July 2010

    FROM: My personal name, title

    TO: Mattias van Noordennen, President

    SUBJECT: Fleet Pick Up Truck Recommendation

    After reviewing the suggestions and comments of our driving staff, I have the following recommendations:

    The criteria that are necessary to be considered for the replacement trucks are the following:

                Must have a back row of seats with belts for clients

                Must have a payload capacity of 10,000 pounds

                Must have a bed length minimum of 7 feet

                Must have either 4×4 capabilities

    The criteria that are desirable include:

                Traction control

                Air bags

    Finally I recommend purchasing the same vehicle for each person to provide us the best rate for keeping the vehicle cost per truck under our established budget.

    Criterion 1Back row of seats
    Criterion 2 10,000 lbs payload capacity
    Criterion 3 7’ bed length
    Criterion 4 4×4 capabilities
    Criterion 5 Traction control
    Criterion 6 Air bags
    Total Points
    Truck #1

    Truck #2

    Truck #3

    SCORING KEY:  Criteria 1 through 3 are vital.  Therefore trucks will receive 10 for having them, and only a 2 if they do not.  Criterion 4 is relatively vital, and so trucks with this capability will receive a 10 and if they do not will receive a 6.  Criteria 5 and 6 are only desirable qualities and therefore will receive a 10 if they possess them and a 9 if they do not.  The truck with the highest total points will be the recommended vehicle.


    The data show the relative importance of various criteria of the truck search.  These criteria include both necessary and desirable options.  These criteria are categorized based upon use and needs across the fleet, not only found in one or two persons’ uses.

    When selecting the trucks for the fleet, careful attention to a score inclusive of these criteria will help bring the efficiency of our field workers to a higher level.  In addition, implementing this plan will provide a public face that is more in keeping with the perceptions and standards of our company.


    After receiving the criteria from the field workers and evaluating these on a per truck basis, the company should move on with its purchase.  The company should utilize the matrix to ensure the most objective accomplishment of this decision.  Furthermore, the company should decide upon one style of vehicle and purchase it for the entire fleet, thus maintaining savings in accordance with buying power.

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