Technical writing 5 - Part 5

Question 17.1

The tone of this writer is blunt and authoritarian - Technical writing 5 introduction. He begins with a formal and impersonal statement “It has come to my attention” which sounds pompous. He stresses the  “violation” “irregularities” “breaches” which exaggerates the severity of the incidents and he threatens the readers with the phrase “if they recur, they will be dealt with harshly”. He sounds like a dictatator who is only concerned about himself, because he uses the pronoun “I, so often. He wants people to obey, and shows no consideration for the way colleagues might see the issue.

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The examples he gives are all anonymous and they describe events which look as if they might breach the rules. Some of them, such as the use of a personal credit card look as if they might be clear cut examples of rule breaking. Other instances, like the taking of a cab rather than a shuttle bus, for example, are more debatable, since the writer does not say, and does not even know, perhaps, whether the traveller was rushing to get to a meeting, or the plane was late, or some other circumstance that required the traveller to get there fast.

The writer has effectively communicated what the rules are, what he thinks are breaches of the rules, and how he intends to deal with future breaches. He has not done much to encourage people to abide by the travel policy, however, because he suggests that the only reason they should do so is to avoid punishment. His directive would have been more persuasive if he had used a more respectful tone, for example saying, “I would like to remind you that we must all…” rather than “I do not need to tell you that …”, if he had shown some understanding of the pressures people are working under, and if he had thanked everyone for their co-operation rather than threatening them.


Lewis, Lewis and Wallensky Law, LPC

To: Joe Lamar

From: Ingrid Johnson

Subject: New Policy Alert, tattoos and dress code.

I am writing to inform you of a new policy which is to take effect from tomorrow.

During this recent spell of hot weather some customers have raised concerns about staff wearing visible tattoos on their arms and chests. While the company respects the right of individuals to present themselves according to their own individual wishes, we also wish to maintain a tidy and professional company image.

It has been agreed, therefore, that any staff members who have a visible tattoo on their arms or chest, should make sure that this is covered up with clothing while at work.

Thank you for your co-operation and continued hard work in maintaining our  professional image and excellent customer relations.



Date: 1 September 2006

To: Mike Framson

From: Fran Sturdiven

Subject: Revision of Procedure for Device Master Records Creation

I am writing to request your help in meeting the FDA’s requirement for systems and documentation relating to Device Master Records. At present we do not fully meet the requirements and so I would like you to please address a couple of issues by 15th September 2009

The FDA’s specific definition of a “Device Master Record” has already been distributed. If you need another copy, just let me know.

Paragraph 3.2 of the definition requires that a company define the “compilation of records” that makes up a “Device Master Record.” Please could you ensure that we have an appropriate index and referencing system for our records.

Paragraph 6.4 says that any changes in the DMR must be authorized in writing by the signature of a designated individual. Please could you draft such a such procedure so that we can have it approved and put into practice as soon as possible.

 Apologies for the urgency of these requests, but I am sure you will appreciate their importance. If you need to consult with the team or with me, then go ahead.

Thanks in advance!

17. 3 Progress Report : Rolling Machine Replacement.

All of the reviews and visiting arrangements for American Equipment in California and Consolidated Industrial Equipment in New Jersey are on track and I expect to have completed the visits by the end of next week within the allocation of $6000.

 I would like to raise with you a complication that I should have raised earlier, and which I have just noticed when reviewing my notes. There is a third company, Southern Printing Equipment, in Atlanta, Georgia which has some equipment that we should really take a look at also. Their machines are very competitive with the two I am planning to see and I really think we need to include them in our search.

I realise that his has cost implications (roughly another $2,000) and that a visit there would delay the completion date by three or four days and I apologise for this. My spouse had just been laid off and we were worried about the kids and college fees coming due next year which has, in retrospect, affected my concentration in that week.

I would like to request that you consider approving this further visit and extending the delivery deadline please. I assure you that I will make a fully justified recommendation on the machines purchase within that new deadline.


1. The writer explains the background very clearly. The problem is that engineers in the field are having difficulty accessing and storing all kinds of information in a timely, safe and efficient manner, and this is causing lost revenue to the company.

2. The writer describes the methods as a) researching what the problems were that the workers reported; b) researching the capabilities of various Blackberry devices and establishing minimum criteria that would solve the problems and then c) identifying a product that would meet the criteria.

3. The findings were that five Blackberry Curve 8310 devices be bought and used for a trial period of six months, with a view to purchasing a further 15 devices if the company is happy with the outcome of this trial. The writer has explained the benefits indirectly by stating the high cost of the current situation ($400,000 in lost business and $50,000 in a worker claim) and the low cost of proposed solution ($2,000 initially, with a further $400x 15 i.e $6,000 in six months time). He could have explained the benefits more, but since executives look for the bottom line instinctively, it was probably smarter not to spell it out too strongly.


1.         What should we do about the pile of cigarette ends outside the main door?

            Should we maintain the canteen or would it be better to offer lunch vouchers?

            Should we upgrade the old desk top pcs in the lab, or would it be better to

issue laptops to all the technicians?

            We currently have a team of office juniors to do the photocopying. Should we

                        buy a high spec photocopier to do this work?

2. Planning, do research,  drafting, revising, editing proofreading.

3. A feasibility report questions what is possible, what is economically wise and how a proposal will be perceived. An example would be to look at changing at providing fewer desk stations but allowing workers to have their own laptops.

4. A matrix allows a more systematic analysis of the options against each criterion.

5. The four sections are Introduction, Method, Results and Conclusion. They ask about background facts, how the task is being done, what has been discovered, and what this means for the organization.

6. Descriptive abstracts describes the topics but omits the conclusions. Informative abstracts presents the major findings.

7. Keywords allow readers to locate reports quickly via electronic databases.

8. An outside reader can check whether the report can be understood by a non expert.

9. Documentation establishes your credibility and acknowledges your sources. It also allows a reader to check back to the source of the information you used.

10. You can use the drop down menus in WORD to do formatting for headers, footers, page numbering etc.

11. Checklists are a good way of making sure that you check your work for errors, and for completeness. I could use this when doing a long or complex task to make sure that I have not got sidetracked, or forgotten something important.



To Matt

From Joe Smith

Re: New trucks

I have done some research now, and talked to few people and I have come up with the following requirements for our new trucks :

Necessary : Cost under 35,000 each, 6 feet 6 inch bed, half a ton payload, room for passengers in the back seat, high ground clearance

Desirable : 4WD, 7 feet bed, seatbelts, front and side airbags, comfortable

3 Matrix

                        Quad cab                    GMC Sierra                Chevrolet Silverado






Score each category ideal = 2 Adequate = 1 and Not adequate 0


Based on our decision matrix, all three options would partially meet our needs but there is insufficient data to make an absolute decision.

Recommendation: We should obtain the full specifications for each model and examine them under these criteria.


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