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The Basic Principles : What makes a good document?
Terms in this set (7)
A. The good document achieves its designated purpose for its specific audience
To achieve this quality, a writer should ask certain questions before and during drafting and revising.
1. for whom is this document written(audience)
2. What will the person do with it?(purpose)
3. What question(s) is the document supposed to answer?
4. What is the answer?
documents are "working documents" not academic exercises A document fails if it does not achieve its designated purpose for its designated audience.
B. A good document immediately gives its reader an overall picture of what the document is about, including the question it is answering and the answer. It also leaves the reader with a clear answer/
5. Does the document immediately and clearly present the question or questions it addresses, the answers, and a brief explanation of the answers
6. Does the final sentence or paragraph(conclusion) and a brief explanation of the answers?
**Documents are more useful to readers if they supply context- tell the reader what the document is about right away and give the reader an overall picture of what the document will do. Give both the question and the answer in the first paragraph
C. A good document is easy to follow; a reader can tell immediately what a paragraph is about and how paragraphs fit together.
7. Does the first sentence in each paragraph contain the topic of that paragraph.
8. Are all the sentences in that paragraph related to that topic?
9. Is the relationship between paragraphs show by the effective use of transitions?
10. If appropriate, are subtitles used to guide the reader through the document?
**paragrpahs and white space in the doc. are useful organization tools for a reader. well organized paragraphs in which the topic is quickly identified makes it easier for the reader.
effective transitions create "flow" and act as signposts through the document. Subtitles also act as signposts
D. A good document is easy to read.
11. do sentences rarely exceed 25 words?
12. Are long sentences controlled with parallel structure?
13. is the sentence length and type varied?
14. Are the first and last words in each sentence the most important?
15. Are important ideas in main clauses and less central info in subordinate clauses or phrases?
** long sentences can be useful if they are controlled (impact positions)
if information is the main or independent clause--> it is read as important info
subordinate or dependent--> it is seen as less important
16. are verbs in the active voice unless you have a specific reason for using another structure
17. are to be verbs with nominalization kept to a minimum?
18. Are sentences generally in subject-verb-direct object order?
19. Are all pronouns referents clear and accurate?
20. Are modifiers kept to a minimum>
21. Are modifying phrases next to the nouns they modify?
22. Is legalese eliminated, unless critical to the meaning
23. Are "clumsy words and phrases" revised
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