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Plain Language

Researching Tech Comm Best Practice

Abbreviated language is a bug-bear of mine at the moment. It’s not necessarily that I deplore it, but more that I’m having difficulty locating research into its actual effect on clarity. Does it matter if we cut some of the little words out of sentences? For example, here’s an instruction for general practitioners:

Request [a] specialist assessment if [the patient’s] headache episodes [are] not controlled by [the] above treatments

Has anyone tested whether abbreviated language helps or hinders the reader? This question got me thinking about research into matters central to our daily work. Earnsy Liu, in her quarterly What’s the Evidence? column in TechCommWire, often has a hard time finding research that answers the questions we pose. What if technical communicators, as a global network, were to crowd-fund some research? Would you give a little? Please complete my mini-survey and tell me whether you think this would fly:

You can also read Earnsy’s February literature review, which is about Metaphors in tech comm.
Did you know you can look up past articles on our Best Practice Round-Up page?

July with TechCommNZ: Video Creation Workshops & Branch Events

TechComm NZ is proud to present the Create Splendid Videos workshop, presented by Grant Mackenzie, one of our most popular presenters. This workshop is structured, hands-on, and will equip you to make instructional videos yourself. It is available for the following locations and dates: Auckland – Monday, July 13th Wellington – Wednesday, July 15th Christchurch […] Continue reading →

Book Review: Rewrite – How to overcome daily sabotage of your brand and profit

Last weekend I sat in the autumn sun and read Rewrite: How to overcome daily sabotage of your brand and profit, by Lynda Harris of Write Ltd. Lynda has succeeded in creating an essential weapon for individuals who have the will to conquer costly writing habits in their organisation. As you would expect from the chief executive of Write, […] Continue reading →

Rachel McAlpine on PLAIN 2013: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous!

Recently, I was treated to an evening with the wonderful Rachel McAlpine as she shared her views on the Plain English conference PLAIN 2013. Rachel McAlpine has been at the forefront of plain language use since the 90s, and is the creator of the Contented web writing courses. Plain language is in her blood, so […] Continue reading →