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CM 1401 Organizing writing for Clarity, Conciseness and Coherence

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Presentation on theme: "CM 1401 Organizing writing for Clarity, Conciseness and Coherence"— Presentation transcript:

1 CM 1401 Organizing writing for Clarity, Conciseness and Coherence
The Pyramid Method CM 1401 Organizing writing for Clarity, Conciseness and Coherence Rodney Bruce CNAQ

2 Organizing By Relevance
This lecture will discuss … 3 Cs of Writing Thinking about organizing using The pyramid method The inverted pyramid method. Organizing By Relevance

3 When you write, you have to keep three principles in mind: Clarity – The information must be easy to find. Coherence – The document must present information logically; it must flow. Conciseness – A writer shouldn’t take more time, space, or energy than needed to reach the reader. Three Cs of Writing

4 Using Strategy To Achieve The 3 Cs
We have already discussed the importance of considering the reader or audience. Knowing the reader will help achieve conciseness and clarity. Because coherence is about the flow of ideas, not only do you have to know the reader, you have to understand your information. Using Strategy To Achieve The 3 Cs

5 A Pyramid : A Strategy In a pyramid, most of the mass is placed
at the bottom of the structure. This means the top is the smallest lightest part. This concentrates the load towards the bottom of the form.

6 A Report Can Be Like a Pyramid.
Just as a pyramid is a structure, a report can be thought of that way too. Both arrange material by considering weight. In a stone pyramid, weight is mass In a pyramid report, weight is importance So we can organize a report by the amount and placement of the important information. It only requires a advanced plan for reporting; organization can unfold during writing. A Report Can Be Like a Pyramid.

7 Pyramid Method of Writing
In this strategy, the reader moves from small bits of information to larger ones: each level supports the one above it. Summary Background Information Details Outcome / Results

8 Summary (Idea): a short description of the findings and report
Summary (Idea): a short description of the findings and report. Background (Argument): Why the report was written (who asked for it; the need; the problem etc.) Information Details (Evidence): The data and process for sorting it; the steps to be followed etc. Outcome/Results (Innovation): the central new information (and possibly any limitations or recommendations for the future.) Main Sections

9 The Pyramid Method is good for: Situations where the reader needs to know a lot about how a process was followed through. These readers have a lot of time. The reader will probably read the whole report. E.g. Making a recommendation; planning a new project; offering a new idea It only requires a brief advanced plan for reporting; organization can unfold during writing. When To Do It Like This.

10 Let’s Think: Imagine a report that recommends a new solar water purifier. Which information belongs to which section of a Pyramid Method report? Summary Background Information Details Outcome / Results The reasons many purifiers were examined and a brief description of the selection process. A discussion of best purifier for the job and its limitations A table of data showing cost, energy, and water output A short statement about the best purifier and the company’s needs

11 Another Way: Inverted Pyramid
To invert: To turn inside out or upside down; To reverse the position, order, or condition of something Another Way: Inverted Pyramid

12 Inverted Pyramid Findings: Most important Information Main Details
In this strategy, ideas that have less weight can be left out or dropped by the reader. Findings: Most important Information Main Details Secondary Details Least important Details

13 The Inverted Pyramid structure is good for:
Situations where the reader needs to know the main ideas, but is not always concerned with detail. These readers have little time. The reader may only read the first section or two. E.g. Raw data; sales results; daily newspaper stories. It requires the lengthy advanced organization of information. When To Do It Like This:

14 Findings (most important): The most important info; central but brief data; most impacting facts Main Details: A description of any process; events; major data sets; etc. Secondary Details: Other data; future recommendations; explanations of small facts, and so on. Least important Details: Large data sets; appendixes; semi-related facts; etc. Main Sections

15 Let’s Think: Imagine a report that recommends a new air- conditioning system. Which information belongs to which section of an Inverted Pyramid Method report? Finding Main Details Secondary Details Least Important Details Where the technicians learned to install the system. The shipping costs and times for delivery The cost benefits of the new system The choice of the best cooling system

16 Which of These Two Formats Should We Use?
In the sciences and professions, you want to provide clear and logical information that the reader will fully understand. Which is better: Pyramid (Why)? or Inverted Pyramid (Why)? Which of These Two Formats Should We Use?

17 In the sciences the Pyramid Method is preferred.
Scientific professional writing: should stress logical reasons. must show its supporting evidence. has to give all data in an organized manner. accepts that the reader is careful and critical In the sciences the Pyramid Method is preferred.

18 The Inverted Pyramid is Better For …
In the media the inverted pyramid is useful because it: assumes that readers want important facts first. doesn’t expect all readers to be critical all the time. allows editors who control printing space to remove from the bottom (the least important details) without harming the main facts The Inverted Pyramid is Better For …

19 You must know how to identify the different types of technical writing.
You must know the main ideas in your 2 lecture presentations. Be sure you know the 3 Cs. Be sure you understand the difference between the 2 pyramid structures. For Your Quiz


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