|English 322: Technical Writing
Assignment: Technical Writing
Dr. Gian Pagnucci
Now that you've practiced writing a
proposal for IUP's recruitment and retention problems, I'd like you to
try writing your own, real proposal. I want you to write a
proposal for a Technical Writing Project you will actually create. So this proposal isn't
just for practice!
Technical Writing Project
Type of Project
You may propose any type of Technical
you like. Occasionally proposals do not get approved, but for the most
part, that's a rare occurrence. Your Technical Writing Project may be:
- one that will be used for real
(for example, you could create a web site for a club to which you
- a project for a fictional
audience (for example, you could write the manual for a video game
you might want to create or you might create a new web site for a
- something you do for fun
(you might want to create a Guide to Spider-man if you really
enjoyed the movie)
You can propose:
- a document for any place where you
- a document for your major
department, a professor you know, or a class at IUP
- a document for an organization you
belong to (for example a club, a fraternity or sorority, or a
church group to which you belong)
Your Technical Writing Project should definitely:
- Be something you have a strong
interest in writing
- Involve a fair amount of writing
- Let you make use of some graphics
and other design elements
- Be worth your time (if the project
feels like a waste of time, you've proposed the wrong project!)
- Belong to you, not to your
instructor (do a project that matters to you, that way, you'll do
a much better job on it)
If you can't think of a good
Technical Writing Project
on your own, just ask Dr. Pagnucci for some ideas. Many faculty at IUP
have projects with which they could use some help. These tasks make
excellent Technical Writing Projects and they look good on your resume!
Technical Writing Project Examples
Typical Technical Writing Projects students have
written for this course have included:
- new or revised employee handbooks
- new web sites for departments,
clubs, or other organizations
- reorganized, redesigned, and
rewritten web sites
- company or organization manuals
(either brand new or compiling information from a host of other
- ergonomic or safety process
- how-to manuals for all types of
products and procedures
- research project reports
- accident prevention programs
- chapters for a larger technical
- product manuals and guidebooks
- company profile guidebooks
Printed project examples will be provided in
class for your review. To view examples of web projects, click here:
Most people create individual
projects. However, sometimes people want to create a project which
would be too large or complicated for only one person to do. In that
case, you may work on a project with one or two partners.
Potential Project Benefits
Keep in mind that if you create a
project for a real purpose, you may be able to use that project when
you go on a job interview. At the very least, this project will help
you become familiar with the various aspects of the standard Document
Ok. Now you should be all set to
write your Technical Writing Project Proposal. This is what you will
need to write up and hand in. Your proposal should
include all the sections below. Be sure to use section
headings to make your proposal easy to read. Your proposal should
be 1-2 pages long once you are finished.
Title--Create a simple working title for your project
to help your boss keep track of what you working on (for example,
Project Hydra for a project writing a guidebook about a water
Overview--Provide a general description of your project.
Rationale--Explain why this project is worth creating;
why invest your time in this project? What need will this project
serve? What problem does this project help solve/address?
use/read your document when it is finished? What do you know about this audience? What
sort of education do they have?
Format--Note whether this will be a web-based or print-based
document; if you are using some alternate format, such as an
audio or video format, please indicate the format you will be using
to complete the project; all project formats are acceptable, but
please be sure to note which one you will be using
Scope--Outline specific details of your plan including:
- project for real world
application or project for fun/fictional audience
- general section/chapter
- planned length (10-20
- terminology-what terms will
you need to define for your project?
Personnel--Will you be working alone on this project or
will you be working in a team? Team projects are an option, though
the final product of a team project should be somewhat longer/more
involved than an individual project. Feel free to give yourself a
title, like Project Supervisor or Project Director, if you like.
- Project Design--Plan
some of the basic design details of your project:
- color scheme for the project
- logo ideas for the project
you might include
- similar documents you know of
will you evaluate the success of your project?
How will you measure success? Is there an outside person, like a
boss, who can help judge the quality of your final document?
resources do you bring to the project? Do you know anything
about web page creation? Do you know how to take photographs? How
well informed are you about the topic of your project?
Needs--Will your project require any research? Will you
need to do any interviews for your project? Will you need to take
photos for your project? Will you have to learn how to use a piece
of software for the project? Is there anything else you'll need to
successfully complete your project?
Goals (instead of the typical Budgetary Needs)--What do
you hope to learn by doing the project (perhaps this is a chance
to improve your writing or web design skills)
Can't Think of a
Good Technical Writing Project?
Ideally, I want you to come up with
your own project idea because that will lead to your best work. But if
you can't figure something out, there is a basic idea that works very
well as a project. You can write A Guide to Student Life. This can be an
online or printed guide. What you want to do is write the guide for an
audience of first year students. Then, in your guide, write about issues
and topics that new students need to learn about and may not be able to
learn about from other sources. This project works well because it gives
you a chance to pass on the wisdom you've (hopefully) gained in
your years as a college student. A number of students have done this
type of project in the past, and I've then shared their guides with the
first year students in my English 101: College Writing classes.
Still Need Help?
Are you still stuck or lost?
If after giving it some thought, you just can't think of a good project
and don't want to write A Guide to Student Life, don't worry! Almost any
idea will work and together we'll find something good for you to do! If you can't
decide on a project for the moment, then just write
down a list of your ideas so far. Then bring in the list and talk
about it with Dr. Pagnucci. Usually I can help you figure out how to
make one of your ideas work for the project. I also have plenty of
projects that people from around IUP have asked for help in creating.
Any of those projects would be excellent and would make for a good
line on your resume! So don't panic. Together we'll come up
with a project you'll enjoy and that will be worth doing.