ASSIGNMENT 5: Classification

ASSIGNMENT 5: Classification


A key element of technical writing is effectively organizing (often dividing or grouping) chunks of related information in a logical and approachable way.

Rather than use topics like plant or animal species, use items that you actually own for your classification of 400-600 words.

For example, you could classify all of your sweaters—those that are cotton, those that are made from acrylic. Those that are made from wool could be broken down further into cashmere and angora. Please do not use this example for your own classification!

And rather than trying to work out a classification for every book you own, just focus on those on the bottom shelf of the bookcase.

As you are preparing your classification, be mindful of the following:

Formatting counts! This assignment marks a turning point because now we are really starting to care about the way our documents look. Technical documents should look pleasing to eye at first glance. Their appearance should be consistent and clean.  Nothing is more off-putting than a giant block of single-spaced text! Headings are a key component to this assignment. Make sure you have studied their use both in the sample classifications and in the pages listed on the assignment sheet.

Classifications are deceptively difficult. I’ve seen many go awry because they fail to be “complete” or “exclusive,” terms your textbook defines. (Be sure to read the section on this in the back portion of your book. The page number should be on the assignment sheet here in Content.) And, really, it is the issue of completeness that causes the most difficulty. For example, I had a student try to classify types of books. It went badly very quickly. Her discussion of non-fiction books included only autobiography, biography, and history. What about how-to books? Travel guides? Encyclopedias? These, among many others, are non-fiction, too. Another student tried to classify famous soccer players by their style of play. It, too, broke down fairly early on. Why? “Famous” is a subjective term. Who is famous to me may not be famous to you. This was a problem because the student failed to include two players who, at the time, would likely be most well-known (famous) to American readers: (1) David Beckham and (2) Landon Donovan.

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You should not need to do additional research for this assignment.

Ten points will be deducted from your grade if you do not choose a topic that fits the parameters above.


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Grammar and coherence 5 points
Title 1 point
Completeness, Exclusivity, and Appropriateness 15 points
Organization 5 points
Use of Specific Detail 10 points
Document Design (headings and subheadings) 10 points
Introduction and Conclusion 4 points
TOTAL: 50 points

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