FAQ

Professional Writing Process

What are the first steps in the professional writing process?

You must analyze the writing context. Before you can begin conducting research or writing, you must understand

  1. The client and their mission
  2. The goals of the project
  3. The target audience for the documents you will write 
  4. Your individual role in the project

You will find all the information you need to understand the work context on the Profwrite website, in the pages under the client in the navigation bar.

Useful links for current client, The English Department:

What are the first steps in the research process?

Research will be a collaborative endeavour with teams sharing research responsibilities. The first step is to brainstorm focus areas and resources. What will each member research? What resources are available to conduct the research? Each team member should have a research assignment that is distinct so work is not duplicated.

What are the first steps in the writing process?

Before you begin writing, members must understand their distinct writing assignment. From the collaborative research process, what exactly will you write about? It has to be distinct from what others in your group will write about.

Are technical writers responsible for document design?

Coordinators are responsible for setting design standards for the writing products. At the beginning of each phase, coordinators will distribute model documents and style guides. Technical writers are responsible for adhering to the design, style, and content guidelines set by coordinators.

Can writing teams suggest changes to the design of model documents?

Yes, if writing teams conclude that the goals of the project would be achieved with a different design, they can suggest a new design for the product. Each writing team does not have to produce documents in the same style, but they each must discuss changes with the appropriate coordinator, who will work with the team to produce a new model document. All documents produced by a team must be consistent in style, tone, and content areas. 

How do we submit our blog posts, social media posts, and printable documents for publication?

The submission process for each publishing platform will be determined by the responsible coordinator. The coordinator will decide the file type (txt, doc, pdf, etc) and mode of submission (forum, upload, email, etc.), and distribute a process and procedures document to guide you in your submission.

What is the project writing process?

The project writing process moves a project from idea to published document. The process includes the 6 professional writing job functions, with students getting exposure to different job functions depending on their role

  • Technical writers focus on analysis, research, & writing, but get exposure to design and publication through style guides and publication guidelines.
  • Project administrators are technical writers, but get additional experience in management and editing.
  • Coordinators are primarily responsible for design and publication, but must perform all job functions to help technical writers produce publishable documents.

See the Project Writing Process blog post for details on the project workflow.

Technical Writing Teams

What are the responsibilities of the project administrator?

Each team has a project administrator responsible for holding members to a schedule and confirming the consistency of the team’s submissions. The administrator should

  1. maintain communication with the team, so that each member knows what they have to contribute to the project
  2. ascertain that each team member has a specific writing task, so we don’t get duplicate work
  3. communicate with coordinators about style guides and document design issues
What do team members contribute to the project?
Each team member will be responsible for

  1. Conducting research
  2. Writing a set of documents 
  3. Making sure documents meet the requirements of coordinators
What documents will technical writers produce?

Each technical writer, including the project administrator, will be responsible for producing three documents for each of the first two phases. Writers will research a single topic and from that research produce a set of documents:

  1. a blog post,
  2. a social media post, and
  3. a printable document.

Each of the documents can contain the same or similar information, but it must be designed and written to fit the different publishing platforms.

Coordinators

What are the responsibilities of the coordinators?

The primary responsibility of the coordinators is to make sure the final documents are publishable. They make sure the documents are publishable by

  1. Creating model documents that determine the type of content and organization of the content
  2. Creating a style guide that assures consistency in style, design, and tone
  3. Researching and setting up the publishing platform
  4. Setting policies and procedures for document submission, i.e. how and in what format documents should be submitted
  5. Reviewing documents to make sure the adhere to writing, style, and design standards
  6. Sending documents back to writing teams that do not meet these standards

Professional Organization & University Course

How is writing for an organization different from writing at the university?
In an organization:

  1. The documents you write are the property of the organization. The quality of the document reflects on the writer, the group, coordinator, organization, and eventually the client. At the university, you often write for yourself and receive an individual grade.
  2. You don’t get to decide the content you will write about. You get assigned work, and have to be willing and able to write about any topic you are given.
  3. You follow organization writing and style guides. At the university, you might use MLA or APA, but organizations may have their own style guide. New style guides might be created for each client project.
How will student/employees be assessed?
The teacher, as the project manager, judges the work based on client satisfaction that the project meet the goals of the proposal and on a workplace assessment of the work of the coordinators and teams. If the client is happy with the final products, everyone starts with an A. If they are not happy, everyone starts with an F. This is business.

The project manager, no matter, what the client thinks, must assess the quality of the project, including the documents and the work of the coordinators and groups. The grade the client gives the organization will be adjusted based on the project manager’s assessment. The project manager will asses the work of each employee based on

  1. observations of the project’s development,
  2. a review of all published documents,
  3. self-assessment reports from each technical writer, and
  4. reports from coordinators and project administrators.