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Technical Writing Tip of the Month - Key Elements of a Good Document

Technical Writing Tip of the Month 

Technical Writing - what makes a good document?

by John Lafferty

Read Time: 2 minutes

A good document is one that gives a clear message which all of the intended readers can easily understand.

Key elements of a Technical Document:

• The document must convey the most important message and direct the reader to any relevant detail. Remember, the most important message will be defined by the actions that you want the readers to take upon reading the document.

• In order to readily convey the message to the reader, the document must contain a summary that is a microcosm of the document as a whole.

• The introduction must explain why the reader is being asked to read the document.

• The document should be self-explanatory i.e. the reader should be able to understand it without needing to read anything else.

• The message should be conveyed using the minimum number of words; good use of graphics is essential for this.

• The document should hold the reader’s attention and consistently meet their expectations without any surprises.

• It almost goes without saying; that the document should be well structured, grammatically correct and free from typos.


If you need help with achieving the above, why not come along to one of our Technical Writing Skills training courses. To inquire about one of our in-house courses or to book a place at one of our public courses simply log on to

John Lafferty - Tutor

John Lafferty is Technical Writing Skills course tutor at SQT Training Ltd. He also delivers courses in areas such as Process Validation, Software Validation and Risk Management for Medical Devices. John runs a Quality Management Consultancy, Northridge Quality and Validation Services, specialising in the area of Medical Device and Pharmaceutical Quality Systems.


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