Objectivity in Technical Writing: Why It Matters

What is objectivity? How to keep technical writing objective? How to maintain objectivity? These are some of the questions to which we will find answers. Objectivity in writing means that the author or writer explains or discusses a topic without subjectivity. It is an unbiased mindset.

Subjectivity in writing refers to the text that contains the personal opinion of the writer, the use of I, We and their feelings. Therefore, it can be said that objectivity is to keep subjectivity away from writing.

An example of objectivity is “SnagIt is an effective and useful screen capture tool.” If this sentence were written in a subjective format, it would be something like this; “I find SnagIt a very useful tool for screenshots”. According to many experts such as Ugur Akinci, Ph.D. “very” kills the objectivity of a sentence and it can be much better without this word.

Importance of objectivity in technical writing

Technical writing is about explaining or describing an objective fact, information, or procedure. It is not concerned with human emotions, feelings, or expressions; technical writing is likely to be said to be objective.

There are three categories in technical writing, user documentation, software documentation, and technology marketing documentation. These categories involve products, applications, software, and machines and writers, specifically technical writers cannot pronounce their personal experiences and emotions for them. Writers must be impersonal and objective to convey the product effectively.

For example, I have an IP phone configured to describe its functions and procedures; I’d rather use an instructional voice for users than tell them how to use it. Users want to see what the ‘action’ is and not the ‘actor’ because the position they are in, they are actors themselves. You don’t need to see a competitor sitting next to you.

The interest of the users in the documents is the reason for the technical writing, which in a fair and impartial manner must be objective and clear. The more objective a whitepaper is, the easier it will be to follow the words. Objectivity also changes with the level of users, ie lay, experienced and technical along with the three categories of technical writing.

Highlights of objectivity

The following features can help you maintain objectivity in documents.

  1. Objectivity results in the absence of jargon and useless words.
  2. Objectivity allows you to differentiate between the words used in the whitepaper, the end user and the marketing documents.
  3. Show the product upfront, rather than the writer.
  4. Objectivity comes with the passive voice
  5. Active Voice is hardly used

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