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The Mayfield Handbook of Technical & Scientific Writing
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Section 1.1.1


Cultivate accuracy in your writing. Accuracy, which is the careful conforming to truth or fact, has three main aspects:

  1. Document accuracy refers to the proper coverage of your topics in appropriate detail. Often an accurate document needs to focus clearly on a problem. Document accuracy is generally cultivated by a clear problem statement and by a preliminary outline. These writing tools help you focus your writing effort by reducing your data in a way that solves a theoretical or practical problem.
  2. Stylistic accuracy concerns the careful use of language to express meaning. Accurate language requires the careful use of paragraph and sentence structure and word choice to describe and analyze your topics effectively. As a writer, you gain command of accuracy by studying the elements of style and by learning to apply those elements to your drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading. Stylistic accuracy is also a matter of of using words precisely.
  3. Technical accuracy requires stylistic accuracy but is not based solely on it. The effective document in science and technology must be grounded in a technically accurate understanding and representation of the subject. Technical accuracy depends on the writer's conceptual mastery of the subject and its vocabulary, as well as on his or her ability to analyze and shape data with a minimum of distortion. In science and technology, enormous creative energy is given to mastering this technical aspect of subject development.

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