The outline below shows the usual form for writing a description of a person in action. This approach will work for all such descriptions. A description of a person in action, analyzed in some detail follows the outline.

1. Introduction
2. Definition of process
3. Equipment needed
4. Major sequences of process
5. Body: Sequence of Person’s Activities (same as description of
operation, p. 187)


In .the introduction, writers define the process, explain the materials and the mechanisms necessary for performing the process, and list .the major steps in the process. A sample introduction to the process of layout planning follows.


Layout engineers plan the spatial elements of an industrial  plant In a process called layout planning. The four phases generally follow in sequence, but for the best results, the layout engineer may cause them to overlap in time.

The four phases are:
• Determining the location to be laid out
• Determining the overall layout
• Determining the detailed layout
• Determining the installation

Body: Sequence of a Person’s Activities

In the body, the writer describes the person’s actions in order, using one paragraph per step. Two notes on style seem appropriate. first when you write a process description, do not overdo the use of the imperative (command) voice. You are trying to describe, not order, the process. So in this type of writing it’s preferable to say, “We determine rather than “Determine . Second, try to give the·steps precise names. Notice that step’ 1 is named “Determining the relocation, a phrase that accurately describes a step. Do not give a step too concise a title, such as The Location?

Determining The Location

Determining the location for the new layout means to select the most Favorable conditions for obtaining the desired result. Determining the location does not necessarily mean to find a new site; more often, n means to decide whether to” reconfigure the current location or to move to some other available space. In a typical situation, the layout engineer must decide whether to use an available storage area or a newly acquired building

Determining The General Layout

Determining the overall layout means Recognizing the general arrangement of the area to be laid out. In this phase, the engineer works out the basic flow patterns not the product or materials in relation to the areas that have been allocated. This step allows the engineer to establish a rough idea of the general size, relationships, and configuration of each of the major areas to be laid out. Phase 2 is also called the block layout, the area allocation, or sometimes the rough layout.

Determining The Detailed Layout

Determining the detailed layout consists of locating each specific piece of machinery and equipment. In this phase, the engineer establishes the actual placement of each specific physical feature of the area to be laid out. The engineer makes detailed plans for each piece of machinery and equipment, and for aisles, storage areas, utilities, and service areas.

The engineer galss makes a detailed plan for the overall layout and for each of the departmental areas involved. The detailed Background layout is usually made of a board or sheet on which the engineer places  images of the individual machines or equipment. .

Determining The Installation

Determining;the installation means implementing’ the plans for the new space allocation. The engineer makes final plans  for installation, seeks the approval of the final plans by upper magnetometers new equipment, Andersen arranges for the necessary physical moves. The engineer does not physically ‘move the machinery but coordinates and supervises some other group, which does the actual installation.

Conclusion: ‘Optional

A conclusion is optional. If you choose to include one, you might discuss a number of topics, depending on the audience’s need, including the advantages. and disadvantages of the process.


Description is -an essential technique for technical writers. All description , ‘has common elements: the writer should define the process or mechanism. explain its function or. end goal, name its sub parts, name relevant details, arid explain its Significance. Three common types of description are describing mechanisms, describing operations, and describing people in action ..For each type of description the writer must consider the audience, select an.organizational principle, choose visual aids, and follow the usual form. Most script ions begin with an. introduction, which defines the topic and previews the sections to follow. In the body of the description, each section defines a stupor part by explaining it in detail, including its function or significance. To decide how much detail to include, writers consider. their audiences’ knowledge level and how they will use the document, In most descriptions a conclusion is optional.


models that follow describe mechanisms and processes. Based on what you know review them carefully to discover their strengths and’ weaknesses. Notice that the caliper example is really an informal memo  report  so the introduction contains materiel that differs  from the usual form.


1. Find a description of a mechanism in a manual or in a journal article. Determine its intended audience by analyzing the level of terminology. Also determine from the context the use the intended audience would make of it. Write a brief (one-page) memo to your instructor explaining your findings.

2. Write two one-paragraph descriptions of a mechanism that you know  well. If possible, use an item from your major. Otherwise, choose a common object like a kitchen utensil (measuring cups, whisk), a household tool (claw hammer, pliers), or an electronic appliance (tape deck, VCR). Write the first paragraph for a person who knows little about the mechanism and is curious; write the second for a knowledgeable person who is interested ‘in the mechanism’s advantages.

3. Either draw or photocopy a picture of a machine that you are familiar with (consumer manuals are a good source). Label all the parts that you think are significant. In class, exchange illustrations with a classmate. Interview your classmate to obtain details of the size, weight, color,’ material, as well as the use of your classmate’s machine. Spend about 15 minutes writing a short (two or three paragraphs) description of your classmate’s mechanism. After you have finished, critique each other’s paragraphs for effectiveness.

4. In class (or in small ‘groups, if your instructor’ wishes), compare a paragraph from “LayoutPlanning” (pp. 190-191) with a paragraph from “Skinfold Calipers” (pp. 194-195). How are the paragraphs organized? What is the function of the first sentence of each? Which paragraph seems more effective in conveying its message to the audience? Be prepared to make a brief presentation of yQur findings to the class.

5. Find a description of a process in a manual, a journal, or a textbook. Determine it~,intended audience by analyzing the level of terminology. Also determine from the context the use that the intended audience would make of the description. Write a brief memo explaining to your instructor whether or not the description would be suitable to assign to beginners.

6. Prior to class, find a brief (five to ten steps) set of instructions such as how to use a machine or system in the library. In class, rewrite the
instructions into a description of a person performing the process.

7. In one paragraph, describe a person performing a very common action, such as starting a car, putting on a shirt or a blouse, purchasing a ticket for a performance, or doing an exercise routine. Start with a statement of the goal or object of the action, then describe the steps the person rrlust take to complete the action.

8. Draw a flow chart, or a decision chart  of a process you know well. The process can be either a mechanism in operation or a person acting. Use a simple test or evaluation method in your field, or a simple procedure such as starting a computer. In class, exchange papers with another student and, for about 20 minutes, compose a draft that describes the process. Then interview each other to learn exact details and the goals of the steps. Revise the paper for the next class period.