WRITING THE SET OF INSTRUCTIONS
A clear set of instructions has an introduction and a body. After you have drafted them, you will be more certain that your instructions are clear if you field test them.
Write an Effective Introduction
The introduction orients the reader to the instructions. Although short introductions. are the norm, you may’ want to include many different bits of information, depending on your analysis of the audience’s knowledge level and of the demands of the process. You should always State the objective of the instructions for the reader.
Depending. on the audience, you may also
- Define-the process.
- Define important terms.
- List any necessary tools, materials, or conditions.
- Explain who needs to use the process.
- Explain where or when to perform the process.
A SAMPLE SET OF INSTRUCTIONS
In the following introduction, note that the writer states the objective
(“these instructions will show you “) defines terms, lists materials,
explain conditions, and previews what will appear in the body.
HOW TO PREPARE A COST OF GOODS MAFWFACTURED STATEMENT USING VISICALC ON AN IBM PERSONAL COMPUTER
Visicalc is a software program used on an ISM personal computer to perform various accounting and incantation functions. Easy to operate, Visicalc can save its user time and paperwork. These instructions will show you how to fill out a cost of goods manufactured statement using Visicalc. The ISMs are located in Room 239 of the Tech Wing along the far wall. The user must reserve time on the computer. Reservation sheets are located outside of Room 239. These instructions tell you to push the enter key. This key is located at the right side of the keyboard with a bentarro w symbol.These instructions have five parts: materials needed, loading Visicalc, entering the data, saving the data, andprinting the statement
All the materials that you need are available from the lab
attendant in Room 239, Tech Wing. Just ask .
- Formatted 51/4 in. floppy disk
- DOS PSHARE VISICALC Disk
- Applications for Cost and Managerial Disk
Write an Effective Body
The body consists of numbered steps arranged in chronological order. The numbered stews are the tasks that the reader must perform. To make each step clear, construct the steps carefully, place the information in the correct order, use imperative verbs, and do not omit articles (a, all, the) or prepositions.
To make each step clear, follow these guidelines:
- Number each step.
- Stare only one action per number (although the effect of “the action is
often included in the step).
- Explain unusual effects.
- Give important rationale,
- Refer to visual aids.
- Make suggestions for avoiding or correcting mistakes.
If safety cautions are necessary, place them before the instructions. An example of how to write the body is given below. Place Inform> ion in Useful Order If you have to present both the instruction and an explanatory comment, you must lidded in which order to place them. Generally, put the instruction first and then the explanation. however, the explanation is a safety warning. place ;[ first.
1. CAUTION: DO NOT LIGHT THE MATCH DIRECTLY OVER THE BUNSEN BURNER.
Light the match and.slowly bring it toward the top of the Bunsen burner.
Use Imperative Verbs The appropriate style for instructions is the imperative, or order-giving, form of the verb. Give the orders clearly so that there is no mistaking what you mean. Consider the difference in these two sentences: .
The first is a clear imperative statement; the second is not. The difference is the school children, which sends an ambiguous message: you “should” do it this way/but if you’re close, you’ll still be all right. Use the imperative .
Retain the Short Wends How to handle the “short” words (the articles – tile, a, and nil, – and prepositions, especially o is an issue in writing sets of instructions. Many people think their instructions will be clearer if they use as few words as possible. So they delete the short words, making the instructions sound like a telegram. Eliminating these words often makes the sentences harder to grasp because the distinction between verbs, nouns, and adjectives is blurred.Unclear Sentence If paid, give patron envelope containing tickets.
Here is the body of the set of instructions, which follows the introduction appearing on p. 210.
Entering The Data
This step will give you practice entering data in the “cells” of the spreadsheet. After you have gotten the feel of it, you can use your own spreadsheet.
Note: Use the arrow keys to move the cursor to the cell where you want to enter data Caution: Do not insert commas in the numbers you are entering. Enter the numbers exactly as they are given.
Keys to Move Cursor
- Move to cell G5 and type: 60000. Hit the enter key. Note: If you make a mistake, hit the enter key and type over.
- Moye to cell F7 and type: 40000. Hit the enter key.
- Move to cell F8 and type: 388800. Hit the enter key.
- Move to cell FII and type: 48000. Hit the enter key.
- Move to cell F15 and type: 800000. Hit the enter key.
- Move to cell F18 and type: 226000. Hit the enter ~ey.
- Move to cell G23 and .ype: 36000. Hit the enter key.
Saving The Data
- Remove the program disk from drive A.
- Insert the formatted personal disk into drive A in the same
manner in which you inserted the first two disks.
- Type: ISSCOGMT. The first three characters (/SS) make
up the command to save the data, and the last five (COGMT)
make up the name of the file. You’Can choose any word
you wish to name the file, up to eight characters.
Printing The Statement
- Make sure that the printer is on-line and ready by checking
to see :~both lights are lit on the printer.
- Move the cursor to cell A1.
- Type: IPP.