Writing Documentation

In a previous post, I addressed some research techniques and questions to ask while researching. Today, I want to talk about writing up what you found.

I strongly recommend you use an outline. That’s the best way to ensure that your flow makes sense, that your sections are organized, and that you don’t leave out anything important. An outline is simply a plan. Here’s one example of an outline for a typical SCA object entry:

1) Introduction
2) Overview of historic/social context
3) Overview of the particular craft at that place and time (methods and materials)
4) Picture and explanation of extant examples / period writing / archeological evidence.
5) Your recreation, including a discussion of any differences in methods and materials.
6) (If your object is useful) how it performs. How it compares to the original.
7) Summary. What you learned. What you would do differently. What you will do in your next project on this topic.
8) Bibliography and sources

You may use a different outline, especially if you’re doing a pure research paper. That’s perfectly fine. Just make sure it follows in a logical manner. If your paper is long (over 10 pages) you’ll probably want a summary at the beginning, for those readers without the time or patience to absorb it all.

Be careful about running off on tangents. For us research junkies, it’s easy to go down rabbitholes, but a line or two (and maybe a suggestion about good sources) is enough. The more you stay focused on your actual topic, the better. One way to deal with irresistible topics is to include an appendix.

When you’ve been working on it for a while, take a break. Come back to it with fresh eyes.

Run a spell/grammar checker.

Ask your friends to proof-read it for you. It’s amazing the things you’ll miss… your brain fills in what you THINK should be there.

When you’ve got it polished up, share it! Compete, display, or just post it on your blog. We want to see what you’re excited about!

Advertisements

About Sharon Rose, LAc, MSAOM

Acupuncturist, medical massage therapist, historian, scientist, road-tripper, geek, LARP & board gamer, food fan, Roman fanatic, belly-laugher.
This entry was posted in Research & Documentation. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Writing Documentation

  1. Pingback: Basic Documentation | ROMANA SUM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s