Objectivity in Technical Writing – Why It’s Important

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

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

Example of objectivity is “SnagIt is an effective and useful screen capturing tool”. If this sentence was to be written in a subjective format, it would be something like this; “I find SnagIt a very useful tool for screen capturing”. According to many experts like Ugur Akinci, Ph.D. “very” kills the objectivity of a sentence and that 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 does not deal with human emotions, sentiments, or expressions; it would be likely to say that technical writing is 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. The writers have to be impersonal and objective in order to convey the product effectively.

For example, I have an IP phone set to describe its features and procedures; I should rather use an instructional voice for the users than telling them how I use it. Users want to see what is the ‘action’ and not the ‘actor’ because the position where they stand, they are actors themselves. They do not need to see a competitor sitting next to them.

Users’ interest in the documents is the motive behind technical writing, which fairly and impartially should be objective and clear. The more objective is a technical document, the more it is easy to follow the words. Objectivity also changes with the level of users, i.e. layman, experienced, and technical along with the three categories of technical writing.

Prominent Features of Objectivity

The following features can help you maintain objectivity in the documents.

  1. Objectivity results in no jargon and useless words
  2. Objectivity allows to differentiate between the words used in technical document, end-user, and marketing documents
  3. It shows the product upfront, instead of the writer
  4. Objectivity comes with Passive Voice
  5. Active Voice is used barely


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