Public Writing on the Web

Multimedia

 

First and foremost, we must keep it in our mind that websites are addressed to users rather than readers. In other words, they must provide information in such a way that it is consistent with the nature of their medium, as well as makes full use of the medium’s resources. Digital capabilities are often grouped under the supportive term multimedia. The multimedia includes text, graphics, sound, video and animation. The potential of multimedia is increasingly being recognized and utilized in most areas of communication, like education, entertainment, business, etc. In fact, new fields of communication have emerged through the use of multimedia applications, such as the creative combination of educational, information and entertainment techniques that has come to be known as edutainment and infotainment. The fact that the digital medium is actually a collection of different media capabilities gives the web designer a singular task to coordinate the different media and produce, through their combination, an effective and compelling result. However, the technology for graphics, sound, video and animation is constantly changing. In this regard, a necessity arises to focus more on the text, about which we will discuss in our next blog.

INTERNET AND WORLD WIDE WEB

In our day-to-day life, we often confuse the Internet with the World Wide Web. However, they both differ to some extent. The internet includes the web, as well as it is the infrastructure level of the medium, including services such as email, etc. On the other hand, the web is the public face of the internet medium, where users access information about products and services by visiting their respective websites.

It is quite necessary to remember that the internet is just a medium and not a document type. It provides the means of transmission and exchange of information presented in different document types. For example, we can’t sent a report via email as an attachment, or post it as a portable document format (pdf) on a site. The document would still be a report, regardless of its medium of transmission. In other words, while composing it, we should follow the conventions and expectations of report writing. Microsoft word, for instance, creates documents that are generally intended to be read in printed form or hard copy, even though they have been created and maybe even sent in a digital medium.

SUBMITTING AN ARTICLE FOR PUBLICATION

SUBMITTING AN ARTICLE FOR PUBLICATION

 

While deciding to submit an article to a magazine for publication, make sure you are familiar with the topics and styles of your chosen magazine. You have a higher chance of having your article accepted if it fits with the ‘culture’ of the magazine. All magazines have details of the editor, so if you cannot find submission guidelines, contact the editor to request them. This is the editor’s job and, besides, most magazines are looking for fresh ideas and new writers. In most cases, you will be required to submit a proposal summarizing your article, and noting its significance and the types of readers it is likely to interest.

In order to familiarize yourself with the stylistic conventions of your chosen magazine, follow these steps:

1. Read carefully each article in recent issues of the magazine. Note the basic question or issue that they deal with and trace the ways that they answer it.

2. Notice the tone of the articles. Is it humorous? Serious? Technical? Chatty? This will give you a hint on what tone to give your own article.

3. Notice the use of research. Have the writers conducted primary research, such as interviewing people, or are most articles based on secondary research, the consultation of written sources? How many quotations do the articles use? How much information is paraphrased, i.e., written in the writer’s own words?

4. Notice the use of pronouns (‘I’, ‘you’, ‘we’, etc.). Are articles written mostly in an impersonal, objective style or do they rely heavily on personal comment? How does the writer refer to him/herself? Does s/he use personal pronouns?

5. Notice the leads and ties. How long and snappy are they? Do the articles rely strongly on leads to ‘bait’ the reader, or are other elements, such as pictures or quotations of famous speakers, more prominent?

6. Underline the first sentence in each paragraph. They should form a step-by-step sequence. Then note the cohesion that the writers have used: the linking words and phrases within paragraphs and the transitions from one paragraph to the next. Often the same words or ideas will be repeated in the last sentence of one paragraph and the first sentence of the next.

7.  Notice how the articles develop their theme. Is the article structured chronologically, developmentally, by alternating examples, point by point? How did the writer build the organizational structure to answer the title’s question?

8.  What techniques does the writer use to make the article both informative and appealing? E.g., does s/he use analogies, anecdotal examples, metaphors, personal stories, rhetorical questions, direct questions to the readers, etc.?

9.  Notice the title. It may have been changed by the editor; nevertheless, how does it reflect the article? Does it tease, quote, state facts? What technique does the writer use to make the reader want to read the article?

10.  Look at para-textual elements, such as visuals, pullquotes, subheads, etc. Although the editor may have produced these, you can still get an idea of the type of ‘framing’ that the magazine requires, and this will give you some tips on what types of information the editors consider important.

Aesthetics of Style

The manner in which a writer puts forth a particular thought or idea is a very important aspect of professional writing. You should choose the most effective way to communicate that idea. This can be achieved best by knowing your audience and knowing what style would appeal most to them. Your writing should strike the right chord with your readers.

Having knowledge about your audience helps you to determine the choice of language; whether to use formal, impersonal, positive, writer-focused, reader-focused, conversational, active, or passive language. Your writing style has an impact on the reader’s ability to understand your writing; it does not affect the actual content. When writers write for themselves or some acquaintance, they frequently use the pronouns I and you. This is commonly found in memos, personal letters, diaries, or in stories written by students. The target audiences are they themselves, teachers, friends, and family. Personal writing calls for a language style that expresses emotion, feelings, or opinions. In impersonal writing, the audience is distant and unknown. The writers are not present in the text, nor do they acknowledge the reader. There is no expression of personal feelings, no usage of personal pronouns, and the choice of vocabulary, and the use of passive voice lends a sense of formality to their writing.

Examples:

  • You are creating a brochure about your company. You need to create different versions of the same brochure to appeal to different target audiences, such as, shareholders, customers, retailers, employees, or business associates.
  • You are writing an article or book for school students. It will be inappropriate if you use very high and polished jargon. They will just not understand it.
  • You are writing a business letter. You cannot use an informal and conversational tone in it.

You are writing a fiction. The style should be informal and realistic. The reader should be able to identify themselves with the characters and situations.

The Writing Process

The Internet

The internet has emerged as the best source of information. There is practically nothing that you cannot find by browsing the internet. Think about any topic science, technology, medicine, engineering, sports, jobs, education, etc.  the internet has it all.

But, the information provided in the Internet differs in its accuracy, reliability, and value. There are lots of choices, but one cannot be sure if the data they are reading is accurate or not. Some sources may even be outdated and unverifiable. Unlike the conventional information sources (books, magazines, official documents, etc.), information posted in the internet does not require to be approved before it is made public.

When writing research papers, the researcher needs to evaluate the sources. He needs to make decisions about what to search, where to search, and once the relevant material is found, has to check whether it is a valid. The researcher faces difficulties in assessing the credibility of information, and it is extremely time consuming. At times, it can be frustrating. There is a vast amount of information at your disposal, but you may not find exactly what you need.

Sources of Information on the Web

Websites: Much of the information on the internet is available through websites. They vary widely in the quality of information and validity of sources that they provide.

Weblogs/Blogs: These are quite recent development in web technology. These online forums facilitate discussion and collaboration. Here, the writers post something and the readers respond to it. Blogs of prestigious journalists and public figures are more credible than other blogs.

Message boards, discussion lists, and chat rooms: These exist for all kinds of disciplines, more particularly, for universities.

Multimedia: The Internet has a huge amount of multimedia resources, which includes online broadcasts, news, images, audio files, and other interactive websites.

Categories of Information on the Web

The Free, Visible Web: It includes all the publicly mounted web pages, which are indexed by search engines. You can use a good search engine or directory to find information from this category.

The Free, Invisible Web: It includes the websites that provide their articles or information free to users. But, this information can be obtained only by going directly to their home page; search engines cannot index it. Ex.: magazines, newspapers, reference works, etc. Legal, medical, and financial databases can also be included in this category.

Paid Databases: It includes commercial databases containing scholarly journals, newspapers, court cases, etc. You need a password/or have to be a subscriber/or be a member, etc. to obtain information from this category.

Types of Search Tools

Search Engines: A search engine consists of an interface to key a query, an index of Web sites that the query is matched with, and a software program (called a spider or bot) that goes out on the Web and gets new sites for the index. Many search engines are now becoming reference sites, which provide much more than just search capability. They also have news, weather, free software, picture indexes, ratings of web sites, etc. Ex.: Google, Fast Search, Northern Light, HotBot, AltaVista, Britannica, Bartleby, etc.

Directories: Directories are an organized collection of links to websites picked out by human editors. These are much smaller than search engines. But, the credibility of the articles and sites it provides is very high. Ex.: Yahoo, Look Smart, Snap, etc.

PRIMARY RESEARCH

Primary research is that kind of research that needs us to go out and collect data. This comprises surveys, interviews, observations, and ethnographic research. Primary research is an excellent skill to acquire as it helps in a variety of settings including business, personal, and academic. To have knowledge about conducting primary research is beneficial as it can greatly supplement the secondary sources research, such as journals, magazines, or books. A good researcher knows exactly how to use and integrate both primary and secondary sources in her writing.

What is Primary Research?

Basically, primary research can be understood as the research conducted by marketers to collect original data for their own requirements. This process involves the marketer, or someone working for the marketer, designing and carrying out a research plan. Notably, primary research is usually undertaken after the researcher gains some insight into the concerned issue by collecting secondary data.

Primary research, though not used as frequently as secondary research, represents an essential part of general marketing research. Many organizations, mostly large consumer products firms, preferably spend more on primary research rather than on secondary research. Marketing researchers use various types of instruments, ranging from basic methods that record participant responses to highly advanced electronic measurement in which research participants are connected to sophisticated equipments.

The primary research market includes marketers who conduct their own research, and a large group of companies that provide their services to marketers. These companies include:

  • Full-service market research firms, which develop and carryout the full research plan for their clients.
  • Partial-service market research firms that offer expertise addressing a specific part of the research plan, like developing methods to collect data, undertaking data analysis, or locating research participants.
  • Research tools suppliers firms, which provide tools for researchers, including data collection tool, data analysis software and report presentation products.

Advantages of Primary Research

  • Primary research is designed to collect information needed by the marketer, and report it in ways that benefit the marketer. The marketing organization, by conducting their own research, identify issues specific to their own situation. For example, the information collected with secondary research may not meet the marketer’s needs, but with primary research, no such problem exists since the marketer controls the research design.
  • Primary research not only enables the marketer to focus on specific issues, but also enables the marketer to exercise a higher level of control over the collection of information. Subsequently, the marketer decides on issues, such as size of project, location of research, and time limit for completing the project.
  • Primary data collections focus on issues specific to the researcher. Due to this fact the research funds are spent efficiently.
  • Information collected by the marketer with primary research is generally not shared and is thus kept hidden from competitors. This potentially offers an advantage to the company that undertook the primary research.

Disadvantages of Primary Research

  • In comparison to secondary research, primary data seem to be quite expensive since there is a great deal of involvement of marketer and the expense in preparing and conducting research can be high.
  • Primary data collection needs the development and implementation of a research plan. From deciding to undertake a research project to having results, all these often take much longer than obtaining a secondary data.
  • Primary research is not always feasible, as some research projects are unavailable to the marketer even though they potentially offer information, which could be quite valuable. For example, it would not be convenient for a company to interview every customer visiting their store on a certain day, as doing so would need hiring a large number of researchers, resulting in an unrealistic expense.

Writing Scientific Categories

If your topic involves interpreting a scientific development or process to a non-specialist audience, simplify and analyze the topic in your own mind by brainstorming as many statements as possible under these categories:

  • Existence: How can the existence of X be shown?
  • Quantity: How large/small is X? How fast?
  • Comparison: Is X greater/less than Y? In what ways is X different from Y?
  • Correlation: Does the speed of X vary with its weight?
  • Causality: If X occurs, will Y also occur? How do we know?

Morphemes – English editing.

In linguistics, a morpheme is the smallest unit of word having a semantic meaning. They can’t be broken down any further into recognizable or meaningful parts. A morpheme is composed by a phoneme in spoken language and a grapheme in written language. Broadly, morpheme is categorized into two classes.
(i) Free Morpheme
(ii) Bound morpheme.
A free morpheme can stand alone as an independent word in a phrase while bound morpheme depends on other morphemes to form a meaningful word. For instance, Unsuccessful – This word consists of un+ success+ ful. Here, ‘un-’ and ‘-ful’ are bound morpheme where ‘success’ is a free morpheme. ‘un-’ and ‘-ful’ are affixes.
Bound morpheme generally tend to affixes i.e. prefixes and suffixes. Moreover, the morphemes in which affix is attached is called base or stem morpheme. A base morpheme can be both i.e. free and bound morphemes. Some words are free morphemes but in contraction, it becomes bound morphemes.
For instance, I will go to school. Here, ‘will is a free morpheme.
I’ll go to school. Here, ‘ll’ is the contraction of ‘will’. But it is bound morphemes.
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Deictic – English editing.

Deictic is a word specifying identity or temporal location from the perspective of a speaker or listener in the context in which the communication occurs. It is a word (such as this, that, these, those, now, then) that points to the time, place, or situation in which the speaker is speaking. Words are deictic if their semantic meaning is fixed but their denotational meaning varies depending on time and/or place. Words or phrases that require contextual information to convey any meaning are deictic.
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Diphthongs – English editing.

Diphthongs are single vowel sounds that begin in one vowel position and end in another vowel or glide positions.
• (/oy/) – a tense mid back (rounded) vowel found in words like “boy” and “soy.”
• (/aw/)- a tense low back vowel found in words like “cow” and “blouse.” In some dialects of American English, it begins with a low front vowel and transcribed as /æu/.
• (/ay/) – a tense low back vowel found in words like “Aye” and “my”)
• a – a tense low vowel that varies by dialect.
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