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Subject Guides

Skills Guides

Create & communicate


Getting your message across...

This is just one possible workflow to consider. Follow the tracks and click the stations for context and sources of help.

We're going to need tools, so what will be the right tools for the job? What, for that matter, is the job? The job should hopefully inform the choice of tools... As will how we intend to do the job: are we working alone, or is this a group effort? In which case we'll probably want to use collaborative tools.
What we're making will determine what it should look like. What size should our document be? What aspect? Do we need lots of white space for people to write "Very good!", "100%!" etc. Do we need any branding or templates?
If we want a stylish document, we should style it up with styles. These will allow us to navigate our document, make quick changes to its appearance, and automatically generate tables of contents.
Don't rush into writing your document. Think about the structure you'll need it to have.
Who are you writing for? An academic audience? The public? Children? This will affect your approach...
What's the actual focus or your piece of work? Don't get distracted. Centre in on what it is you really need to communicate.
What colours will you use, if any? Avoid colours that clash and make your work hard to read.
Your audience will determine your writing style. You may need to avoid jargon and use simple, informal language if pitching at a public audience. You might have to take a more formal tone if writing an academic paper or a business presentation.
You're going to need to support your position with some sort of evidence. What data do you have to back up your point?
How will you present any data? Tables? Charts? Try to come up with some clear, meaningful visualisations.
Images might brighten up your work. Consider whether they fit the voice and tone you've chosen. Make sure you're using images that are of an appropriate size for what you're creating. And don't fall foul of copyright!
Copyright is an important consideration, especially if you're using other people's images or sounds.
You'll need to support any arguments you make, so you'll need to do some reading up on your topic.
Having found some information, you'll need to manage it and critically digest it.
It's important to reference what you find and give credit where it's due. Nobody likes a plagiarist.
It's no good if people can't read what you've written. Use a big enough font that isn't too fussy. Have a good contrast of colours. Use line-spacing and margins to reduce the density of any text.
It's not just a question of producing something that's attractive; it's about producing something that's easy to read and that doesn't give the audience too much of a headache.
It's time to pull everything together. And that's sometimes easier said than done. Proper planning should help you. If you're working collaboratively, there may be a whole extra set of obstacles to consider.
Getting something written is a great achievement, but it may not be the end of the story. If you're giving a presentation, there's obviously the whole presenting bit to come next, and that requires its own set of skills. But even a written document needs to be submitted. You'll need to give yourself time to do that...
  • Choose\ntools
  • Outline\nstructure
  • Audience
  • Focus
  • Voice\n& tone
  • Sources of\ninformation
  • Synthesis
  • Delivery
  • Presentation
  • Legibility
  • Images
  • Colour\nscheme
  • Styles
  • Document\nsetup
  • Data
  • Diagrams
  • Copyright
  • Collection &\ncollation
  • Referencing