Technical report writing course

  About the course
Our one-day report writing course is for those who are unsure about how to write, design and structure typical technical reports but are expected to write such reports in their employment. There are no public courses. It is only available on request.

Courses are presented by Dr Annabel O'Connor Dr Geoffrey Marnell.

Dr O'Connor has a PhD in physical chemistry from the University of Melbourne and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at CSIRO. She has published numerous academic papers and popular science articles and has worked for scientific journals as an editor. She has also worked as a technical writer.

Dr Geoffrey Marnell is the founder of Abelard Consulting and the company's Principal Consultant. He taught Technical Writing and Editing in the English Department at the University of Melbourne for many years, and is accredited by IPEd (the Institute of Professional Editors). Geoffrey has more than 30 years experience as a technical writer, recruiter of technical writers, documentation consultant, documentation project manager and educator. His is the author of scores of papers and five books. His latest books are Correct English: Reality or Myth? and Essays on Technical Writing.

  Where held

The course can be held anywhere in Australia, New Zealand or South-East Asia, on-site or off-site.

  Topics covered
The curriculum shown at the right is a sample curriculum. The actual curriculum delivered will be tailored to the client's specific requirements.


Call 03 9574 6144, send an email to or vist the ATTAR website.

  What participants receive
Each participant receives:

  • training from a professional technical writer
  • a 160-page reference guide and
  • a certificate.

  Typical curriculum
1: Fundamental principles of good factual writing
The principle of communicative efficacy; characteristics of sound factual writing; avoiding ambiguity, vagueness and verbosity; audience-centric writing; writing for mixed audiences; techniques for controlling vocabulary
Practical exercise
2: Design and usability
Document design; page design; content design; creating and using templates; designing for structure; font choice and its effect on comprehension; usability issues
3: Getting started: Strategies, tips and tricks
The typical writing process; planning a writing project; gathering your thoughts; overcoming writer's block; tackling the first draft
4: Technical reports: Structures and content
Classifying reports; sections in technical reports; writing an effective executive summary; citation systems; reference lists and bibliographies; white papers; responding to RFTs; tables; figures
5: Quality assurance
Why review; types of review
6: Copy-editing
Correcting issues of language and readability (such as overly long sentences, conceptually dense sentences, noun clustering and nominalisation)
Practical exercise
7: Structural editing
Correcting issues of structure (such as poor sequencing, balance, relevance and cohesion), design, usability, logic (such as weak reasoning and logical fallacies), table use and figure use
Practical exercise
8: Technical review
Checking content, messaging, legals, risks etc.
9: Pre-publication tasks
Proof-reading, pagination; automation checks
10: Consolidation exercise
Review a poorly drafted technical document

[Table of Contents from the course handbook]