Goodwill in Technical and Scientific Writing


Writers often overlook the importance of creating goodwill in their documents. In other words, ensuring that when your readers finish reading your document, they are satisfied with the content of the document and that it’s met their needs. The goal for most readers is to quickly and easily get through the document with a minimum amount of stress and hassle. So, as writers, how do we ensure a readable, usable document that creates goodwill? The first thing we have to do is to ensure that we understand our audience and their needs: why they’re reading the document and what they hope to get out of it. In other words, we have to create reader-, not writer-, centered documents. For any document you write, you should be able to list several attributes and needs of your readers and then explain what role these attributes play in terms of how you write the document and what strategy you’re going to use to meet their needs. For instance, how will you organize the document, what language choices will you make, how will you prioritize information? Asking yourself these questions in the prewriting stages will help you create a document that creates goodwill because readers will have little difficulty reading and understanding it.