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Quiz for Chapter 2 and Suggested Answers
1. How can a technical writer go about profiling readers? By using the Five-W and H
a. Who are the readers?
b. What do they need?
c. Where will they be reading?
d. When will they be reading?
e. Why are they reading?
f. How are they reading?
2. What do we mean when we say that readers are wholly responsible for reading your
texts? (6 points)
We mean that we as writers have to make sure that our documents are as clear as
possible. We won’t be standing over our readers’ shoulders explaining what we “meant to
say,” so we have to make sure that we get things right the first time.
3. Who are the four audiences for whom we write? List them and describe them.
a. Primary readers: These are the action-takers, the people who will be reading the
document and then doing something as a result.
b. Secondary readers: These are the people who advise the primary readers. If the
primary readers have to make a decision, then they might consult the secondary
c. Tertiary readers: These are the evaluators. They will be evaluating your proposal
and your company and even to a certain indirect extent, you. It may be that these
readers will never read your document, but you still want to keep them in mind as
d. Gatekeepers: These are the supervisors at your company who will decide whether
your document goes out at all. Though a document isn’t really written directly for
them, you still need to keep them in mind so that it can meet their requirements.
4. List and describe the four contexts of use for readers.
a. Physical context––the places and instances where the actual readers will read the
b. Economic context––the money issues that affect how the document will be
interpreted and the action that can be taken
c. Political context––the micro and macro political trends that guide readers
d. Ethical context––the personal, social, and environmental issues that affect the
5. Consider the instructions for putting together a toy train. What are the four contexts of
use for this particular document?
a. Physical context––Readers will probably read the document while they’re putting
the train together, so it has to be easy to use. For example, it should be able to be
left open so that the readers’ hands are free. The type and the diagrams should be
big enough so that readers can read them without holding the instructions as
closely as they would hold a book.
b. Economic context––Readers have already bought the toy, so they’re going to want
to be able to put the toy together easily. They might be more inclined to be
frustrated if they’ve already spent their money; therefore, we’ve got to make sure
that it’s easy to use. We don’t want anyone getting so frustrated that he or she
brings the box back to the store.
c. Political context––Politics, at least in the larger sense, don’t really affect this
situation. The main thing that we’re trying to do is make sure the customer is
d. Ethical context––The ethical context is ours as the writers. We’ve already taken
someone’s money; therefore, we have to do everything we can to make them