Thursday, May 14, 2009

Dress rehearsal

As part of the editing process for the report I'm writing, the draft was forwarded to a pharmacist who has not been privy to the study, presentation or report to date. When his edits came back, I was tempted to dismiss many of them for this very reason--and then I realized that if he had these questions, comments and concerns as he was reading, so would the report's intended audience.

That realization caused me to look back at some sections of the report with a fresh eye. I, and the people who read and commented on earlier drafts, were so close to the information that we made some assumptions we shouldn't have. For example, because we've been knee-deep in the process for months now, we took it for granted that the reader would know what factor analysis is. In this specific case, it was an easy fix. I reworded the first mention of factor analysis to include a simple definition, giving the reader just enough information to understand the concept without bogging them down with unnecessary, overly-technical statistical jargon. I had to work harder to address some of his other questions and comments, but the end result is a stronger draft that will be an easier read.

His edits served as a friendly reminder of who I was writing for.

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