Unit 1 Reflections

The final assignment of Unit One was to explain to a layperson a work-related term through understandable terminology. This assignment combines different styles of technical writing, specifically writing definitions, peer-reviewing of your writing group partner`s definitions and self-editing based on feedback from a writing groupmate.

As my field of interest is medicine and cancer research, I took a decision to describe the word “metastasis”. I created close to a real situation, where a teacher assistant of biology try to explain this term to college students. From the beginning, I expected that it would be pretty easy to define a word, which I operate on a daily basis. Creating a parenthetical and sentence definitions did not cause a problem, because I used to bring a general explanation of medical and biological terms to other people, using short simple sentences. A bigger problem was creating an expanded definition of metastasis, as here you need to make information accessible for a broader public and expand the amount of information. Medico-biological jargon is full of words with Greek and Latin origin, to understand and remember which is strenuous even for young students in related disciplines. The most arduous part of this assignment was finding appropriate synonyms and analogues for specialized terms. Sometimes it can manipulate the general meaning of definition, so I should be very careful, otherwise, it could cause a misunderstanding in a non-technical reader. To make this possible I choose a strategy, where I put myself in the place of my reader and tried to rephrase professional terms. This tactic helped me to use fewer jargonisms describing the term “metastasis” and bring information to a reader in useful and understandable focus.

The process of peer-reviewing was the second challenge for me, as I have not had this experience before. It was interesting to review an explanation of professional terms from another. My partner in a writing team, Precilla, choose the term “deferred revenue”, which is wide-used in accounting, but I have not met this word before. After a thorough reading of the term, I create a general picture of assessing a colleague`s work.  I tried to point out to Precilla on parts in her work that could be improved and make her definition easy-to-read for laypersons. Finally, peer-reviewing was a really entertaining part of this assignment as you need to combine tactful criticism with encouraging tone of your feedback.

The last part of the assignment was revising the definition after colleague`s reviewing. I always try to improve my weak sides in each sphere, so it was beneficial for me to read a peer review of my colleague, Precilla Huang, about my term. After obtaining feedback from her, I was pleased that she fully understood my definition. At the same time, she indicated the shortcomings in my work with rational recommendations on how to bring more clarity and meaningfulness to it. For instance, she mentioned about the utility of glossary for medical terms, as wells as reorganization of sentences in a more readable way. It is priceless to get profitable feedback from your collaborators during a writing process, as they always designate and evaluate the quality of your work from a different lens.

Overall, I pretty appreciate the variety of tasks in Unit One. Especially, beneficial was a peer review process, as I would use it widely during my research work. I hope future assignments help me to understand nuances of technical writing and improve it.


Link to my colleague`s review: https://blogs.ubc.ca/engl301-99a-2019wa/2019/09/27/peer-review-of-metastasis/

Link to my revised definition: https://blogs.ubc.ca/engl301-99a-2019wa/wp-admin/post.php?post=63298&action=edit

Revised definition:301 ENGL Taras Shyp Revised Definition

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *