When writing a procedure, there are some basic principles you should follow. Procedural documents should have a logical flow and be easily understandable to those who will need to use them. Here are some simple tips for writing procedures:
Clearly label and explain the procedure. A simple procedural document only requires a title to describe its purpose. Something more complex might require an abstract, or short paragraph explaining the objective of the procedure.
List any necessary requirements. Some procedures may require certain equipment or materials, so it’s important to include an explanation of what’s necessary to complete all the tasks within the procedure.
Write in an easy-to-read format. Most procedures consist of a series of steps that follow a logical progression in order to accomplish a given task. These are best written with a numbered list in outline format so that users of the list can easily find the each next task as they complete the last. The outline format also allows for larger tasks to be broken up into smaller ones. More complex tasks that may have more than one outcome are best represented as a flow chart.
Use clear and concise language. Using simple terms and common language helps to avoid confusion. Regardless of how simple or complex the procedure is, it’s best to use clear and concise language. If using a flow chart format, keep steps to no more than 5 - 7 words.
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