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#FridayFact: Informative Headings Help Readers

#FridayFact: Informative Headings Help Readers published on 20 Comments on #FridayFact: Informative Headings Help Readers

We’ve looked at some videos that describe how headings contribute to a document. We’ve had posts on Information-Rich Signposts and Reader-Friendly Proposals. Today’s #FridayFact continues that theme with a resource that demonstrate how specific, informative headings increase readability.

This resource from the University of Minnesota shows the differences between generic category headings, descriptive headings, and informative headings. As you examine the three kinds of headings, think about how you can apply this fact to your proposal.

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InformativeHeadings

 

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Mackenzie+Knox
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Mackenzie+Knox

The different type of headings makes a lot of sense to me. Expanding on the same example of each type helped me better understand how to better cater my headings to my reader. However, I wish this article had told us when each type of heading would be most appropriate. While I see how the informative headings are most useful to a reader overall, I do not think they are necessary all of the time. I see the benefit of using only a descriptive heading sometimes, for example, the proposal assignment. I do not think it would really be necessary for our audience to have informative headings in this case.

Josh Detwiler
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Josh Detwiler

It’s more useful when you have a long list of chapters, sections, and subsections. Think about a table of contents where the chapter (e.g. Chapter 1: Graphs) usually has a topic heading, the section (e.g. 1.4 Planar Graphs) has a descriptive heading, and the subsection (e.g. 1.4.3 Euler’s Characteristic on Connected Planar Graphs) has an informative heading. It’s also not necessary to have all three kinds in a document, nor to use them consistently in sectioning. I think it’s most important to convey the necessary information to help guide the reader toward what they’re looking for. (Documentation seriously needs to get this straight…)

Faizal+Zulkifli
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Faizal+Zulkifli

I actually agree with you on this one because I thought there would be more detailed explanation on how each of the different headings can be implemented in various types of writing. From my opinion, the most suitable one to be used for the proposals would the descriptive headings because I think it is enough for the reader to understand a little bit of the topic without giving too much away.

Clement+Boateng
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Clement+Boateng

I do agree with Mackenzie on the opinion that one has to know what type of writing in order to use a heading type. The informative type of heading is better and more engaging. However, it does not have to be used everywhere. Some writings would require the use of topic headings because that is the acceptable one. for instance, when writing proposals in a technical report form, using informative headings will make it unacceptable.

Mariel+Jastrebsky
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Mariel+Jastrebsky

I think this article did a good job of using examples to explain the two different types of headings because seeing concrete examples helps with differentiation of text. I agree with Mackenzie’s comment when she said that she thinks it’s important to know when to use each type of heading because sometimes I think a descriptive heading can be too much, and a basic heading can be not enough. Knowing when to use each is just as important as having the headings.

Tripp Agnor
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Tripp Agnor

These different types of headings offer varying levels of description for headings. The general headings that just state what each section will be about are the most basic means but are not descriptive enough for professional, technical documents we are dealing with in this class. For our projects, it is better to use either the descriptive headings to give a more detailed interpretation of the headings so the reader can have a better idea of what is going to be covered in each section. Also, implementing informative headings that set up an idea with a statement, rather than just stating what each section is. This allows for the reader to easily understand what each topic is going to be about.

Rachel Cannon
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Rachel Cannon

I had never considered the distinction between descriptive headings and informative headings before. I think that the descriptive headings would be best employed for the short proposal because they describe the content of the introduction and are more informative than just topical headings. I think the same type of heading could be employed for the genre report or the informative heading. The informative heading could be more useful in the genre report because it is a longer document, and the heading would give more information about what each section addressed. Furthermore, the informative heading makes the reader’s job easier by allowing the reader to extract ideas by skimming and the purpose of the genre analysis report is to be helpful to us in our future career and something that we can look back on.

Mark+Marut
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Mark+Marut

I think it is important to flesh out what each topic heading will be. If you start out with just generic topic headings, it does not help the reader, and it will also probably make writing that section of the proposal harder, because the writing will be more general. The more specific the heading is, the easier it is to be more specific in your writing. I personally struggle with writing sections sometimes because I do not take the time to really flesh out the topic, and my sections becomes jumbled with a bunch of different ideas, and usually ideas that I will later have to take out because they do not match the purpose of my writing. Overall it was nice to see the clear definition between the different types of headings. I think for proposal writings for a project, it would be useful to use descriptive headings, but knowing the audience, and incorporating the right amount of description in each section heading is ultimately what we should strive to do.

Alexander+Tsai
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Alexander+Tsai

I can relate to you as my writing often gets jumbled up with different topics. I tend to steer off track with my writing when I don’t use headers. I believe that learning how to use descriptive headers is a great first step in organizing ideas and also allows the reader to understand the topics a little better.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Based on the example, I would have a slight preference for the descriptive headings over the informative headings in most cases, just because it seems like the descriptive headings spell out the content of the section clearer, I think. Someone that doesn’t want to or need to read the entire document can find information easier within the document with the descriptive headings. If the reader only cares about the why of something, they know that reading the Purpose section has that information, whereas seeing “Location Reduces Cost and Convenience Problems” is likely the purpose, but it’s harder to tell right off the bat.

Thomas+Ritter
Guest
Thomas+Ritter

I think the article did a good job of highlighting the different style of headings. Many people, including me have used the generic heading that does not give much description. But using more detailed headings is a vital tool that can keep the reader interested. I myself have become disinterested in readings before with basic headings. I think it is important to add just a touch of descriptiveness to the heading. But not too much, because then the reader will not take the time to read the material under the heading.

Jeremy+C.
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Jeremy+C.

I like this approach on creating headers for a piece of writing. Originally I would have gone with the non-descriptive approach however this resource has enlightened me on the strengths of informative headers. Not only do the headers provide a description for the content underneath it, it also serves as a strong hook for a reader that may be scanning through the document. I would be more likely to read a section with the heading “Woolen Mill Moves to San Marcos” than “Introduction” . Using an informative header you can capture the essence of your ideas and make your writings more relatable to the reader.

Zachary Cohen
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Zachary Cohen

I really connected with what the resource said about having informative headings. I had never really thought about it before, but headings can be pretty useless if they are not descriptive. For example, there’s not much point of adding an “introduction” heading unless you make it descriptive; it’s pretty obvious that the first section is the introduction, but what we really want to know is what is being introduced. By adding these descriptive headings with proper text hierarchy the document becomes much more informative and much easier to navigate.

Yoonjin+Kim
Guest
Yoonjin+Kim

I have not thought about headings until this post. After reading the examples, I can see why headings have important rules in professional writing environment. I only have been using generic basic ones as a type of heading without descriptive headings providing general idea about topics. For generic category headings, which is the most familiar format for me, it would fit the best for most of the topics in general but not descriptive enough for professional writing such as research published papers or keynote proposal. Descriptive and informative headings are useful in certain situations, but I think generic category headings are sufficient for some of the topics and situations.

Kelvin Prempeh
Guest
Kelvin Prempeh

Though I always use headings I never knew there were different types. This post however, explains the two different types very well and in what scenarios they work best. I’d have to agree with Josh Detwiler that its more useful when you have a long list of chapters, sections, and subsections. The examples used to explain the types of headings also worked perfectly to help understand.

Moqi+Zhang
Guest
Moqi+Zhang

This article is really helpful to me. It explains different type of heading, and use the keyword to catch my focus. I thought heading is not really important before I read this article. However, I think if there is more example of heading will be better and easier to understand.

Cassie+Bienert
Guest
Cassie+Bienert

In another class we just received feedback about a recent project where we had to give a presentation. One of the points was that our headings should be more informative so that we get an idea of what the rest of the words are saying. He said instead of “Results” put a little blurb about what the results are explain such as “Results of the __ test” or “The correlation between __ and __”. Its definitely easier for the reader to find what they are looking for more quickly. I think this is more applicable for headers that aren’t standard for every proposal. Like Mariel and Mackenzie said, there is a balance to specificity. Most proposals will have an introduction and what’s included in that is pretty standard, so I don’t think its necessary to be too specific. However, if you want to highlight something or emphasize it in your report, a header is a nice way to show the audience that this topic is significant. I think a good compromise might be a header and then subheaders.

Yibo+Xu
Guest
Yibo+Xu

Informative headings are very helpful for readers to read and have a brief idea about the proposal. This article is very helpful, it gives me three accurate heading formats which is very easy and good to use. Readers probably would not read through the whole long writing if the heading is not clear. This article gives me good formats. But just like the previous comment says, I think I might need more information about when is the best point to use each heading. A proper heading could give more effective reading.

Zachary Maners
Guest
Zachary Maners

I agree the article is helpful in distinguishing what each heading describes. I never thought about different formats of headings and what each one could entail. I think the article is a little ambiguous in describing when to use a specific heading and when not to, but as long as you can combine elements from all the different headings defined in the article, then it should be fine.

Abigail+Wasson
Guest
Abigail+Wasson

Having appropriate headings in a paper can make or break your essay. Accurately labeling the sections in a paper can make it much more feasible for someone to locate information he/she is looking for. This article does a good job describing the types of headings. While generic headings are important to highlight the sections in an essay, descriptive headings allow the reader to learn what type of information is in the essay without reading the whole thing.

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