Do you use a questionnaire to gather information?

Subject: Do you use a questionnaire to gather information?
From: Debbie Warren <dwarren -at- DTECHS -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 15:32:23 -0600

Many thanks for all the comments and advice to my question. I read each one
very carefully.

In summary, creating a questionnaire to gather information from SMEs is a
terrible idea. Nothing beats meeting with someone face-to-face and "playing
dumb" as someone just posted. Interviewing is a big part of being a
technical writer.

"Play dumb" I'm going to make a sticky note because I usually pretend to
know everything. Just kidding.

I can use the questions in my interview to get detailed information. The
functional specs, drawings, etc... usually leave out the step-by-step
installation information. They tend to be way too general in that area.

I create user guides and installation manuals. I take the software and run
with it on my own. It's the hardware area that I find challenging to figure
out exactly what the person needs to know. In my original post, I said I was
bad at not interviewing the engineer before starting the rough draft, I
meant it.

Are you shocked? In the future, I will refrain from using the word 'bad'
because some will always think of me as being bad at everything. (A kind
sole pointed this out to me in a very long reply.) I'm not. I'm just an
honest person who knows her strengths and weaknesses.

I just need to motivate myself. I love learning about software. Hardware is
a different story. The good news is that the company is moving their
business towards software products.

Below were a few suggestions that I might try.

-Ask my marketing manager about the product. Although, he's usually in the
dark too until the last minute because of his busy schedule.

-Go to product development meetings.

-Bring food to the interview.

I know...I know... this isn't rocket science. Thanks for reading.

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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