RE: Numbering the headings. What is the point?

Subject: RE: Numbering the headings. What is the point?
From: "Murrell, Thomas" <TMurrell -at- alldata -dot- net>
To: TECHWR-L <TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>, "'Smith, Martin'" <smithmr -at- encorp -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 1999 08:18:12 -0400

Martin Smith writes:

> In regards to the appropriateness of numbered heads Tom Murrell writes, in
> part: ...Does anyone have actual analytical data to support their
> position,
> though? Has anyone actually done an unbiased study? If not, I nominate
> this
> question as another one for our wish list to the academics.
>
> Forgive me, but I am not sure that I would trust an "academic" with a
> degree
> in "Two Spaces After Periods" with special emphasis in "Font Selection"
> from
> STC U to decide whether or not numbered heads are really of any value in
> highly technical, procedural, military documentation.
>
If I may clarify, I was neither asking for some academic to make a decision
as to what was the correct approach to take in all cases, nor was I
downplaying the importance of anecdotal data. I feel that a study that
produced data on what circumstances, if any, favored numbered heads and what
circumstances did not would allow me, as writer, better information on which
to decide how to structure my documents.

Even as attached as I am to my own prejudices, I would like to think that if
I were presented with objective data objectively arrived at I would consider
how my work serves my audiences despite my prejudices. I would hope that
none of us is so set in our ways that we would not be open to rational
discourse or data that point to better ways of serving our customers', and
audiences', needs. Serving those needs is, after all, what we all seek to
do.

I would hate to think that anyone would reject good data out of hand because
it didn't support our pre-conceived notions.

Tom Murrell




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