Writing Effectively at The World Health Organization

Precision examples

Effective writing at WHO includes quantifiable information when it is available. If a numeric value can help your reader understand the finding, then you should include it and explain its significance. However, you must choose your data carefully so that you deliver specific information without overwhelming your reader with detail.

Precision helps you convey your message succinctly, by clarifying your ideas, points and arguments. Precise data gives your readers clear information.

We noted earlier that vague qualifiers (most, few, significant) are problematic because they are open to interpretation. The meaning the reader derives could vary widely, depending on who that reader is. Consider some of the possible interpretations of these phrases by the readers identified in each example. Decide for yourself how you would interpret the phrase, then estimate what others might think. There are no right or wrong answers, only interpretations; that is the problem with lack of precision!

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