Many a high school student has muddled through a book report in a single caffeine-fueled sitting, but successful research term papers or quarterly progress reports require planning. In technical writing, a prototype might be a full table of contents (with summaries for each major section) and one or two complete chapters. If conducting a survey is an important part of your project, your prototype might be a complete survey of a small number of subjects, designed to iron out the kinks in the questions you want to ask. The prototype is a means to an end; its purpose is to identify the flaws in your work, early in the process, while you still have time to do something about it —Prototypes in Technical Writing: What are They?
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