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Master of Arts in Professional and Technical Writing

Reviewing the Portfolio

By this point, you have a complete and polished PWP. Congratulations! To reward yourself for all of your hard work, take a step back and review your PWP from a distanced viewpoint. “From a distanced viewpoint” is a good phrase to introduce this step of the PWP process. So far you have probably been viewing your PWP from a very close perspective, focusing on your content and its audience. Now it is time to see what your PWP looks like from a different angle.

Note: Letting go of the narrow focus required so far in this process may be difficult. Consider taking a few days to let your PWP cool down by not looking at it or thinking about it. This should help you to view it later with a new perspective.

From this distanced angle, look at your PWP as though you were seeing it for the first time. Think about the following questions. If you were viewing it for the first time, what would be your first impression? What would you think about the content choices? What would the inside materials communicate? Does anything (positive or negative) stand out? Read through every page of your PWP and note all of your thoughts. In the end, you will have a general impression similar to what another outside reader would have.

But do not stop here. Go ahead and find one or more outside reader(s) to review your PWP. When possible, select readers who are similar to your PWP’s intended audience. Encourage them to be objective and honest in their opinions. Give serious consideration and appropriate weight to your outside readers’ advice and impressions, but if you should disagree with them, go with your instincts. Remember that only you can have a complete understanding of the context and purpose of your PWP. You must be comfortable with and confident in your PWP. If you are insecure with your PWP, it will show during your presentation of it. This should never happen.

This first review of your completed PWP should not be the last. Your PWP will benefit most if you periodically come back to review it. A periodic review allows you to keep the PWP up to date. Over time, you will probably produce new writing samples that might be better suited for your PWP than the PWP’s current selection. In addition, periodic review ensures that you will be able to see the PWP from a distanced viewpoint. Even in periodic review you should seek input from outside readers. If you have been able to add new materials, you will need to test the new content and organization. An outside reader will be able tell you if your new version of the PWP is still effective.

The act of reviewing has a two-fold purpose. First, as we have seen, it helps you to judge the effectiveness of your PWP. Second, it increases your familiarity with the content, and it increases your confidence for the presentation of the PWP.

If you have followed all of the advice and have completed each step so far, you should have a realistic perspective on what response your PWP will generate from your audience. You should also be secure in your strategy for the presentation. Step Seven discusses the important factors of your PWP presentation and is the last step required in the PWP process.

Updated 11.8.2008