Guide readers through sequential processes with algorithms

An algorithm, often written out as a flowchart, is a logical sequence of steps for solving a problem. Examples of algorithm use include such varied items as decision charts, taxonomic keys, income tax forms, and medical treatment guidelines (Fig. 3.10).

Algorithms have an important place in biological and medical communication, and deserve to be more widely used. Once people become familiar with their use, they generally find algorithms quicker and easier to follow than narrative instructions.

Study their use in your respective discipline, and follow style guidelines. For additional help, consult Wheatley and Unwin (1972). Remember that an algorithm's strength lies in its clarity, so it must be kept free of clutter and extraneous detail.

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