The Essentials of Technical Communication

by ;
Edition: 5th
Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 2020-11-06
Publisher(s): Oxford University Press
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In today's complex workplace, no one wants to read what you write. The Essentials of Technical Communication, Fifth Edition, was developed with this principle in mind. The respected author team continues to provide students with accessible and comprehensive instructions for planning, drafting, and revising technical documents that are clear and concise. Divided into two flexible parts--Principles and Applications--the text lays a strong foundation in the rhetoric principles before examining the principle types of workplace documents with checklists for use in preparing them.

Author Biography

Elizabeth Tebeaux is Professor Emerita of English at Texas A&M University and has taught technical and practices technical writing for close to forty years.

Sam Dragga is Professor Emeritus of English at Texas Tech University. From 2016 to 2020, he served as editor of the quarterly research journal of the Society for Technical Communication.

Table of Contents


Part One: Principles

1. Characteristics of Writing at Work
2. Writing for Your Readers
3. Writing Ethically
4. Achieving a Readable Style
5. Designing Documents
6. Designing Illustrations

Part Two: Applications

7. E-mails, Texts, Memos, and Letters
8. Technical Reports
9. Proposals and Progress Reports
10. Instructions, Procedures, and Policies
11. Oral Reports
12. R?sum?s and Job Applications

Appendix A: Brief Guide to Grammar, Punctuation, and Usage
Appendix B: Using Sources of Information
Appendix C: Report for Study and Analysis

Table of Contents
Detailed Contents


Part One: Principles

1. Characteristics of Writing at Work
Writing at Work versus Writing at School
Requires acute awareness of security and legal liability
Requires awareness that documents may be read by unknown readers
Achieves job goals
Addresses a variety of readers who have different perspectives
Requires a variety of written documents
The Foundations of Effective Writing at Work
The Qualities of Good Technical Writing

2. Writing for Your Readers
Understand Your Readers-The Heart of the Planning Process
Keep in mind that business readers want answers now
Determine your readers and their perspectives
Determine your purpose
Understand your role as a writer
Plan the content
Anticipate the context in which your writing will be received
The Basic Parts of the Composing Process
Analyzing the writing situation-purpose, readers, and context
Choosing/discovering information
Arranging information

3. Writing Ethically
Your Professional Obligations
Codes of Conduct and Standards of Practice
Recognizing Unethical Communication
Plagiarism and theft of intellectual property
Deliberately imprecise or ambiguous language
Manipulation of numerical information
Use of misleading illustrations
Promotion of prejudice
Failing to make information accessible
Uncritical use of information
Writing Collbaoratively
The team leader
Requirements of team leaders
Requirements of team members
Managing Unethical Situations

4. Achieving a Readable Style
The Paragraph
Examples for study
Basic Principles of Effective Style
Determine your readers' knowledge of the subject
Determine whether a particular style will be expected
Adjust the style to the readers, the purpose, and the context
Keys to Building Effective Sentences
Watch sentence length
Keep subjects and verbs close together
Avoid pompous language; write to express, not to impress
Avoid excessive use of is/are verb forms
Use active voice for clarity
Word Choice
Squeaky Clean Prose

5. Designing Documents
Understanding the Basics of Document Design
Determine which decisions are yours to make
Choose a design that fits your situation
Plan your design from the beginning
Make your design accessible
Reveal your design to your readers
Keep your design consistent
Designing Effective Pages and Screens
Use blank space to frame and group information
Choose a type design that is legible
Space the lines of text for easy reading
Adjust the line length to the size of the page or screen
Use a ragged right margin
Position words and illustrations in a complementary relationship
Helping Readers Locate Information
Use frequent headings
Compose descriptive headings
Design distinctive headings
Use page numbers and headers or footers
Testing Your Design

6. Designing Illustrations
Creating Illustrations
Bar and column graphs
Circle graphs
Line graphs
Organization charts
Flow charts
Project schedule charts
Video Clips
Designing Illustrations Ethically
Testing Your Illustrations

Part Two: Applications

7. E-mails, Texts, Memos, and Letters
E-mail and Text Messages
Memos and Letters
Guidelines for Effective Correspondence
Appropriate Tone in E-mails, Texts, Memos, and Letters
Guidelines for Dealing with Tone
Writing for Social Media
Planning and Writing Correspondence

8. Technical Reports
Kinds of Reports
Report Categories-Informal and Formal
Informal Report Headings
Subject line
Action required
Distribution list

Parts of an Informal Technical Report
Developing Reports
Elements of Formal Reports
Prefatory elements
Abstracts and summaries
Discussion, or body of the report
Topical arrangement
Chronological arrangement
Letter Reports
Example Report for Study

9. Proposals and Progress Reports
The context of proposal development
Effective argument in proposal development
Standard sections of proposals
Project description (technical proposal)
Personnel (management proposal)
Budget (cost proposal)
Progress Reports
Structure of progress reports
Structure by work performed
Structure by chronological order
Structure by main project goals
Online submission of progress reports
Style and Tone of Proposals and Progress Reports

10. Instructions, Procedures, and Policies
Instructions versus Procedures
Critical Role of Instructions and Procedures in the Workplace
Planning Instructions and Procedures
Structure and Organization
Theory governing the procedure or instruction
Warnings, cautions, hazards, and notes regarding safety or quality
Conditions under which the task should be performed
Name of each step
Online Instructions
Video Instructions
Testing Your Instructions

11. Oral Reports
Understanding the Speaking-Writing Relationship
Analyzing the Audience
Determining the Goal of Your Presentation
Choosing and Shaping Content
Analyzing the Context
Choosing the Organization
Choosing an Appropriate Speaking Style
Designing the Slides to Enhance Your Purpose and Your Meaning
Questions for Planning Your Presentation
Speaking to International Audiences
Designing Each Segment
Choose an interesting title
Develop your presentation around three main divisions
Focus the introduction
Organize the body
Fortify the conclusion
Choosing an Effective Delivery Style
Techniques to Enhance Audience Comprehension
Designing and Presenting the Poster Presentation
Designing and Presenting the Scripted Presentation
Organizing the scripted presentation
Writing the script
Practicing the presentation

12. R?sum?s and Job Applications
The Correspondence of the Job Search
Prepare your Application for AI Screening
Review your Social Media Profile
Letter of application
The r?sum?
Chronological r?sum?s
Functional r?sum?s
Follow-up letters
No answer
After an interview
After being refused a job
Accepting or refusing a job
Your Social Media Profile
The interview
Before and after the interview

Appendix A: Brief Guide to Grammar, Punctuation, and Usage
Appendix B: Using Sources of Information
Appendix C: Report for Study and Analysis

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