The Essentials of Technical Communication

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-11-16
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
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The Essentials of Technical Communication clearly and concisely highlights the basic rhetorical guidelines that will help you successfully get your message across in today's workplace. This brief text incorporates a wealth of real-world documents and scenarios to help you understand key communication principles (Chapters 1-6) and then apply those principles to the most common types of professional documents, including e-mails, letters, memos, technical reports, proposals, progress reports, instructions, websites, and oral presentations (Chapters 7-12). Features: * Case studies contextualize documents and provide numerous examples of initial and final drafts to help you see how to plan, draft, and revise effectively in different situations * Quick Tips boxes and Guidelines summarize information crucial to workplace communication * Checklists review basic principles and help you ensure that your professional documents achieve your purpose * Exercises at the end of each chapter guide practice in the techniques outlined in the text * Appendixes contain a brief guide to grammar, punctuation, and usage; a style sheet for the most commonly used documentation systems; and an annotated report for study The companion website, www.oup.com/us/tebeaux, offers further resources for students and instructors: * For Students: chapter overviews; self-tests with immediate feedback; helpful links; key terms and concepts; downloadable versions of the checklists from the book; and a library of downloadable sample documents, including 30 with annotations highlighting purpose, audience, and design * For Instructors: an Instructor's Manual featuring chapter objectives, teaching strategies, workshop activities, writing projects, relevant links, worksheets, discussion questions, sample syllabi, downloadable sample documents, and downloadable PowerPoint files for use as lecture aids * The Instructor's Manual is also available in a CD version that includes a Test Bank

Author Biography

Elizabeth Tebeaux is Professor of English at Texas A&M University. Sam Dragga is Professor of English at Texas Tech University.

Table of Contents

Characteristics of Writing at Work
Writing at Work versus Writing at School
Achieving job goals
Addressing a variety of readers who have different perspectives
Excessive paperwork and e-mails
Unknown readers over an infinite time
Legal liability for the writer and the organization
Using a variety of documents
The Foundations of Effective Writing at Work
The Qualities of Good Technical Writing
Writing for Your Readers
Understand Your Readers-The Heart of the Planning Process
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
Case 2-1
Case 2-2
The Basic Parts of the Composing Process
Analyzing the writing situation-purpose, readers, and context
Choosing/discovering content
Arranging content
Case 2-3
Planning and Revision Checklist: Audience, Purpose, and Context
Writing Ethically
Your Professional Obligations
Codes of Conduct
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
Managing Unethical Situations
Ethics Decision Checklist
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 is expected
Adjust the style to the purpose, the readers, and the context
Keys to Building Effective Sentences
Select your level of language
adjust the density of information
Watch sentence length
Keep subjects and verbs close together
Write simple, squeaky-clean prose
Avoid pompous language
write to express, not to impress
Avoid excessive use of is/are verb forms
Use active voice for clarity
Word Choice
Style Checklist
Designing Documents
Understanding the Basics of Document Design
Know what decisions are yours to make
Choose a design that fits your situation
Plan your design from the beginning
Reveal your design to your readers
Keep your design consistent
Designing Effective Pages and Screens
Use blank space to frame and group information
Space the lines of text for easy reading
Set the line length for easy reading
Use a ragged right margin
Helping Readers Locate Information
Use frequent headings
Write descriptive headings
Design distinctive headings
Use page numbers and headers or footers
Document Design Checklist
Designing Illustrations
Bar and Column Graphs
Circle Graphs
Line Graphs
Organization Charts
Flow Charts
Designing Illustrations Ethically
Illustration Checklist
E-mails, Memoranda, and Letters
Memos and Letters
Guidelines for Ensuring Quality
Appropriate Tone in E-mails, Memos, and Letters
Phrases to avoid
Writing that sounds phony or arrogant
Writing that sounds tactless
Guidelines for Creating an Appropriate Tone
Planning and Writing Common Types of Memos and Letters
Case 7-1: Informational memo
Case 7-2: Instructional memo
Case 7-3: Letter requesting information
Case 7-4: Unfavorable news letter
Case 7-5: Persuasive letter
Case 7-6: Letter of reply
Review of Principles: Questions for Planning
Correspondence Checklist
Technical Reports
Kinds of Reports
Report Heading
Subject line
Action required
Distribution List
Parts of a Technical Report
Introduction + summary
Developing Reports
Case 8-1
Additional report examples
Elements of Formal Reports
Prefatory elements
Abstracts and summaries
Discussion, or body of the report
Case 8-2
Letter Reports
Report for Study
Checklist for Developing Proposals and Progress Reports
Proposals and Progress Reports
Example RFP
The context of proposal development
Effective argument in proposal development
Standard sections of proposals
Case 9-1: Research proposal
Case 9-2: Project proposal
Progress Reports
Structure of progress reports
Case 9-3
Case 9-4
Style and Tone of Proposals and Progress Reports
Checklist for Developing Proposals and Progress Reports
Instructions, Procedures, and Policies
Instructions versus Procedures
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 is to be performed
Name of each step
Case 10-1: Process instructions
Case 10-2: Instructional report
Case 10-3: Instructional letter
Online Instructions
Case 10-4
Reflections on Developing Effective Instructions
Case 10-5
Checklist for Developing Instructions and Procedures
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
Choosing Visuals to Enhance Your Purpose and Meaning
Planning Your Presentation-Questions You Need to Ask
Speaking to Multicultural Audiences
Designing Each Segment
Choose an interesting title
Develop your presentation around three main divisions
Plan the introduction carefully
Design the body
Design the conclusion
Choosing an Effective Delivery Style
Techniques to enhance audience comprehension
Designing and Presenting the Written Paper
Structuring the written speech
Writing the speech
Practicing the presentation
Checklist for Preparing Oral Reports
Resumes and Job Applications
The Correspondence of the Job Search
Letter of application
The resume
Follow-up letters
The interview
Before and after the interview
Job Search Checklist
Brief Guide to Grammar, Punctuation, and Usage
Documentation Systems: MLA, CMS, and APA
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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