Strategies for Technical Communication in the Workplace

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-10-19
  • Publisher: Longman
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Strategies for Technical & Workplace Communicationcoversallof the necessary topics to prepare students to communicate effectively in todayrs"s increasingly global and technologically rich workplaces, yet the text is much more logically organized, concisely presented, clearly written, highly practical, and less expensive than most other business and technical communication textbooks on the market.

Author Biography

Laura Gurak is Professor and Chair of the Department of Writing Studies at the University of Minnesota, where she teaches courses in technical and professional communication, digital literacies, and communication research. She received an M.S. in Technical Communication and Ph.D. in Communication and Rhetoric from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and is a recipient of the Society for Technical Communication’s Outstanding Article award. Prior to graduate school, Gurak worked as a technical writer for a number of companies; she continues to collaborate with workplace professionals through her department’s Industrial Affiliates Program. In addition to four textbooks, Gurak is author of two books from Yale University Press, co-editor of three edited collections, and author of many articles and commentaries.


John Lannon is Professor Emeritus and former Director of Writing at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, where he developed the undergraduate major in professional writing and co-developed the M.A. program in professional writing. He holds a B.S., M.A. & Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and received an NDEA Fellowship and a Fulbright Lectureship. He worked four years in biomedical science and technology with the U.S. Air Force, and an additional three years in medical laboratories. In addition to five textbooks in business communication, rhetoric, and technical communication, he is author or coauthor of book reviews, environmental publications, scripted training, and instructional software. He has served as a communications and training consultant in business, government, and education.


Table of Contents



Chapter 1 — Introduction to Technical Communication

What Is Technical Communication?       

Who Creates Technical Communication?           

Characteristics of Effective Technical Communication    

Three Primary Purposes of Effective Technical Communication  

Typical Documents That Are Considered Technical Communication                    

The Importance of Proofreading

    Strategies for Proofreading      

Checklist for Effective Technical Communication          



Chapter 2 — Teamwork, Ethics, Persuasion, and Global Issues in Technical Communication

Teamwork in Technical Communication             

    Strategies for Organizing and Managing a Team Meeting           

    Strategies for Running a Meeting          

    Strategies for Managing Team Conflicts           

    Strategies for Peer Review and Editing 

Ethics in Technical Communication        

    Strategies for Avoiding Ethical Abuses             

Persuasion in Technical Communication             

    Strategies for Persuading Others          

Global Issues in Technical Communication         

    Strategies for Global Technical Communication 

Checklist for Teamwork, Ethics, Persuasion, and Global Issues  



Chapter 3 — The Research Process in Technical Communication

Thinking Critically about Research         

    Strategies for Thinking Critically about Research           

Primary versus Secondary Sources        

Exploring Secondary Sources    

    Strategies for Researching on the Internet         

Exploring Primary Sources        

    Strategies for Informational Interviews 

    Strategies for Surveys  

Concluding thoughts on the Doing Research       

Checklist for Doing Research   



Chapter 4 — Designing and Delivering Usable Information

Analyze the Document's Audience        

    Strategies for Analyzing Your Audience

Determine the Document's Purpose       

Create a Task Analysis for the Document          

Consider Setting, Potential Problems, Length, Format, Timing, and Budget           

Develop an Information Plan for the Document  

Write, Test, and Revise the Document               

Checklist for Usability






Chapter 5 — Structuring Information for Your Readers

The Importance of an Understandable Structure 


    Strategies for Outlining




Clarifying Headings      

Providing an Overview             

Checklistfor Structuring Information                



Chapter 6 — Writing with a Readable Style

The Importance of a Readable Style      

Writing Clearly 

Writing Concisely         

Writing Fluently

Writing Personably       

    Strategies for Deciding about Tone       

    Strategies for Nonsexist Language       

    Strategies for Unbiased Language        

Checklist for Readable Style    



Chapter 7 — Using Audience-Centered Visuals

The Importance of Using Audience-Centered Visuals                 

When to Use Visuals    

Types of Visuals          

    Strategies for Creating Tables              

    Strategies for Creating Graphs             

    Strategies for Creating Charts              

    Strategies for Illustrations, Diagrams, Photographs, Videos, Icons, and Symbols   

Special Considerations when Using Visuals        

Checklist for Using Visuals      



Chapter 8 — Designing User-Friendly Documents

The Importance of a User-friendly Document Design

What Readers Expect from a Document's Design          

The Elements of Effectively Designed Documents         

    Strategies for Designing: Consistency and Cohesiveness

    Strategies for Designing: Navigation and Emphasis        

Checklist for Document Design






Chapter 9 — Résumés and Other Employment Materials

Let's Get Started: Résumés and Application Letters

Assessing Your Skills and Aptitudes      

Narrowing Your Search and Researching the Job Market           


    Strategies for Résumés            

Electronic Résumés                  

    Strategies for Scannable and Emailed Résumés

    Strategies for Online Résumés             

Application Letters       

    Strategies for Application Letters         

Dossiers, Portfolios, and Webfolios        

    Strategies for Dossiers, Portfolios, and Webfolios                      

Interviews and Follow-up Letters          

    Strategies for Interviews and Follow-up Letters 

Checklist for Employment Materials     



Chapter 10 — Memos and Letters

Let's Get Started: Memos         

Let's Get Started: Letters         

Memo Basics               

Memo Parts and Format           

Memo   Tone    

Types of Memos          

    Strategies for Writing Memos               

Letter Basics   

Letter Parts and Formats          

Letter Tone      

    Strategies for Writing Letters               

Types of Letters           

    Strategies for Inquiry Letters                

    Strategies for Claim Letters     

    Strategies for Sales Letters      

    Strategies for Adjustment Letters         

Checklist for Memos and Letters          



Chapter 11 — Definitions

Let's Get Started: Definitions

Audience and Purpose of Definitions                 

Legal, Ethical, and Societal Implications of Definitions    

Types of Definitions     

Strategies for Expanding Definitions      

Using Multiple Expansion Strategies      

Placement of Definitions           

    Strategies for Definitions          

Checklist for Definitions           



Chapter 12: Descriptions

Let's Get Started         

Audience and Purpose of Descriptions   

Objectivity in Descriptions

Elements of Descriptions

Product and Process Descriptions         

Long Descriptions

    Strategies for Descriptions


    Strategies for Specifications     

Checklist for Descriptions Applications



Chapter 13: Instructions and Procedures

Let's Get Started         

Audience and Purpose of Instructions                

Types of Instructions

Ethical and Legal Implications of Instructions     

Organization and Elements of Instructions

Detail/Technicality, Style, and Design Considerations in Instructions                    

    Strategies for Readable Instructions       

    Strategies for Designing Instructions      


Usability of Instructions and Procedures            

    Strategies for Instructions and Procedures         

Checklist  for Instructions and Procedures        



Chapter 14: Summaries

Let's Get Started         

Purpose and Audience   of Summaries              

Characteristics of Effective Summaries 

Writing Summaries Step-by-Step                       

Special Types of Summaries                 

Ethical Considerations in Summarizing Information                     

    Strategies for Summaries          

Checklist for Summaries                      



Chapter 15: Informal Reports

Let's Get Started           

Two Categories of Reports: Informational and Analytical              

Progress Reports                        

    Strategies for Progress Reports  

Periodic Activity Reports            

    Strategies for Periodic Activity Reports              

Trip Reports       

    Strategies for Trip Reports         

Meeting Minutes            

    Strategies for Meeting Minutes               

Feasibility Reports          

    Strategies for Feasibility Reports            

Recommendation Reports           

    Strategies for Recommendation Reports             

Per Review Reports       

    Strategies for Peer Review Reports        

Checklist for Informal Reports               



Chapter 16: Formal Reports

Let's Get Started           

Audience and Purpose of Formal Reports            

Characteristics of Effective Formal Reports                     

Parts of Formal Reports              

    Strategies for Formal Reports                 

A Sample Formal Report            

Checklist for Formal Reports      



Chapter 17: Proposals

Let's Get Started           

Audience and Purpose   of Proposals       

Types of Proposals         

Organization of Informal and Formal Proposals    

    Strategies for Proposals                         

A Sample Formal Proposal          

Checklist for Proposals              





Chapter 18: Digital Communication: Email, Instant Messages, Blogs, Wikis, and RSS Feeds

Let's Get Started           


    Strategies for Email       

Instant Messages           

    Strategies for Instant Messages  

Corporate Blogs and Wikis          

RSS Feeds         

Copyright, Privacy, and Technology Failure Issues in Digital Communication          

Checklist for Email and Instant Messages                       



Chapter 19: Online Videos and Podcasts

Let's Get Started           

Audience and Purpose of Online Videos and Podcasts                  

Types of Online Videos and Podcasts                  

Online Videos                

    Strategies for Online Videos       


    Strategies for Podcasts              

Checklist for Online Video and Podcasts              



Chapter 20: Web Pages

Let's Get Started           

Audience and Purpose of Web Pages      

Characteristics of Effective Web Pages   

Ethical and Legal Considerations of Web Pages   

PDF Files          

    Strategies for Web Pages          

Checklist for Web Pages           



Chapter 21: Oral presentations

Let's Get Started           

Audience and Purpose of Oral Presentations                    

Types of Oral Presentations        

Parts of Oral Presentations         

Preparing Oral Presentations                   

    Strategies for Preparing Oral Presentations         

Using Presentation Software       

    Strategies for Using Presentation Software         

Delivering Oral Presentations                  

    Strategies for Delivering Oral Presentations        

Checklist for Oral Presentations                         





* Appendix A: Avoiding plagiarism, Documenting sources and Avoiding Violations of Copyright

What Is Plagiarism?        

Identifying Sources and Information to be Documented      

Taking Effective and Accurate Notes                   

    Strategies for Taking Notes

Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing Properly

    Strategies for Quoting the Work of Others           

    Strategies for Paraphrasing the Work of Others               

    Strategies for Summarizing the Work of Others                

Documentation: The Key to Avoiding Plagiarism               

MLA Documentation Style          

APA Documentation Style           

CSE Documentation Style           

Avoiding Violations of Copyright              


* Appendix B: A Brief Handbook







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amazing !! March 14, 2011
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