The Essentials of Technical Communication

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Edition: 2nd
Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 2011-12-20
Publisher(s): Oxford University Press
List Price: $60.75

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The Essentials of Technical Communication,Second Edition, clearly and concisely highlights the basic rhetorical guidelines that will help students successfully get their message across in today's workplace. This brief text incorporates a wealth of real-world documents and scenarios to help students 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 studiescontextualize documents and provide numerous examples of initial and final drafts *Quick Tips boxesandGuidelinessummarize information crucial to workplace communication *Checklistsreview basic principles *Exercisesat the end of each chapter guide practice *Appendixescontain a brief guide to grammar, punctuation, and usage; a style sheet for the most commonly used documentation systems; and an annotated report for study Thecompanion website,, 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 a Professor of English at Texas A&M University.

Sam Dragga is a Professor of English and the Chair of the English Department at Texas Tech University.

Table of Contents


1. Characteristics of Writing at Work
Writing at Work versus Writing at School
> Requires Acute Awareness of the Need for Strict Security Procedures; Poses Legal Liability for the Writer and the Organization; May Be Read by Readers Unknown to the Writer, Inside or Outside the Organization, for an Infinite Time
> Achieves Job Goals
> Addresses a Variety of Readers Who Have Different Perspectives
> Creates Excessive Paperwork and E-Mails
> Uses a Variety of 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
> 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
> 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
> Drafting
> Revising
> Editing
> Case 2-3
Planning and Revision Checklist

3. 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
> Uncritical Use of Information
Managing Unethical Situations
Ethics Decision Checklist

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
> Select Your Level of Language; Adjust the Density of Information
> Watch Sentence Length
> Keep Subjects and Verbs Close Together
> Write 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

5. 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

6. Designing Illustrations
Creating Illustrations
> Tables
> Bar and Column Graphs
> Circle Graphs
> Line Graphs
> Organization Charts
> Flow Charts
> Diagrams
> Photographs
> Animation Clips
> Film Clips
Designing Illustrations Ethically
Illustration Checklist

7. E-Mails, Texts, Memos, and Letters
E-Mail and Text Messages
Memos and Letters
Guidelines for Ensuring Quality
Appropriate Tone in E-Mails, Texts, Memos, and Letters
Guidelines for Dealing with Tone
Planning and Writing Correspondence
> Case 7-1: Informational E-Mail Message
> Case 7-2: Instructional Memo
> Case 7-3: Letter Requesting Information
> Case 7-4: Unfavorable News Letter
> Case 7-5: Letter of Reply
Correspondence Checklist

8. Technical Reports
Kinds of Reports
Report Categories--Informal and Formal
Informal Report Heading
> Subject Line
> Reference
> Action Required
> Distribution List
Parts of an Informal Technical Report
> Introduction
> Summary
> Discussion
> Conclusion
> Recommendation
> Attachments
> Developing Reports
> Case 8-1
Elements of Formal Reports
> Prefatory Elements
> Abstracts and Summaries
> Discussion, or Body of the Report
> Collecting and Grouping Information
> Case 8-2
> Case 8-3
> Conclusion(s)
> Recommendations
> Appendices
Letter Reports
Example Report for Study
Writing Collaboratively
> The Team Leader
> Requirements of Team Leaders
> Requirements of Team Members
Report Checklist

9. 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

10. Instructions, Procedures, and Policies
Instructions versus Procedures
Critical Role of Instructions and Procedures in the Workplace
Planning Instructions and Procedures
Structure and Organization
> Introduction
> 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
> Case 10-1: Process Instructions
> Case 10-2: Job Instructions
> Case 10-3: Instructional Letter
Online Instructions
> Case 10-4
Checklist for Developing Instructions/Procedures

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
Choosing Visuals to Enhance Your Purpose and Your Meaning
Planning Your Presentation--Questions You Need to Ask
> Audience
> Purpose
> Context
> Content
> Graphics
> Style
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
Choose 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

12. Résumés and Job Applications
The Correspondence of the Job Search
> Letter of Application
> The Résumé
> Follow-Up Letters
> The Interview
> Negotiation
> Before and After the Interview
Job Search Checklist

Appendix A. Brief Guide to Grammar, Punctuation, and Usage
Appendix B. Using Information Sources
Appendix C. Annotated Report for Study

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