Practical Strategies for Technical Communication

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Edition: 4th
Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 2021-09-17
Publisher(s): Bedford/St. Martin's
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Practical Strategies is the best way to keep up with all types of writing required in today’s constantly changing workplace. It covers everything you need to know about audience and purpose, document design, research, style, and more.

Table of Contents

Preface for Instructors
Introduction for Writers

Part 1 Working in the Technical-Communication Environment
1 Introduction to Technical Communication
What Is Technical Communication?
Understanding Purpose
Understanding Audience

Why Technical Communication Skills Are Important in Your Career
The Challenges of Producing Technical Communication
Audience-Related Factors
Purpose-Related Factors
Setting-Related Factors
Document-Related Factors
Process-Related Factors

Thinking Visually: Characteristics of a Technical Document
Thinking Visually: Measures of Excellence in Technical Documents
Skills and Qualities Shared by Successful Workplace Communicators
¦ Guidelines: Communicating Professionally
¦ Focus on Process: Writing Technical Documents
A Look at Three Technical Documents
Case 1: Using the Measures of Excellence in Evaluating a Résumé
2 Understanding Ethical and Legal Obligations
A Brief Introduction to Ethics
Obligations to Your Employer
Obligations to the Public
Obligations to the Environment

Your Legal Obligations
Copyright Law
¦ Guidelines: Determining Fair Use
¦ Guidelines: Dealing with Copyright Questions
¦ Ethics Note: Distinguishing Plagiarism from Acceptable Reuse of Information
The Role of Corporate Culture in Ethical and Legal Conduct
Understanding Ethical and Legal Issues Related to Social Media
¦ Guidelines: Using Social Media Ethically and Legally
Communicating Ethically Across Cultures
Communicating with Cultures with Different Ethical Beliefs
¦ Document Analysis Activity: Presenting Guidelines for Using Social Media
Communicating in Countries with Different Laws
Thinking Visually: Principles for Ethical Communication
Writer’s Checklist
Case 2: The Ethics of Requiring Students to Subsidize a Plagiarism-Detection Service
3 Writing Collaboratively
Thinking Visually: Advantages and Disadvantages of Collaboration
Managing Projects
¦ Guidelines: Managing Your Project
Conducting Meetings
Listening Effectively
¦ Guidelines: Listening Effectively
Setting Your Team’s Agenda
¦ Guidelines: Setting Your Team’s Agenda
¦ Ethics Note: Pulling Your Weight on Collaborative Projects
Conducting Efficient Meetings
Communicating Diplomatically
Critiquing a Team Member’s Work

¦ Guidelines: Communicating Diplomatically
¦ Guidelines: Critiquing a Colleague’s Work
¦ Document Analysis Activity: Critiquing a Draft Clearly and Diplomatically
Using Electronic Tools in Collaboration
Word-Processing Tools
Messaging Technologies

¦ Guidelines: Participating in a Videoconference
Wikis and Shared Document Workspaces
Crowdsourcing Platforms
Strategies for Online Communication: Jenny Gilbert on Crowdsourcing Data and Information
¦ Ethics Note: Maintaining a Professional Presence Online
Gender and Collaboration
Culture and Collaboration
Writer’s Checklist
Case 3: Accommodating a Team Member’s Scheduling Problems

Part 2 Planning and Drafting the Document
4 Analyzing Your Audience and Purpose
Understanding Audience and Purpose
Using an Audience Profile Sheet
¦ Choices and Strategies: Responding to Readers’ Attitudes
Techniques for Learning About Your Audience
Determining What You Already Know About Your Audience
Interviewing People
Reading About Your Audience Online
Searching Social Media for Documents Your Audience Has Written
Analyzing Social-Media Data

Thinking Visually: Determining the Important Characteristics of Your Audience
Communicating Across Cultures
Understanding the Cultural Variables “on the Surface”
Understanding the Cultural Variables “Beneath the Surface”
Considering Cultural Variables as You Write

¦ Guidelines: Writing for Readers from Other Cultures
Using Graphics and Design for Multicultural Readers
Applying What You Have Learned About Your Audience
¦ Document Analysis Activity: Examining Cultural Variables in a Business Letter
¦ Ethics Note: Meeting Your Readers’ Needs Responsibly
Writing for Multiple Audiences
Determining Your Purpose
Writer’s Checklist
Case 4: Focusing on an Audience’s Needs and Interests

5 Researching Your Subject
Understanding the Research Process
¦ Guidelines: Planning for the Research Process
¦ Guidelines: Researching a Topic
Choosing Appropriate Research Methods
¦ Choices and Strategies: Research Questions and Methods
Conducting Secondary Research
Understanding Research Tools
Types of SEcondary Research Sources
Using Social Media and Other Interactive Resources
Evaluating the Information

¦ Guidelines: Evaluating Print and Online Sources
Conducting Primary Research
Analysis of Social-Media Data
¦ Document Analysis Activity: Evaluating Information from Internet Sources
Observations and Demonstrations
Field Research

¦ Guidelines: Conducting an Interview

¦ Choices and Strategies: Choosing Types of Questions for Questionnaires
¦ Ethics Note: Reporting and Analyzing Data Honestly
Writer’s Checklist

Case 5: Revising a Questionnaire
6 Writing for Your Readers
Presenting Yourself Effectively
¦ Guidelines: Creating a Professional Persona
Using Conventional Patterns of Organization
¦ Choices and Strategies: Choosing Effective Organizational Patterns
Writing Clear, Informative Titles
Writing Clear, Informative Headings
¦ Guidelines: Revising Headings
Writing Clear, Informative Paragraphs
Structure Paragraphs Clearly
¦ Ethics Note: Avoiding Burying Bad News in Paragraphs
¦ Guidelines: Dividing Long Paragraphs
Use Coherence Devices Within and Between Paragraphs
Writing Grammatically Correct Sentences
Avoid Sentence Fragments
Avoid Comma Splices
Avoid Run-On Sentences

Avoid Ambiguous Pronoun References
Compare Items Clearly
Use Adjectives Clearly
Maintain Subject-Verb Agreement
Maintain Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement
Use Tenses Correctly

Structuring Effective Sentences
Emphasize New and Important Information
Write Effective Sentence Lists

¦ Guidelines: Creating Effective Lists
Choose an Appropriate Sentence Length
Focus on the “Real” Subject
Focus on the “Real” Verb
Use Parallel Structure
Use Modifiers Effectively

Choosing the Right Words and Phrases
Select an Appropriate Level of Formality
Be Clear
Use Active and Passive Voice Appropriately

¦ Ethics Note: Euphemisms and Truth Telling
Be Concise
¦ Document Analysis Activity: Revising for Conciseness and Simplicity
Use Inoffensive Language
¦ Guidelines: Avoiding Sexist Language
¦ Guidelines: Using the People-First Approach
Writer’s Checklist

Case 6: Emphasizing Important Information in a Technical Description

Part 3 Designing User-Friendly Documents and Websites
7 Designing Print and Online Documents
Goals of Document Design
Planning the Design of Print and Online Documents
¦ Guidelines: Planning Your Design
Understanding Design Principles
Designing Print Documents
Navigation Aids
¦ Choices and Strategies: Creating Navigation Aids
Page Layout
¦ Guidelines: Understanding Learning Theory and Page Design
¦ Tech Tip: Why and How To Format Columns
¦ Ethics Note: Using Type Sizes Responsibly
Titles and Headings
Other Design Features

¦ Tech Tip: Why and How To Create Borders and Screens
Designing Online Documents
Use Design To Emphasize Important Information
¦ Document Analysis Activity: Analyzing a Page Design
Create Informative Headers and Footers
Help Readers Navigate the Document

¦ Guidelines: Making Your Document Easy To Navigate
Include Extra Features Your Readers Might Need
Help Readers Connect with Others
Consider Matters of Accessibility

¦ Guidelines: Designing Accessible Websites
Design for Multicultural Audiences
¦ Ethics Note: Designing Legal and Honest Online Documents
Aim for Simplicity
¦ Guidelines: Designing Simple, Clear Web Pages
Make the Text Easy to Read and Understand
¦ Guidelines: Designing Easy-to-Read Text
Create Clear, Informative Links
¦ Guidelines: Writing Clear, Informative Links
Combining Print and Online Documents
STRATEGIES FOR ONLINE COMMUNICATION: Calvin Jones on Using Multiple Modalities
Writer’s Checklist
Case 7: Designing a Flyer

8 Creating Graphics
The Functions of Graphics
Thinking Visually: Characteristics of an Effective Graphic
¦ Ethics Note: Creating Honest Graphics
Understanding the Process of Creating Graphics
Planning Graphics
Producing Graphics

¦ Tech Tip: Why and How To Insert and Modify Graphics
Revising Graphics
Citing Sources of Graphics

Using Color Effectively
Choosing the Appropriate Kind of Graphic
¦ Choices and Strategies: Choosing the Appropriate Kind of Graphic
Illustrating Numerical Information
¦ Guidelines: Creating Effective Tables
¦ Guidelines: Creating Effective Bar Graphs
¦ Guidelines: Creating Effective Infographics
¦ Tech Tip: Why and How To Use Drawing Tools
¦ Guidelines: Creating Effective Line Graphs
¦ Guidelines: Creating Effective Pie Charts
Illustrating Logical Relationships
¦ Document Analysis Activity: Analyzing a Graphic
Illustrating Process Descriptions and Instructions
Illustrating Visual and Spatial Characteristics

¦ Guidelines: Presenting Photographs Effectively
¦ Tech Tip: Why and How To Create and Insert Screen Shots
Creating Effective Graphics for Multicultural Readers
Writer’s Checklist

Case 8: Creating Appropriate Graphics To Accompany a Report

Part 4 Learning Important Applications
9 Corresponding in Print and Online
Understanding the Process of Writing Correspondence
¦ Focus on Process: Correspondence
¦ Choices and Strategies: Choosing a Type of Correspondence
Presenting Yourself Effectively in Correspondence
Use the Appropriate Level of Formality
Communicate Correctly
Project the “You Attitude”
Avoid Correspondence Clichés
Communicate Honestly

¦ Ethics Note: Writing Honest Business Correspondence
Writing Letters
Elements of a Letter
Common Types of Letters
Writing Memos
¦ Guidelines: Organizing a Memo
Writing Emails
¦ Tech Tip: Why and How To Use Email for Business Correspondence
¦ Guidelines: Following Netiquette
Writing Microblogs
¦ Document Analysis Activity: Following Netiquette in an Email Message
¦ Guidelines: Representing Your Organization on a Microblog
Writing Correspondence to Multicultural Readers
Writer’s Checklist
Case 9: Writing a Memo

10 Applying for a Job
Establishing Your Professional Brand
¦ Guidelines: Building the Foundation of Your Professional Brand
Crafting Your Professional Brand
¦ Guidelines: Presenting Your Professional Brand
¦ Ethics Note: Writing Honest Job-Application Materials
Finding the Right Position
Understanding Job Search Strategies
¦ Guidelines: Using LinkedIn’s Employment Features
Writing Résumés
Elements of the Chronological Résumé
¦ Guidelines: Elaborating on Your Education
Elements of the Skills Résumé
Preparing a Plain-Text Résumé
¦ Guidelines: Formatting a Plain-Text Résumé
¦ Document Analysis Activity: Preparing a Résumé
Considering Nontraditional Résumés
¦ Guidelines: Planning a Nontraditional Résumé
Writing Job-Application Letters
Preparing for a Job Interview
¦ Guidelines: Preparing for a Job Interview
¦ Guidelines: Preparing for an Online Job Interview
Writing Follow-up Letters or Emails After an Interview
Writer’s Checklist
Case 10: Writing a Cover Letter

11 Writing Proposals
The Logistics of Proposals
¦ Focus on Process: Writing Proposals
Internal and External Proposals
Solicited and Unsolicited Proposals

The “Deliverables” of Proposals
Research Proposals
Goods and Services Proposals

Persuasion and Proposals
Understanding Contexts
Describing What You Plan To Do
Demonstrating Your Professionalism

¦ Guidelines: Demonstrating Your Professionalism in a Proposal
¦ Ethics Note: Writing Honest Proposals
The Structure of the Proposal

¦ Guidelines: Introducing a Proposal
Proposed Program
Qualifications and Experience

¦ Document Analysis Activity: Writing the Proposed Program
Task Schedule

¦ Tech Tip: Why and How To Create a Gantt Chart
Description of Evaluation Techniques
Sample Internal Proposal
Writer’s Checklist
Case 11: Revising An Introduction for a Proposal

12 Writing Informational Reports
¦ Focus on Process: Writing Informational Reports
Writing Directives
¦ Document Analysis Activity: Writing a Persuasive Directive
Writing Field Reports
¦ Guidelines: Responding to Readers’ Questions in a Field Report
Writing Progress and Status Reports
¦ Ethics Note: Reporting Your Progress Honestly
Organizing Progress and Status Reports
Concluding Progress and Status Reports

¦ Guidelines: Projecting an Appropriate Tone in a Progress or Status Report
Sample Progress Report
Writing Incident Reports
Writing Meeting Minutes
Writer’s Checklist
Case 12: Writing a Directive

13 Writing Recommendation Reports
Understanding the Role of Recommendation Reports
Using a Problem-Solving Model for Preparing Recommendation Reports
Identify the Problem or Opportunity
Establish Criteria for Responding to the Problem or Opportunity
Determine the Options
Study Each Option According to the Criteria
Draw Conclusions About Each Option
Formulate Recommendations Based on the Conclusions
¦ Ethics Note: Presenting Honest Recommendations
Writing Recommendation Reports
Writing the Body of the Report
¦ Guidelines: Writing Recommendations
Writing the Front Matter
¦ Tech Tip: Why and How To Make a Long Report Navigable
¦ Guidelines: Writing an Executive Summary
Writing the Back Matter
¦ Document Analysis Activity: Analyzing an Executive Summary
Sample Recommendation Report
Writer’s Checklist
Case 13: Writing a Recommendation

14 Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions
¦ Focus on Process: Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions
Writing Definitions
Analyzing the Writing Situation for Definitions
¦ Choices and Strategies: Choosing the Appropriate Type of Definition
Writing Sentence Definitions
¦ Guidelines: Writing Effective Sentence Definitions
Writing Extended Definitions
Writing Descriptions
Analyzing the Writing Situation for Descriptions
Indicating Clearly the Nature and Scope of the Description
Introducing the DEscription Clearly
Providing Appropriate DEtail

¦ Guidelines: Providing Appropriate Detail in Descriptions
Ending the Description with a Brief Conclusion
A Look at Several Sample Descriptions

Writing Instructions
Strategies for Online Communication: Suzanne Barnhill on Moderating User Forums
Understanding the Role of Instructional Videos
Designing a Set of Instructions

¦ Guidelines: Designing Clear, Attractive Pages
Planning for Safety
¦ Ethics Note: Ensuring Your Readers’ Safety
Drafting Effective Instructions
¦ Guidelines: Drafting Introductions for Instructions
¦ Guidelines: Drafting Steps in Instructions
¦ Guidelines: Testing Instructions for Usability
Revising, Editing, and Proofreading Instructions
A Look at Several Sample Sets of Instructions

Writing Manuals
¦ Document Analysis Activity: Presenting Clear Instructions
Writer’s Checklist
Case 14: Writing Instructions

15 Making Oral Presentations
Understanding the Role of Oral Presentations
Preparing the Presentation
¦ Focus on Process: Oral Presentations
Analyzing the Speaking Situation
Organizing and Developing the Presentation

¦ Guidelines: Introducing the Presentation
¦ Guidelines: Concluding the Presentation
Preparing Presentation Graphics
¦ Tech Tip: Why and How To Create a Presentation Template
¦ Tech Tip: Why and How To Set List Items To Appear and Dim During a Presentation
Choosing Effective Language
¦ Document Analysis Activity: Integrating Graphics and Text on a Presentation Slide
¦ Guidelines: Using Memorable Language in Oral Presentations
Rehearsing the Presentation
Thinking Visually: Delivering the Presentation
Presenting to All Audiences
Answering Questions After a Presentation
¦ Ethics Note: Answering Questions Honestly
Speaker’s Checklist
Case 15: Writing an Oral Presentation

Appendix: Reference Handbook

A Documenting Your Sources
Note Taking
APA Style
IEEE Style
MLA Style
B Editing and Proofreading Your Documents
Proofreading Symbols and Their Meanings
Index of Features

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