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The Essentials of Technical Communication

Год выпуска: 2014
Автор: Elizabeth Tebeaux and Sam Dragga

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments

Practical, concise, and reasonably priced, The Essentials of Technical Communication, Third Edition, gives students the tools they need to get their message across in today's workplace.

Review

"I loved teaching with previous versions of The Essentials of Technical Communication. The new edition promises to be even better, because it provides important and relevant updates to content, examples, and case studies."--Kara Poe Alexander, Baylor University

"This textbook is one of the best concise treatments of technical communication available."--Dan Jones, University of Central Florida

"This text includes everything that I see as essential in a technical writing book. It's small in size but comprehensive in scope, concise but with sufficient details and examples."--Peter Dorman, Central Virginia Community College


About the Author

About the Authors

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

Sam Dragga is Professor of Technical Communication at Texas Tech University


Table of Contents

* Each chapter ends with exercises

Checklists

Preface

Part 1. 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

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

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

Case 2-1

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 content

Case 2-2

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

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

Adjust the line length to the size of the page or screen

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

Part 2. Applications

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 154

Subject line

Reference

Action required

Distribution list

Parts of an Informal Technical Report

Introduction

Summary

Discussion

Conclusion

Recommendations

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

Conclusion(s)

Recommendations

Appendices

Case 8-2

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

Proposals

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

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

12. Rsums and Job Applications

The Correspondence of the Job Search

Letter of application

The rsum

Follow-up letters

Interviewing

The interview

Negotiation

Before and after the interview

Job Search Checklist

Appendix A. Brief Guide to Grammar, Punctuation, and Usage

Appendix B. Using Sources of Information

Appendix C. Report for Study

Index

* Each chapter ends with exercises

Checklists

Preface

Part 1. 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

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

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

Case 2-1

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 content

Case 2-2

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

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

Adjust the line length to the size of the page or screen

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

Part 2. Applications

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 154

Subject line

Reference

Action required

Distribution list

Parts of an Informal Technical Report

Introduction

Summary

Discussion

Conclusion

Recommendations

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

Conclusion(s)

Recommendations

Appendices

Case 8-2

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

Proposals

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

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

12. Rsums and Job Applications

The Correspondence of the Job Search

Letter of application

The rsum

Follow-up letters

Interviewing

The interview

Negotiation

Before and after the interview

Job Search Checklist

Appendix A. Brief Guide to Grammar, Punctuation, and Usage

Appendix B. Using Sources of Information

Appendix C. Report for Study

Index



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