A Concise Guide to Technical Communication / Edition 3

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A Concise Guide to Technical Communication takes a situational approach, emphasizing issues of audience and purpose for any technical communication task. The first text of its kind to acknowledge that most technical communication today takes place electronically, this Concise Guide offers a seamless connection between the new and old worlds of technical communication.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780321391681
  • Publisher: Longman
  • Publication date: 8/3/2006
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 259,045
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

(Note: Every chapter ends with “Exercises,” as well as “The Collaboration Window” and “The Global Window” activities)


1. An Introduction to Technical Communication.

Communicating About Technology

Main Characteristics of Technical Communication

Types of Technical Communication

Technical Communication in the Workplace

Teamwork, Virtual Teams, and Project Management

Societal Dimensions of Technical Communication

Ethical Dimensions of Technical Communication

Checklist for Quality in Technical Communication

2. A World of People and Purposes.

People, Purposes, and Communities

Analyzing Your Audience

Analyzing the Communication Purpose

Analyzing the Communication Context

Conducting an Audience/Purpose Interview

More Tools for Understanding Audience

Using Information from Your Analysis

Audiences Are Not Passive

Typical Audiences and Purposes for Technical Communication

Checklist for Analyzing Audience, Purpose, and Context

3. Designing Usable Information.

Usability and Technical Information

Usability–During the Planning Stages

Usability–During the Writing and Design Process

Usability–After the Information Is Released

Writing and Organizing Information for Usability

Checklist for Designing Usable Information

4. Performing Research for Technical Communication.

Thinking Critically About Research

Primary Research

Internet and Digital Research

Other Electronic Research Tools

Hard Copy Research

Checklist for Research

5. Technical Communication in a Digital World.

Communicating in Digital Space

Technical Communication Principles Still Apply

Designing Information for the New Media

Online Documentation and Interface Design

Corresponding Over the Wires: Email, Blogs, and Instant Messaging

Telecommuting and Virtual Teams

Presentation Software

Checklist for Digital Communication

6. Ethical Issues in Technical Communication.

Ethics, Technology, and Communication

Case Examples of Ethical Issues in Technical Communication

Types of Ethical Choices

What Is Legal Is Not Always Ethical

Additional Ways in Which Actions Can Be Unethical

Types of Technical Communication Affected by Ethical Issues

Responding to Ethical Situations

Checklist for Ethical Communication

7. Copyright and Privacy.

Why Technical Communicators Need to Understand Copyright and Privacy.

Copyright — An Overview

Documenting Your Sources

Electronic Technologies and Copyright

Privacy — An Overview

Computer Technologies, Privacy, and Technical Communication

Checklist for Copyright and Privacy

8. Page Layout and Document Design.

Creating Visually Effective Documents

Formatting the Page Effectively

Using Typography Effectively

Creating Effective Search Options

Designing Electronic Documents

Creating and Using Style Sheets and Tools


9. Graphics and Visual Information.

The Power of the Picture

When to Use Visuals

Different Visuals for Different Audiences

Text into Tables

Numbers into Images



Symbols and Icons

Wordless Instruction



Visualization and Medical Imaging

Software and Web-Based Images

Using Color

Avoiding Visual Noise

Visuals and Ethics

Cultural Considerations

Checklist for Visual Communication


10. Everyday Communication Situations.





Short Reports

Oral Communication


11. Product-Oriented Communication Situations.


Brief Instructions


Documentation and Manuals

Technical Marketing Material


12. Complex Communication Situations.

Definitions and Descriptions

Long Reports



Appendix A: Grammar.



Avoiding Sentence Fragments and Run-On Sentences

Usage (Commonly Misused Words)

Subject-Verb and Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement

Faulty Modification


Appendix B: Documenting Sources.

Quoting the Work of Others

How You Should Document

MLA Documentation Style

APA Documentation Style

CSE Documentation Style

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