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Practical and affordable, Strategies for Technical Communication in the Workplace offers complete coverage of routine workplace documents, complex forms of communication, and the latest technological innovations in a streamlined presentation of 528 pages. Emphasizing immediate and ongoing document creation as well as audience and purpose, Strategies for Technical Communication in the Workplace is appropriate for technical communication students and writers of all levels. Three new chapters cover email and text messages, blogs, wikis, and social networks, and ehtics. There is increased coverage on audience analysis in Chapter 4, where readers learn how to write persuasively in addition to analyzing audience/purpose and creating usable documents.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780321846280
  • Publisher: Longman
  • Publication date: 5/14/2012
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 528
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Laura J. Gurak is professor and founding chair of the Department of Writing Studies at the University of Minnesota. She holds an M.S. in technical communication and a Ph.D. in communication and rhetoric from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She is author of two books from Yale University Press (1997, 2001), the earlier of which was the first book-length work to study online communities and Internet-based social actions. Gurak is also co-editor of several edited collections and author on numerous conference presentations and papers; she is a recipient of the Society for Technical Communication’s Outstanding Article award. Gurak has authored and coauthored five textbooks in technical communication published by Pearson. She has worked as a technical writer and communications consultant for various companies and organizations.

John M. 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 later co-developed the M.A. program in professional writing.
He has also taught at Cape Cod Community College, University of Idaho, Southern Vermont College, and University of Strasbourg.
He has authored and coauthored five major textbooks in business communication, rhetoric, and technical communication, book reviews, filmstrips, and environmental documents and instructional software. He is the recipient of an NDEA Fellowship and Fulbright Lectureship. He holds a B.S., M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His initial training and work was in biomedical science and technology with the USAF. He has served as a communications consultant for various companies and government institutions. He worked seven years in medical laboratories.

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Table of Contents



1 Introduction to Technical Communication

What Is Technical Communication?

Who Creates Technical Communication?

Main Features of Technical Communication

Three Primary Purposes of Effective Technical Communication

Common Types of Technical Documents

The Importance of Proofreading

2 Teamwork and Global Issues in Technical Communication

Teamwork in Technical Communication

Global Issues in Technical Communication

3 The Research Process in Technical Communication

Thinking Critically about Research

Primary versus Secondary Sources

Exploring Secondary Sources

Exploring Primary Sources

4 Providing Audiences with Usable Information

Analyze the Document's Audience

Determine the Document's Purpose

Know How to Be Persuasive

Create a Task Analysis for the Document

Consider Other Related Usability Factors

Develop an Information Plan for the Document

Write, Test, and Revise the Document

5 Recognizing Ethical Issues in Technical Communication

Ethics, Technology, and Communication

Types of Ethical Choices

How Workplace Pressures Affect Ethical Values

Recognizing and Avoiding Ethical Abuses


6 Structuring Information for Your Readers

The Importance of an Understandable Structure





Clarifying Headings

Providing an Overview

7 Writing with a Readable Style

The Importance of a Readable Style

Writing Clearly

Writing Concisely

Writing Fluently

Writing Personably

8 Using Audience-Centered Visuals

The Importance of Using Audience-Centered Visuals

When to Use Visuals

Types of Visuals

Special Considerations When Using Visuals

9 Designing User-Friendly Documents

The Importance of User-Friendly Document Design

Characteristics of Well Designed Documents

Specific Design Elements


10 Résumés and Other Employment Materials

Assessing Your Skills and Aptitudes

Researching the Job Market


Application Letters

Dossiers, Portfolios, and Webfolios

Interviews and Follow-Up Letters

11 Memos and Letters

Memo Basics

Memo Parts and Format

Memo Tone

Types of Memos

Letter Basics

Letter Parts and Formats

Letter Tone

Types of Letters

12 Definitions

Audience and Purpose of Definitions

Legal, Ethical, and Societal Implications of Definitions

Types of Definitions

Methods for Expanding Definitions

Using Multiple Expansion Methods

Placement of Definitions

13 Descriptions

Audience and Purpose of Descriptions

Objectivity in Descriptions

Elements of Descriptions

Product and Process Descriptions

A Complex Product Description

A Complex Process Description


14 Instructions and Procedures

Audience and Purpose of Definitions

Types of Instructional Formats

Ethical and Legal Implications

Elements of Effective Instructions

Content, Style, and Design Considerations


Usability Testing

15 Summaries

Audience and Purpose of Summaries

Elements of Effective Summaries

Writing Summaries Step-by-Step

Special Types of Summaries

Ethical Considerations In Summarizing Information

16 Informal Reports

Two Categories of Reports: Informational and Analytical

Progress Reports (Informational)

Periodic Activity Reports (Informational)

Trip Reports (Informational)

Meeting Minutes (Informational)

Feasibility Reports (Analytical)

Recommendation Reports (Analytical)

Peer Review Reports (Analytical)

17 Formal Reports

Audience and Purpose of Formal Reports

Elements of Effective Formal Reports

Parts of Formal Reports

A Sample Formal Report

18 Proposals

Audience and Purpose of Proposals

Types of Proposals

Organization of Informal and Formal Proposals

A Sample Formal Proposal


19 Email and Text Messages


Text Messages

Comparing Email and Text Messaging

Copyright and Privacy in Digital Communication

Be Prepared for Technology to Fail

20 Blogs, Wikis, and Social Networks

Internal Corporate Blogs

External Corporate Blogs

Corporate Wikis

Social Networks

21 Web Pages and Online Videos

Audience and Purpose of Web Pages

Elements of Effective Web Pages

Online Videos

Ethical and Legal Considerations

PDF Files

Differences in Media Types

22 Oral Presentations

Audience and Purpose of Oral Presentations

Types of Oral Presentations

Parts of Oral Presentations

Preparing Oral Presentations

Using Presentation Software

Delivering Oral Presentations


A Documenting Sources

What Is Plagiarism?

Identifying Sources and Information to be Documented

Taking Effective and Accurate Notes

Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing Properly

Documentation: The Key to Avoiding Plagiarism

MLA Documentation Style

APA Documentation Style

CSE Documentation Style

Recognizing Copyright Issues

B A Brief Handbook







Works Cited

Photo Credits


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