Technical Communication / Edition 8

Technical Communication / Edition 8

by John M. Lannon

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ISBN-10: 0321023951

ISBN-13: 9780321023957

Pub. Date: 08/18/1999

Publisher: Addison-Wesley

For courses in Technical Communication.

Comprehensive, user-friendly instruction in workplace writing, technical communication, business writing

Today’s employees are tasked with writing documents such as emails, memos, letters, and informal reports, as well as more complex forms of communications such as formal reports, proposals, web


For courses in Technical Communication.

Comprehensive, user-friendly instruction in workplace writing, technical communication, business writing

Today’s employees are tasked with writing documents such as emails, memos, letters, and informal reports, as well as more complex forms of communications such as formal reports, proposals, web pages, and presentations. Technical Communication, Fourteenth Edition builds upon the authority of the previous editions byclearly guiding students to write documents persuasively, effectively, and with an eye towards technological innovations and global communications. It incorporates the interpersonal, logical, ethical, and cultural demands of these different forms of workplace communications and provides students with the necessary skills to navigate these nuisances. Building on research and writing skills and touching on the importance of ethics, the authors prepare students for technical writing in any field.

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Product Details

Publication date:
Edition description:
Older Edition
Product dimensions:
7.39(w) x 9.13(h) x 0.94(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents



1. Introduction to Technical Communication.
Technical Communication Serves Practical Needs.
Writing Is Part of Most Careers.
Communication Has an Electronic and a Human Side.
Communication Reaches a Global Audience.
In Brief: Transferable Skills for the Twenty-First Century.
Collaborative Project.


2. Problem Solving in Workplace Communication.
Technical Communicators Solve Interrelated Problems.
Problem Solving Requires Creative and Critical Thinking.
In Brief: Communication in a Virtual Company.
Guidelines for Writing with a Computer.
Collaborative Project.

3. Solving the Information Problem.
Assess the Audience's Information Needs.
Identify Levels of Technicality.
Develop an Audience and Use Profile.
In Brief: Human Factors in Communication Failure.
Collaborative Project.

4. Solving the Persuasion Problem.
Assess Political Realities.
Expect Audience Resistance.
Know How to Connect with the Audience.
Allow for Give-and-Take.
Ask for a Specific Response.
Never Ask for Too Much.
Recognize All Communication Constraints.
In Brief: "How You Speak Shows Where You Rank".
Support Your Claims Convincingly.
Consider the Cultural Context.
Guidelines for Making Your Case.
Checklist for Cross-Cultural Documents.
Collaborative Projects.

5. Solving the Ethics Problem.
Recognize Unethical Communication.
Know the Major Causes of Unethical Communication.
Understand the Potential for Communication Abuse.
Rely on Critical Thinking for Ethical Decisions.
Anticipate Some Hard Choices.
Never Depend Only on Legal Guidelines.
In Brief: Ethical Standards Are Good for Business.
Decide Where and How to Draw the Line.
Guidelines for Ethical Communication.
Checklist for Ethical Communicators Exercises. Exercises.
Collaborative Project.

6. Solving the Collaboration Problem.
Examples of Successful Collaboration.
Guidelines for Organizing a Collaborative Team.
Sources of Conflict in Collaborative Groups.
Managing Group Conflict.
Overcoming Differences by Active Listening.
Guidelines for Active Listening.
Thinking Creatively.
Reviewing and Editing Others' Work.
Guidelines for Peer Reviewing and Editing.
Face-to-Face versus Electronically Mediated Collaboration.
In Brief: Ethical Issues in Workplace Collaboration.
Collaborative Projects.


7. Thinking Critically about the Research Process.
Asking The Right Questions.
Exploring a Balance of Views.
Achieving Adequate Depth in Your Search.
Evaluating Your Findings.
Interpreting Your Findings.
In Brief: The Role of Expert Opinion in Decision Making.
Guidelines for Evaluating Expert Information.

8. Exploring Hard Copy, Online, and Internet Sources.
Hard Copy versus Electronic Sources.
Hard Copy Sources.
In Brief: Frequently Asked Questions about Copyright of Hard Copy Information.
Online Sources.
In Brief: "Push" versus "Pull" Strategies for Distributing Information.
Internet Sources.
Keyword Searches Using Boolean Operators.
Guidelines for Researching on the Internet.
In Brief: Copyright Protection and Fair Use of Electronic Information.
Collaborative Projects.

9. Exploring Primary Sources.
Informative Interviews.
Guidelines for Informative Interviews.
Surveys and Questionnaires.
Guidelines for Developing a Questionnaire.
Inquiry Letters, Calls, and Email Inquiries.
Public Records and Organizational Publications.
Personal Observation and Experiment.
Analysis of Samples.
Collaborative Project.

10. Evaluating and Interpreting Information.
Evaluate the Sources.
Guidelines for Evaluating Sources on the Web.
Evaluate the Evidence.
Interpret Your Findings.
Avoid Errors in Reasoning.
In Brief: How Standards of Proof Vary for Different Audiences.
Avoid Statistical Fallacies.
In Brief: Correlation versus Causation.
Interpret the Reality Behind the Numbers.
Acknowledge the Limits of Research.
Guidelines for Evaluating and Interpreting Information.
Checklist for the Research Process.
Collaborative Projects

11. Summarizing and Abstracting Information.
Purpose of Summaries.
Guidelines for Summarizing Information.
What Users Expect from a Summary.
A Situation Requiring a Summary.
Forms of Summarized Information.
Placement of Summarized Information.
Usability Checklist for Summaries.
Collaborative Project.


12. Organizing for Users.
Partitioning and Classifying.
Collaborative Projects.

13. Revising for Readable Style.
Revising for Clarity.
Revising for Conciseness.
Revising for Fluency.
Finding the Exact Words.
Adjusting Your Tone.
Guidelines for Finding the Right Tone.
Guidelines for Nonsexist Usage.
Guidelines for Inoffensive Usage.
Considering the Cultural Context.
Legal and Ethical Implications of Word Choice.
Avoiding Reliance on Automated Tools.


14. Designing Visuals.
Why Visuals Are Essential.
When to Use a Visual.
What Types of Visuals to Consider.
How to Select Visuals for Your Purpose and Audience.
Graphic Illustrations.
Computer Graphics.
How to Avoid Visual Distortion.
Guidelines for Fitting Visuals with Printed Text.
Usability Checklist for Visuals.
Collaborative Projects.

15. Designing Pages and Documents.
Page Design in Workplace Writing.
Desktop Publishing.
Creating a Usable Design.
Audience Considerations in Page Design.
Designing On-Screen Pages.
Usability Checklist for Page Design.
Collaborative Project.

16. Adding Document Supplements.
Purpose of Supplements.
Title Page.
Letter of Transmittal.
Table of Contents.
List of Tables and Figures.
Informative Abstract.

17. Testing the Usability of Your Documents.
Why Usability Testing is Essential.
How Usability Testing is Done.
How Usability Criteria Are Determined.
Usability Issues in Online or Multimedia Documents.
Guidelines for Testing A Document's Usability.
General Checklist for Usability.
Collaborative Project.


18. Memo Reports and Electronic Mail.
Purpose of Memo Reports.
Elements of a Usable Memo.
Interpersonal Consideration in Writing a Memo.
Common Types of Memo Reports.
Electronic Mail.
Guidelines for Using Electronic Mail.
Guidelines for Choosing Email versus Paper or the Telephone.
Usability Checklist for Memo Reports.
Collaborative Project.

19. Letters and Employment Correspondence.
Elements of Usable Letters.
Interpersonal Considerations in Workplace Letters.
Inquiry Letters.
Claim Letters.
Résumés and Job Applications.
In Brief: How Applicants Are Screened for Personal Qualities.
Electronic Job Hunting.
Support for the Application.
Guidelines for Surviving a Job Interview.
In Brief: How To Evaluate a Job Offer.
Usability Checklist for Letters.
Collaborative Projects.

20. Web Pages and Other Electronic Documents.
Online Documentation.
The Web.
In Brief: How Web Sites Enhance Workplace Transactions.
Elements of a Usable Web Site.
In Brief: How Site Needs and Expectations Differ Across Cultures.
Scripting a Web Document with HTML.
Guidelines for Creating a Web Site.
In Brief: Privacy Issues on the Web.
Checklist for Web Site Usability.

21. Technical Definitions.
Purpose of Definitions.
Levels of Detail in a Definition.
Expansion Methods.
Situations Requiring Definitions.
Placement of Definitions.
Usability Checklist for Definitions.
Collaborative Projects.

22. Technical Descriptions and Specifications.
Purpose of Technical Description.
Elements of Usable Description.
A General Model for Technical Description.
A Situation Requiring Technical Description.
Usability Checklist for Descriptions.
Collaborative Projects.

23. Procedures and Processes.
Purpose of Process-Related Explanation.
Faulty Instructions and Legal Liability.
Elements of Usable Instruction.
A General Model for Instructions.
A Situation Requiring Instructions.
A General Model for Process Analysis.
A Situation Requiring Process Analysis.
Usability Checklist for Instructions.
Collaborative Projects.

24. Proposals.
Purpose of Proposals.
The Proposal Process.
Proposal Types.
Elements of a Persuasive Proposal.
A General Model for Proposals.
A Situation Requiring a Proposal.
Usability Checklist for Proposals.

25. Analytical Reports.
Purpose of Analysis.
Typical Analytical Problems.
Elements of a Usable Analysis.
A General Model for Analytical Reports.
A Sample Situation Requiring an Analytical Report.
Revision Checklist for Analytical Reports.
Collaborative Projects.

26. Oral Presentations.
Avoiding Presentation Pitfalls.
Planning Your Presentation.
Preparing Your Presentation.
Delivering Your Presentation.
In Brief: Oral Presentations for Cross-Cultural Audiences.

Appendix A: Recording and Documenting Research Findings.
Taking Notes.
Guidelines for Recording Research Findings.
Quoting the Work of Others.
Guidelines for Quoting the Work of Others.
Paraphrasing the Work of Others.
Guidelines for Paraphrasing.
What You Should Document.
How You Should Document.
MLA Documentation Style.
APA Documentation Style.
CBE Numerical Documentation Style.

Appendix B: The Problem-Solving Process Illustrated.
Critical Thinking in the Writing Process.
A Sample Writing Situation.
Your Own Writing Situation.

Appendix C: Editing for Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics.
Common Sentence Errors.
Effective Punctuation.
Effective Mechanics.

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