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Pocket Guide to Technical Communication / Edition 5

Pocket Guide to Technical Communication / Edition 5

by William S. Pfeiffer
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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780135063965
Publisher: Pearson
Publication date: 01/19/2010
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 771,121
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Sandy Pfeiffer has spent a career in technical and professional writing. With a Ph.D. in English, he is vice president for academic affairs and a professor of English at Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, Georgia. His home department offers both B.S. and M.S. degrees in Technical and Professional Communication, as well as a B. A. in International Technical Communications.

Besides the Pocket Guide, Pfeiffer has written Technical Writing: A Practical Approach, now in its 5th edition (Prentice Hall, 2003). The book is used in colleges and universities around the country. He also wrote Proposal Writing: The Art of Friendly Persuasion (Merrily 1989); coauthored, with Chuck Keller, Proposal Writing: The Act of Friendly and Winning Persuasion (Prentice Hall, 2000); and wrote Pocket Guide to Public Speaking (Prentice Hall, 2002).

Since 1979, Pfeiffer has taught communication seminars to business, industry, and government groups in the United States and overseas. Sample seminar topics include Report Writing, Proposals, Oral Presentations, Effective Meetings, and Technical Editing.

Table of Contents

1. The Writing Process

2. Structure

3. ABC Formats and Examples

4. Special Topics



This little book aims to provide you with a handy reference for on-the-job writing. It does not pretend to be the last word on the subject. There are plenty of longer books to serve that purpose. Instead, it gives you quick, easy-to-read answers to common writing problems you will face in school and on the job. This introduction includes information on the organization of the text, changes in the third edition, and the sources used in writing it.


The Pocket Guide presents information on five main subjects, each with its own chapter or appendix:

  • Chapter 1—The Writing Process: Achieving Speed and Quality
  • Chapter 2—Structure: Achieving Order and Design
  • Chapter 3—Special Topics: Graphics and Oral Presentations
  • Appendix A: ABC Formats and Examples
  • Appendix B: Writing Handbook

Each section gives you a "jump start" on planning, drafting, or revising when you are rushed to deliver a document. The two appendices will be especially useful for immediate help with writing. Appendix A includes one-page outlines ("ABC Formats") for 16 different types of documents, followed by model examples. Appendix B contains alphabetized entries to assist with questions about style, grammar, and usage.


Although the third edition retains the same basic structure and content of the previous editions, it does include five main changes:

  1. More information in Chapter 1 on audience analysis, with a shod case study that responds to the needs of a complex audience
  2. More information in Chapter 1 onconducting research and avoiding plagiarism, with examples of research cards and a list of references
  3. New guidelines in Chapter 2 on font selection in page design, with an illustration
  4. New guidelines in Chapter 3 on use of technical drawings as graphics, with two illustrations
  5. Addition of a Planning Form at the end of the book, to assist writers in preparing thoroughly before beginning a draft

With just a few pages added, the book keeps its focus on providing a quick reference guide for (1) classes in technical writing in which only a short text is needed, (2) classes in various technical and scientific fields in which a short book is needed to supplement the main text, and (3) working professionals who want a handy tool for planning, drafting, and editing their writing.

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