ISBN-10:
0130213721
ISBN-13:
9780130213723
Pub. Date:
06/01/1999
Publisher:
Pearson Education
Technical Writing: A Practical Approach / Edition 4

Technical Writing: A Practical Approach / Edition 4

by William S. Pfeiffer

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780130213723
Publisher: Pearson Education
Publication date: 06/01/1999
Edition description: Older Edition
Pages: 652
Product dimensions: 7.58(w) x 9.18(h) x 0.99(d)

Table of Contents

PART I 1(124)
1 PROCESS IN TECHNICAL WRITING
3(38)
Getting from Here to There
4(6)
Features of Academic Writing
5(1)
Features of Technical Writing
6(4)
Discovering Your Purpose
10(1)
Analyzing Your Readers
11(8)
Obstacles for Readers
14(1)
Ways to Understand Readers
15(1)
Types of Readers
16(3)
Collecting Information
19(2)
Writing an Outline
21(4)
Writing Initial Drafts
25(1)
Revising Drafts
26(2)
Writing in Groups
28(5)
Benefits and Drawbacks of Group Writing
28(1)
Guidelines for Group Writing
29(4)
Communication Challenge--"A Group Project Gone Bad"
33(3)
Chapter Summary
36(1)
Assignments
36(5)
2 MCDUFF, INC.: ETHICS AND GLOBALISM IN THE WORKPLACE
41(32)
Corporate Culture in the 90s
42(3)
Elements of a Company's Culture
42(1)
The Search for Quality
43(2)
The Global Workplace
45(5)
Strategies for Understanding Cultures
45(3)
Strategies for Communicating Internationally
48(2)
Background and Types of Projects
50(4)
History of McDuff, Inc.
50(2)
Projects
52(2)
Corporate and Branch Offices
54(4)
Headquarters
54(2)
Branches
56(2)
Writing at McDuff
58(3)
Examples of Internal Writing
61(1)
Examples of External Writing
61(1)
Ethics on the Job
61(5)
Ethical Guidelines for Work
62(2)
Ethics in Writing
64(2)
Communication Challenge--"McDuff's Moscow Buyout: Global Dilemmas"
66(2)
Chapter Summary
68(1)
Assignments
69(4)
3 ORGANIZING INFORMATION
73(24)
Importance of Organization
74(1)
Three Principles of Organization
75(4)
ABC Format for Documents
79(4)
Document Abstract: The "Big Picture" for Decision-Makers
80(1)
Document Body: Details for All Readers
81(1)
Document Conclusion: Wrap-Up Leading to Next Step
82(1)
Tips for Organizing Sections and Paragraphs
83(2)
Document Sections
83(1)
Paragraphs
84(1)
Communication Challenge--"Telecommuting: The Last Frontier?"
85(3)
Chapter Summary
88(1)
Assignments
88(9)
4 PAGE DESIGN
97(28)
Computers in the Writing Process
98(4)
Using Computers to Plan
98(1)
Using Computers to Draft
98
Using Computers to Revise
97
Problems to Avoid
101(1)
Guidelines for Page Design
102(12)
Paper
102(1)
White Space
103(4)
Headings
107(5)
Lists
112(2)
In-Text Emphasis
114(1)
Fonts and Color
114(3)
Size of Type
115(1)
Font Types
116(1)
Color
116(1)
Communication Challenge--"The St. Paul Format Guide: Trouble in River City"
117(2)
Chapter Summary
119(1)
Assignments
120(5)
PART II 125(270)
5 PATTERNS OF ORGANIZATION
127(42)
Argument
128(5)
Short Cases from McDuff: Argument
128(1)
Guidelines for Writing Argument
129(3)
Example of Argument
132(1)
Definition
133(5)
Short Cases from McDuff: Definitions
133(1)
Guidelines for Writing Definitions
134(4)
Example of Expanded Definition
138(1)
Description
138(4)
Short Cases from McDuff: Descriptions
139(1)
Guidelines for Writing Descriptions
139(3)
Examples of Description
142(1)
Classification/Division
142(6)
Short Cases from McDuff: Classification/Division
143(1)
Guidelines for Classification
144(1)
Example of Classification
145(1)
Guidelines for Division
146(1)
Example of Division
147(1)
Comparison/Contrast
148(3)
Short Cases from McDuff: Comparison/Contrast
148(1)
Guidelines for Comparison/Contrast
149(1)
Example of Comparison/Contrast
150(1)
Communication Challenge--"A Dome Gone South: Argument in Action"
151(2)
Chapter Summary
153(2)
Assignments
155(14)
6 PROCESS DESCRIPTIONS AND INSTRUCTIONS
169(34)
Process Descriptions Versus Instructions
170(2)
Process Descriptions at McDuff
171(1)
Instructions at McDuff
171(1)
Guidelines for Process Descriptions
172(4)
Guidelines for Instructions
176(7)
Communication Challenge--"McDuff's Home of Hope: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly?"
183(2)
Chapter Summary
185(1)
Assignments
186(17)
7 LETTERS, MEMOS, AND ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION
203(46)
General Guidelines
204(6)
Specific Guidelines
210(16)
Positive Letters
210(1)
Negative Letters
211(2)
Neutral Letters
213(1)
Sales Letters
214(2)
Memoranda
216(1)
Electronic Communication
217(9)
Communication Challenge--"Ethics and Sales Letters"
226(2)
Chapter Summary
228(1)
Assignments
228(21)
8 INFORMAL REPORTS
249(36)
When to Use Informal Reports
250(2)
Letter Reports at McDuff
250(1)
Memo Reports at McDuff
251(1)
General Guidelines for Informal Reports
252(4)
Specific Guidelines for Five Informal Reports
256(8)
Problem Analyses
257(1)
Recommendation Reports
258(2)
Equipment Evaluations
260(1)
Progress/Periodic Reports
261(2)
Lab Reports
263(1)
Communication Challenge--"A Nonprofit Job: Good Deed or Questionable Ethics?"
264(2)
Chapter Summary
266(1)
Assignments
266(19)
9 FORMAL REPORTS
285(44)
When to Use Formal Reports
286(2)
Strategy for Organizing Formal Reports
288(1)
Guidelines for the Eight Parts of Formal Reports
289(9)
Cover/Title Page
290(1)
Letter/Memo of Transmittal
290(1)
Table of Contents
291(2)
List of Illustrations
293(1)
Executive Summary
293(2)
Introduction
295(1)
Discussion Sections
296(1)
Conclusions and Recommendations
297(1)
Formal Report Example
298(1)
Communication Challenge--"The Ethics of Clients Reviewing Report Drafts"
298(2)
Chapter Summary
300(1)
Assignments
300(29)
10 PROPOSALS AND FEASIBILITY STUDIES
329(66)
Proposals and Feasibility Studies at McDuff
330(4)
McDuff Proposals
332(1)
McDuff Feasibility Studies
333(1)
Guidelines for Informal Proposals
334(5)
Guidelines for Formal Proposals
339(5)
Cover/Title Page
340(1)
Letter/Memo of Transmittal
340(1)
Table of Contents
341(1)
List of Illustrations
341(1)
Executive Summary
342(1)
Introduction
342(1)
Discussion Sections
343(1)
Conclusion
343(1)
Appendices
343(1)
Guidelines for Feasibility Studies
344(3)
Communication Challenge--"The Black Forest Proposal: Good Marketing or Bad Business?"
347(2)
Chapter Summary
349(1)
Assignments
350(45)
PART III 395(200)
11 GRAPHICS
397(56)
Terms in Graphics
398(1)
Reasons for Using Special Fonts, Color, and Graphics
398(4)
Using Fonts
402(3)
Font Types
402(1)
General Guidelines
402(3)
Using Color
405(5)
The Cost and Time of Using Color
405(1)
Developing a Color Style Sheet
406(2)
Color Terms
408(1)
Guidelines for Using Color
408(2)
General Guidelines for Graphics
410(3)
Specific Guidelines for Eight Graphics
413(25)
Tables
413(3)
Pie Charts
416(4)
Bar Charts
420(3)
Line Charts
423(3)
Schedule Charts
426
Flowcharts
423
Organization Charts
431(3)
Technical Drawings
434(4)
Misuse of Graphics
438(3)
Description of the Problem
439(1)
Examples of Distorted Graphics
439(2)
Communication Challenge--"Massaging McDuff's Annual Report"
441(5)
Chapter Summary
446(1)
Assignments
447(6)
12 ORAL COMMUNICATION
453(30)
Presentations and Your Career
454(1)
Guidelines for Preparation and Delivery
455(7)
Guidelines for Presentation Graphics
462(3)
Overcoming Nervousness
465(3)
Why Do We Fear Presentations?
465(1)
A Strategy for Staying Calm
466(2)
Example of McDuff Oral Presentation
468(6)
Running Effective Meetings
474(3)
Common Problems with Meetings
474(1)
Guidelines for Good Meetings
475(2)
Communication Challenge--"Ethics and the Technical Presentation"
477(2)
Chapter Summary
479(1)
Assignments
480(3)
13 TECHNICAL RESEARCH
483(52)
Getting Started
484(2)
Searching Online Library Catalogs
486(8)
Searching in the Library
494(10)
Searching the Web
504(6)
Fundamentals of Web Searching
504(1)
Web Search Options
505(5)
Using Questionnaires and Interviews
510(7)
Questionnaires
510(5)
Interviews
515(2)
Using Borrowed Information Correctly
517(5)
Avoiding Plagiarism
517(1)
Following the Research Process
518(4)
Selecting and Following a Documentation System
522(4)
Varieties of Documentation
522(1)
Author-Date System with Pages
523(1)
Online Documentation
524(2)
Writing Research Abstracts
526(4)
Types of Abstracts
526(2)
Guidelines for Writing Research Abstracts
528(2)
Communication Challenge--"To Cite or Not to Cite"
530(1)
Chapter Summary
531(1)
Assignments
532(3)
14 THE JOB SEARCH
535(36)
Researching Occupations and Companies
535(4)
Job Correspondence
539(6)
Job Letters
539(3)
Resumes
542(3)
Job Interviews
545(5)
Preparation
545(2)
Performance
547(2)
Follow-Up Letters
549(1)
Negotiating
550(4)
Communication Challenge--"20-Something: Have Degree, Won't Travel"
554(3)
Chapter Summary
557(1)
Assignments
557(14)
15 STYLE IN TECHNICAL WRITING
571(24)
Style Overview
572(1)
Writing Clear Sentences
572(3)
Sentence Terms
573(1)
Guidelines for Sentence Style
573(2)
Being Concise
575(4)
Being Accurate in Wording
579(2)
Using the Active Voice
581(1)
What Do Active and Passive Mean?
581(1)
When Should Actives and Passives Be Used?
582(1)
Using Nonsexist Language
582(3)
Sexism and Language
582(1)
Techniques for Nonsexist Language
583(2)
Communication Challenge--"An Editorial Adjustment"
585(3)
Chapter Summary
588(1)
Assignments
588(7)
APPENDIX A: ONLINE TECHNICAL DOCUMENTS 595(8)
What Is Online Documentation? 596(3)
Types of Online Documents 597(1)
Authoring Tools and Delivery Programs 598(1)
How Does Reader Analysis Change? 599(1)
How Does Document Organization Change? 599(2)
How Does Page Layout Change? 601(1)
Summary 601(2)
APPENDIX B: HANDBOOK 603(40)
INDEX 643

Introduction

It is a good thing, perhaps, to write for the amusement of the public, but it
is afar higher and nobler thing to write for their instruction, their profit,
their actual and tangible benefit.

— Mark Twain, "Curing a Cold"

Perhaps it was in a moment of weakness that Mark Twain—an amusing writer if there ever was one—wrote this passage about the value of practical writing. Whatever his motivation, he clearly acknowledges the importance of writing that makes the world function, the kind of prose we call "technical writing" today.

Every student who plans to work in business and industry must master the art of technical writing. Your employer will expect as much. Just as importantly, skill in writing will give you personal satisfaction and will help you advance throughout your life. Indeed, in this new century, effective writing remains a major criterion for success in all professions.

To this end, this book stresses one simple principle: you learn to write best by doing as much writing as possible. What follows is a summary of the main features of this book. Some were brought forward from the previous edition and others are new features developed for this edition.

The fifth edition adds features that make it more readable and usable, without changing what has made the book work in all its editions—numbered guidelines, good models, practical assignments, and clear writing.

New Features to This Edition

The fifth edition of Technical Writing: Approach includes six new features:

1. "Collaboration at Work" Exercises

Every chapter begins with a Work"exercise.

These exercises engage in chapter content by getting teams to complete a simple project. Now all 15 chapters have "bookends" of collaborative exercises-the "Collaboration at Work" at the start and the "Communication Challenge" at the end.

2. International Assignments

Every chapter begins with a Work" exercise.

3. Appendix on Web Site Design

Appendix B introduces students to issues of design, construction, use, and evaluation of web sites.

4. Expanded Email Coverage

Chapter 7 includes a revised set of guidelines, an "ABC Format" for email documents, and an additional email model.

This expanded coverage of email is critically important as email continues to replace internal and external correspondence at an amazing rate. Writers need a clear understanding of how to use email properly.

5. Revised Research Chapter

Chapter 13 has been thoroughly updated to respond to rapid changes in Internet research and databases.

This chapter includes a new research example topic—hybrid and battery-powered vehicles—that runs throughout the entire chapter. Also new to the chapter is a model of a short research report that uses the hybrid vehicle topic.

6. Expanded Coverage of Style and Usage

Chapter 15 adds information on tone, and the Handbook (Appendix C) includes 30 new entries on matters of correct usage.

Other changes in the fifth edition include (1) more assignments, (2) more information on electronic job searches in Chapter 14, (3) outlines of chapter headings at the ''.beginning of each chapter, (4) additional web site support, and (5) the use of four-color layout throughout the book.

Core Features of This Book

Technical Writing: A Practical Approach is built on a core of five basic features.

1. Focus on Process and Product

This book has you practicing writing early (Chapter 1).

The text immerses you in the process of technical writing while teaching you practical formats for getting the job done. After initial chapters that discuss the planning, drafting, and editing process, the bulk of the book provides guidance for writing the most common types of documents. A final set of chapters and appendices covers special topics such as oral presentations, research, and style.

2. A Simple ABC Pattern for All Documents

The "ABC format"—Abstract, Body, and Conclusion—will guide your work in this course and throughout your career.

This underlying three-part structure provides you with a convenient handle for designing almost every technical document you encounter.

3. McDuff, Inc.—A Fictional Company

McDuff, Inc. creates a fictional company for the classroom.

Not all students have experience working in a professional or technical organization, so McDuff supplies a realistic backdrop for many of the book's examples and assignments. By placing your reader or yourself in the role of a McDuff employee, you give concrete importance to the abstract principle of "writing for your reader."

4. Numbered Guidelines

Many sets of short, numbered guidelines make this book easy to use while you complete class projects.

Each set of guidelines will take you through the process of finishing assignments, such as writing a proposal, doing research on the Internet, constructing a bar chart, and preparing an oral presentation.

5. Annotated Models

The text contains models grouped at the end of chapters on color-edged pages for easy reference.

Annotations in the margins are highlighted in color and show you exactly how the sample documents illustrate the guidelines set forth in the chapters.

Additional Features

Beyond features already described, the following six additional features define the book's mission and demonstrate its utility in the classroom.

1. Communication Challenges

Every chapter includes a McDuff case study, with related questions, at the end of the chapter text.

Called a "Communication Challenge," each case describes a communication problem that relates to the material in its respective chapter. Your instructor may use these case studies as a springboard for class discussion or for collaborative assignments.

2. Writing Handbook

This book provides a well-indexed, alphabetized handbook on grammar, mechanics, and usage.

The writing handbook gives you quick access to rules for eliminating editing errors during the revision process.

3. Coverage of International , Communication

Because globalism continues to transform the business world, this book includes suggestions for understanding other cultures and for writing in an international context.

4. Information on English as a Second Language

An ESL section is included in the Handbook.

A growing number of technical communication students are from countries or cultures where English is not the first language. The ESL section of the Handbook focuses on three main problem areas: articles, prepositions, and verb use. It also applies ESL analysis to an excerpt from a technical report.

5. Assignments on Ethics

To reinforce the ethical guidelines described in Chapter 2, each chapter includes an ethics assignment.

No one can escape the continuous stream of ethical decisions required of every professional almost every day—such as deciding what to include in your resume or choosing what tone to adopt in a proposal—which is why the text challenges you to address ethical issues in these assignments.

6. Appendix on Online Documents

Appendix A addresses issues raised by the increasing prevalence of online documents in the workplace.

Many professionals, not just technical writers, are writing documents that will be read by their audience online, often never to be placed in hard copy. This new medium requires that we change the way we think about designing "pages" (screens), to help the reader gain quick access to all parts of the document.

Supplements

The book is supported by the following supplements.

  • Instructor's Resource Manual that includes Sample Syllabi, Chapter Summaries, Chapter Tests with Answer Keys, Editing Revisions, Planning Form and Letterhead (blank for copying), Resources for New Teachers of Technical Writing, and over 100 Transparency Masters of the book's Writing Guidelines and some of the Models.
  • Transparency Acetates of most of the book's Models and ABC Formats.
  • PowerPoint Slides of all the book's Models, Guidelines, and ABC Formats.
  • Companion Web Site.

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