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Comprehensive and truly accessible,Technical Communicationguides students through planning, drafting, and designing the documents that will matter in their professional lives. Known for his student-friendly voice and eye for technology trends, Mike Markel addresses the realities of the digital workplace through fresh samples and cases, practical writing advice, and a companion Web site TechComm Web that continues to set the standard with content developed and maintained by the author. The text is also available in a convenient, affordable e-book format.
MIKE MARKEL is director of technical communication at Boise State University, where he teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses. The former editor of IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, he is the author of numerous articles and six books about technical communication, including Ethics and Technical Communication: A Critique and Synthesis.
Table of Contents
Preface for InstructorsPreface for WritersPart One: Understanding the Technical Communication Environment1. Introduction to Technical Communication What is Technical Communication? Who Produces Technical Documents? Technical Communication and Your Career Characteristics of Technical Documents Addresses Particular Readers Helps Readers Solve Problems Reflects an Organization's Goals and Culture Is Produced Collaboratively Uses Design to Increase Readability Consistes of Words or Graphics or Both Interactive Sample Document: Studying How Technical Communication Combines Words and Graphics A Look at Three Sample Documents Measures of Excellence in Technical Communication Honesty Clarity Accuracy Comprehensiveness Accessibility Conciseness Professional Appearance Correctness Exercises * CASE 1: Judging Entries in a Technical Communication Competition 2. Understanding Ethical and Legal Considerations A Brief Introduction to Ethics Your Ethical Obligations Obligations to Your Employer Obligations to the Public Obligations to the Environment Your Legal Obligations Copyright Law Guidelines: Determining Fair use Guidelines: Dealing with Copyright Questions Ethics Note: Distinguishing Plagiarism from Acceptable Re-Use of Information Trademark LawGuidelines: Protecting Trademarks Contract Law Liability Law Guidelines: Abiding by Liability Laws The Role of Corporate Culture in Ethical and Legal Conduct Interactive Sample Document: Dealing with Copyright Questions Communicating Ethically Across Cultures Communicating with Cultures with Different Ethical Beliefs Communicating with Cultures with Different Laws Principles for Ethical Communication Abide by Relevant Laws Abide by the Appropriate Professional Code of Conduct Take Advantage of Your Employer's Ethics Resources Tell the Truth Don't Mislead Your Readers Use Design to Highlight Important Ethical and Legal Information Be Clear Avoid Discriminatory Language Acknowledge Assistance from Others Writer's Checklist * Exercises * CASE 2: Playing the Name Game 3. Writing Technical Documents Planning Analyzing Your Audience Analyzing Your Purpose Generating Ideas About Your Subject Researching Additional Information Organizing and Outlining Your Document Tech Tip: How to Use Outliine View Selecting an Application, a Design, and a Delivery Method Devising a Schedule and a Budget Drafting Guidelines: Drafting Effectively Using Templates Tech Tip: How to Modify Templates Interactive Sample Document: Analyzing a Code of Conduct Using Styles Tech Tip: How to Use the Styles Group Revising Studying the Draft by Yourself Seeking Help from Others Ethics Note: Acknowledge Reviewers Responsibly Editing Proofreading Writer's Checklist * Exercises * CASE 3: Using Revision Software Effectively 4. Writing Collaboratively Advantages and Disadvantages of Collaboration Advantages of Collaboration Disadvantages of Collaboration Managing Projects Guidelines: Managing Your Project Conducting Meetings Listening Effectively Guidelines: Listening Effectively Setting Your Group's Agenda Guidelines: Setting Your Agenda Ethics Note: Pulling Your Weight on Collaborative Projects Conducting Efficient Face-to-Face Meetings Communicating Diplomatically Guidelines: Communicating Diplomatically Critiquing a Group Member's Work Guidelines: Critiquing a Colleague's Work Using Electronic Tools in Collaboration Using the Comment, Revision, and Highlighting Features on a Word Processor Tech Tip: How to Use the Review Tab Interactive Sample Document: Critiquing a Draft Clearly and Diplomatically Using Groupware Using Videoconferencing Technology Guidelines: Participating in a Videoconference Gender and Collaboration Culture and Collaboration Collaborator's Checklist * Exercises * CASE 4: Handling Interpersonal Conflict Part Two: Planning the Document5. Analyzing Your Audience and Purpose Determining the Important Characteristics of Your Audience Who Are Your Readers? Why is Your Audience Reading Your Document? What Are Your Readers' Attitudes and Expectations? How Will Your Readers Use Your Document?Techniques for Learning about an Audience Tallying What You Do and Do Not Already Know about Your Audience Interviewing People Searching for Information on the Internet Reading Documents Your Readers Have WrittenApplying What You Have Learned about Your Audience Communicating Across Cultures Understanding the Cultural Variables "On the Surface" Understanding the Cultural Variables "Beneath the Surface" Considering Cultural Variables as You WriteGuidelines: Writing for Readers from Other Cultures Ethics Note: Meeting Your Readers' Needs Responsibly Interactive Sample Document: Examining Cultural Variables in a Business Letter Using Graphics and Design for Multicultural Readers Using an Audience Profile Sheet Writing for Multiple Audiences Determining Your Purpose Gaining Management's Approval Revising Information for a New Audience and Purpose Writer's Checklist * Exercises * CASE 5: Planning an Apology to a Customer from the People's Republic of China 6. Researching Your Subject Understanding the Differences Between Academic and Workplace Research Understanding the Research Process Choosing Appropriate Research Methods Guidelines: Researching a Topic Conducting Secondary Research Understanding the Research Media Using Basic Research Tools Researching Government Information Using Web 2.0 Resources Evaluating the Information Guidelines: Evaluating Print and Online Sources Interactive Sample Document: Evaluating Information from the Internet Conducting Primary Research Observations and Demonstrations Inspections Experiments Field Research Interviews Guidelines: Conducting an Interview Inquiry letters or E-mails Questionnaires Guidelines: Reporting and Analyzing Data Honestly Writer's Checklist * Exercises * CASE 6: Choosing an Appropriate Primary Research Method 7. Organizing Your InformationUnderstanding Three Principles for Organizing Technical Information Analyzing Your Audience and Purpose Using Conventional Patterns of Arrangement Displaying Your Arrangement Prominently Using Basic Patterns of Organizing Information Chronological Guidelines: Organizing Information Chronologically Spatial Guidelines: Organizing Information Spatially General to Specific Guidelines: Organizing Information from General to Specific More Important to Less Important Guidelines: Organizing Information from More Important to Less Important Comparison and Contrast Guidelines: Organizing Information by Comparison and Contrast Ethics Note: Comparing and Contrasting Fairly Interactive Sample Documentl Comparing and Contrasting Honestly Classification and Partition Guidelines: Organizing Information by Classification and Partition Problem-Methods-Solution Guidelines: Organizing Information by Problem-Methods-Solution Cause and Effect Guidelines: Organizing Information by Cause and Effect Writer's Checklist * Exercises * CASE 7: Organizing a Document Part Three: Developing and Testing the Verbal and Visual Information8. Commuicating Persuasively Considering the Context of Your Argument Understanding Your Audience's Broader Goals Working Within Constraints Crafting a Persuasive Argument Identifying the Elements of Your Argument Using the Right Kinds of Evidence Interactive Sample Document: Analyzing Evidence in Argument Considering Opposing Viewpoints Appealing to Emotions Responsibly Deciding Where to Present the Claim Avoiding Logical Fallacies Presenting Yourself Effectively Guidelines: Creating a Professional Persona Using Graphics and Design as Persuasive Elements Ethics Note: Seeming Honest versus Being Honest in Persuasive Writing A Look at Several Persuasive Arguments Writer's Checklist * Exercises * CASE 8: Being Persuasive about Privacy 9. Writing Coherent DocumentsWriting Coherent Titles Writing Coherent Headings Guidelines: Revising Headings Writing Coherent Lists Writing Coherent Paragraphs Structure Paragraphs Clearly Ethics Note: Avoiding Burying Bad News in Paragraphs Guidelines: Dividing Long Paragraphs Use Coherence Devices Within and Between Paragraphs Interactive Sample Document: Identifying the Elements of a Coherent Paragraph Creating a Coherent Design Using Headers and Footers to Enhance Coherence Use Typeface to Enhance Coherence Tech Tip: How to Use the Style Group Writer's Checklist * Exercises * CASE 9: Writing Guidelines About Coherence 10. Writing Effective Sentences Structuring Effective Sentences Use Lists Guidelines: Creating Effective Lists Tech Tip: How to Create Bulleted and Numbered Lists Emphasize New and Important Information Choose an Appropriate Sentence Length Focus on the "Real" Subject Focus on the "Real" Verb Use Parallel Structures Use Modifiers Effectively Choosing the Right Words and Phrases Select an Appropriate Level of Formality Be Clear and Specific Ethics Note: Euphemisms and Truth Telling Be Concise Interactive Sample Document: Revising for Conciseness and Simplicity Use Inoffensive Language Guidelines: Avoiding Sexist Language Guidelines: Using the People-First Approach Understanding Simplified English for Nonnative Speakers Preparing Text for Translation Writer's Checklist * Exercises * CASE 10: Preparing Products for the Global Marketplace 11. Designing Documents and Web Sites Goals of Document and Web Design Understanding Design Principles Proximity Alignment Repetition Contrast Planning the Design of Documents and Web Sites Analyze Your Audience and Purpose Determine Your Resources Designing Documents Size Paper Bindings Accessing Tools Tech Tip: How to Set Up Pages Designing Pages Guidelines: Understanding Learning Theory and Page Design Page Layout Columns Tech Tip: How to Format Columns Typography Tech Tip: How to Format Fonts Ethics Note: Using Type Sizes Responsibly Tech Tip: How to Modify Line Spacing Tech Tip: How To Modify Justification Titles and Headings Other Design Features Tech Tip: How to Create Borders and Screens Tech Tip: How to Create Text Boxes Analyzing Some Page Designs Interactive Sample Document: Analyzing a Page Design Designing Web Sites Create Informative Headers and Footers Help Readers Navigate the SiteGuidelines: Making Your Site Easy to Navigate Include Extra Features Your Readers Might Need Design for Readers with Disabilities Design for Multicultural Audiences Ethics Note: Designing Legal and Honest Web Pages Designing Web Pages Aim for Simplicity Guidelines: Designing a Simple Site Make the Text Easy to Read and Understand Guidelines: Designing Easy-to-Read Text Create Clear, Informative Links Guidelines: Writing Clear, Informative Links Analyzing Some Web Pages Writer's Checklist * Exercises * CASE 11: Designing a Report Template 12. Creating Graphics The Functions of Graphics Characteristics of an Effective Graphic Ethics Note: Creating Honest Graphics Guidelines: Integrating Graphics and Text Understanding the Process of Creating Graphics Planning Graphics Creating Graphics Tech Tip: How to Insert and Modify Graphics Revising Graphics Citing GraphicsUsing Color Effectively Choosing the Appropriate Kind of Graphic Illustrating Numerical Information Guidelines: Creating Effective Tables Tech Tip: How to Use Tab Stops Tech Tip: How to Create Tables Tech Tip: How to Create Graphics in Excel Guidelines: Creating Effective Bar Graphics Tech Tip: How to Use Drawing Tools Interactive Sample Document: Balancing Clarity and Drama in Graphics Guidelines: Creating Effective Line Graphics Guidelines: Creating Effective Pie Charts Illustrating Logical Relationships Illustrating Process Descriptions and Instructions Illustrating Visual and Spatial Characteristics Guidelines: Presenting Photographs Effectively Tech Tip: How to Create Screen Shots Showing Motion in Your Graphics Creating Effective Graphics for Multicultural ReadersWriter's Checklist * Exercises * CASE 12: Evaluating Graphics Made in a Spreadsheet Program 13. Reviewing, Evaluating, and Testing Documents and Web Sites Reviewing Documents and Web Sites Revising Editing Guidelines: Editing the Draft Proofreading Conducting Usability Evaluations Conducting Usability Tests The Basic Principles of Usability Testing Preparing for a Usability Test Conducting a Usability Test Interpreting and Reporting the Data from a Usability Test Ethics Note: Understanding the Ethics of Informed Consent Interactive Sample Document: Obtaining Informed Consent Writer's Checklist * Exercises * CASE 13: Reviewing and Testing Documents Part Four: Learning Important Applications14. Writing Letters, Memos, and E-mails Understanding the Process for Writing Letters, Memos, and E-mails Selecting a Type of Correspondence Presenting Yourself Effectively in Correspondence Use the Appropriate Level of Formality Communicate Correctly Project the "You" Attitude Avoid Correspondence Clichés Communicate Honestly Ethics Note: Writing Honest Business Correspondence Writing Letters Understanding the Elements of a Letter Learning the Format of a Letter Understanding Common Types of Letters Writing Memos Guidelines: Organizing a Memo Writing E-mails Guidelines: Following Netiquette Interactive Sample Document: Following Netiquette in an E-mail Writing Business Correspondence to International Readers Writer's Checklist * Exercises * CASE 14: Projecting the "You Attitude" When Corresponding with Customers and Colleagues 15. Preparing Job-Application Materials Understanding the Process for Preparing Job-Application Materials Planning the Job Search Understanding Seven Ways to Look for a Position Understanding the Risks and Benefits of Social-networking Sites and the Job Search Writing Paper RésumésAppearance of the Résumé Content of the Résumé Ethics Note: Honesty in Job-Application Materials Elements of the Chronological Résumé Guidelines: Elaborating on Your Education Elements of the Skillls Résumé Writing Electronic Résumés Content of the Electronic Résumé Format of the Electronic Résumé Guidelines: Preparing a Text RésuméInteractive Sample Document: Preparing an ASCII Résumé Guidelines: Preparing a Scannable Résumé Writing Job-Application Letters The Concepts of Selectivity and Development Elements of the Job-Application Letter Preparing for a Job Interview Guidelines: Preparing for a Job Interview Writing Follow-Up Letters After an Interview Writer's Checklist * Exercises * CASE 15: Identifying Trasferable Skills for a Career Changer 16. Writing Proposals Understanding the Process for Writing Proposals The Logistics of Proposals External and Internal Proposals Solicited and Unsolicited Proposals The "Deliverables" of Proposals Research Proposals Goods and Services Proposals Persuasion and ProposalsUnderstanding Readers' NeedsDescribing What You Plan to Do Demonstrating Your ProfessionalismGuidelines: Demonstrating Your Professionalism in a Proposal Ethics Note: Writing Honest Proposals Writing a Proposal The Structure of the Proposal Summary Introduction Guidelines: Introducing a Proposal Proposed Program Qualifications and Expertise Budget Appendices Tech Tip: How to Create a Gantt Chart Sample Internal Proposal Interactive Sample Document: Writing a Project Description Writer's Checklist * Exercises * CASE 16: Selecting a Funding Source 17. Writing Informational ReportsUnderstanding the Process of Writing Informational Reports Writing Directives Interactive Sample Document: Writing a Persuasive Directive Writing Field Reports Guidelines: Responding to Readers' Questions in a Field Report Writing Progress and Status Reports Ethics Note: Reporting Your Progress Honestly Organizing Progress and Status Reports Concluding Progress and Status Reports Guidelines: Projecting an Appropriate Tone in a Progress or Status Report Sample Progress Report Writing Incident Reports Writing Meeting Minutes Writer's Checklist * Exercises * CASE 17: Revising an Injury Report Form 18. Writing Lab Reports Persuasion and Lab Reports Understanding the Process of Writing Lab Reports Understanding the Structure of the Lab Report Title Abstract Introduction Guidelines: Writing Equations Materials and Methods Results Ethics Note: Presenting Data Honestly Discussion Conclusion Acknolwedgments References Appendices Interactive Sample Document: Evaluating Lab Reports Understanding the Role of Science and Engineering Articles Writer's Checklist * Exercises * CASE 18: Describing the Purpose of Lab Report Sections 19. Writing Recommendation Reports Using a Problem-Solving Model for Preparing Recommendation Reports Identify the Problem or Opportunity Establish Criteria for Responding to the Problem or Opportunity Determine the Options Study Each Option According to the Criteria Draw Conclusions about Each Option Formulate Recommendations Based on the Conclusions Ethics Note: Presenting Honest Recommendations Writing Recommendation Reports Writing the Body of the Report Guidelines: Writing Recommendations Writing Front Matter Tech Tip: How to Format Headers, Footers, and Page Numbers Tech Tip: How to Create a Table of Contents Guidelines: Writing an Executive Summary Interactive Sample Document: Analyzing an Executive Summary Writing Back Matter Sample Recommendation Report Writer's Checklist * Exercises * CASE 19: Analyzing Options and Drawing Conclusions 20. Writing Definitions, Descriptions, and Instructions Writing Definitions Analyzing the Writing Situation for Definitions Determining the Kind of Definition to Write Guidelines: Writing Effective Sentence Definitions Guidelines: Writing Extended Definitions Deciding Where to Place the Definition Writing Descriptions Analyzing the Writing Situation for Descriptions Clearly Indicate the Nature and Scope of the Description Introduce the Description Clearly Provide Appropriate Detail Guidelines: Providing Appropriate Detail in Descriptions Conclude the Description A Look at Several Descriptions Writing Instructions Designing a Set of Instructions Guidelines: Designing Clear, Attractive Pages Planning for Safety Ethics Note: Protecting Your Readers' Safety Drafting Effective Instructions Guidelines: Drafting Introductions for Instructions Guidelines: Drafting Steps in Instructions Revising, Editing, and Proofreading Instructions A Look at Sample Instructions Interactive Sample Document: Presenting Clear Instructions Writing Manuals Writer's Checklist * Exercises * CASE 20: Writing Instructions for Installing a Programmable Thermostat 21. Making Oral Presentations Understanding the Role of Oral Presentations Understanding the Process for Preparing and Delivering an Oral Presentation Preparing a Presentation Analyzing the Speaking Situation Organizing and Developing the Presentation Guidelines: Introducing a Presentation Guidelines: Concluding a Presentation Preparing Presentation Graphics Tech Tip: How to Create a Master Page Design in PowerPoint Tech Tip: How to Set List Items to Appear and Dim During a Presentation Interactive Sample Document: Integrating Graphics and Text on a Presentation Slide Choosing Effective Language Guidelines: Using Memorable Language in Oral Presentations Rehearsing a PresentationDelivering a Presentation Calming Your Nerves Guidelines: Releasing Nervous Energy Using Your Voice Effectively Using Your Body Effectively Guidelines: Facing an Audience Answering Questions After a Presentation Ethics Note: Answering Questions Honestly Speaker's Checklist * Exercises * CASE 21: Choosing Effective Slide Layouts 22. Connecting with the Public Persuasion and Connecting with the Public Presenting Information to the Public Newsletters Guidelines: Designing an Effective Newsletter Interactive Sample Document: Designing an Effective Newsletter Brochures Guidelines: Creating a Brochure White Papers Guidelines: Writing a White Paper Ethics Note: Marketing Your Organization Honestly Podcasts Collaborating with the Public Discussion Boards Guidelines: Participating in Discussion Boards Blogs Guidelines: Being a Responsible Blogger Wikis Guidelines: Using and Participating in Wikis Effectively Communicator's Checklist * Exercises * CASE 22: Responding to Anti-Employer Blog Posts Appendix: Reference Handbook Part A. Skimming Your Sources and Taking Notes Paraphrasing QuotingSummarizing Part B. Documenting Your Sources APA Style CSE StyleIEEE Style MLA Style Part C. Editing and Proofreading Your Documents Grammatical Sentences Punctuation Mechanics Proofreading Symbols and Their Meanings Part D. Guidelines for Multilingual Writers (ESL) Cultural and Stylistic Communication Issues Sentence-Level Issues References Selected Bibliography Index