Technical Communication Today, Books a la Carte Edition

Technical Communication Today, Books a la Carte Edition

by Richard Johnson-Sheehan

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780205229185
Publisher: Longman
Publication date: 07/21/2011
Pages: 736
Product dimensions: 7.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Richard Johnson-Sheehan is a Professor of Rhetoric and Composition at Purdue University. At Purdue, he directed the Introductory Composition program, and he mentored new teachers of composition for many years. He teaches a variety of courses in composition, professional writing, and writing program administration, as well as classical rhetoric and the rhetoric of science. He has published widely in these areas. His prior books on writing include Technical Communication Today, now in its fifth edition, and Writing Proposals, now in its second edition. Professor Johnson-Sheehan was awarded 2008 Fellow of the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing and has been an officer in the Council for Writing Program Administrators.

Table of Contents



1 Communicating in the Technical Workplace

Developing a Workplace Writing Process

Genres and the Technical Writing Process

Stage 1: Plan Out Your Project and Do Start-up Research

Stage 2: Organizing and Drafting

Stage 3: Improving the Style

Stage 4: Designing

Stage 5: Revising and Editing

What is Technical Communication?

Technical Communication is Interactive and Adaptable

Technical Communication is Reader Centered

Technical Communication Relies on Teamwork

Technical Communication is Visual

Technical Communication Has Ethical, Legal, and Political Dimensions

Technical Communication is International and Cross-Cultural

How Important is Technical Communication?

2 Readers and Contexts of Use

Creating a Reader Profile

Step 1: Identify Your Readers

Step 2: Identify Your Readers’ Needs, Values, and Attitudes

Step 3: Identify the Contexts in Which Readers Will Experience Your Document

Using Profiles to Your Own Advantage

Global and Transcultural Communication

Differences in Content

Differences in Organization

Differences in Style

Differences in Design

Listen and Learn: The Key to Global and Transcultural Communication

3 Working in Teams

The Stages of Teaming

Forming: Strategic Planning

Step 1: Define the Project Mission and Objectives

Step 2: Identify Project Outcomes

Step 3: Define Team Member Responsibilities

Step 4: Create a Project Calendar

Step 5: Write Out a Work Plan

Step 6: Agree on How Conflicts Will Be Resolved

Storming: Managing Conflict

Running Effective Meetings

Mediating Conflicts

Firing a Team Member

Norming: Determining Team Roles

Revising Objectives and Outcomes

Help: Virtual Teaming

Redefining Team Roles

Using Groupware to Facilitate Work

Performing: Improving Quality

The Keys to Teaming

4 Ethics in the Technical Workplace

What Are Ethics?

Where Do Ethics Come From?

Personal Ethics

Social Ethics

Conservation Ethics

Resolving Ethical Dilemmas

Step 1: Analyze the Ethical Dilemma

Step 2: Make a Decision

Step : React Appropriately When You Disagree with Your Employer

Help: Stopping Cyberbullying and Computer Harassment

Ethics in the Technical Workplace

Copyright Law




Information Sharing

Proprietary Information

Libel and Slander


Copyright Law in Technical Communication

Asking Permission

Copyrighting Your Work



5 Letters, Memos, and E-Mail

Features of Letters, Memos, and E-Mail

Quick Start: Letters, Memos, and E-Mail

Step 1: Make a Plan and Do Research

Step 2: Decide What Kind of Letter, Memo, or E-Mail is Needed

Step 3: Organize and Draft Your Message

Step 4: Choose the Style, Design, and Medium

Microgenre: Workplace Texting and Tweeting

Using E-Mail Internationally

Case Study: The Nastygram

6 Technical Descriptions and Specifications

Types of Technical Descriptions

Quick Start: Technical Descriptions and Specifications

Step 1: Make a Plan and Do Research

Step 2: Partition Your Subject

Step 3: Organize and Draft Your Technical Description

Help: Using Digital Photography in Descriptions

Step 4: Choose the Style, Design, and Medium

Microgenre: Technical Definitions

Case Study: In the Vapor

7 Instructions and Documentation

Types of Technical Documentation

Quick Start: Instructions and Documentation

Step 1: Make a Plan and Do Research

Step 2: Organize and Draft Your Documentation

Step 3: Choose the Style, Design, and Medium

Help: On-Screen Documentation

Microgenre: Emergency Instructions

Case Study: Purified Junk

8 Proposals

Types of Proposals

Quick Start: Proposals

Step 1: Make a Plan and Do Research

Step 2: Organize and Draft Your Proposal

Step 3: Choose the Style, Design, and Medium

Microgenre: The Elevator Pitch

Case Study: The Mole

9 Activity Reports

Types of Activity Reports

Quick Start: Activity Reports

Step 1: Make a Plan and Do Research

Step 2: Organize and Draft Your Activity Report

Step 3: Choose the Style, Design, and Medium

Microgenre: The Status Report

Case Study: Bad Chemistry

10 Analytical Reports

Types of Analytical Reports

Quick Start: Analytical Reports

Step 1: Make a Plan and Do Research

Step 2: Organize and Draft Your Report

Help: Using Google Docs to Collaborate with International Teams

Step 3: Draft the Front Matter and Back Matter

Step 4: Choose Your Design and Style

Microgenre: The Poster Presentation

Case Study: The X-File

11 Starting Your Career

Setting Goals, Making a Plan

Quick Start: Career Materials

Setting Goals

Making Your Plan

Preparing a Résumé

Types of Résumés

Chronological Résumé

Functional Résumé

Designing the Résumé

Help: Designing a Searchable Résumé

Writing Effective Application Letters

Content and Organization


Revising and Proofreading the Résumé and Letter

Creating a Professional Portfolio

Collecting Materials

Organizing Your Portfolio

Assembling the Portfolio in a Binder

Creating an Electronic Portfolio

Interviewing Strategies

Preparing for the Interview

At the Interview

Writing Thank You Letters and/or E-Mails

Microgenre: The Bio

Case Study: The Lie


12 Strategic Planning, Being Creative

Using Strategic Planning

Step 1: Set Your Objectives

Step 2: Create a List of Tasks (or Task List)

Step 3: Set a Timeline

Help: Planning with Online Calendars

Generating New Ideas

Tips for Being More Creative

Inventing Ideas

Case Study: Getting Back to Crazy

13 Persuading Others

Persuading with Reasoning

Reasoning with Logic

Reasoning with Examples and Evidence

Persuading with Values

Help: Persuading Readers Online

Appealing to Common Goals and Ideals

Framing Issues from the Readers’ Perspective

Persuasion in High-Context Cultures

Case Study: Trying to Stay Neutral

14 Researching in Technical Workplaces

Beginning Your Research

Step 1: Define Your Research Subject

Step 2: Formulate a Research Question or Hypothesis

Step 3: Develop a Research Methodology

Step 4: Collect Evidence Through Sources

Step 5: Triangulate Your Sources

Step 6: Take Careful Notes

Help: Using a Citation Manager

Step 7: Appraise Your Evidence

Step 8: Revise, Accept, or Abandon Your Hypothesis

Case Study: The Life of a Dilemma


15 Organizing and Drafting

Basic Organization for Any Document

Using Genres for Outlining

Organizing and Drafting the Introduction

Six Opening Moves in an Introduction

Drafting with the Six Moves

Organizing and Drafting the Body

Carving the Body into Sections

Patterns of Arrangement

Organizing and Drafting the Conclusion

Five Closing Moves in a Conclusion

Organizing Transcultural Documents

Indirect Approach Introductions

Indirect Approach Conclusions

Case Study: The Bad News

16 Using Plain and Persuasive Language

What is Style?

Writing Plain Sentences

Basic Parts of a Sentence

Eight Guidelines for Plain Sentences

Creating Plain Sentences

Help: Translating and Translation Programs

Writing Plain Paragraphs

The Elements of a Paragraph

Using the Four Types of Sentences in a Paragraph

Aligning Sentence Subjects in a Paragraph

The Given/New Method

When Is It Appropriate to Use Passive Voice?
Persuasive Style

Elevate the Tone

Use Similes and Analogies

Use Metaphors

Change the Pace

Balancing Plain and Persuasive Style

Case Study: Going Over the Top

17 Designing Documents and Interfaces

Five Principles of Design

Design Principle 1: Balance

Weighting a Page or Screen

Using Grids to Balance a Page Layout

Design Principle 2: Alignment

Design Principle 3: Grouping

Using Headings

Using Borders and Rules

Design Principle 4: Consistency

Choosing Typefaces

Labeling Graphics

Creating Sequential and Nonsequential Lists

Inserting Headers and Footers

Design Principle 5: Contrast

Cross-Cultural Design

Case Study: Bugs on the Bus

18 Creating and Using Graphics

Guidelines for Using Graphics

Guideline 1: A Graphic Should Tell a Simple Story

Guideline 2: A Graphic Should Reinforce the Written Text, Not Replace It

Guideline 3: A Graphic Should Be Ethical

Guideline 4: A Graphic Should Be Labeled and Placed Properly

Displaying Data with Graphs, Tables, and Charts

Line Graphs

Bar Charts


Pie Charts


Using Pictures and Drawings


Inserting Photographs and Other Images


Using Transcultural Symbols

Case Study: Looking Guilty

19 Revising and Editing for Usability

Levels of Edit

Level 1 Editing: Revising

Level 2 Editing: Substantive Editing

Level 3 Editing: Copyediting

Level 4 Editing: Proofreading

Using Copyediting Symbols

Lost in Translation: Transcultural Editing

Documenting Cycling and Usability Testing

Case Study: A Machine By Any Other Name


20 Preparing and Giving Presentations

Planning and Researching Your Presentation

Defining the Rhetorical Situation

Allotting Your Time

Choosing the Right Presentation Technology

Organizing the Content of Your Presentation

Building the Presentation

The Introduction: Tell Them What You’re Going to Tell Them

Help: Giving Presentations with your Mobile Phone or Tablet

The Body: Tell Them

The Conclusion: Tell Them What You Told Them

Preparing to Answer Questions

Choosing Your Presentation Style

Creating Visuals

Designing Visual Aids

Using Graphics

Slides to Avoid

Delivering the Presentation

Body Language

Voice, Rhythm, and Tone

Using Your Notes


Evaluating Your Performance

Working Cross-Culturally with Translators

Case Study: The Coward

21 Writing for the Web

Writing for Websites

Basic Features of a Website

Step 1: Develop the Content

Step 2: Organize and Draft Your Webpage or Website

Step 3: Choose the Style and Design of Your Webpage or Website

Step 4: Add Images

Step 5: Anticipate the Needs of Transcultural Readers

Step 6: Upload Your Website

Using Social Networking in the Workplace

Step 1: Create Your Social Networking Account

Step 2: Choose Your Friends (Wisely)

Step 3: Maintain Your Site

Step 4: Collaborate with Others, but Carefully

Step 5: Communicate with Your Company’s “Fans”

Creating Blogs and Microblogs

Step 1: Choose Your Blog’s Host Site

Step 2: Write and Maintain Your Blog

Step 3: Let Others Join the Conversation

Making Internet Videos and Podcasts

Step 1: Write the Script

Step 2: Shoot the Video or Record the Podcast

Step 3: Edit Your Video or Podcast

Step 4: Upload Your Video or Podcast

Writing Articles for Wikis

Step 1: Write the Text

Step 2: Post Your Article

Step 3: Return to Edit Your Articles

Case Study: My Boss Might Not “Like” This

Appendix A Grammar and Punctuation Guide

Appendix B Guide for English Language Learners

Appendix C Documentation Guide




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