Quality Characteristics for High Standard of Tech Writing
information that is efficient - it allows people to perform the task or retrieve the information they need as quickly and as easliy as possible
information maintains a focus on the specific audience - the readers, listeners or viewers-who need information, not piles of usless data
Types of Technical Communication
Quick refernce cards
may include information on how to use a product, along with background information, such as technical specifications or lists of materials
very specific, systematic lists of the actual steps involved in using a product or performing a procedure
Focus on a specific problem, issue or topoc. May recommend a course of action or analyze a particular technology or situation.
Specific recomendations and propose solutions to technical problems. Purpose is to persuade readers to improve conditions, accept a service or product, or otherwise support a plan of action.
Brief, vital form of communitcaion. Purpose: to inform, to persuade, to document or to encorage discussion.
Teamworks - Tips for Managing a Team Project
Appoint a group manager.
Define a clear and definite goal.
Identify the type of document required.
Divide the tasks.
Establish a timetable.
Decide on a meeting schedule and format.
Establish a procedure for responding to the work of other members.
Develop a file-naming system for various dafts.
Establish procedures for dealing with interpersonal problems.
Select a group decision-making style.
Appoint a different "observer" for each meeting.
Decide how to evalute each member's contribution.
Prepare a project management plan.
Submit regular progress reports.
"a group of people who share certian language using practices" any groups that share ways of communicating in terms of established routines, writing formats, ect.
Types of Discourse Communities
medical researchers, technical communicator, lawyers, physicians, etc
"user centered" writings - first concern is to provide information the audience needs
Analyzing Your Audience
Who will be reading, listening to or using this material?
What special characterstics do they have?
Which discourse community or communites do they belong to?
What are their backgroung and attitude toward the subject?
Basic Audience Analysis
Learn as much as possible about the lanaguage and social dynamics of the community you are writing for.
people more distant from the writer who need to stay aware of developments in the organization but who will not directly act on or respond to the document
Analyzing the Communication Purpose
Why is this communication important?
Why is it needed?
What will users do with the information?
Do the users share common membership in a specific discourse community?
Analyzing Communication Context
What are the organizational settings in which the document will be used?
Are there other legal issues to consider?
How much time do people at this company or with this job title have available to to perform the task?
Are the readers of this document associated with a larger community of professionals, and if so, what professional values might they bring to the situation?
Are the audience members from one culture only, or is this information directed at a cross-cultural audience?
Consider the following:
Levels of technical understanding.
Workplace culture or hierarchy.
Understanding your Audience
Corporate style guides.
User preference documents.
Marketing surveys and focus groups.
Document Genre. (peruade or inform?)
Information you will include - interesting and useful
Typical Audiences and Purposes for technical communication
your choice of words, phrases, clauses and sentences and how you connect these sentences - a way of expressing something (in language or art or music etc.) that is characteristic of a particular person or group of people or period
aggreed upon convetions for format, punctuation, spelling, grammer, illustration, design, and tone. "A document created to identify the spelling, layout and common grammatical issues within an organization."
an aspect of literary study that emphasizes the analysis of various elements of style (as metaphor of style)
Old Paradigm for Technical Prose
Technical writing should be objective (neutral), good technical writing should be impersonal, clinical, functional-anything but styllish.
language used in value disputes where the agenda calls for an open minded discussion of the issues but where you and I know all people have their own private visions to promote
words used for true inquiry- no hidden agendas, no predetermined point of view; it is the search for answers in honest pursuit of discovering and appraising our values and views.
Aristotle defines Rhetoric
the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persasion