Table of Contents
1. Thinking about Audience, Purpose, and Genre
What is technical communication?
How does it differ from other types of writing?
Creative vs. technical writing
Who are these “users”?
How do you learn about your users?
Reaching your primary users
Why are you writing?
What is genre?
2. Leading and Misleading the Reader: Ethical Issues of Technical Communication
Ethics at work
Ethics for students
How is ethics related to technical communication?
Using visuals ethically to communicate effectively
Visuals that confuse or mislead
3. Researching Technical Subjects
Primary research: Interviewing
Primary research: Conducting surveys
Secondary research: Finding print and online sources
Citing and paraphrasing researched sources
4. Writing Technical Prose
What is style?
Argumentation: Constructing a persuasive case
Defining, describing, and explaining
5. Designing Documents and Page Layout
What is document design?
What are the elements of document design?
Strategic solutions: Four design principles
Designing a layout grid
6. Writing Winning Proposals
Why write proposals?
What kinds of proposals are there?
What is a proposal?
When should you decline to write a proposal?
How do proposals get evaluated?
Who is the audience for a proposal?
How do you analyze a RFP?
Sample RFP analysis
What are the components of an argument?
How do you organize a proposal?
What is the standard generic format for a proposal?
7. Reporting Technical Information
Status or progress reports
White papers or information reports
What information do you put in a white paper?
How do you reach the audience for a white paper?
What are some useful strategies that will increase the effectiveness of your white paper?
One expert’s helpful hint
Usability test your white paper
The laboratory report
8. Writing How-To Documents: Instructions, Procedures, and Manuals
What makes instructional documents good?
9. Testing and Reporting Document Usability
What is usability?
Why test for usability?
What is a usability test?
What is the purpose of a usability test?
Planning the test
Designing the test
Conducting the test
Reporting your results
Rhetorical challenges of writing a usability report
Acting on your plans for revision
10. Taking Technical Communication Online: Sharing Documents Electronically and Writing Online Documents
What is structured documentation?
Converting documents to portable document file (PDF) format
Sharing documents electronically
Shared folders and documents posted online
Writing online documents
11. Presenting Technical Information Orally
Common speaking occasions
Guidelines for preparing presentations
Guidelines for giving presentations