Technical Communication in the Global Community

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9780131030602: Technical Communication in the Global Community

Today's technical professionals need to reach audiences and collaborate on projects across borders of culture, language, and technology. This versatile, inexpensive book encourages readers to think critically in a changing environment, with the goal of communicating successfully with people who may not share their values or approaches. Uses descriptions, cases, and special feature boxes to provide guidelines for communicating effectively. Emphasizes information design in a global context throughout. Offers a greatly enhanced Website that updates the book and displays visual information in a powerful format. Streamlines discussion of planning and sentence structure, and provides references for grammar assistance. The perfect communication reference for engineers, scientists, and other technical professionals.

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From the Inside Flap:

PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION

The focus in this edition remains the same as in the first: to provide strategies for technical professionals to use as they reach audiences and collaborate on projects across borders of culture, language, and technology. In revising, I have reshaped some sections to reflect the rapidly changing context for technical communication. I've also incorporated new research findings and comments from students and colleagues.

The problems giving rise to communication remain muddled and multidimensional. To solve them, students must learn how to write and speak as global citizens as well as global engineers or health professionals or scientists. As in the first edition, I've taken an international context for granted. Science and technology are international activities, and an informed professional writes with the international community in mind. The pervasiveness of the Internet and especially the Web only underscores this reality.

As I reviewed the first edition, I kept in mind how current information technology aids—or hinders—good communication and looked for ways to update advice about using that technology. These updates appear overtly in the Electronic Edge feature boxes and are interwoven throughout the book wherever appropriate. One perhaps cynical observer notes that the Internet only lets bad information get to you faster. To avoid such risks, students will find here expanded strategies for managing information in a 24/7 world.

In this edition, too, design takes center stage. To adapt a line from Alice in Wonderland (the original is quoted at the beginning of Chapter 10): "Much of what you see depends on how it looks." Extensive research in academe and the marketplace confirms the central role of design in shaping the content of information products. In light of this research and my own years as an avid observer of the visual world, I thoroughly revised Part 3 on expression. The revision reverses the order of the first edition (sentences to visuals to design). In this edition, design comes first, followed by advice on composing visuals and then on composing text. Design issues also thread through the chapters on individual genres as well as oral presentations. In addition, to practice what we preach, we redesigned the look of this edition.

In other ways, too, I hope to have enhanced elements of the first edition without messing up what readers found attractive there. Several chapters have been edited for greater crispness and clarity following excellent suggestions from students and reviewers. The Crossing Cultures and A Closer Look feature boxes remain, most in updated form. So do the models, cases, exercises, and checklists readers depended on to make rhetorical concepts come alive. (Badgered by reviewers and students, however, I reluctantly let the Chapter 1 rats go.) For additional updates on information in the book, more cases and models, and expanded exercises, please visit the book's Web site: prenhall/andrews. An instructor's manual is also available. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

All writing, at least the way I write, is collaborative, and I'd like to thank publicly some of the many people who guided me in improving the text.

The following reviewers for Prentice Hall gave me just the advice I needed: Genie Babb, University of Alaska, Anchorage; Daryl R. Davis, Northern Michigan University; Matt Pifer, University of Oklahoma; and Sharon K. Wilson, Fort Hays State University.

I'd also like to thank Craig Campanella, my editor at Prentice Hall, and Alison Gnerre, Production Manager.

In addition, the Consortium for the Study of Engineering Communication provided some of the best conversations about writing (and desserts) that I can remember. I'd particularly like to thank Linda Driskill, consortium convener, Rice University; Penny Hirsch, Barbara Shwom, Northwestern University; Rebecca Burnett, Iowa State University; Marj Davis, Mercer University; Karen Schriver, KSA, Document Design and Research; Dick Hayes, Carnegie-Mellon University; Steve Youra, Cornell University; Deborah Bosley, North Carolina State University-Charlotte; Margaret Hundleby, Auburn University; and Lee Odell, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Colleagues in the Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication also informed this book through our annual meetings in interesting places and our special roundtable in June 2000 in London. I've also profited greatly from workshops and panels at the Conference on College Composition and Communication and at the regional and national gatherings of the Association for Business Communication.

Talking about writing is not the same as writing, of course, but it helps. In particular, I'm grateful for the bright ideas of Stuart Selber, Penn State University; Bruce Maylath, University of Wisconsin-Stout; Paul Anderson, Miami University of Ohio; Jimmie Killingsworth, Texas A&M; Carolyn Rude, Sam Dragga, Texas Tech; Steve Bernhardt, New Mexico State University; Kathy Richardson, Capital University; Lil Rodman, University of British Columbia; Becky Worley, Martha Carothers, University of Delaware.

In the end, this book is of and for students. My students and I have spent a lot of time together—Newark, Delaware; in London, UK; in Mikkeli and Helsinki, Finland; and in cyberspace. As a product of that time, this book represents my deepest gratitude to them.

Debby Andrews
Newry, Maine

From the Back Cover:

Key Benefit: Prepares readers to become resourceful, authoritative, and effective technical writers in a rapidly changing global community. Key Topics: By focusing on five major themes — internationalism, collaboration, ethics, electronic technology innovations, and the environment — it teaches how to write about both technical ideas as well as technical products — and to collaborate on projects across borders of culture, language, and technology.

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