Pocket Guide to Technical Communication (5th Edition)

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9780135063965: Pocket Guide to Technical Communication (5th Edition)
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The Pocket Guide to Technical Communication is a handy reference for on-the-job business, technical and scientific writing. Its brief format provides quick, easy-to-read answers to common writing problems. Filled with examples, it features samples of every major document type and emphasizes quality and planning throughout. This edition offers new editing exercises, expanded coverage of email, and an entirely new section on PowerPoint.  Its condensed approach is ideal for instructors who want their students to spend more time writing and less time reading about writing.

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About the Author:

SANDY PFEIFFER has spent a career in technical and professional writing. With a Ph.D. in English, he is a professor and department head at Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, Georgia. His department offers both B.S. and M.S. degrees in Technical and Professional Communication.Besides the Pocket Guide, Pfeiffer has written Technical Writing: A Practical Approach, now in its 4th edition (Prentice Hall, 2000). The book is used in colleges and universities around the country. He also wrote Proposal Writing: The Art of Friendly Persuasion (Merrill, 1989), and co-authored, with Chuck Keller, Proposal Writing: The Act of Friendly and Winning Persuasion (Prentice Hall, 2000).Since 1979, Pfeiffer has taught communication seminars to business, industry, and government groups in the United States and overseas. Sample seminar topics include Report Writing, Proposals, Oral Presentations, Effective Meetings, and Technical Editing.

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Preface

This little book aims to provide you with a handy reference for on-the-job writing. It does not pretend to be the last word on the subject. There are plenty of longer books to serve that purpose. Instead, it gives you quick, easy-to-read answers to common writing problems you will face in school and on the job. This introduction includes information on the organization of the text, changes in this edition, and the sources used in writing it.

ORGANIZATION OF TEXT

The Pocket Guide presents information on five main subjects, each with its own chapter or appendix:

Chapter 1 The Writing Process: Achieving Speed and Quality
Chapter 2 Structure: Achieving Order and Design
Chapter 3 Special Topics: Graphics and Speeches
Appendix A: ABC Formats and Examples
Appendix B: Writing Handbook

Each section gives you a "jump start" on planning, drafting, or revising when you are rushed to deliver a document. The two appendices will be especially useful for immediate help with writing. Appendix A includes one-page outlines ("ABC Formats") for 16 different types of documents, followed by model examples. Appendix B contains alphabetized entries to assist with questions about style, grammar, and usage.

CHANGES IN THE SECOND EDITION

New to this edition is the third chapter, "Special Topics," which includes guidelines for graphics and speeches.

Further, there are now two appendices in the book, instead of the one that appeared in the first edition. Appendix A: ABC Formats and Examples has been expanded to include job letters and resumes. Appendix B: Writing Handbook now contains an entry on English as a Second Language (ESL). The many international students in technical writing classrooms suggest that this new entry will be useful.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank the following individuals and companies for allowing me to incorporate their material into examples: Jefferson Alexander, Natalie Birnbaum, David Cox, Jeffrey Daxon, Rob Duggan, Fugro-McClelland, Inc., Chuck Keller, Becky Kelly, Steven Knapp, Law Companies Group, Jeff Orr, Chris Owen, Ken Rainey, Sam Randell, Herb Smith, and James Stephens.

Additionally, I would like to thank the reviewers of this text for their attention and insight: Genie Babb, University of Alaska, Anchorage; Debra C. Boyd, Winthrop University; and Megan O'Neill, Stetson University.

Also, many thanks to my family—Evelyn, Zach, and Katie—for their ever-present support during this project and for their outstanding suggestions for improving the book.

REQUEST FOR YOUR COMMENTS

In using the Pocket Guide, you may come up with suggested changes for another edition. Please send your ideas to me at the Humanities and Technical Communication Department, Southern Polytechnic State University, 1100 S. Marietta Pkwy., Marietta, GA 30060. I'd be glad to hear from you.

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