Strategies for Technical Communication in the Workplace, 4th edition

  • Laura J. Gurak, 
  • John M. Lannon

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Clearly and concisely, Strategies for Technical Communication in the Workplace helps professionals adapt their communication strategies in a global marketplace. It includes practical applications, sample documents, coverage of technology and global issues, and useful checklists to prepare for any situation.

Published by Pearson (July 14th 2021) - Copyright © 2019

ISBN-13: 9780137554430

Subject: Composition

Category: Technical Communication

Table of contents

Table of Contents


  1. Technical Communication: Global, Collaborative, and Digital
    • What is Technical Communication?
    • Main Features of Technical Communication
      • Focus is on the Reader, Not the Writer
      • Document Design is Efficient and Accessible
      • Writing Style is Clear and Relevant
      • Information is Persuasive, Truthful, and Based on Research
    • Three Primary Purposes of Technical Communication
      • Informational Purpose
      • Instructional Purpose
      • Persuasive Purpose
    • Common Types of Technical Documents
    • Technical Communication is Global, Collaborative, and Digital
      • Technical Communication is Global
    • STRATEGIES for Global Technical Communication
      • Technical Communication is Collaborative
    • STRATEGIES for Organizing a Team Project
      • Running Successful Meetings
      • Identifying and Managing Group Conflicts
    • STRATEGIES for Running a Meeting
    • STRATEGIES for Managing Team Conflicts
      • Reviewing and Editing the Work of Others
    • STRATEGIES for Peer Review and Editing
      • Technical Communication is Digital
    • CHECKLIST for Effective Technical Communication
  2. The Research Process in Technical Communication
    • Thinking Critically about Research
    • STRATEGIES for Thinking Critically about Research
    • Primary versus Secondary Sources
    • Exploring Secondary Sources
      • How to Locate Secondary Sources
      • Types of Secondary Sources
    • STRATEGIES for Finding Credible, Reliable Secondary Sources
    • Exploring Primary Sources
      • Unsolicited Inquiries
      • Informational Interviews
    • STRATEGIES for Informational Interviews
      • Surveys
    • STRATEGIES for Surveys
      • Observations and Experiments
    • CHECKLIST for Doing Research
  3. Providing Audiences with Usable Information
    • Analyze the Document’s Audience
      • Primary and Secondary Audiences
      • Relationship with Audience
      • Audience’s Technical Background
      • Audience’s Cultural Background
    • STRATEGIES for Analyzing Your Audience
    • Determine the Document’s Purpose
      • Primary and Secondary Purposes
      • Intended Use of the Document
    • Know How to Be Persuasive
      • Using Claims as a Basis for Persuasion
      • Connecting with Your Audience
    • STRATEGIES for Persuasion
    • Create a Task Analysis for the Document
    • Consider Other Related Usability Factors
      • Setting
      • Potential Problems
      • Length
      • Format
      • Timing
      • Budget
    • Develop an Information Plan for the Document
    • Write, Test, Revise, and Proofread the Document
    • STRATEGIES for Proofreading
    • CHECKLIST for Usability
  4. Recognizing Ethical Issues in Technical Communication
    • Ethics, Technology, and Communication
    • Types of Ethical Choices
    • How Workplace Pressures Affect Ethical Values
    • Recognizing and Avoiding Ethical Abuses
    • STRATEGIES for Avoiding Ethical Abuses
    • CHECKLIST for Ethical Communication


  1. Structuring Information for Your Readers
    • The Importance of an Understandable Structure
    • Outlining
    • Chunking
    • STRATEGIES for Outlining
    • Sequencing
    • Paragraphing
      • The Topic Sentence
      • Paragraph Unity
      • Paragraph Coherence
    • Clarifying Headings
    • Providing an Overview
    • CHECKLIST for Structuring Information
  2. Writing with a Readable Style
    • The Importance of a Readable Style
    • Writing Clearly
      • Avoiding Ambiguous Pronoun References
      • Avoiding Ambiguous Modifiers
      • Using Active Voice Whenever Possible
      • Using Passive Voice Selectively
      • Avoiding Nominalizations
      • Unstack Modifying Nouns
      • Avoiding Unnecessary Jargon
    • Writing Concisely
      • Avoiding Wordiness
      • Eliminating Redundancy and Repetition
    • Writing Fluently
      • Combining Related Ideas
      • Varying Sentence Construction and Length
      • Using Parallel Structure
    • Writing Personably
      • Adjusting Your Tone
    • STRATEGIES for Deciding about Tone
      • Avoiding Biased Language
    • STRATEGIES for Unbiased Usage
    • CHECKLIST for Style
  3. Using Audience-Centered Visuals
    • The Importance of Using Audience-Centered Visuals
    • When to Use Visuals
      • Using Visuals to Support Text
      • Using Visuals on Their Own
    • Types of Visuals
    • Tables
    • STRATEGIES for Creating Tables
      • Graphs
    • STRATEGIES for Creating Graphs
      • Charts
    • STRATEGIES for Creating Charts
      • Illustrations and Diagrams
      • Photographs
      • Videos
      • Icons and Symbols
    • STRATEGIES for Illustrations, Diagrams, Photographs, Videos, Icons, and Symbols
    • Special Considerations When Using Visuals
      • Selecting Appropriate Visuals
      • Placing, Cross-Referencing, and Presenting Visuals
      • Using Color in Visuals
      • Using Visuals Fairly and Accurately
    • CHECKLIST for Using Audience-Centered Visuals
  4. Designing User-Friendly Documents
    • The Importance of User-Friendly Document Design
    • Characteristics of Well-Designed Documents
    • Specific Design Elements
      • Designing for Consistency and Cohesiveness
    • STRATEGIES for Designing: Consistency and Cohesiveness
      • Designing for Navigation and Emphasis
    • STRATEGIES for Designing: Navigation and Emphasis
    • CHECKLIST for Document Design


  1. Résumés and Other Employment Materials
    • Assessing Your Skills and Aptitudes
    • Researching the Job Market
      • Engage in Active Networking
    • Résumés
      • Parts of a Résumé
      • Organizing Your Résumé
    • STRATEGIES for Creating a Résumé
    • Application Letters
      • Solicited Application Letters
      • Unsolicited Application Letters
    • STRATEGIES for Application Letters
    • Digital versus Print Job Application Materials
    • STRATEGIES for Digital Job Application Materials
    • Dossiers, Portfolios, and E-portfolios
      • Dossiers
      • Portfolios and E-portfolios
    • STRATEGIES for Dossiers, Portfolios, and E-portfolios
    • Interviews and Follow-up Letters
      • Interviews
      • Follow-up Communication
    • STRATEGIES for Interviews and Follow-up Notes
    • CHECKLIST for Résumés
    • CHECKLIST for Job Application Letters
    • CHECKLIST for Supporting Materials
  2. Memos and Letters
    • Memo Basics, Parts, and Format
      • Parts and Format of Memos
    • Memo Tone
    • Types of Memos
      • Transmittal Memo
      • Summary or Follow-up Memo
      • Informational Memo
    • STRATEGIES for Memos
    • Letter Basics, Parts, and Format
      • Letter Parts and Formats
    • Letter Tone
      • Establishing and Maintaining a “You” Perspective
      • Being Polite and Tactful
      • Using Plain English
      • Considering the Needs of International Readers
      • Being Direct or Indirect
    • STRATEGIES for Letters in General
    • Types of Letters
      • Inquiry Letters
    • STRATEGIES for Inquiry Letters
      • Claim Letters
    • STRATEGIES for Claim Letters
      • Sales Letters
    • STRATEGIES for Sales Letters
      • Adjustment Letters
    • STRATEGIES for Adjustment Letters
    • CHECKLIST for Memos and Letters
  3. Definitions
    • Audience and Purpose of Definitions
    • Legal, Safety, and Societal Implications of Definitions
    • Types of Definitions
      • Parenthetical Definitions
      • Sentence Definitions
      • Expanded Definitions
    • Methods for Expanding Definitions
      • Etymology
      • History
      • Negation
      • Operating Principle
      • Analysis of Parts
      • Visuals
      • Comparison and Contrast
      • Required Conditions
      • Examples
      • Using Multiple Expansion Methods
    • Placement of Definitions
    • STRATEGIES for Definitions
    • CHECKLIST for Definitions
  4. Descriptions
    • Audience and Purpose of Descriptions
    • Objectivity in Descriptions
    • Elements of Descriptions
      • Title
      • Introduction
      • Sequence of Topics
      • Visuals
      • Conclusion
    • Product and Process Descriptions
    • A Complex Product Description
    • A Complex Process Description
    • STRATEGIES for Descriptions
    • Specifications
    • STRATEGIES for Specifications
    • CHECKLIST for Descriptions and Specifications
  5. Instructions and Procedures
    • Audience and Purpose of Instructions
    • Types of Instructional Formats
      • User Manuals
      • Quick Reference Materials
      • Assembly Guides
      • Web-based Instructions
      • Online Instructions
    • Safety and Legal Implications
    • Elements of Effective Instructions
      • Title
      • Overview or Introduction
      • Body
      • Conclusion
      • Visuals
      • Notes, Cautions, Warnings, and Danger Notices
    • Content, Style, and Design Considerations
      • Detail and Technicality
      • Style
      • Design
    • STRATEGIES for Readable Instructions
    • STRATEGIES for Accessible Instructions
    • Procedures
      • Audience and Purpose Considerations
      • Types of Procedures
    • Conducting a Usability Survey
    • STRATEGIES for Instructions and Procedures
    • CHECKLIST for Instructions and Procedures
  6. Summaries
    • Audience and Purpose of Summaries
    • Elements of Effective Summaries
      • Accuracy
      • Completeness
      • Conciseness
      • Nontechnical Style
    • Writing Summaries Step by Step
      • Step 1: Read the Original Document
      • Step 2: Reread and Mark Essential Material
      • Step 3: Cut and Paste the Key Information
      • Step 4: Redraft the Information into Your Own Organizational Pattern and Words
      • Step 5: Edit Your Draft
      • Step 6: Compare Your Version with the Original Document
    • Special Types of Summaries
      • Closing Summaries
      • Informative Abstracts
      • Descriptive Abstracts
      • Executive Summaries
    • Summarizing Information for Social Media
    • STRATEGIES for Summaries
    • CHECKLIST for Summaries
  7. Informal Reports
    • Two Categories of Reports: Informational and Analytical
    • Types of Informational Reports
      • Progress Reports
    • STRATEGIES for Progress Reports
      • Periodic Activity Reports
      • Trip Reports
    • STRATEGIES for Periodic Activity Reports
    • STRATEGIES for Trip Reports
      • Meeting Minutes
    • STRATEGIES for Meeting Minutes
    • Types of Analytical Reports
      • Feasibility Reports
    • STRATEGIES for Feasibility Reports
      • Recommendation Reports
    • STRATEGIES for Recommendation Reports
      • Peer Review Reports
    • STRATEGIES for Peer Review Reports
    • CHECKLIST for Informal Reports
  8. Formal Reports
    • Audience and Purpose of Formal Reports
      • Comparative Analysis
      • Causal Analysis
      • Feasibility Analysis
    • Elements of Effective Formal Reports
      • Accurate, Appropriate, and Clearly Interpreted Data
      • Clearly Identified Purpose Statement
      • Understandable Structure
      • Readable Style
      • Audience-centered Visuals
      • User-friendly Design
    • Parts of Formal Reports
      • Letter of Transmittal
      • Front Matter
      • Text of the Report
      • End Matter
    • STRATEGIES for Formal Reports
      • A Sample Formal Report
    • CHECKLIST for Formal Reports
  9. Proposals
    • Audience and Purpose of Proposals
    • Types of Proposals
      • Planning Proposals
      • Research Proposals
      • Sales Proposals
    • Organization of Informal and Formal Proposals
      • Clear Title or Subject Line
      • Background Information
      • Statement of Problem or Situation
      • Description of Solution or Resolution
      • Costs, Timing, and Qualifications
      • Conclusion
    • STRATEGIES for Proposals
      • A Sample Formal Proposal
    • CHECKLIST for Proposals


  1. Email
    • Workplace Email
      • Audience and Purpose of Email
      • Components and Organization of Email
    • Types of Workplace Email
    • STRATEGIES for Choosing and Using Email
    • Appropriate Style for Workplace Email
    • STRATEGIES for Email Style and Tone in the Workplace
    • Copyright and Privacy in Digital Communication
    • CHECKLIST for Email
  2. Blogs, Wikis, and Web Pages
    • Blogs
      • Internal Blogs
      • External Blogs
    • Wikis
      • Internal Wikis
      • External Wikis
    • Web Pages
    • Audience and Purpose of Web Pages
    • Elements of Effective Web Pages
      • Structure
      • Style
      • Visuals
      • Design
    • Web Page Credibility and Privacy Issues
    • STRATEGIES for Blogs, Wikis, and Web Pages
    • CHECKLIST for Blogs, Wikis, and Web Pages
  3. Social Media
    • Considering Audience and Purpose
      • Audience as Contributor
      • Personal versus Workplace Uses of Social Media
    • Social Media in Technical and Workplace Communication
      • Customer Review Sites
      • Facebook
      • Google+
      • Instagram
      • LinkedIn and Other Job Sites
      • Twitter
      • YouTube
      • Other Popular Social Media Sites
    • Credibilty and Legal Issues
    • STRATEGIES for Social Media
    • CHECKLIST for Social Media
  4. Oral Presentations and Video Conferencing
    • Audience and Purpose of Oral Presentations
    • Types of Oral Presentations
      • Informative Presentations
      • Training Presentations
      • Persuasive Presentations
      • Action Plan Presentations
    • Sales Presentations
    • Parts of Oral Presentations
      • Introduction
    • Body
      • Conclusion
    • Preparing Oral Presentations
      • Research and Connect the Topic to Your Audience
      • Create an Outline or Storyboard
      • Determine a Delivery Style
      • Choose Your Technology
      • Plan the Use of Visuals
    • STRATEGIES for Preparing Oral Presentations
      • Practice the Presentation
    • Using Presentation Software
    • Video Conferencing
    • STRATEGIES for Using Presentation Software and Video Conferencing
    • Delivering Oral Presentations
    • STRATEGIES for Delivering Oral Presentations
    • CHECKLIST for Oral Presentations

Appendix A: Documenting Sources

  • What Is Plagiarism?
  • Identifying Sources and Information to be Documented
  • Taking Effective and Accurate Notes
  • STRATEGIES for Taking Notes
  • Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing Properly
    • Quoting the Work of Others
  • STRATEGIES for Quoting the Work of Others
    • Paraphrasing the Work of Others
  • STRATEGIES for Paraphrasing the Work of Others
    • Summarizing the Work of Others
  • STRATEGIES for Summarizing the Work of Others
  • Documentation: The Key to Avoiding Plagiarism
    • Why You Should Document
    • What You Should Document
    • How You Should Document
  • MLA Documentation Style
    • MLA Parenthetical References
    • MLA Works Cited Entries
  • APA Documentation Style
    • APA Parenthetical References
    • APA Reference Entries
  • Other Documentation Styles
  • Recognizing Copyright Issues
    • Works in the Public Domain
    • Fair Use
    • The Difference between Plagiarism and Copyright Infringement

Appendix B: A Brief Handbook

  • Grammar
    • Sentence Fragments
    • Run-on Sentences
    • Comma Splices
    • Faulty Agreement–Subject and Verb
    • Faulty Agreement–Pronoun and Referent
    • Faulty Coordination and Subordination
    • Faulty Pronoun Case
  • Punctuation
    • Period
    • Question Mark
    • Exclamation Point
    • Semicolon
    • Colon
    • Comma
    • Apostrophe
    • Quotation Marks
    • Ellipses
    • Brackets
    • Italics
    • Parentheses
    • Dashes
  • Mechanics
    • Abbreviation
    • Hyphenation
    • Capitalization
    • Numbers and Numerals
    • Spelling
  • Usage
  • Transitions
    • Use Transitional Expressions
    • Repeat Key Words and Phrases
    • Use Forecasting Statements
  • Lists
    • Embedded Lists
    • Vertical Lists

Works Cited



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