I was asked to choose a set of four texts that best represent the field of technical communication. Choosing only four (or ten, or 50) is of course extremely reductive, but it allowed me to really focus on the aspects of technical communication that I think are most foundational.
The four texts I chose offer the broadest overview of the discipline while still addressing the specific components that represent the field of technical communication. I identify four primary topics that both build on each other and overlap, to give a representative view of which topics I see as important for technical communicators, in general.
As I have mentioned in previous posts (analysis of hacking responses and Kickstarter PR response), as more PR and marketing communications concern technical issues (either directly regarding a technology or technological information about a product or service) there is a need for writers who can write both technical and rhetorically — that is, knowing not just what to say but how and where.
“Important Kickstarter Security Notice”
What happened in summary?
- Last week on Wednesday (this date is relevant) Kickstarter’s website was hacked and users’ personal data was stolen. Kickstarter released a PR statement regarding the security incident on Saturday (yes, 3 days later, on a holiday weekend) with recommended instructions that users should take.
Why am I writing about this?
Avira and AVG: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2053380/network-solutions-investigating-dns-hijack.html
What happened in summary?
- In the past week, several companies’ websites were “hacked”* including the security companies AVG and Avira, and the same attempt made on Avast. The hack made on Adobe was not the same as the previous three but because it occurred during this same time and was a result of hacking, I have included it in this post. Whatsapp was also hacked but I have not included them in this post.
Anderson, Donald L. 2004. “The Textualizing Functions of Writing for Organizational Change.” Journal of Business and Technical Communication 18 (2) (April 1): 141–164.
Logic, organization, and argumentation strategies
Are the claims logical interpretations of the data?
Significance to the field of technical communication
This research paper combines a literature review with an ethnographic study to examine “how change is accomplished through language” (Anderson 2004, 142).
Anderson introduces his two research questions at the end of the introduction and literature review and immediately preceding the methodology section. The rest of the paper is the presentation of the study results along with concurrent analysis.
The Anderson’s conclusion (and theoretical perspective) is that an idea, or series of ideas—whether it’s from meetings, voicemails, IMs, etc.—can’t effect change unless they are “textualized”, written down or otherwise transformed into an “object”; this object is the agent that allows change to occur.
Dragga, Sam. 1997. “A Question of Ethics: Lessons from Technical Communicators on the Job.” Technical Communication Quarterly 6 (2): 161–178.
The questions of how useful, desirable, or effective ethics instructions is for professional technical communicators has been visited and revisited for decades. Most of the literature concerning ethics instruction focuses on the analytical perspective rather than on narratives. In this article, Dragga offers a claim based in part on Continue reading
Sims, Brenda R. 1993. “Linking Ethics and Language in the Technical Communication Classroom.” Technical Communication Quarterly 2 (3): 285.
This essay combines a literature review with case studies to examine what communication-ethics principles students are learning and to demonstrate how technical communication courses should approach ethics instruction. The author discusses current literature (as of 1993) and suggests that the current pedagogy structures ethics learning around actions, or what I call the industrial approach, instead of by