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Technical and Professional Writing: Solving Problems at Work

Book Description

Taking a research-based, integrated problem-solving approach to technical and professional writing, this text provides a model that illustrates real working-world solutions to problems that students are likely to encounter in the workplace. Each chapter begins with a short scenario case study that deals with theoretical or applied issues of technical and professional communication. The problem is carried through its development and resolution, thereby preparing students to deal appropriately and successfully in the professional world,

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
    1. Dedication
  2. Preface
    1. Acknowledgments
  3. 1. Professionalism and Problem Solving
    1. CASE STUDY: Susan James's Office
    2. Professionals And Professionalism
      1. Examples of Professionalism
      2. Professional Activity
        1. Solving Technical and Rhetorical Problems
        2. Writing in Response to Problems
    3. Profiles of Professionals
      1. The Problems They Solve and the Documents They Write
      2. Highlights of the Professional Profiles
    4. Solving Problems by Asking and Answering Questions
    5. Exercises
      1. Assignment
      2. Term Project Option
  4. 2. Technical Problem Solving
    1. CASE STUDY: Susan James's Office
    2. An Overview of Technical Problem Solving
    3. Definition
      1. Defining Multiple Problems
      2. Techniques of the Definition Process
        1. Techniques to Use for a Well-Informed Audience
          1. Physical Description
          2. Comparison and Contrast
          3. Process Description
          4. Example
        2. Techniques to Use for a Lay Audience
          1. Etymology
          2. Synonyms and Antonyms
          3. Similes and Metaphors
          4. Analogies
          5. History of Discovery or Development
      3. Summary of the Definition Process
    4. Research
      1. Straightforward Primary Research
      2. Complex Primary Research with Fieldwork
      3. Acquiring and Evaluating Secondary Research Materials
        1. The Annotated Bibliography: A Helpful Tool
      4. Summary of the Research Process
    5. Analysis
    6. Resolution and Synthesis
    7. Implementation
    8. Conclusions
    9. Exercises
      1. Assignments
      2. Term Project Options
  5. 3. Rhetorical Problem Solving
    1. CASE STUDY: Mary Anne Cox's Office
    2. An Overview of Rhetorical Problem Solving
    3. Purpose
      1. Primary Purposes
      2. Secondary Purposes
    4. Audience
      1. First Level of Audience Analysis
      2. Second Level of Audience Analysis
    5. Context
    6. Ethical Stance
    7. Rhetorical Problem Solving as a Recursive Process
    8. Writing for Someone Else's Signature
    9. Conclusions
    10. Exercises
      1. Assignments
      2. Term Project Option
  6. 4. Solving Problems Through Advanced Research
    1. CASE STUDY: Patricia Wynjenek's Office
    2. Introduction to Some Essentials of Research
      1. The Need for a Different Floor Plan
      2. The Need to Increase Retail Market Share
    3. Review of Kinds of Research
      1. Primary Research
      2. Secondary Research
    4. Varieties of Primary Research
      1. Experimental/Empirical/Quantifiable Research
      2. Nonexperimental/Qualifiable Research
      3. The Case Of Patricia Wynjenek
        1. Advantages and Disadvantages of Close-Ended Questionnaires
        2. Patricia Wynjenek's Interview Schedule
        3. A Word About Self-Reporting
    5. Varieties of Secondary Research
      1. Searching Libraries On-line
        1. Boolean Searching
        2. Keyword Searching
      2. Searching the Internet
      3. Other Problems and Moves to Solve Them
        1. Using Search Engines
        2. Common Searching Methods on Search Engines
          1. Boolean Searching
          2. Phrase Searching
      4. Relevance Ranking
        1. Selected Search Engines
      5. The Ethics of Performing Research
        1. Kinds of Ethical Theories
        2. Are There Common Grounds Between Theories?
      6. The Ethics of Patricia Wynjenek's Research
    6. Conclusions
    7. Works Cited and/or Consulted
      1. Bibliography
    8. Exercises
  7. 5. Collaborative Writing and the Uses of Technology
    1. CASE STUDY: Adrian Rivera's Office
    2. Basics of Collaboration
    3. Communicate to Solve Problems Collaboratively
      1. Communicate about Content
      2. Communicate about Tasks and Roles
    4. Collaborative Writing Strategies
    5. Technology for Collaboration
    6. General Guidelines for Use of Technology
    7. Technical Problem Solving and Planning
      1. Using FTF Meetings Effectively
      2. Using E-mail Effectively
    8. Technology Support for Drafting, Distribution, Revision
    9. Pointers for Successful Collaboration
    10. Epilogue
    11. References
    12. Exercises
  8. 6. Solving Problems Through Proposals
    1. CASE STUDY: Patricia Wynjenek's Office
    2. Fundamentals of a Proposal
      1. Purpose and Rationale
      2. Kinds of Proposals
        1. Solicited Proposals
        2. Unsolicited Proposals
        3. Research Proposals
        4. Practical Proposals
    3. Analyzing the Process of Proposal Writing
      1. Statement of the Problem
        1. Defining the Problem for a Solicited Proposal
        2. Defining the Problem for an Unsolicited Proposal
      2. Analysis of the Audiences
        1. Direct Beneficiaries of the Work to Be Done
        2. Reviewing Audiences
        3. The Review Process
          1. Public Organizations
          2. Private Organizations
      3. Statement of the Objectives of the Work Proposed
      4. Review of the Literature and Previous Work
      5. Methods for Doing the Work
      6. Facilities
      7. Personnel
      8. Budget and Schedule
      9. Expected Results and Evaluation Plan
    4. Format of a Proposal
      1. Basic Format
      2. Expanded Format
        1. Letter of Transmittal
        2. Cover Page
        3. Abstract or Executive Summary
        4. Table of Contents
        5. Graphic Depictions of Schedule
        6. References Cited
    5. Conclusions
    6. Exercise
      1. Assignments
      2. Term Project Option
    7. Sample Student Proposals
  9. 7. Solving Problems Through Periodic (Progress) Reports and Completion Reports
    1. CASE STUDY: Leah Feldstein's Office
    2. Fundamentals of a Periodic Report
      1. Purpose and Rationale
    3. Questions That Periodic Reports Answer
      1. What Project or Work Is Being Reviewed in the Report?
      2. What Period of Time Does the Report Cover?
      3. In Summary, What Has Happened during This Period?
      4. What Work Has Been Accomplished?
      5. What Problems Arose While Doing the Work?
      6. Is the Work on Schedule and within Budget?
      7. What Work Has to Be Done in the Future?
    4. Format and Substance of a Periodic Report
    5. Sample Professional Periodic Report
    6. Exercises
      1. Assignments
      2. Term Project Option
    7. CASE STUDY REVISITED: Patricia Wynjenek's Office
    8. Fundamentals of a Completion Report
      1. Purpose and Rationale
    9. Questions That Completion Reports Answer
      1. What Is the Problem? Why Does It Warrant Special Attention?
      2. What Work Was Done? How Was It Done? What, in General, Were the Results?
      3. What Conclusions Can Be Drawn from the Work That Was Done? How Can the Data be Interpreted? What Decisions, If Any Are Necessary, Can Be Made, Given What Is Now Known?
    10. Format and Substance of a Completion Report
      1. Elements of the Format for a Nonacademic Audience
        1. Letter of Transmittal
        2. Cover
        3. Title Page
        4. Acknowledgments
        5. Executive Summary
        6. Table of Contents
        7. Introduction
        8. Analysis and Discussion
        9. Conclusions
        10. Recommendations
        11. Works Cited
        12. Appendixes
      2. Elements of the Format for an Academic, Research-Oriented Audience
        1. Letter of Transmittal, Cover, Title Page, and Acknowledgments
        2. Abstract
        3. Table of Contents
        4. Introduction
        5. Review of Literature
        6. Methods and Materials
        7. Results
        8. Discussion
        9. Summary and Conclusion
        10. Works Cited and Appendixes
    11. Sample Professional Completion Report
    12. Exercises
      1. Assignment
      2. Term Project Option
    13. Sample Student Completion Report
  10. 8. Solving Problems Through Trip Reports, Feasibility Studies, and Scientific Reports
    1. CASE STUDY: Bruce Kennewick's Office
    2. Fundamentals of a Trip Report
      1. Purpose and Rationale
    3. Analyzing the Process of Writing a Trip Report
      1. Introduction
      2. Overall Assessment of the Work Done
      3. Problems and Solutions
      4. Conclusions and Recommendations
      5. Format and Substance of a Trip Report
      6. Sample Professional Trip Report
    4. Exercises
      1. Assignment
    5. CASE STUDY: Al Robinson
    6. Fundamentals of a Feasibility Study
      1. Purpose and Rationale
    7. Analyzing the Process of Writing a Feasibility Study
    8. Sample Outline for a Feasibility Study
    9. Sample Engineering Feasibility Study
    10. Exercises
    11. Fundamentals of Scientific Writing
      1. Evolution of Scientific Writing
      2. The Professional Writing Continuum
    12. Format and Substance of a Scientific Report
    13. Sample Student-Authored Scientific Article
    14. Exercises
  11. 9. Solving Problems Through Policy Statements, Manuals, and Procedures
    1. Distinguishing among Policy Statements, Manuals, and Procedures
      1. Policy Statements
      2. Manuals
      3. Procedures
    2. CASE STUDY: Ruth Warner's Office
    3. Rhetorical Problem Solving for Policy Statements, Manuals, and Procedures
    4. Guidelines for Writing an Enforceable Policy Statement
    5. Sample Policy Statement
    6. CASE STUDY: Bob Hanley's Office
    7. Guidelines for Producing a Functional Manual
      1. Formatting
      2. Readability
      3. Organization
      4. Appendixes and Attachments
    8. Sample Outline for a Manual
    9. CASE STUDY: Professor Rick Allen's Office
    10. Guidelines for Writing a Logical Procedure
      1. Essential Characteristics of Procedures
        1. Model for Procedure Writing
        2. Sample Action Step
        3. Sample Warning
        4. Sample Decision Step
        5. Sample Cross-Reference
        6. Sample Note
    11. Sample Administrative Procedure
    12. Sample Operations Procedure
    13. Analyzing an Administrative Procedure
    14. Conclusions
    15. Postscript
    16. Exercises
      1. Assignment
  12. 10. Solving Problems Through Letters and Memoranda
    1. CASE STUDY: Super Bowl Sunday 3:20 P.M. – Jay Dalton's Cubicle
    2. Memos and Letters as Problem Solvers
      1. Documenting with Memos and Letters
      2. Distinguishing between Memos and Letters
    3. Format of a Letter and a Memo
      1. Standard Letter Format
      2. Standard Memo Format
    4. Conventions of Administrative Writing
      1. Structure and Content
      2. Length
    5. Reading and Writing Professionally, at Two Levels
      1. The Literal Level
        1. Analysis of the Revised Memo
        2. Common Errors in Administrative Writing at the Literal Level
      2. The Implicit Level
        1. Elements to Consider at the Implicit Level
          1. Writer's Tone
          2. Identity of the Author and Indication of a Ghostwriter
          3. Recipients of Copies
    6. Analyzing the Administrative Writing Process
      1. Isolating the Main Problem
      2. Identifying Underlying Problems
      3. Applying the Principles of Rhetorical Problem Solving
    7. Sample Professional Memo Written to Solve a Problem
    8. Postscript
    9. Transmittal Letters as Problem Solvers
      1. Functions of a Transmittal Letter
        1. Transmittal Letters as Documentation
      2. Copy Notation for a Transmittal Letter
    10. Sample Professional Transmittal Letters
    11. Writing For Someone Else's Signature
      1. Considering the Audience
      2. Analyzing the Rest of the Rhetorical Situation
      3. Proofing the Document
    12. Conclusions
    13. Exercises
      1. Assignment
      2. Term Project Option
  13. 11. Solving Problems in the Professional Job Search
    1. CASE STUDY: Evening Rush Hour
    2. Fundamentals of the Job Search
      1. Appealing to Employers
      2. Common Job Application Errors
    3. The Job Search Process
      1. Reactivate Placement File
      2. Approach Recommenders
      3. Research Possible Employers, and Find Position Descriptions
      4. Update Résumé
        1. Basics of a Strong Résumé
          1. Purpose
          2. Audience
          3. Arrangement
      5. Sample College Résumé
        1. Plan for Updating the College Résumé
          1. Revising Content
          2. Objective Statement
          3. Personal Information
          4. Professional Activities
          5. Publications and Papers
          6. Education
          7. Awards
          8. References
          9. Attending to Readability
          10. Length
          11. White Space
          12. Typography
      6. Sample Professional Résumé
      7. Write Cover Letters
        1. Adapt, Where Legitimate, for Audience Needs
          1. Inform through Summary
          2. Persuade through Evidence
        2. Synthesize as Necessary to Correlate Experience and Requirements of the Position
      8. Sample Position Description
      9. Sample Cover Letter for an Advertised Position
      10. Submitting an Unsolicited Application
      11. Sample Cover Letter for an Unsolicited Application
    4. Postscript
    5. Shaping Up a Student Résumé
      1. First Draft of the Résumé
        1. Purpose
        2. Audience
        3. Arrangement
    6. Revised Student Résumé
    7. Fundamentals of the Interview Process
      1. The Interviewer
      2. Interview Guidelines
        1. Responsiveness
        2. Preparedness
        3. Finesse with Trick and Hostile Questions
        4. Honesty
    8. Conclusions
    9. Exercises
      1. Assignments
      2. Term Project Option
  14. 12. Solving Problems Through Document Design
    1. CASE STUDY: Kevin Ersting's Office
    2. The Importance of Presentation
    3. Elements of Document Design
      1. White Space
      2. Text
        1. Headings
        2. Typefaces
        3. Columns
        4. Justification
      3. Graphics
        1. Displaced Text
        2. Tables
        3. Pie Charts
        4. Bar Graphs
        5. Line Graphs
        6. Photographs
        7. Illustrations and Drawings
    4. Sample Professional Document Design
    5. Creativity Versus Convention in Document Design
    6. Conclusions
    7. Exercise
      1. Assignment
  15. 13. Solving Problems Through Oral Presentations
    1. CASE STUDY: Leah Feldstein's Office
    2. The Naturalness of Oral Communication
      1. Practical Limitations Resulting from the Setting
    3. Rhetorical Analysis of an Oral Presentation
      1. Purpose
      2. Audience
      3. Context
      4. Ethical Stance
    4. Essential Elements in Preparing an Oral Presentation
      1. Knowing the Material
      2. Knowing What Is Important to Discuss
      3. Planning the Physical Aspects of the Presentation
      4. Practicing
    5. Planning the Text for an Oral Presentation
      1. The Introduction (or the Appetizer)
      2. The Body (or the Main Course)
      3. The Conclusion (or the Dessert)
    6. The Mechanics of Effective Public Speaking
      1. Relax
      2. Speak Loudly Enough to Be Heard
      3. Maintain Eye Contact with the Audience
      4. Keep the Body Poised and Vibrant
      5. Talk—Don't Read
      6. Don't Take the “Sleepers” Personally
    7. Tips for Giving Oral Presentations to Specific Groups
      1. Committees
        1. When the Speaker Is a Guest
        2. When the Speaker Is a Committee Member
        3. When the Speaker Is the Committee Chair
      2. Civic or Special Interest Groups
        1. Understanding the Goals of the Group
        2. Meeting the Informational Needs of the Group
      3. Boards of Directors
        1. Understanding the Purposes of Board Meetings
        2. Providing Information to Enable Decision Making
    8. Conclusions
    9. Exercise
      1. Assignment
      2. Term Project Option
  16. Selected Problems of Usage and Style
    1. Problems With the Passive Voice
      1. Identifying Passive Voice and Passive Constructions
      2. Recognizing When It Is Appropriate to Use the Passive Voice
      3. Variations of Passive Constructions
    2. Exercises
    3. Problems With Nominalization
      1. Identifying Nominalization
      2. Recognizing When a Revision Will Alter Meaning
    4. Exercises
    5. Problems With Diction and Jargon
      1. Some Questionable Nouns
        1. The Bottom Line
        2. Perception Check
        3. Quality Time
        4. Reality Check
      2. Some Questionable Verbs and Verbals
        1. To Access, Accessing
        2. To Conference, Conferencing
        3. To Fast-Track, Fast-Tracking
        4. To Impact, Impacting
        5. To Mainstream, Mainstreaming
        6. To Network, Networking
        7. To Transition, Transitioning
        8. Other Problems with Diction
      3. In terms of
        1. As far as . . . is (are) concerned
    6. Exercises
    7. Problems With Embedded Prose
      1. Identifying Embedded Prose
      2. Why Embedded Prose Is a Common Problem
      3. Why the Strategy of Embedding Is a Bad Policy
      4. The Writer's Commitments to Avoid Embedded Prose
        1. The Intellectual Commitment
        2. The Rhetorical Commitment
        3. The Ethical Commitment
    8. Exercises
    9. Problems With Sentence Structure
      1. Sentence Fragments
      2. Run-On Sentences and Comma Splices
      3. Fused Sentences
    10. Exercises