A Concise Guide to Technical Communication


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Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Note to Instructors
  • Note to Students
  • AcknowledgmentsChapter One: Audience, Purpose, Genre, and Medium
  • What Is Technical Communication?
  • How Does Technical Communication Differ from Other Types of Communication?
  • Medium: When Does the Media Used for Communication Change It Substantially?
  • Audience
  • Purpose: Why Are You Writing?
  • What Is Genre?
  • Why Does Genre Matter?
  • What Are Genre Sets?
  • Chapter Two: Ethical Issues of Technical Communication
  • Ethics Frameworks
  • Ethics for Students
  • How Is Ethics Related to Technical Communication?
  • Writing Ethically
  • Chapter Three: Researching Technical Subjects
  • Primary Research: Interviewing
  • Primary Research: Conducting Surveys
  • Secondary Research: Libraries and Other Online Sources
  • Summarizing and Citing Researched Sources
  • Chapter Four: Writing Technical Prose
  • Clarity, Cohesion, Concision
  • Defining, Describing, and Explaining
  • Chapter Five: Visual Technical Communication
  • Using Visuals to Communicate Effectively
  • Chapter Six: Essentials of Workplace Communication
  • Audience: Who Are Your Readers?
  • Purpose: Goals for Workplace Communication
  • Genre: Writing Short Messages (Email, Memos, Letters)
  • Writing Messages
  • Chapter Seven: Progress Reports, White Papers, and Recommendation Reports
  • Status or Progress Reports
  • White Papers or Information Reports
  • Recommendation Reports
  • Chapter Eight: Reporting Technical Information
  • The Laboratory Report
  • Chapter Nine: Technical Communication Online
  • Use Structured Documentation
  • Converting Documents to Portable Document File (PDF) Format
  • Sharing Documents Electronically
  • Shared Folders and Documents Posted Online
  • Writing and Digital Media: Online Documents, Video, Screencasts, and Podcasts
  • Chapter Ten: Presenting Technical Information Orally
  • Common Speaking Occasions
  • Common speaking occasions
  • Small group presentations
  • Formal speaking engagements
  • Presentation slide that shows an example
  • Guidelines for Preparing Presentations
  • Guidelines for Creating Slides
  • Guidelines for Giving Presentations

About the Author

Heather Graves is Professor of English at the University of Alberta.

Roger Graves is Professor of English at the University of Alberta.


“A Concise Guide to Technical Communication packs so much into so few pages. The ten-chapter organization is perfect for courses on the quarter system or as a secondary text in STEM courses. The text covers all of the fundamentals, including visual and online communication and presentations. I like that both the concise and original texts put ethics up front in chapter 2. This concise edition has a visually clean page layout, making it easy to navigate the series of in-class exercises. Graves and Graves have written a clear and concise text, modeling the excellent writing techniques they present.” — Kelly A. Harrison, Stanford University

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