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Lecture 3 - Technical Communication Lecture 1 What It Is...

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1 Technical Communication: Lecture 1 What It Is Why It’s Important What We’re Going to Learn Engineering 100.300/400 Winter 2006 Erik Hildinger Technical communication: What is it? “Written or oral communication of technical explanations, proposals, accomplishments or discoveries.” A working definition: Subjects Most Needed for Engineering Careers in Industry: Ranked from Thirty-Eight to One From Olsen and Huckin. (1991). Technical Writing and Professional Communication, 2nd Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Subjects Most Needed… Materials Engineering (38) Human Engineering (37) Electromagnets (36) Thermodynamics (35) Physics of Fluids (34) Numerical Analysis (33) Information and Control Systems (32) Subjects Most Needed… Reliability (22) Psychology (21) Applications Programming (20) Economic Analysis (19) Logic (18) Ordinary Differential Equations (17) Economics (16)
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2 Subjects Most Needed… And finally, the top four: Management Practices (1) Technical Writing (2) Probability and Statistics (3) Public Speaking (4) Technical documents might include: Lab reports Project reports Research papers Feasibility studies Grant proposals Software Documentation Progress reports Status reports Cost studies Resumes Instructions Characteristics of technical writing Useful Understandable Fairly Concrete Two Main Purposes of Technical Communication: Informing Persuading What might be documents of each type? Hayakawa’s ladder Ladder of Abstraction See Finkelstein! Pure Abstract Pure Concrete Hayakawa’s ladder Ladder of Abstraction Primate Gaius Julius Caesar Homo Sapiens Roman www.spaceandmotion.com/ julius-caesar-life-his...
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3 Hayakawa’s ladder Ladder of Abstraction Vehicle Automobile Ford www.fantasycars.com/derek/cars/mustang_mach1.html Mustang Characteristics of Technical Communication Technical writing deals with technical information… Technical writing is designed to deal with technical subjects. Technical writing uses numerical data to precisely describe quantity and direction. Leo Finkelstein. (2005). Pocket Book of Technical Writing, 2nd Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, pp. 7-8 Characteristics of Technical Communication Technical writing is accurate and well documented…. Conclusions, recommendations, and judgments are always based on clearly presented evidence or established expertise, and technical writing is always technically correct. Leo Finkelstein. (2005). Pocket Book of Technical Writing, 2nd Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, p. 8 Characteristics of Technical Communication Technical writing is grammatically and stylistically correct . . . . if you write like an idiot, the reader may well perceive you as an idiot and your organization as a collection of idiots.
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