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Technical and Professional Writing Commons

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Technical communication

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Full-Text Articles in Technical and Professional Writing

Environmental Data Visualizations: Opportunities For Technical Communication Research, Alissa Schmidt May 2019

Environmental Data Visualizations: Opportunities For Technical Communication Research, Alissa Schmidt

Technical Communication Capstone Course

Environmental issues touch nearly every field. Technical communication researchers have advocated for multidisciplinary environmental communication research to effectively address the depth of environmental issues and speed at which environmental issues evolve. Visuals are often used in environmental communication to help clarify complex information. Using a multidisciplinary approach, the author utilizes secondary research to answer the question, ‘how do data visualizations support environmental communication?’ This research illustrates the value of using environmental data visualizations to add credibility and to facilitate interpretation within environmental communication. Alignment among disciplines, however, is limited in other attributes of environmental data visualizations such as representing temporal ...


Service-Learning: Effectively Transitioning Students Into The Workplace, Rachel B. Bean May 2019

Service-Learning: Effectively Transitioning Students Into The Workplace, Rachel B. Bean

2019 Symposium

Service-learning is a method of learning that is meant to integrate the needs of the community with the academic curriculum of the students. This method allows for the work of the students, emerging professionals, to be used outside of the school, serving as a test of the skills that students may have only used in a school setting. Students are assigned the task of completing a project for a community organization who is without the resources to complete the project. Matching students who need experience with community organizations who are in need of professional services is an effective method of ...


Student Perceptions And Attitudes Towards A Technical Writing Service Course At Missouri S&T, Hannah Claire Coffman Jan 2019

Student Perceptions And Attitudes Towards A Technical Writing Service Course At Missouri S&T, Hannah Claire Coffman

Masters Theses

"In order to learn how STEM students perceive Missouri S&T's English 3560 Technical Writing class, I designed a research study to investigate how a sample population of 90 students viewed the class. Due to the nature of qualitative research, the results of this study cannot be generalized to a larger population. However, the results can and do provide insight into the situation of these Missouri S&T students in English 3560 classes and contribute to our collective understanding of the technical writing service course at Missouri S&T and other US universities. The study investigated whether the sample ...


The Importance Of Including Interactive Immersive Technology In Instructional Design To Enhance Learner And User Experience, Shawneda Crout Jan 2019

The Importance Of Including Interactive Immersive Technology In Instructional Design To Enhance Learner And User Experience, Shawneda Crout

All Theses, Dissertations, and Other Capstone Projects

Americans looking for work and preparing to enter the labor force use technology during every part of the journey. Every generation in the labor force and preparing to enter the labor force as freelancers, contractors, and employees need clear, effective support materials to learn how to do their job, stay abreast of the ever-changing job requirements, and deliver a satisfactory job performance. Solving the labor shortage in America will take a concerted effort from those in the private sector. Technical communicators tasked with the responsibility of designing instructional resources should know how to include interactive immersive technology in product use ...


Research In Cooperatives: Developing A Politically Conscious Research Methodology (Pre-Print), Avery C. Edenfield Dec 2018

Research In Cooperatives: Developing A Politically Conscious Research Methodology (Pre-Print), Avery C. Edenfield

Avery C. Edenfield

Cooperatives are distinct from conventional businesses and the technical documents they produce challenges assumptions about documentation practices. To better understand these differences, technical communicators may need a set of tools well-suited to mission-driven, for-profit businesses. In this process-focused article, I draw on action research methodology to take first steps toward articulating the similarities and differences in research between a conventional organization and a cooperative. I demonstrate this framework by using two recent case studies.


Technical Communication's Importance To Change, Crystal Michels Apr 2018

Technical Communication's Importance To Change, Crystal Michels

Master of Arts in English Plan II Graduate Projects

This portfolio explores the shifts in ideas thanks to technical communication. From considering humans in creating design to considering new teaching methods to technical communication and continuing onto changes made in the space program, technical communication remains part of these shifts. The portfolio examines what needs to be adjusted when exploring technical communication's impact and how to improve the viewpoint of it.


Isolation And Onboarding: Gender Bias In Aviation Training Documents, William Hart Jan 2018

Isolation And Onboarding: Gender Bias In Aviation Training Documents, William Hart

Technical Communication Capstone Course

There is a growing interest in male-dominated industries and the challenges women face finding their place within the workplace community. Yet, there seems to be little research on how training documents, generally created by technical communicators, may isolate and limit women who seek to pursue careers in these fields. Technical communication and gender scholars have examined women in the technical communication field and gender bias in male-dominated industries but have not yet examined gender stereotypes in training documents. Training documents are designed to provide written instructions and a reference guide for job functions, workplace rules, orientation, and company policies. This ...


Don’T Get Lost In Translation: A Discussion Of Best Practices For Creating Translation-Friendly Text And Related Curriculum For Technical Communication, Adrienne Urban Jan 2018

Don’T Get Lost In Translation: A Discussion Of Best Practices For Creating Translation-Friendly Text And Related Curriculum For Technical Communication, Adrienne Urban

Technical Communication Capstone Course

Within global companies, a single source document, created by a technical communicator, is often translated into more than twenty-six languages. Simple modifications to semantics and style that are incorporated upfront in the source document can save multinational companies who rely on translations vast quantities of time, money, and labor. However, the perception of English as the lingua franca has led technical communication programs to discount the importance of teaching students to write for translation. In order to address this issue, institutions of higher learning should consider revising their technical communication programs to include a writing-for-translation component. Moreover, comprehensive sources need ...


Enterprise Content Management In Technical Communication, Kristen Bledsoe-Fritz Jan 2018

Enterprise Content Management In Technical Communication, Kristen Bledsoe-Fritz

Technical Communication Capstone Course

The goal of this project is to examine how the evolution of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is helping to shape the role of Technical Communicator. Technical communicators are often at the forefront of Enterprise Content Management, as their job involves the creation, utilization, and distribution of most corporate content. The research conducted for this project examines the impact that Enterprise Content Management, influenced by evolving technology, has had on the expectation associated with the skillset of a technical communicator. Additionally, how technical communicators can grow and expand their skillset to serve as leaders in an ever-evolving industry is explored.


From Big Ag To Campus Cafeterias: Intersections Of Food-Supply Networks As Technical Communication Pedagogy, Jessie Lynn Richards, Joshua Lenart, David Sumner, Douglas Christensen Jan 2018

From Big Ag To Campus Cafeterias: Intersections Of Food-Supply Networks As Technical Communication Pedagogy, Jessie Lynn Richards, Joshua Lenart, David Sumner, Douglas Christensen

Faculty Publications

This article presents a pedagogical approach to teaching technical and professional writing with an eye toward cultivating awareness and generating informed research among undergraduate students about food production and its various, intricate networks between Big Ag and campus cafeterias. Our pedagogy, influenced by interdisciplinary content, is designed to teach students to differentiate between food processes—such as production versus distribution and consumption—by viewing these networks as communicative practices rather than as inevitable chains or simple functions of one another. Our approach encourages students to locate and analyze differences between interdependent, but seemingly disparate pathways and to make visible communicative ...


Millennials Expect Less And More: Workplace Writing For Today's Workforce, Gina Weber Jan 2018

Millennials Expect Less And More: Workplace Writing For Today's Workforce, Gina Weber

Technical Communication Capstone Course

As the makeup of a company’s workforce changes so must their internal practices. The newest members of the professional workplace belong to the so-called Millennial generation. While there have always been challenges when new generations enter the workforce research shows that this latest generation has brought with it more challenges than previous generations. This paper looks at what is so different about this generation, how it affects the workplace, and finally, how these unique qualities can best be incorporated in a company’s policy and procedure writing to better keep the attention of this new worker. Characteristics of the ...


Final Ma Portfolio, Erica Pax Aug 2017

Final Ma Portfolio, Erica Pax

Master of Arts in English Plan II Graduate Projects

This portfolio is a compilation of graduate research and writing completed as the capstone project for the Master of Arts in English degree with a specialization in professional writing and rhetoric. The first selection is a research paper that reviews how embellishments in graphical representations and infographics affect viewer perception. The second research paper is a content analysis that explores the extent to which visual metaphors are used in ISO public information graphical symbols. The third research paper explores how to create effective video software tutorials and reorganizes existing guidelines into eighteen distinct guidelines in three major categories: accessibility, cognitive ...


Merging Mediums: Applying Document Design To Online Help Systems To Increase Usability, Meghan M. Smith May 2017

Merging Mediums: Applying Document Design To Online Help Systems To Increase Usability, Meghan M. Smith

MSU Graduate Theses

Document design is an essential part of print, and more recently, web documents, but recent application to the usability of document design in the current iteration of online help systems has been lacking. As an attempt to fill this gap, I conducted a study testing three document design principles—color, navigation structures (headings/hyperlinks), and visuals—to determine how they should be applied in online help systems to increase usability. I constructed an online help system for the online infographic creator Piktochart, and used these three principles according to theories and practices from prior research on print and web documents ...


The Visual And Performing Arts In The Technical Communication Classroom: Reinforcing The University's Internal Community Literacy Via Service-Learning, Richard L. Ward Jan 2017

The Visual And Performing Arts In The Technical Communication Classroom: Reinforcing The University's Internal Community Literacy Via Service-Learning, Richard L. Ward

Dissertations, Master's Theses and Master's Reports

This report details a class taught that was an exploration into the value of STEAM or science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics within the confines of Technical Communication as it applies to the business and industry of theatre. It was an experiment in service learning as it could be tied into the Arts via differing technai, as described by John Wild in “Plato’s Theory of Texnh a Phenomenological Interpretation,” demonstrating a necessity for Arts as they pertain to STEM-centric universities. This report discusses a section of Technical and Professional Communication taught at Michigan technological University that consisted of twenty-five ...


Feminist Theory And Technical Communication, Olivia Duffus Nov 2016

Feminist Theory And Technical Communication, Olivia Duffus

Channels: Where Disciplines Meet

This essay explores feminism, socially-constructed norms, and the relationship between feminism and technical communication. It argues that undergraduate technical communication programs should include courses that study feminist history and theories as related to the field, claiming that studying feminist theory will improve user-centered design and broaden students' spheres of influence as professionals.


Storytelling Failure In The Vale Of Leven: How A Bacterial Outbreak Became A Wicked Problem, Kyle P. Vealey May 2016

Storytelling Failure In The Vale Of Leven: How A Bacterial Outbreak Became A Wicked Problem, Kyle P. Vealey

Open Access Dissertations

This dissertation examines the rhetorical work of a public inquiry investigation into an outbreak of Clostridium Difficile at the Vale of Leven Hospital in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland that resulted in 143 cases of infection and the tragic deaths of 34 patients. In light of these deaths and subsequent protests from local citizens, the National Health Service (NHS) Scotland launched a public inquiry in 2009 to investigate the events precipitating the outbreak. Extending rhetoric and technical communication’s sustained engagement with post-accident reports, this study explores how citizens and government officials accounted for the causes, boundaries, and impact of the outbreak ...


Engineer As Writer And Woman: Gender, Identity, And Professional Discourse, Jennfer C. Mallette May 2015

Engineer As Writer And Woman: Gender, Identity, And Professional Discourse, Jennfer C. Mallette

Theses and Dissertations

As students, academics, and professionals, women entering engineering disciplines still encounter barriers that may impede their success. In this environment, what is the role of writing in the development of a professional identity, and how does it function as an avenue or a barrier to professional success? Using an ethnographically-informed case study approach, this dissertation focuses on the experiences of three women--a biological engineering student, an industrial engineering academic researcher, and a civil engineering professional--to examine how these women use writing to construct an engineering identity, take action within their discourse communities, and to demonstrate their technical expertise and ability ...


Female Bias In Technical Communication And An Exploration Of Pedagogical Strategies For Reversing The Bias, Rebecca Beeson Jan 2014

Female Bias In Technical Communication And An Exploration Of Pedagogical Strategies For Reversing The Bias, Rebecca Beeson

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

This thesis explores technical communication and seeks to establish that females outnumber males in the field while also holder more high-level positions. It further seeks to show why a field does not benefit from having one sex outnumber the other. The benefits of having an equal number of females and males contributing to the growth and expansion of the field are discussed. Finally, this thesis discusses potential pedagogical strategies which could be employed at the college level as a means of attracting more young men to the field and allowing for maximum growth of technical communication as a field of ...


Technical Communicators And Writing Consultants: Identity And Expertise, Nichole Cepero Jan 2014

Technical Communicators And Writing Consultants: Identity And Expertise, Nichole Cepero

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

This paper examines the roles of technical communicators and writing center consultants in regards to their identities and the expertise that they bring to what they do. Both fields have struggled with a lack of understanding surrounding what their positions entail and more importantly how they perform in their roles. With this in mind, the goal of this paper is to analyze how the growth of each field and the variations of each position contribute to the issue of identity. Furthermore, as a result of the identity problem that faces each position, I suggest using the theory of liminality, communication ...


Creating And Examining An Online Advising Module For Graduate Students: A Usability Study, Leah Mitchell Jan 2014

Creating And Examining An Online Advising Module For Graduate Students: A Usability Study, Leah Mitchell

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Advisors are always examining best practices when serving students with technology. Online instruction has become a popular choice for students in higher education, and educators and other student personnel are looking to further accommodate their students by including academic services as part of a virtual environment. This study examines the usefulness of an online advising module geared at graduate students. I conducted a usability study of an online advising module created for graduate students in the College of Education and Human Performance (CEDHP) at the University of Central Florida. The online advising module was presented to current graduate students in ...


The Relevance Of Benjamin Franklin's And Thomas Jefferson's Technical Writing For Modern Communicators, Kristin Fecko Jan 2014

The Relevance Of Benjamin Franklin's And Thomas Jefferson's Technical Writing For Modern Communicators, Kristin Fecko

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Today's technical communicators enjoy an increasingly broader role and influence in the workplace, and are often given latitude to use engaging rhetoric and personal touches in many kinds of communications. Historical documents, particularly those that are substantially removed from our own era, can offer fresh approaches and insight into the enduring elements of successful communication. This study explores the technical writings of Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson and considers their usefulness to professionals today. Although the political writing of Franklin and Jefferson is more familiar, both men frequently wrote about scientific and technical subjects and were well-known in their ...


On Copyright Law: What Technical Communicators Need To Know, Mariana Chao Jan 2014

On Copyright Law: What Technical Communicators Need To Know, Mariana Chao

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Copyright law, in general, is a multi-faceted and sometimes difficult to understand process. Although it is law, it is often not straight-forward and cannot be applied universally. While the concepts of copyright infringement and plagiarism may sometimes overlap, many confuse one for the other or think they are the same offense. This thesis is intended to serve as a primer to some basic aspects of copyright law for technical communicators, including issues surrounding public domain works, the fair use doctrine, the copyright clearance process, as well as why we should be concerned about our current copyright laws. Over the past ...


Technical Illustration: The Changes And Challenges Presented By Advancements In Technology, Cindy Caudill Jan 2014

Technical Illustration: The Changes And Challenges Presented By Advancements In Technology, Cindy Caudill

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

This thesis investigates the changes and challenges technology has created in the field of technical illustration. Technical illustration includes the fields of technical drawing as well as scientific and medical illustration. Previously, technical illustrators learned and used traditional illustration methods, without the aid of computers. However, technology has rapidly entered the field and has changed the education, work environment, skills, and role of the technical illustrator. I note both the benefits and disadvantages that current technical illustrators are facing in their work. I explore both sides of the digital media and traditional art debate while focusing on the technical illustrator ...


Technical Communicators In Marketing: Switching Roles And Changing Ethical Perspectives When Working With Content Marketing, Nicole Alvarez Jan 2014

Technical Communicators In Marketing: Switching Roles And Changing Ethical Perspectives When Working With Content Marketing, Nicole Alvarez

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

This thesis presents an alternate career path for technical communicators in the area of content marketing and expands on the ethical and goal-related issues associated with a career change to a marketing-focused role. Many of the skills necessary for technical communication are transferable to marketing communication roles; however, a successful career change requires that technical communicators understand how the ethical values and goals of marketing professionals can differ from those of technical communicators. Through a detailed literature review and autoethnographic study, this thesis discusses the performance goals of marketing professionals to determine how these clash with those of technical communicators ...


The Ethos Of Humor In Technical Communication, David Roberts Jan 2013

The Ethos Of Humor In Technical Communication, David Roberts

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Within the realm of technical communication, humor has often been regarded as an unnecessary or risky rhetorical device that can negatively impact the credibility of a document. While many other professional fields, such as medicine, computer technology fields, or business have used humor, and humor continues to crop up in "user as producer" documentation, technical writing continues to approach humor cautiously and with little theoretical guidance. In order to fully understand how humor functions, it is important to understand the main theories of humor: superiority, relief, and incongruity. It is also important to understand how humor functions, by looking at ...


Gender Bias In The Technical Disciplines, Jessica Lynn Campbell Jan 2012

Gender Bias In The Technical Disciplines, Jessica Lynn Campbell

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

This study investigates how women are affected by gender bias in the workplace. Despite the increasing numbers of women in the workforce, women are still under-represented and under-valued in workplaces, which, in part, is due to their gender stereotype. This study demonstrates how gender bias in the workplace has been proven to limit women in their careers and potential in their occupational roles. The media’s negative depiction of women in their gender stereotype reinforces and perpetuates this image as a cultural norm in society. Women both conform and are judged and evaluated according to their weak and submissive gender ...


Implementing Usability Testing Of Technical Documents At Any Company And On Any Budget, Meghan Collins Jan 2010

Implementing Usability Testing Of Technical Documents At Any Company And On Any Budget, Meghan Collins

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

In my thesis I discuss the cost effectiveness of usability testing of technical documents and how any size company with any size budget can implement usability testing. Usability is achieved when the people who use products or technical documents can do so quickly and easily to accomplish their own tasks. Usability testing is best defined as the process of studying users to determine a documentation project's effectiveness for its intended audience. Users are tired of dealing with confusing and unintuitive technical documentation that forces them to either call customer service for help on simple issues or throw out the ...


Guidelines For Twenty-First Century Instructional Design And Technology Use: Technologies' Influence On The Brain, Jennifer Gabriel Jan 2009

Guidelines For Twenty-First Century Instructional Design And Technology Use: Technologies' Influence On The Brain, Jennifer Gabriel

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

The increasingly global environment has spurred the economy in the United States as well as the economies in nearly every other nation. Although the U.S. remains the world leader in the global economy, research shows that the United States is at risk of losing its place as the world leader in science and innovation. Policymakers have recognized the need for research addressing global competitiveness. President Bush signed the America Competes Act, which calls for increased investment in innovation and education to improve U.S. competitiveness and President Barack Obama has named a platform, "Science, Technology and Innovation for a ...


Humanizing Technical Communication With Metaphor, Ashley Mcclure Jan 2009

Humanizing Technical Communication With Metaphor, Ashley Mcclure

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

This thesis explores how metaphors can humanize a technical document and more effectively facilitate user comprehension. The frequent use of metaphor in technical communication reminds us that the discipline is highly creative and rhetorical. Theory demonstrates that a technical text involves interpretation and subjectivity during both its creation by the technical communicator and its application by the user. If employed carefully and skillfully, metaphor can be a powerful tool to ensure users' needs are met during this process. The primary goal of technical communication is to convey information to an audience as clearly and efficiently as possible. Because of the ...


Implementing Plain Language Into Legal Documents: The Technical Communicator's Role, Peggy Bivins Jan 2008

Implementing Plain Language Into Legal Documents: The Technical Communicator's Role, Peggy Bivins

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

This thesis discusses the benefits of using plain language in legal documents and the role technical communicators can play to help implement plain language. Although many definitions for plain language exist, it is best described as reader-focused communication that presents information in a manner that makes it easy for a reader to find, understand, and use the information. Plain language facilitates comprehension by using shorter, less complex sentences; active voice; and common words. All these elements aid in processing and understanding information, especially unfamiliar concepts. Laypeople, unversed in the law, frequently have difficulty understanding traditional legal writing. The complex sentences ...