[Book Cover]

Technical Writing Basics: A Guide to Style and Form, 1/e

Brian R. Holloway, The College of West Virginia

Published July, 1998 by Prentice Hall Career & Technology

Copyright 1999, 212 pp.
ISBN 0-13-617796-4

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    Technical Writing-Tech Writing

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    Technical Writing-English

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For one-semester freshman sophomore level courses in Technical Writing. Using a reader-friendly approach that is incremental and cumulative, this short, uncluttered guide to technical writing shows students how to take the structures, patterns, and strategies of writing learned in a Basic Composition course (summary, process, analysis, and persuasion) and apply them in different kinds of technical documents. Direct practical explanations, copious real-world examples, and a variety of “role-playing” exercises lead students through the process of document production and assessment — or what the author calls “transactional” writing: getting another person to read one's material, presenting such material clearly and accurately, and adhering to standards of format acceptable in the field. Unlike most other texts (which focus on the writing needs in the executive domain of the major corporation only), this guide covers a variety of non-corporate working environments that also require skill in technical communications (e.g., social service agencies, institutions, and small businesses). Would you like a practical, easy—to—use guide for preparing technical documents for both non-corporate and corporate environments?


Contains practical examples showing how technical writing applies to a variety of job and personal situations. _

  • Provides not only examples, but also the detailed contexts of their production and function.
  • Considers technical documents in the major company, as well as in nonprofit organizations, small businesses, and agencies and institutions.
  • About half of the figures are derived from business, technical, and institutional writing in content or format.
Offers progressive, yet stand-alone sections, to allow content to be covered in any order, if desired.
Draws upon a variety of perspectives in surveying holistic challenges within business and technical writing, e.g.:
  • The requirements of information writing.
  • How the techniques of persuasion operate in writing in the workplace.
  • How information and persuasive writing can be cast into an appropriate format.
Features a cumulative and sequential approach:
  • Begins with the basics of technical writing — proceeding from fundamental components of technical communication, to templates of presentation, to construction of letters, memos, announcements and instructions.
  • Then helps students put the basics to work in constructing short and long reports and a job-search portfolio.
Uses a straightforward, student-friendly writing style interspersed with humor throughout.
Provides copious exercises to illustrate practical applications.
  • Exercises and longer assignments respond to and build from the “real world” examples in a variety of work environments.
  • Assignments build in complexity, chapter by chapter, as well as within chapters.
  • Many of the exercises once completed are then taken to the next level to challenge students, e.g., assignments begin with the creation of a work-experience file; move through the creation of resumes, cover letters, and follow—up correspondence; and then require students to prepare an interview presentation using visual aids, a researched topic, and a persuasive format previously discussed.

Table of Contents
    1. Introduction.
    2. Organizing Information.
    3. Letters, Memos, and Related Forms.
    4. Our House to Yours: Using Summaries to Inform.
    5. Directions and Instructions: Writing about Process.
    6. Using Analysis: Writing a Report.
    7. Writing the Formal Report.
    8. Selling Yourself.
    9. References.
    Appendix: Enhancing Your Document with Graphics.


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