Technical Communication Strategies for Today, Global Edition

Richard Johnson-Sheehan  
Total pages
December 2014
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Technical Communication Strategies for Today, Global Edition
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For introductory courses in Technical Communication.

All of the topics and genres students need—in fewer pages and at a significantly lower price

Students want their textbooks to cost less, and they want comprehensive topical coverage presented in a succinct and clear writing style. Technical Communication Strategies for Today offers both and speaks to today's students. Instructional narrative is “chunked,” so that portions of text are combined with graphics. The chunked presentation also integrates an awareness of how documents are read—often skimmed by readers seeking the information they need, and it models the way today’s technical documents should be designed.


The contemporary writing style is matched by an approach that accurately reflects the modern day computer-centered technical workplace: Technical Communication Strategies for Today presents computers as thinking tools that powerfully influence how we develop, produce, design, and deliver technical documents and presentations. 

MyTechCommLab is not included. Students, if MyTechCommLab is a recommended/mandatory component of the course, please ask your instructor for the correct ISBN and course ID. MyTechCommLab should only be purchased when required by an instructor. Instructors, contact your Pearson representative for more information. MyTechCommLab is an online homework, tutorial, and assessment product designed to personalize learning and improve results. With a wide range of interactive, engaging, and assignable activities, students are encouraged to actively learn and retain tough course concepts.


This title is a Pearson Global Edition. The Editorial team at Pearson has worked closely with educators around the world to include content which is especially relevant to students outside the United States.


  • Each chapter places an emphasis on the activity of producing effective documents
  • by following a process approach that mirrors how professionals communicate in the technical workplace and how students learn in the classroom.
  • An open design
  • facilitates learning by presenting material graphically and in accessible chunks of information.
  • The text incorporates the newest technology-driven changes
  • in workplace communication with in-depth discussions of email, instant messaging, working in virtual teams, making Web sites, blogging, podcasting, incorporating digital audio and visuals in documents, using PDAs, negotiating ethical situations in electronic communication, and more. Student writers learn practical skills they will be asked to apply in the contemporary workplace.
  • Annotated sample documents
  • throughout show students worthwhile examples of workplace writing, usually on topics of intrinsic interest to a variety of student majors.
  • Exercises and projects
  • ,abundant at the end of each chapter, give students opportunities to work individually or in teams and are designed to challenge students with realistic workplace writing assignments.
  • "At Work" boxes
  • in each chapter feature interviews with working professionals about how they communicate in a variety of workplace situations offering students a glimpse of the challenges faced in real world settings.
  • "Help" boxes
  • in every chapter describe how a specific computer application or related strategy can be used to improve the production and presentation of workplace communication.
  • "At a Glance"
  • information boxes serve as study aids and self-check reviews of major topic discussions for "need-it-quick" information.
  • "Take Note" 
  • call-outs supplement the main text with tips for understanding concepts and are quick asides to readers who desire more information on a subject.
  • The Pearson etext
  • within MyTechCommLab increases flexibility for students who prefer studying online. 


MyTechCommLab is not included.
Students, if  MasteringPhysics is a recommended/mandatory component of the course, please ask your instructor for the correct ISBN and course ID. MasteringPhysics is not a self-paced technology and should only be purchased when required by an instructor. Instructors, contact your Pearson representative for more information.


New to this Edition

  • New microgenres feature that allows students to work on smaller assignments
  • that help them build up to more complex genres (Chapters 5-11).
  • New organization of the text that places all of the major technical communication genres at the front of the book
  • to encourage students to write earlier in the semester (Part 2).
  • Chapters on e-mail, letters, and memos
  • that have been combined to better reflect how e-mail has become a primary form of correspondence in many workplaces.
  • Strategies for using social networking in the workplace
  • to collaborate with colleagues and work with clients (Chapter 3 and 15).
  • Combined chapter on research
  • that helps students quickly locate electronic, print, and empirical sources and cite them properly.
  • New sample documents that provide even more examples of the types of communications
  • you will be generating and reading in the workplace, including a technical description (Chapter 6), a status report (Chapter 9), and a poster presentation (Chapter 10).

Table of Contents

Part 1: Elements of Technical Communication

Chapter 1 Communicating in the Technical Workplace

Developing a Workplace Writing Process

Genres and the Technical Writing Process

Stage 1: Planning and Researching

Stage 2: Organizing and Drafting

Stage 3: Improving the Style

Stage 4: Designing

Stage 5: Revising and Editing

What Is Technical Communication?

Technical Communication Is Interactive and Adaptable

Technical Communication Is Reader Centered

Technical Communication Relies on Teamwork

Technical Communication Is Visual

Technical Communication Has Ethical, Legal, and Political


Technical Communication Is International and Cross-Cultural

How Important Is Technical Communication?

Chapter Review

Exercises and Projects


Chapter 2 Readers and Contexts of Use

Profiling Your Readers

Identifying Your Readers

Profiling Your Readers’ Needs, Values, and Attitudes

Profiling Contexts of Use

Identifying the Context of Use

Using Profiles to Your Own Advantage

International and Cross-Cultural Communication

Differences in Content

Differences in Organization

Differences in Style

Differences in Design

Listen and Learn: The Key to International and Cross-Cultural Communication

At Work: What Are Some Strategies for Communicating with People from Another Culture?

Chapter Review

Exercises and Projects

Case Study: Installing a Medical Waste Incinerator


Chapter 3 Working in Teams

The Stages of Teaming

Forming: Strategic Planning

Step 1: Define the Project Mission and Objectives

Step 2: Identify Project Outcomes

Step 3: Define Team Member Responsibilities

Step 4: Create a Project Calendar

Step 5: Write Out a Work Plan

Step 6: Agree on How Conflicts Will Be Resolved

Storming: Managing Conflict

Running Effective Meetings

Mediating Conflicts

Firing a Team Member

Norming: Determining Team Roles

Revising Objectives and Outcomes

Help: Virtual Teaming

Identifying Team Roles

Using Groupware to Facilitate Work

Performing: Improving Quality

The Keys to Teaming

Chapter Review

Exercises and Projects

Case Study: Not a Sunny Day


Chapter 4 Letters, Memos, and E-Mails

Features of Letters, Memos, and E-Mails

Planning and Researching

Determining the Rhetorical Situation

Ethics in the Technical Workplace

What Are Ethics?

Where Do Ethics Come From?

Personal Ethics

Social Ethics

Conservation Ethics

Resolving Ethical Dilemmas

Help: Stopping Cyberbullying and Computer Harassment

Confronting an Ethical Dilemma

Resolving an Ethical Dilemma

When You Disagree with the Company

Ethics in the Technical Workplace

Copyright Law


At Work: Why Should Technical Professionals Learn About Ethics?



Information Sharing

Proprietary Information

Libel and Slander


Chapter Review

Exercises and Projects

Case Study: This Company Is Bugging Me


Part 2: Genres of Technical Communication

Chapter 5 Organizing and Drafting

Introduction with a Purpose and a Main Point

Body That Provides Need-to-Know Information

Conclusion That Restates the Main Point

Types of Letters, Memos, and E-Mails



Claims or Complaints



Using Style and Design

Strategies for Developing an Appropriate Style

Designing and Formatting Letters, Envelopes, and Memos

Using E-Mail Internationally

Microgenre: Texting at Work

Chapter Review

Exercises and Projects

Case Study: The Nastygram


Chapter 6 Technical Descriptions and Specifications

Planning and Researching


Quick Start: Technical Descriptions and Specifications


Partitioning the Subject

At Work: How Does Computer-Aided Drafting (CAD)

Help Write Descriptions?

Organizing and Drafting

Specific and Precise Title

Introduction with an Overall Description

Description by Features, Functions, or Stages

Description by Senses, Similes, Analogies, and Metaphors


Help: Using Digital Photography in Descriptions

Using Style and Design

Plain, Simple Style

Page Layout That Fits

Graphics That Illustrate

Microgenre: Technical Definitions

Chapter Review

Exercises and Projects

Case Study: In the Vapor


Chapter 7 Instructions and Documentation

Planning and Researching

Quick Start: Instructions and Documentation



Planning for Cross-Cultural Readers and Contexts

Verbal Considerations

Design Considerations

Organizing and Drafting

Specific and Precise Title


List of Parts, Tools, and Conditions Required

Sequentially Ordered Steps

Safety Information

Conclusion That Signals Completion of Task

Using Style and Design

Help: On-Screen Documentation

Plain Style with a Touch of Emotion

Functional, Attractive Page Layout

Graphics That Reinforce Written Text

User-Testing Your Documentation

Microgenre: Emergency Instructions

Chapter Review

Exercises and Projects

Case Study: The Flame


Chapter 8 Proposals

Planning and Researching


Quick Start: Proposals


Organizing and Drafting

Writing the Introduction

Describing the Current Situation

Describing the Project Plan

Describing Qualifications

Concluding with Costs and Benefits

Using Style and Design

A Balance of Plain and Persuasive Styles

An Attractive, Functional Design

Microgenre: The Elevator Pitch

Chapter Review

Exercises and Projects

Case Study: The Mole


Chapter 9 Activity Reports

Types of Activity Reports

Progress Reports

Briefings and White Papers

Quick Start: Activity Reports

Incident Reports

Laboratory Reports

Planning and Researching

Analyzing the Rhetorical Situation

Organizing and Drafting

Writing the Introduction

Writing the Body

Writing the Conclusion

Using Style and Design

Using a Plain Style

Using Design and Graphics

Microgenre: The Status Report

Chapter Review

Exercises and Projects

Case Study: Bad Chemistry


Chapter 10 Analytical Reports

Types of Analytical Reports

Quick Start: Analytical Report

Planning and Researching



Organizing and Drafting

Writing the Introduction

At Work: What Is the Most Efficient Way to Write a Report?

Describing Your Methodology

Summarizing the Results of the Study

Discussing Your Results

Stating Your Overall Conclusions and Recommendations

Help: Using Google Drive to Collaborate with InternationalTeams

Drafting Front Matter and Back Matter

Developing Front Matter

Developing Back Matter

Using Style and Design

Using Plain Style in a Persuasive Way

A Straightforward Design

Microgenre: The Poster Presentation

Chapter Review

Exercises and Projects

Case Study: The X-File


Chapter 11 Starting Your Career

Setting Goals, Making a Plan

Setting Goals

Using a Variety of Job-Seeking Paths

Quick Start: Career Materials

Preparing a Résumé

Types of Résumés

Chronological Résumé

At Work: How Has the Internet Changed the Job Search Process?

Functional Résumé

Designing the Résumé

Writing Effective Application Letters

Content and Organization

Help: Designing a Scannable/Searchable Résumé


Revising and Proofreading the Résumé and Letter

Creating a Professional Portfolio

Collecting Materials

Organizing Your Portfolio

Assembling the Portfolio in a Binder

Creating an Electronic Portfolio

Interviewing Strategies

Preparing for the Interview

At the Interview

Writing Thank You Letters and/or E-Mails

Microgenre: The Bio

Chapter Review

Exercises and Projects

Case Study: The Lie


Part 3: Researching, Designing, Presenting

Chapter 12 Researching and Research Methods

Beginning Your Research

Defining Your Research Subject

Narrowing Your Research Subject

Formulating a Research Question and Hypothesis

Developing a Research Methodology

Mapping Out a Methodology

Describing Your Methodology

Using and Revising Your Methodology

Triangulating Materials

Using Electronic Sources

Using Print Sources

Using Empirical Sources

Managing Information and Taking Notes

Managing Information

Careful Note Taking

Documenting Sources

Avoiding Plagiarism

Chapter Review

Exercises and Projects

Case Study: The Patchwriter


Chapter 13 Designing Documents and Interfaces

Five Principles of Design

Design Principle 1: Balance

Weighting a Page or Screen

Using Grids to Balance a Page Layout

Design Principle 2: Alignment

Design Principle 3: Grouping

Using Headings

Using Borders and Rules

Design Principle 4: Consistency

Choosing Typefaces

Labeling Graphics

Creating Sequential and Nonsequential Lists

Inserting Headers and Footers

Design Principle 5: Contrast

Adding Shading and Background Color

Cross-Cultural Design

Chapter Review

Exercises and Projects

Case Study: Scorpions Invade


Chapter 14 Creating and Using Graphics

Guidelines for Using Graphics

Guideline One: A Graphic Should Tell a Simple Story

Guideline Two: A Graphic Should Reinforce the Written Text, Not Replace It

Guideline Three: A Graphic Should Be Ethical

Guideline Four: A Graphic Should Be Labeled and Placed Properly

Displaying Data with Graphs, Tables, and Charts

Line Graphs

Bar Charts


Pie Charts


Using Pictures and Drawings


Inserting Photographs and Other Images


Using Cross-Cultural Symbols

Chapter Review

Exercises and Projects

Case Study: Looking Guilty


Chapter 15 Preparing and Giving Presentations

Planning and Researching Your Presentation

Defining the Rhetorical Situation

Allotting Your Time

Choosing the Right Presentation Technology

Organizing the Content of Your Presentation

Building the Presentation

The Introduction: Tell Them What You’re Going to Tell Them

Help: Giving Presentations with your iPod, MP3, or Mobile Phone

The Body: Tell Them

At Work: How Can I Overcome My Fear of Speaking in Public?

The Conclusion: Tell Them What You Told Them

Preparing to Answer Questions

Choosing Your Presentation Style

Creating Visuals

Designing Visual Aids

Using Graphics

Slides to Avoid

Delivering the Presentation

Body Language

Voice, Rhythm, and Tone

Using Your Notes


Evaluating Your Performance

Working Cross-Culturally with Translators

Chapter Review

Exercises and Projects

Case Study: The Coward


Appendix A: Grammar and Punctuation Guide

Appendix B: Documentation Guide




Sample Documents