Analytical Report on Technical Writing in the Workplace
Purpose: Conduct research to compose an informational report on the types of communication technical writers perform in the workplace. Discuss connections between accurate and rhetorically communication and success on the job.
Audience: Your instructor, your classmates, and future potential employers.
Conduct research from both the textbook and the internet to compose an informational report on the types of communication technical writers perform in the workplace. Discuss connections between accurate and effective communication and success on the job. You might follow the journalism questions:
1. Who writes in the workplace?
In the workplace, we rarely write alone. So, who are the collective authors of documents in accountancy? Do they write in teams? Do technical writers compose with just other writers, or do they collaborate with people from other fields (lawyers, engineers, programmers, etc.)? Also, do not forget about audience. For whom do technical writers compose (co-workers, bosses, clients, Internet)?
2. What do they write?
Do technical writers just compose instructions and annual reports? What other forms, memos, proposals, or presentations do they compose? In what formats do these compositions appear (PowerPoint, Web, social media, PDF, etc.)?
3. When and how often do they write?
Do technical writers compose everyday? At what point in the composing process do they contribute to compositions? Are they original authors? Or do they contribute later in the process? What does the composition process look like? In what rhetorical situations (contexts) do technical writers compose?
4. Where do they write?
With laptops and mobile devices dominated the workplace, our places of authorship are more diverse than ever. Where do technical writers compose? In cubicles? At home (remember that some proprietary information is not allowed off-property)? How might location impact the composition process?
5. Why do they write?
Technical writers write just because they have to pay the bills, right? Maybe. Wrong. Ok, so now we have complicated this preconceived notion, you can begin to investigate why technical writers feel drawn to their jobs. What makes it fulfilling? Are they user advocates? Do they enjoy solving problems and working with people? Do they believe in the mission of their organization? Once you get information on this line of questions, you may ask why technical writers compose on the job? What purposes do they fulfill for the organization? What part of the production process do they fill? Do they contribute to the decision making process of a product? Do the influence policy? For what purposes do technical writers compose?
6. How do they write?
This is another process question, so tracing the lifecycle of writing and communication projects is important to answering this. But it also involves technology, like laptops, mobile devices, social media, and probably old-fashion pen and paper. Does the technical writers organization follow a style manual/sheet? If so, investigate it. Do technical writers just communicate with words, numbers, and pictures? What about visuals (video) and oral presentations? Social media and mobile devices? How do these emerging technologies impact composition process?
Make sure you make connections between the technical communication scholarship we have read in class and your findings from research.
Goals of the Assignment
This assignment will help you better understand what technical writers do on the job and the impact they can have on an organization and its mission. The assignment should help prepare you to enter the workforce as a novice technical writer and to communicate professionally. Lastly, the assignment should help you revise errors in organization, clarity, and rhetoric, as well as errors in grammar and mechanics. So, the goals of the assignment are to help you:
• research and understand the types of communication technical writers do on the job
• better understand the rhetorical situations (purpose, audience, context, medium, angle) they
face when they communicate on the job
• produce professional documents
• practice following genre expectations for a high-level writing course.
This report must adhere to MLA or APA guidelines and must be at least 5 full pages in
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