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INTRO to Technical writing

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  1. Presenter: David Silverstein Date XX, 2010 INTRO toTechnical writing

  2. Overview 50-min Presentation (with Q&A) The Writing & Communications Center Technical Writing Considerations • Rhetoric & the Rhetorical Triangle • Writing Process & Technical Considerations • Report Structure

  3. WCC @ SIT Writing & Communications Center at Stevens Institute • One-on-one or group meetings • Writing & communication specialists • 210 Morton; www.stevens.edu/cal/wcc • Free  Any Stevens course, any semester! Monday to Friday 1–5pm Walk-ins welcome. Appointments available.

  4. WCC @ SIT WCC Specialists can help: • Organize report layout • Revise/edit term paper • Craft bibliography/references • Shape presentations/slides • Practice speaking/delivery • Explain grammar, punctuation, syntax  No Homework, No Busywork, No Grades 

  5. Why? NAE concludes*: • Elected representatives are ill-equipped to make decisions about tech-related issues. • Students, parents & teachers remain uniformed about engineering and the contributions of the field which continues to deter students from studying engineering. • Engineers often do not rise to management positions. *Raising Public Awareness of Engineering: National Academy of Engineering, National Academies Press, 2002.

  6. Why?

  7. Why?

  8. Why?

  9. Why?

  10. 1 Innovation  3 Audiences Ceramic Water Filters Technological innovation: • Used by multiple audiences • Various business & technical sectors

  11. Ceramic Water Filters Consumer Level Language geared to a non-technical audience. Impact tailored to consumer-level audience

  12. Ceramic Water Filters Contract or Business Level Language geared to a business-minded audience. Addresses audience’s main concern: cost.

  13. Ceramic Water Filters TechnicalLevel Language geared to a technical audience. Presentation follows technical format. Specific values are highlighted.

  14. Presidential Quotes FROM GEORGE W. BUSH  • "Rarely is the question asked: is our children learning." – Florence, SC, Jan. 11, 2000 • "I think we agree, the past is over." – Dallas Morning News, May 10, 2000 • "I understand small business growth. I was one." – New York Daily News, Feb. 19, 2000 • "I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family." – NH, Chamber of Commerce, Jan. 27, 2000 • "We must all hear the universal call to like your neighbor just like you like to be liked yourself." – An interesting twist on the proverb: Love thy neighbor. (Quote is from the Financial Times) • "The reason we start a war is to fight a war, win a war, thereby causing no more war!" – First Presidential debate • "Will the highways on the Internet become more few?" – Concord, NH, Jan. 29, 2000

  15. Insurance Quotes

  16. Language = Image People make assumptions about you based on the language you use. • Intelligence • Education • Background • Influence • Credibility • Trustworthiness • Biases • Authority • Capability • Confidence

  17. Writing – 4 Questions • Who in this room is a writer? Emails, IM, Texts, Essays, Reports, Cover Letters, Resumes, Directions, Applications, Journals, Blogs, Stories, Evaluations, Year End Reviews, Business Memos, Grant Proposals, Budget Proposals, Job Descriptions, Etc… • How do you feel about writing? (-5)---------------------------------------------(0)---------------------------------------------(+5) • Why do people write? To express themselves, to change opinions, to change policies, to change neighborhood/world, to connect with others, to explain, to teach, to understand self, to learn, to generate business, to promote ideas, to get funding, to get a job, to get… • Why should you learn to write better?

  18. Rhetoric Rhetoric is the effective use of languagein writing and/or speaking… to get what you want or to persuade.

  19. Rhetoric – Example Say you want $5. Say you want $50,000.

  20. An Argument Needs 3 Things… You [Writer Speaker] rhetorical triangle Audience Reasons

  21. Rhetorical Appeals ETHOS You [Writer Speaker] rhetorical triangle PATHOS LOGOS Audience Reasons

  22. Rhetorical Appeals Can… ETHOS LOGOS PATHOS

  23. Rhetorical Appeals Can… H ETHOS LOGOS PATHOS

  24. Rhetorical Appeals ETHOS You [Writer Speaker] rhetorical triangle PATHOS LOGOS Audience Reasons

  25. Rhetorical Appeals Ethos = Appeals to your credibility or trustworthiness. Ethos is created by: • Highlighting your background • Considering material in depth • Being fair & rational; seeing both sides • Using relevant diction • Invoking other credible sources

  26. Rhetorical Appeals Logos = Appeals to logic and reason Logos is created by: • Considering several reasons/solutions • Explaining logical progression/steps • Exploring Pros & Cons of each idea • Defining criteria • Using statistics, facts, numbers, figures

  27. Rhetorical Appeals Pathos = Appeals to values or emotions of audience Pathos is created by: • Knowing your audience’s values • Focusing on relevant points • Using audience-appropriate diction • Creating emotional metaphors • Using descriptive, sensory detail

  28. Rhetorical Appeals – Examples

  29. Rhetorical Appeals – Examples

  30. Rhetorical Appeals – Examples

  31. Rhetorical Appeals – Examples

  32. Rhetorical Appeals – Examples

  33. Rhetorical Appeals – Examples

  34. Rhetoric – Recap • Audience, Audience, Audience.How well do you know your audience?Different Audience = Different Approach • Who are you?Why should anyone listen to you? • Prove It.What are your reasons? Or solutions?

  35. Tech writing Considerations

  36. Writing Process Writing becomes more difficult when: • You work out of order • You skip a stage • You work on two stages at once NOTE: WCC Specialists can help at any stage.

  37. Imagine you are here and…

  38. Writing vs. Speaking How do you present your info? • Depends on Audience (parent/officer) = Audience Considerations • Pre-arrangeItems = Document Organization • Display Objects (family photos) = Feature Relevant Material • Hide Certain Items = Consider Tone, Diction • Note of Explanation = Thesis Placement

  39. Writing vs. Speaking (Cont.)

  40. Technical Writing Issues Consider Your Diction: • Tone • Jargon • Idioms, Euphemisms, Doublespeak • Acronyms • Sexist Language • Culturally Biased Language • Plagiarism • Specifics & Details

  41. Technical Writing – Tone Tone is the quality that reveals the attitudes and presuppositions of the author; a general quality, effect, or atmosphere. Consider tone of voice: Wow, this is a great presentation.

  42. Technical Writing – Tone

  43. Technical Writing – Tone is… Almost any idea in any language can be written at least 10 different ways – often 100.

  44. Technical Writing – Jargon Jargon is… • diction specific to a certain field/community • confusing & alienating to outsiders

  45. Technical Writing – Jargon Jargon is… • diction specific to a certain field/community • confusing & alienating to outsiders

  46. Technical Writing – Idioms Idioms are… • linguistic/cultural phrases that do not translate • Inaccurate, confusing, and change by region

  47. Technical Writing – Idioms Idioms are… • linguistic/cultural phrases that do not translate • Inaccurate, confusing, and change by region

  48. Technical Writing – Idioms Idioms are… • linguistic/cultural phrases that do not translate • Inaccurate, confusing, and change by region

  49. Technical Writing – Idioms

  50. Technical Writing – Idioms