What Does Liability Law Have To Do With Technical Communication?
- Marvin Harvey
Work efficiently by repurposing pieces of content you wrote for other workplace documents. What does liability law have to do with technical communication? Liability law says that a manufacturer or seller of a product is liable for injuries or damages caused by the use of that product.
What are the requirements for technical communication?
Training in Technical Communication – The STC website lists over 175 different colleges and universities that offer associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees or professional certificates in Technical Communication. While some of these programs can be found in Technical Communication departments, others can be found in Communication, English, Journalism, or Writing departments.
Most jobs in the Technical Communication field require at least a bachelor’s degree that relates to the work (e.g. Technical Communication, English, Engineering, Information Technology). Any of these bachelor’s degree will give students a broad overview of the field. In addition, most schools require a core curriculum of courses outside the department which could include art, business, math, psychology, or science courses.
Bachelor’s programs in Technical Communication are often skill-based and include classes in digital imaging, editing, social media, website design, and writing. There are also bachelor’s programs in English or Professional Writing with concentrations in technical communication or technical writing.
- One way to explore whether Technical Communication is the right career for you is to enroll in an associate degree program at a Community or Technical College.
- The specialty course work in these programs is often similar to that found in a Bachelor’s program.
- In addition, instead of taking four years to finish a bachelor’s degree, an associate degree can often be completed in two years or less, as students are not required to take the same number of general education courses outside of technical communication specific coursework.
In this case, you may be ready to look for work after you finish your degree, or you can transfer your credits to a bachelor’s program and complete the final two years there. Some students choose to continue their education and pursue a master’s degree in Technical Communication.
- People come to the field from a wide variety of other professions, and not everyone has a bachelor’s in Technical Communication, nor is it needed.
- A few of the reasons for pursuing a master’s could be: more in-depth training, better job opportunities and higher salaries, or intellectual curiosity.
- In addition, students receive the benefit of more access to professional organizations, networking, and opportunities for publishing in their area of interest.
Depending on the particular program, coursework may focus more on theory-based instruction or enhanced professional skill sets. Some students might even enroll in a master’s program at the request of their employer, who could potentially pay for that education as well.
- For more information on master’s degree programs, please visit our Master’s in Technical Communication Programs page, which contains a comprehensive directory of programs.
- Finally, there is a movement in the U.S.
- Away from formal academic degrees and toward certificate programs, especially in technology-based professions.
This relieves individuals from the burden of debt, and allows for more agile flexibility in shifting specialties while being exposed to a broad range of opportunities. These program specialties are wide-ranging and include graphic design, digital imaging, multimedia applications, project management, and website design and development.
What are the three important requirements of effective technical communication?
Section 1,1 – Learn to recognize and cultivate the qualities of effective technical communication. Good technical communication is accurate, clear, concise, coherent, and appropriate, In the prose of science and technology, these qualities are sometimes difficult to achieve.
Not only do science and technology depend heavily on specialized concepts and terminologies, but they also make extensive use of numbers and graphics, The following example shows how the different qualities of technical prose work together. The flow of electrical current can induce the migration of impurities or other defects through the bulk of a solid.
This process is called electromigration. In simple electromigration, the force on the defect is thought to have two components. The first component is the force created by direct interaction between the effective charge of the defect and the electric field that drives the current.
- The second component, called the “wind force,” is the force caused by the scattering of electrons at the defect. -J.A.
- Stroscio and D.M.
- Eigler, “Atomic and Molecular Manipulation with the Scanning Tunneling Microscope,” Science The preceding example is accurate in two ways.
- It is stylistically accurate in its precise use of language.
It is technically accurate in its use of specialized terms technical terms such as electromigration, charge, electric field, and scattering, whose meanings are based in the context of a technical discipline. Both kinds of accuracy-accuracy of phrasing and accuracy of technical concept-are of first importance in science and technology writing.
- The example is also clear because it is written in simple, direct sentences.
- Although the technical context is the highly specialized realm of theoretical and applied nanotechnology, the sentence syntax- word order -is restrained and structurally very simple.
- Part of this clarity is achieved by the rhetorical device of defining a term, electromigration,
The example is concise in its use of a minimum of words to express the basic idea of electromigration. It is not wordy, and it does not digress from the point being made. The example is coherent because it develops its subject matter in an easy-to-follow line of thinking. ## Effective Technical Communication: Characteristics ##
What does technical communication include?
Technical communication is a broad field and includes any form of communication that exhibits one or more of the following characteristics:
Communicating about technical or specialized topics, such as computer applications, medical procedures, or environmental regulations.
Communicating by using technology, such as web pages, help files, or social media sites.
Providing instructions about how to do something, regardless of how technical the task is or even if technology is used to create or distribute that communication.
The value that technical communicators deliver is twofold: They make information more useable and accessible to those who need that information, and in doing so, they advance the goals of the companies or organizations that employ them. The following examples illustrate the value of the products technical communicators produce or the services they provide.
Software instructions help users be more successful on their own, improving how easily those products gain acceptance into the marketplace and reducing costs to support them.
Medical instructions help patients and care-providers manage a patient’s treatment, improving the health of the patient while reducing costs and risks associated with incorrect care.
Functional specifications and proposals help one group of technical experts communicate effectively with other technical experts, speeding up development cycles, reducing rework caused by misunderstandings, and eliminating risks associated with miscommunication.
Training programs provide people with new or improved skills, making them more employable and their organizations and products more efficient and safe.
Well-designed websites make it easier for users to find information, increasing user traffic to and satisfaction with those websites.
Technical illustrations clarify steps or identify the parts of a product, letting users focus on getting their task done quickly or more accurately.
Usability studies uncover problems with how products present themselves to users, helping those products become more user friendly.
The following is a partial list of the different jobs within technical communication:
Technical Writers & Editors
Globalization & Localization Specialists
Usability & Human Factors Professionals
Web Designers & Developers
Teachers & Researchers of Technical Communication
Trainers and E-Learning Developers
What all technical communicators have in common is a user-centered approach to providing the right information, in the right way, at the right time to make someone’s life easier and more productive.
What are the ethics in technical writing?
Michael Beilfuss In this chapter, you will learn about some of the ethical challenges that you may encounter in your professional and academic life, especially when it comes to technical writing. The chapter explains the importance of articulating your own ethical code so you can be prepared when you find yourself in uncomfortable and/or unethical situations.
The chapter covers ethical principles, how ethics may affect the presentation of information, and some common ethical problems encountered by technical writers. Much of this chapter is concerned with the appropriate and ethical use and documentation of sources. The chapter provides some practical information on how to make sure your writing is ethical and how to handle ethical dilemmas along with possible legal issues in the workplace.
You probably think about technical writing in relation to communicating technical information clearly in an accessible format that meets the needs of its audience. These are important aspects of technical writing, to be sure, but they only represent the surface of what you need to know.
- This chapter will introduce some of the ethical issues that may arise as technical writers research, write, revise, and produce a technical document.
- Like other professionals, technical writers come up against ethical issues regularly and must make decisions about how to move forward with a project in the face of ethical dilemmas.
Writers may encounter situations in which they must ask the following kinds of questions: What kinds of support material and sources are ethical to use? Are open web sources just as valid as academic sources for certain topics? Can email communications be used without permission? What if the writer discovers that a company falsified data about the effectiveness of its product? Should they reveal this in their report or should they take other courses of action? How much should a writer adapt to an audience without sacrificing their own views? Ethics principles provide the basis for deciding whether “x” is ethical, but in reality, ethical issues are complicated—for example, imagine working for a large company that employs substantial numbers of people in your town, where relatively few other employment opportunities exist.
Imagine that the company disposes of its chemical waste in a way that could endanger people’s health. While the company may be following the law, it is clear they could dispose of their waste more safely and be more responsible stewards of the neighborhood. However, that would cost the company more money, and may affect profit margins, result in slower growth, and provide fewer jobs for the locals.
What do you do? Is quarterly growth and expanding jobs more serious than the risk of future health problems and a degraded environment? Which choice is really more ethical? Many ethical lapses that occur in the workplace are not so obvious, and they often begin with good intentions – for example, a manager or owner of a business may commit financial fraud to avoid laying off employees.
- The intention may be good, but breaching ethics results in a slippery slope – one that often leads to further and larger ethical breaches.
- Falsifying one report will make it that much more likely the subsequent reports will be falsified, just as neglecting to properly cite one source at the end of a report only makes it more tempting to neglect citing the remainder of the sources.
Acting ethically is rarely rewarded from the outside – you are not likely to be congratulated by your boss and co-workers for passing on an opportunity to undermine the competition in an unethical manner. The “rewards” of acting ethically are often simply internal.
- It is important to think about ethics and articulate your ethical values before you find yourself in a situation where ethics will factor into your decision-making.
- With a strong set of ethical values, you will be better prepared to make the right decision and stick to your principles when faced with an ethical dilemma.
There is a good chance that at some point in your career you will find yourself in a situation that involves unethical behavior at your workplace. You may be faced with having to decide to go along with unethical actions or behavior, ignore the behavior, or report unethical conduct to the appropriate person (internally or externally).
It could be something as simple (albeit pernicious) as harassment, or it could be something as large as major fraud. It may be easier to mind our own businesses and keep quiet, but really the only right thing to do is to stand up, and speak up, for what is right. We are taught from a young age that you should never “rat” on anyone, and staying silent is often easier than mustering the courage to reveal ethical corruption.
However, sometimes speaking up, and/or notifying authorities is the only right thing to do, as difficult as that may be. The National Whistle Blower center is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that has many resources available for individuals who may be faced with the difficult situation of doing the right thing ( https://www.whistleblowers.org/index.php ).
You should spend some time examining your ethics and thinking about how and where they may be challenged in your career. What will you do when you are asked, implicitly or explicitly, to compromise your ethics? What will you do when you witness unfair, demeaning, and unethical behavior? In almost every field, there are legal and professional consequences for committing unethical behavior, and often remaining silent about corrupt conduct—whether the action are yours or a colleague’s—can implicate you as well.
In day-to-day life, most people have a sort of sliding scale on what constitutes ethical behavior. For example, you might tell your best friend their new haircut looks attractive when in fact you believe that it does not. This lie, though minor, preserves your friend’s feelings and does no apparent harm to them or anyone else.
- Some might consider the context before determining how to act.
- For example, you might not tell a stranger that they were trailing toilet paper but you would tell a friend.
- With a stranger, your calculations may include how the stranger might respond to the interruption, and both of you may feel some embarrassment in the exchange.
Such calculations may make it easier for you to look away and let someone else deal with it, but with a friend, you would be willing to risk some short-term awkwardness to do the right thing. In a far more serious situation, a person might not risk their lives to help a stranger, but they might risk their lives to help a close friend or relative.
- For example, if you witnessed a stranger attacking someone you do not know on a crowded street, you may be afraid to interfere because you could be injured in the event.
- Instead, you might stay back and call the police.
- But if a close friend or a relative was in the same danger, you may be more likely to put yourself in harm’s way to protect your friend.
In this case, your commitment to loyalty might outweigh your sense of self-preservation. In the former case, if you valued physical courage above all else, you might be willing to step into a fight to protect a victim. In either case, weighing the costs, and having a strong value system would help you feel like you did the right thing, especially upon reflection after the event.
- Ethical behavior, including ethical technical communication, involves not just telling the truth and providing accurate information, but telling the truth and providing information so that a reasonable audience is made aware of the behavior.
- It also means that you act to prevent actual harm, with set criteria for what kinds and degrees of harm are more serious than others.
For example, saving someone’s life should always outweigh the prospect of financial damage to your company. Human values, and human life, are far more important than monetary values and financial gain. As a guideline, ask yourself what would happen if your action (or non-action) became entirely public, and started trending on social media, got its own hashtag, and became a meme picked up by the national media.
- If you would go to prison, lose your friends, lose your job, or even just feel embarrassed, the action is probably unethical.
- If your actions cannot stand up to that scrutiny, you might reconsider them.
- Having a strong ethical foundation always helps.
- However, nothing is ever easy when it comes to ethical dilemmas.
Sometimes the right thing to do is the unpopular thing to do. Just because some action enjoys the adulation of the masses, does not necessarily means it is ethical. That is another reason why it is important to give some serious thought to your own value system and how it may fit into the value systems of the exemplars your admire and respect.
- That way, you will be better prepared to do the right thing when you are confronted with an ethical dilemma.
- Internalizing your ethics in such a manner will certainly make you a more ethical writer.
- Many organizations and employers have a corporate code of ethics.
- If you are a technical writer and you join a professional associations such as the Society of Technical Communicators you will need to be aware their codes of ethics, published online (e.g., http://www.stc.org/about-stc/ethical-principles ).
If you are a technical writer researching and writing a report within a specific professional field, you will also need to be aware to that field’s codes of ethics. For example, if you are writing a report for a group of physical therapists on the latest techniques for rehabilitating knee surgery patients, you should be aware of the code of ethics for physical therapists so that you work within those principles as you research and write your report.
- Look for the codes of ethics in your own discipline and begin to read and understand what will be expected of you as a professional in your field.
- How a writer presents information in a document can affect a reader’s understanding of the relative weight or seriousness of that information.
- For example, hiding some crucial bit of information in the middle of a long paragraph deep in a long document seriously de-emphasizes the information.
On the other hand, putting a minor point in a prominent spot (say the first item in a bulleted list in a report’s executive summary) might be a manipulative strategy to emphasize information that is not terribly important. Both of these examples could be considered unethical, as the display of information is crucial to how readers encounter and interpret it.
- A classic example of unethical technical writing is the memo report NASA engineers wrote about the problem with O-ring seals on the space shuttle Challenger.
- The unethical feature was that the crucial information about the O-rings was buried in a middle paragraph, while information approving the launch was in prominent beginning and ending spots.
Presumably, the engineers were trying to present a full report, including safe components in the Challenger, but the memo’s audience—non-technical managers—mistakenly believed the O-ring problem to be inconsequential, even if it happened. The position of information in this document did not help them understand that the problem could be fatal.
- Ethical writing, then, involves being ethical, of course, but also presenting information so that your target audience will understand the relative importance of information and understand whether some technical fact is a good thing or a bad thing.
- There are a few issues that may come up when researching a topic for the business or technical world that a writer must consider.
Let us look at a few.
What are main factors involved in technical communications?
There are several factors opposing technical communication between members of a product development team. The literature suggests three major types of geographic barriers to the commu- nication process: 1) physical distance; 2) overlapping working time; 3) cultural/language differences.
What is the most important part of technical communication?
One of the most important aspects of technical communication is understanding the audience.
What are the 7 C’s of technical communication?
The 7 C’s of Communication – The seven C’s of communication is a list of principles that you should ensure all of your communications adhere to. Their purpose is to help ensure that the person you’re communicating with hears what you’re trying to say. The seven C’s are: clear, correct, complete, concrete, concise, considered and courteous.
What are the five C’s of technical communication explain?
Effective Communication Skills – Time is often the biggest barrier to effective communication. People in a business setting tend to focus on completing tasks quickly and their written communication can suffer. We recommend treating the 5 Cs of communication as a checklist.
What is the main goal of technical communication?
Introduction At its most basic, communication is the transmission of information in the form of words, images, and sounds. We string words, images, and sounds together to make meaning and to share that meaning with others. How we form the “strings” depends on audience and context.
- For instance, how we talk, text, or email our friends and personal acquaintances is usually different than how we communicate with our bosses or coworkers.
- You might be asking yourself how a technical communications class is different from other academic writing classes.
- In a traditional academic setting, the writing classroom tends to be about the demonstration of knowledge—expanding on ideas or documenting an understanding of traditional types of papers or essays (explanatory, argumentative, reflective) with the audience being the instructor.
In a technical communication classroom, many of the principles are similar—organizing paragraphs effectively, following the writing process—but with an increased focus on the professional context for communicating information and, therefore, even more emphasis on concision, clarity, and accessibility.
- Ultimately, the goal of technical communication is to transmit important information as effectively and efficiently as possible—information that allows you and the people around you to do your jobs well.
- The other way that technical communications might differ from your concept of a traditional writing class is that it is not limited only to “writing.” Part of transmitting information effectively is recognizing that we have many options for how we can communicate with our audiences.
There are, of course, important written forms, such as reports, emails, proposals, and instructions, but you will also need to use visual and oral modes, such as presentations, videos, infographics, or diagrams. Further, web and social media offer professionals even more opportunities to communicate in a wide variety of formats.
- An effective communicator knows when and how to strategically deploy (or blend) these modes depending on audience and desired response.
- The most important “strategy” emphasized in this textbook is that all communication must be designed with audience and purpose in mind.
- There are almost endless types of documents and forms of communication that will be at your disposal as a professional.
In addition to knowing what you are communicating (the information, your expertise), you, the communicator, must thoughtfully consider who you are communicating to (your audience) and why you are communicating (the purpose).
What are four goals of technical communication?
Inform an audience of facts, concerns, or questions you may have. Instruct an audience by directing actions. Persuade an audience to accept your point of view. Build trust and rapport by managing work relationships.
Why is ethics in technical communication important?
Ethics is one of the most important topics in technical communication. When you can communicate clearly and effectively, and when it is your task to help others to understand an object, process, or procedure, it is your responsibility to do so in an ethical fashion.
What are the 5 principles of technical writing?
There are five basic principles of technical writing, including quality content, audience and purpose, accessibility, grammar, and writing style.
Why technical communication is required?
Benefits to organisations – Technical communication is necessary because it can provide a more efficient working environment. If a worker is set a task that they are unfamiliar with, which also has a deadline, they do not want to spend hours trying to find the relevant information to learn how to use it. This is where the Technical Communicator is vital.