How Technical Communication Textbooks Fail Engineering Students - Assignment Example

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The findings of this analysis reveal that these textbooks are biased towards the reports pertaining to topics on humanities. These textbooks do not help…
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How Technical Communication Textbooks Fail Engineering Students
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How Technical Communication Textbooks Fail Engineering Introduction The paper presented by Wolfe(2009) puts forward its report after analyzing twelve technical communication textbooks. The findings of this analysis reveal that these textbooks are biased towards the reports pertaining to topics on humanities. These textbooks do not help engineering and science students to communicate in the scientific settings. The paper also lists recommendations in a bid to eliminate such bias.
Importance of effective technical communication
Many countries around the world have recognized the need to introduce courses, at different engineering and technical colleges, for effective communication. However, the textbooks used by students are not able to address the issue, as engineering students find themselves to remain limited to established formats, which are meant mainly for students going for humanities based courses. The prescribed technical communication textbooks provide the advice to engineering students for such communication details. However, the information and tools mentioned in these textbooks do not match with the standards required in meeting the engineering or scientific knowledge, which these students gain from their professional courses.
The areas covered by these textbooks include the use of active and passive voice, which is more oriented towards humanities. The other major concern refers to citation formats, which are not compatible with engineering studies. The books do not have enough instructions for presentation methods regarding data visualization and research papers, on technical matters. There is little evidence in the textbooks that can provide guidance on arguments and evidence presentation, which is the major requirement for all engineering students who want to become successful technical writers.
There is enough evidence that passive voice is necessary to report certain technical details. Most technical communication textbooks prescribe MLA, APA and other citation formats, which favors writing on humanities subjects. However, textbook by Beer & McMurray is the only book that discusses the engineering citation style, IEEE.
Wolfe (2009) has lists a few suggestions for technical communication textbooks to follow rhetorical principals for engineering and scientific papers.
These books must have enough information regarding interpretation of data and making a conclusion about scientific studies. The learning methods explained in these books must aim at presentation of “bottom line” conclusions, which are properly highlighted and emphasized. This would help busy readers capture the important aspects of the presented data. In addition, the presentation of data in the form of tables and figures must support the bottom line conclusion. The books must have proper learning methods to present the data in a spreadsheet and excel charts. Any errors or unexpected results, which do not favor the author’s viewpoint, should be acknowledged. The books must explain methods to this affect.
Wolfe further suggests that books must follow the IMRAD data reporting conventions, which technical students can incorporate for presenting their technical and professional studies. Students must explore different permutations of IMRAD, while matching them with their set rhetorical aims.
As suggested above, the technical communication textbooks should aim at deriving the guidelines for providing the proper citation methods. The books need providing information on organization of reports, data preparation, interpretation and presentation in a manner, which will satisfy the needs of fellow technocrats, as they look at the specific reports.
Works Cited
Wolfe Joanna, “How Technical Communication Textbooks Fail Engineering Students”Routledge Taylor & Francis Group”, 2009, Web,17 Nov 2014
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