Howdy or Hello?: Technical and Professional Communications - 2nd Edition
Copyright Year: 2021
Publisher: Texas A&M University
Conditions of Use
Reviewing the TOC, the text does cover all relevant areas of technical communication from rhetorical situations to ethics, writing process/writing skills, design, and sections on oral communication. The appendices supply discussions and sample... read more
Reviewing the TOC, the text does cover all relevant areas of technical communication from rhetorical situations to ethics, writing process/writing skills, design, and sections on oral communication. The appendices supply discussions and sample documents. Additionally, the glossary defines and explains all relevant terms used in the text and technical communication.
Based on the acknowledgements in each section, the text seems to be accurate, error-free, and unbiased. This text is based upon other previously published vetted works and therefore, this text would be a quality work.
The chapter on ethics illustrates the text’s relevance. Five of the seven resources used in the chapter are from 2020, with one each from 2018, and 1998. These sources refer to major ethical situations, such as COVID, that will be relevant for years, if not decades. Additionally, a check of other chapters finds current references listed and/or acknowledgements to other already published works.
The text uses little jargon and written in a very reader-friendly fashion. Terms that the reader might not be familiar with, such as ‘spoken headings’ are hot linked to a pop-up textbox that supply a definition. Additionally, when discussing a concept, the text provides examples of the concept.
The TOC illustrates the consistency of the text. Chapters have links to the readings contained in the chapter. Headings/subheading organize the chapters; a pop-up text box defines possible problematic terminology.
The organization of the text allows for the assignment of smaller readings in each chapter, so related readings can be assigned without overburdening the student. The effective use of headings and subheadings in each chapter also facilitates ease of reading and combining readings into assignments. There is some self-referral. In the chapter on ethics, there is a self-referral to the work on rhetorical, however, the work is hyperlinked for readability. A way to increase modularity would be to have hyperlinks at the beginning of each reading corresponding to the headings.
The book presents topics in one logical and clear fashion. The topics begins with an introduction to the concept of technical writing and then continues to discuss various aspects of writing from sentence structure to ethics in writing. Perhaps another arrangement that groups rhetorical situation, writing process, writing skills, and then the other topics would be a bit more reader friendly. However, the organization and online formatting would allow for the instructor to assign chapters/sections to meet their needs.
Designed in line with the new resurgence in scrolling, that considers reading on mobile devices. Text call-out blocks are clear, and there are no issues with distortion, or word wrapping on charts. The A&M color choices (maroon headers with dark text on a gray background) may make it a bit hard for readers with color differentiation difficulties.
Since the work is based on already peer-reviewed and vetted works, any obvious grammatical errors would have been already revised, so this work is free of surface errors.
The text is written in a culturally neutral voice. The focus of the chapters is on how to write text. The collective, second person you is used when addressing the reader. The chapter on ethics, which would have the most sensitive content in the examples used to illustrate concepts, uses a wide variety of professions and ethnicities.
Landing on the books main page, the reader finds the chapter listings in large font. A first instinct is to click on the chapter and go to it. When clicking does not work, only then is the orange/red (not the best colors to use-color blindness) PDF icon noticed. With that being said, the textbook is remarkably complete, well thought out, as reader friendly. The one-screen scrolling organization makes it mobile device friendly, something that must be considered for our 21st century students.
This book is comprehensible in the way intended, purposeful in instruction, with step-by-step guidance for students at any level to understand proper scholarly writing. read more
This book is comprehensible in the way intended, purposeful in instruction, with step-by-step guidance for students at any level to understand proper scholarly writing.
Explanations for pros and cons to issues shown in the textbook in a way that is easily understood, accurate with proper resources cited to support all areas.
Very current content, referring even to Covid-19 as an example. With the outline of the context of the book, it could easily be updated with little or no issues. Information is relevant to a student of any degree at any level of education to assist in writing assignments, research studies, CV's, applications etc...
This textbook is easy to understand and follow the guidelines to proper writing format for any student. Explanations well written and adapts to any assignment.
This textbook flowed the information by utilizing the same words in a simple fashion leading to easier understanding of the content.
This textbook should be required for first year students, no matter age or educational program. So much easier to follow that APA 7th edition and offers the same information in an easier format to follow. It is an easy read and can be a great resource for many courses.
The content flows from one topic to another in such a way to offer ease of understanding and the student's ability to follow to complete their assignment.
All of the examples used in charts or graphs are relevant to the context of the book. Eye appealing and easy to follow giving forth the ability to learn necessary format for proper scholarly writing.
I was unable to notice any grammatical errors within the context of the textbook.
This textbook shows no bias or cultural relevance within the context of demonstrating proper scholarly writing.
As a professor of nursing, proper scholarly writing is required, but difficult to understand for the student. I think this textbook should be a required resource for them in all their courses beginning with a general writing course. As a PhD student myself, I found this textbook to be invaluable to me as I continue my dissertation courses. Even though I have been using APA format for many years, this version of content is much easier to understand, and the examples give way to better understanding of the step-by-step guidance for scholarly writing.
This straightforward style and plain language of this textbook make it very suitable for college students in Technical and Business Writing classes. Because I teach Technical Writing and have used several textbooks, this text seems more suited to... read more
This straightforward style and plain language of this textbook make it very suitable for college students in Technical and Business Writing classes. Because I teach Technical Writing and have used several textbooks, this text seems more suited to Technical Writing, although I suppose Business Writing teachers could use it as well. With 20 chapters, this text is comparable to other texts in terms of topics and genres covered. It is a practical guide whose chapters take students through basic foundations and specific techniques to compose clear, concise organized writing that is easy to navigate and sensitive to readers’ needs. The text begins with acknowledgement of contributors and a fairly detailed table of contents and ends with two Appendices; the first is a quick reference for APA and MLA citations and the second is a concise guide to refining online research. The text does not have an index or a glossary.
Content appears to be accurate, error free and unbiased. Sources used are published sources – whether in print or online with bibliographic information presented for each.
Writing a clear, concise sentence that addresses the needs of the audience never goes out of style. The instructions and examples used for writing, revising, and creating accurate, ethical and reader friendly documents are germane to the discipline. It would appear easy for updates to be added to future editions of this text.
This is a strong point of this text as it uses a “you” attitude throughout – very straight forward and direct. Vocabulary would be understood by a college student and any discipline specific terminology is defined clearly.
Each chapter begins with an overview and, when appropriate, a list of key terms defined. Headings, subheadings (both in bold) bulleted lists and numbered lists direct the reader’s attention to paragraph content. Big blocks of print are avoided. The text uses footnotes but not end notes. Within the chapters where appropriate and at the end of chapters – set off in green shading – the text presents the source that the content was derived from. The sources presented are both hard copy source citations and URL links. College students would find the chapters easy to navigate. Mildly annoying is that not all chapters end with a brief summary of the chapter’s purpose or content.
Chapter 1, 2, and 3 provide a basic framework for the course and should be the first chapters covered. Otherwise, instructors could organize the chapters to suit their own pedagogies and institutional goals. They are, by far and large, stand-alone chapters. In keeping with good Technical Writing pedagogy, the chapters avoid big blocks of print, use bolding, headings italics, and other design tools to direct the reader’s attention to the content
As noted in Consistency, each chapter is easy to navigate with the same pattern used for each chapter (with only minor variations) – overview, bolded headings, multiple text paragraphs, graphics introduced, integrated, and sourced. No distracting marginal annotations that some texts use. The design avoids busyness.
Design features are clear and direct the reader’s attention to content. Tables being split onto two pages is mildly annoying. I suppose that is a consequence of PDF format. While it does have a variety of graphics, it does rely rather heavily on tables.
I am not aware of any grammatical errors in the text.
The text did not appear to be biased; actually, it appears to be rather culturally, ethnically, and racially neutral. The primary focus is on teaching writing and sometimes real-world examples are used to illustrate points being made in the text. For example, the text uses the following: from 2014 when it was discovered that Volkswagen had been violating U.S. emissions laws for years to 2017 when Pepsi and Kendall Jenner appropriated the BLM to sell soda to 2020 when Dr. Anthony Fauci made it a point to qualify expectations of vaccine delivery dates. The examples used from real world situations are primarily of U.S. origin and international students might need additional context.
The text is comprehensive, well written and easily navigated. I can see myself using this text. With that said, however, this text might not be for new teachers. It does not have an index. It does not have end of chapter homework exercise or writing assignments. The genre chapters do not have samples of the genres. For teachers who have a repertoire of assignments and sample documents gathered, this text would be very suitable.
The text provides a comprehensive and basic overview of a wide variety of subjects in technical writing. The text also addresses several fields where technical writing needs are more prominent and what pertinent documents are common within those... read more
The text provides a comprehensive and basic overview of a wide variety of subjects in technical writing. The text also addresses several fields where technical writing needs are more prominent and what pertinent documents are common within those disciplines. The content is general and ideal for introductory level instruction and learning.
The content appears to be accurate and presented in an objective tone.
The text and examples are very up-to-date but some examples highlight pandemic-related issues which depending on how long the pandemic continues to impact our communities, the relevancy of these examples could be outdated quickly.
It would have been nice to see the terminology repeated or listed in the footnotes or side margins as the reader continues through the chapter. Repeated presentations of the definitions may be helpful to retain information and make it more easily accessible for the reader to refer back to then having to scroll back through multiple pages to revisit a concept.
The layout and content across the chapters is consistent throughout the text.
Topics, headings and subheadings are outlined in smaller sections and chapters can be easily rearranged to align with assignments and subjects discussed within a course.
Topics, headings, and subheadings are laid out in a logical format.
Text and images are simple and easy to view except for the instances where the examples are intentionally distorted for learning purposes. Most examples are relevant and helpful for comprehension of concepts.
Content was legible, clear, and concise. No significant issues with grammar were noticed.
Content does not appear one-sided and offers varying viewpoints on topics. Several sections in Chapter 2 speak to audience diversity and reminds the writer to remain cognizant of the intended audience. Chapter 3 also discusses ethical issues concerning diversity and workplace dynamics to promote a welcoming, safe and inclusive environment.
Overall, this is a sound text that provides a comprehensive overview of the technical writing field. I did find myself wishing there were some templates for some of the document types that were highlighted. I think a supplemental text with templates and exercises may be beneficial to enhance student learning of concepts and ideas.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: Introduction
- Chapter 2: Rhetorical Situation
- Chapter 3: Ethics
- Chapter 4: Persuasion
- Chapter 5: Writing Skills
- Chapter 6: Organization
- Chapter 7: Design
- Chapter 8: Graphics
- Chapter 9: The Writing Process
- Chapter 10: Revising and Editing
- Chapter 11: Research
- Chapter 12: Avoiding Plagiarism and Citing Sources Properly
- Chapter 13: Collaborative
- Chapter 14: Oral Communication
- Chapter 15: Correspondence
- Chapter 16: Applications
- Chapter 17: Instructions
- Chapter 18: Proposals
- Chapter 19: Informational Reports
- Chapter 20: Recommendation Reports
About the Book
Technical writing courses introduce you to some of the most important aspects of writing in the worlds of science, technology, and business—in other words, the kind of writing that scientists, nurses, doctors, computer specialists, government officials, engineers, and other professionals do as a part of their regular work. The skills learned in technical writing courses can be useful in other fields as well, including education and social sciences.
About the Contributors