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Thousands of students have successfully improved their writing and design skills using Anderson's TECHNICAL COMMUNICATION: A READER-CENTERED APPROACH. Known for its treatment of the rhetorical situation and coverage of usefulness and persuasion, this edition renews the focus on the reader-centered approach and includes new learning outcomes at the start of each chapter to help students gain more from their reading.

Paul V. Anderson, Miami University, Ohio

Paul V. Anderson is Senior Researcher at Elon University in Elon, North Carolina. He was previously Director of the Roger and Joyce L. Howe Center for Writing Excellence at Miami University (Ohio), where he also served as the founding director of the university's programs in technical and scientific communication. To support various individual and collaborative projects, he has received more than $1,000,000 in external grants for research and program development in technical communication. As a researcher and consultant to business and government, Dr. Anderson has conducted workshops and made presentations in Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa, as well as across the United States. His publications, which have won awards from the Society for Technical Communication and the National Council of Teachers of English, address such topics as technical communication practice and theory, ethical issues in research and teaching, research methods, pedagogy, and assessment. Dr. Anderson has been selected as a Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication, Association of Teachers of Technical Writing, and Miami University's Institute of Environmental Science. He has received the Jay R. Gould Award for Excellence in Teaching Technical Communication from the Society for Technical Communication.
  • NEW LEARNING OUTCOMES ADDED TO CHAPTER INTRODUCTIONS HELP STUDENTS GAIN MORE FROM THEIR READING. Reading research indicates that people learn more from reading when they read with a purpose. To facilitate this, learning outcomes have been added to chapter introductions for this edition. Students should keep these outcomes in mind not only when reading but also when working on their course projects and when discussing the chapters in class.
  • New figures that help students distill the chapter's advice for creating an effective, professional voice; creating effective, high-impact sentences; and choosing the words they use (Chapter 10).
  • A new section that describes ways students can increase motivation and reduce misunderstanding among members of the virtual teams (teams that collaborate partly or solely on the Internet) (Chapter 19).
  • A new discussion that tells students how to achieve the appropriate level of formality in emails, instant messages, memos, and letters they write on the job (Chapter 23).
  • REVISED DISCUSSIONS OF MANY TOPICS. Some of the revised discussions in the text include: A streamlined section on using memory and creativity (Chapter 7). A fuller discussion of ways to establish an effective, professional voice (Chapter 10). Redesigned layouts of the book's pages on creating reader-centered graphics that make their guidelines easier for students to use (Chapter 15). Revised Writer's Guides throughout the book, to reflect the new organization of chapters around the "how to" goals that support transfer of writing strategies and skills.
  • NEW EMPHASIS ON THE ROLE OF THE INSTRUCTOR. A student's instructor is the most important resource students have. They know what their majors and career plans are, what they bring to the course, how they learn, and what they need to know. However, most textbooks are written as if they were the chief source of the knowledge students can gain from a course. Implicitly, they position the instructor as a person who is supposed to help students learn what the textbook has to teach. In this edition, the author has taken the more sensible approach of telling students explicitly--in Chapter 1--that their instructor is their chief source of knowledge, advice, and guidance. The book's role is to help the instructor in providing students with an invaluable head start toward mastering the writing skills needed in their career.
  • NEW FEATURES TO HELP STUDENTS LEARN TRANSFERABLE SKILLS. The author has placed even greater emphasis on teaching transferable skills. To transfer learning, students need to be able to see a novel situation as an opportunity to apply acquired knowledge. To assist students in recognizing these opportunities, the author has reorganized chapters into "how to" sections. An individual guideline no longer stands alone, as something to be remembered by itself. Instead, each is associated with a recurring writing goal, so that students can call the advice to mind when they encounter the same goal in a novel context. The best guide for adapting is the central strategy of this book: look at what you are writing from your readers' perspective.
  • NEW HIGHLIGHTING OF THE IMPORTANCE OF WRITING "USEFUL" COMMUNICATIONS. One goal of almost everything your students will write in their careers will be to help their readers do something they need to do. In previous editions, the author described this goal as usability, but he discovered that his own students found this term to be too abstract. So, the author has replaced it with the more familiar term
  • UPDATES TO SOFTWARE USED IN SAMPLE DOCUMENTS AND DOCUMENTATION STYLES. In the tutorials and examples, this edition uses the latest versions of Microsoft Office (tutorials using earlier versions are available at the text's companion website). Appendix A describes the newest versions of APA, IEEE, and MLA documentation styles.
  • NEW COVERAGE/TOPICS. Some of the new material in the text includes: a new figure that helps students see the importance of matching the way they write their résumés and job application letters to the ways employers read applications for employment (Chapter 2).
  • A new discussion that explains to students that carefully defining the goals of a communication is as crucial to their success as preparing a design specification is for engineers, computer scientists, architects, and other professionals (Chapter 3).
  • A new chapter on conducting reader-centered research that helps students integrate strategies for finding, analyzing, and thinking critically about information and data that had appeared in two chapters in the previous edition (Chapter 6).
  • A new section that guides students in the use of online databases for research (Chapter 7).
  • FOCUS ON THE READER. This edition retains the book's distinctive reader-centered approach. Its premise is that for students, success in the writing they do in their future (or current) careers will be measured by their readers' responses. If they are able to write communications that help their readers quickly and easily find the information that they need and if they are able to create communications that influence their readers' attitudes in the intended way, they will write effectively. As this book addresses each aspect of writing, from the largest considerations of content and organization to the smallest details of sentence construction and table design, it supports instructors' efforts to help students so that they can elicit the desired responses from their readers.
  • FLEXIBLE SUPPORT FOR DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO THE COURSE. The reader-centered approach and the design of the book provide a flexible teaching resource, enabling instructors to select any array of chapters and projects while still preparing their students, whatever their majors, with sophisticated yet transferable skills they will need wherever they choose to work after graduation.
  • IN-DEPTH COVERAGE IN AN EASY-TO-LEARN MANNER. In most chapters, the major points are distilled into easy-to-remember guidelines whose implications and applications are then elaborated. The guidelines themselves reinforce one another because they all flow from a common set of reader-centered principles and processes.
  • WRITER'S TUTORIALS INTEGRATED THROUGHOUT THE TEXT--and "Planning Guides" and "Revision Checklists" available for download via CourseMate--guide students as they draft and revise their own documents in a variety of forms.
  • NUMEROUS RICHLY ANNOTATED EXAMPLES AND SAMPLE DOCUMENTS. Guidelines can be mere abstractions to students unless they see concrete examples illustrating their application in the kinds of documents the students will write. Throughout, the book includes sample communications with annotations that illustrate the application of its advice. Moreover, these annotations are written in a way that focus on the writer's purpose, in order to focus your students' attention not on the features of the communication but on the decisions and strategies of the writer and by implication on the decisions they can make and the strategies they can use.
  • ENHANCED COVERAGE OF INTERNATIONAL COMMUNICATION. Global Guidelines, integrated into the chapters, help students learn the many ways that cultural difference affects communication and provide concrete suggestions for increasing their effectiveness in cross-cultural communications.
  • AN INNOVATIVE DESIGN featuring marginal annotations highlighting the book's reader-centered strategies used in sample documents--makes it easy for students to see how to apply concepts when creating their own communications. Margin notes are organized in three categories to help students focus on the key elements of the chapter and direct them to additional information.
  • ETHICS GUIDELINES are integrated into the chapters, so ethics becomes a continuous topic throughout a course rather than the topic for one day's reading. In addition, most chapters include special exercises that focus on ethical issues particular to the topic of those chapters.
  • EXERCISES at the ends of chapters promote students' ability to apply the book's advice by asking them to Use What You've Learned. The exercises are grouped in four categories: Apply Your Expertise, Explore Online, Collaborate with Your Classmates, and Apply Your Ethics.
1. Communication, Your Career, and This Book.
2. Overview of the Reader-Centered Communication Process: Obtaining a Job.
3. Defining Your Communication's Goals.
4. Planning for Usefulness.
5. Planning Your Persuasive Strategies.
6. Conducting Reader-Centered Research: Gathering, Analyzing, and Thinking Critically About Information.
7. Using Five Reader-Centered Research Methods.
8. Drafting Reader-Centered Paragraphs, Sections, and Chapters.
9. Using Nine Reader-Centered Patterns for Organizing Paragraphs, Sections, and Chapters.
10. Developing an Effective, Professional Style.
11. Beginning a Communication.
12. Ending a Communication.
13. Writing Reader-Centered Front and Back Matter.
14. Creating Reader-Centered Graphics.
15. Creating Eleven Types of Reader-Centered Graphics.
16. Designing Reader-Centered Pages and Documents.
17. Revising Your Drafts.
18. Testing Your Drafts for Usefulness and Persuasiveness.
19. Creating Communications with a Team.
20. Creating and Delivering Listener-Centered Oral Presentations.
21. Managing Client and Service-Learning Projects.
22. Creating Reader-Centered Websites.
23. Letters, Memos, E-mails, and Digital Exchanges.
24. Writing Reader-Centered Proposals.
25. Writing Reader-Centered Empirical Research Reports.
26. Writing Reader-Centered Feasibility Reports.
27. Writing Reader-Centered Progress Reports.
28. Writing Reader-Centered Instructions.
Appendix A: Documenting Your Sources.
Appendix B: Projects.

Textbook Only Options

Traditional eBook and Print Options

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  • ISBN-10: 1285703316
  • ISBN-13: 9781285703312
  • STARTING AT $21.99

  • STARTING AT $23.49

  • ISBN-10: 113330981X
  • ISBN-13: 9781133309819
  • Bookstore Wholesale Price $112.50
  • RETAIL $149.95

"The book has a great approach: reader-centered writing and general usability. I think it's clear, compelling, and used throughout the book. These are important concepts for students to consider in learning any genre of report writing. [...] It has one of the best companion Web sites I've seen in terms of content. It has great exercises and document samples."

"This section of the text [Part IV: Conducting Research] is refreshingly real and provides helpful information for students and an up-to-date resource for teachers."

"I really love Anderson's textbook. I continue to use it year after year because it is comprehensive, well-organized, it is clear, and well developed. It fits perfectly with what I am teaching."

"This is the text's main strength, its implicit understanding that every workplace communication is in one regard or another a form of persuasive communication that aims to affect the reader's attitude toward the information in it to effect a desirable outcome."

"The strong focus on reader-centered communication corresponds well to the general emphasis of my course. [...] I refer the students to [Chapters 23, 24, and 27] often. They really offer some excellent guidance. [...] Former students have told me that they still use these superstructures at work."

"Chapters [8 and 10] are a dream come true--their major strengths are the detail and comprehensiveness in both chapters. My current text has two similar chapters, but they're less comprehensive. I always find that students need more guidance for how to drive lean, efficient prose."

Cengage provides a range of supplements that are updated in coordination with the main title selection. For more information about these supplements, contact your Learning Consultant.


Instructor's Companion Website

ISBN: 9781305672482
Find everything you need for your course in one place. This collection of book-specific lecture and class tools is available online via Access and download PowerPoint® presentations, images, the instructor's manual, videos, and more.