Chapter 6 describes the process of creating technical documents. The reality of communicating in a workplace in which the rhetorical complexities transcend linear notions of merely “transmitting” information is illustrated by the case of Glenn Tarullo. The intent here is not to overwhelm students, but to help them define the kinds of problems they need to solve, the range of decisions they need to make, and the types of strategies they might employ for effective decision making.
Answers 1. Researching, planning, drafting, and revising. 2. Any of the following: Have I defined the issue accurately? Is the information I’ve gathered complete, accurate, reliable, and unbiased? Can it be verified? How much of it is useful? Is a balance of viewpoints represented? What do these facts mean? What conclusions seem to emerge? Are other interpretations possible? What, if anything, should be done? What are the risks and benefits? What other consequences might this have? Should I reconsider? 3. Any of the following: What do I want it to accomplish? Who is my audience, and why will they use this document? What do they need to know? What are the "political realities" (feelings, egos, cultural differences, and so on)? How will I organize? What format and visuals should I use? Whose help will I need? When is it due? 4. Any of the following: How do I begin, and what comes next? How much is enough? What can I leave out? Am I forgetting anything? How will I end? Who needs to review my drafts? 5. Any of the following: Does this draft do what I want it to do? Is the content useful? Is the organization sensible? Is the style readable? Is everything easy to find? Is the format appealing? Is the medium appropriate? Is everything accurate, complete, appropriate, and correct? Is the information honest and fair? Who needs to review and approve the final version? Does it advance my organization's goals? Does it advance my audience's goals?
Answers (continued) 6. If you don’t correct basic errors, you will distract the reader and make yourself look bad. 7. Sentence errors, punctuation errors, usage errors, mechanical errors, format errors, and typographical errors. 8. When you are working on your final draft. 9. More than once. 10. Any of the following: brainstorming and storyboarding software, wikis, tracking systems, social media, flowcharting and mapping software.