A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Allen, Jo

8 found.

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The Case Against Defining Technical Writing   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Ongoing attempts to define technical writing are inevitably confounded by problems caused by an excessively broad focus, which obscures the basis and usefulness of the definition, or by an excessively narrow focus, which arbitrarily-and sometimes oddly-relegates samples of writing as in or out of the realm of technical writing. Technical writers have been doing their jobs for far too long without a definition to be satisfied with a one- or two-sentence catch-all definition, and such a definition may result in dividing technical writing into two (or more) cultures.

Allen, Jo. Journal of Business and Technical Communication (1990). Articles>Writing>Technical Writing>Taxonomy


Compact Planning and Program Development: A New Planning Model for Growing Technical Communication Programs   (peer-reviewed)

While most academics are familiar with strategic planning (at least at a broad institutional level), many may be unfamiliar with the process of compact planning--a more narrowly focused, resource-driven planning model that can help programs identify and reach short-term goals. Because of the technological components of technical communication programs and the rapidity with which those components change and, consequently, affect our programs, shorter-term planning models may be particularly useful in helping our programs remain nimble, competitive, and distinctive. Further, since the compact planning process is a grass-roots initiative (rather than a top-down planning model), it is particularly effective at the program and department levels for its inclusionary properties.

Allen, Jo. CPTSC Proceedings (2000). Academic>Education>TC


Focus Group on Technical Communication Research: An Academic Perspective   (PDF)

'Research' is defined as a systematic, though fluid, process for uncovering or generating knowledge. Its, forms include basic research, formal research, and scholarship. No one form is better than the others with the kind of information needed determining the process required. The investigative model presented describes research in terms of the processes and products involved. Echoing Kuhn, they believe that an interest is not a true discipline until it gives rise to its own set of questions--beyond those of its base discipline--and publishes answers to those questions in its own journals.

Allen, Jo and Sherry G. Southard. STC Proceedings (1995). Articles>Research


The Impact of Student Learning Outcomes Assessment on Technical and Professional Communication Programs   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Because of accreditation, budget, and accountability pressures at the institutional and program levels, technical and professional communication faculty are more than ever involved in assessment-based activities. Using assessment to identify a program's strengths and weaknesses allows faculty to work toward continuous improvement based on their articulation of learning and behavioral goals and outcomes for their graduates. This article describes the processes of program assessment based on pedagogical goals, pointing out options and opportunities that will lead to a meaningful and manageable experience for technical communication faculty, and concludes with a view of how the larger academic body of technical communication programs can benefit from such work. As ATTW members take a careful look at the state of the profession from the academic perspective, we can use assessment to further direct our programs to meet professional expectations and, far more importantly, to help us meet the needs of the well-educated technical communicator.

Allen, Jo. Technical Communication Quarterly (2004). Articles>Education>Assessment>Technical Writing


Strategies for Research in Technical Communication: Purpose and Study Design   (PDF)

Professional communicators are concerned with numerous issues related to their work. Providing the answers to all the questions raised by these issues is the primary purpose of their research in all of its forms (basic research, formal research, and scholarship). A discussion of research in academic and corporate contexts illustrates the 'who does what and why' in those settings. The sample study design presented provides a starting point for technical communicators who want to conduct formal research.

Allen, Jo and Sherry G. Southard. STC Proceedings (1995). Articles>Research


Women and Authority in Business/Technical Communication Scholarship: An Analysis of Writing Features, Methods, and Strategies   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This study focuses on the means by which women convey authority in their scholarly publications. After analyzing a selected sample of women's scholarship in technical communication journal articles, the study explores whether traditional authoritative writing features conflict with traits more frequently characterized in feminist research as “women's ways of making meaning.”; Findings point to a need for more research into how scholarly writers develop a voice of authority; such research may challenge how we define and teach scholarly writing in technical communication.

Allen, Jo. Technical Communication Quarterly (1994). Articles>Research>TC>Gender


Workplace Surveillance and Managing Privacy Boundaries   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

According to communication privacy management (CPM) theory, people manage the boundaries around information that they seek to keep private. How does this theory apply when employees are monitored electronically? Using data from 154 face-to-face interviews with employees from a range of organizations, the authors identified various ways organizations, employees, and coworkers describe electronic surveillance and the privacy expectations, boundaries, and turbulence that arise. Privacy boundaries are established during new-employee orientation when surveillance is described as coercive control, as benefiting the company, and/or as benefiting employees. Correlations exist between the surveillance-related socialization messages interviewees remember receiving and their attitudes. Although little boundary turbulence appeared, employees articulated boundaries that companies should not cross. The authors conclude that CPM theory suppositions need modification to fit the conditions of electronic surveillance.

Watkins Allen, Myria, Kasey L. Walker, Stephanie J. Coopman and Joy L. Hart. Management Communication Quarterly (2007). Articles>Workplace>Security>Privacy


The Writing on the Web

Sure, the Web talks a good game with its sound and video and animation and god-awful 3-D interfaces. But lurking beneath all those various bells and whistles is good ol' text. It doesn't have the sinus-blowing sex appeal of Flash or MP3, but text is the stalwart backbone of Web-based content. It rolls up its sleeves and gets the real work done.

Allen, Joshua. Webmonkey (1999). Design>Web Design>Writing

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