A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

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1.
#30386

Applying the Elaboration Likelihood Model to Technical Recommendation Reports   (PDF)

Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) can help proposal writers identify effective document design techniques and parts of arguments that are critical to persuasion. In addition, ELM has implications for other types of technical communication, including recommendation or feasibility reports. While one would anticipate that decision-makers would be willing and able to evaluate critically all arguments presented in a recommendation report, ELM explains why this is rarely so. Therefore, technical communicators can profit by understanding and using the two routes to persuasion or attitude shift, the central and peripheral routes, explained by ELM.

Engle, Carol. STC Proceedings (1993). Articles>Business Communication>Reports>Rhetoric

2.
#32023

Considering Bias in Government Audit Reports: Factors That Influence the Judgments of Internal Government Auditors   (members only)

Government auditors collect data and assess, via written reports, the operations of a government; however, little is known about what can affect and govern their representations of those operations. This analysis examines research studies about author bias and government audit manuals in order to understand how government auditors' neutrality is threatened. While bias may be an overt function of preferential or prejudicial thoughts, most sources of bias that influence auditors derive from less explicit sources including prior expectations, media coverage, nondiagnostic information, and other significantly less direct channels. To determine how government guidelines address this issue for their auditors, the principle audit manuals for Canada and the United States were reviewed for their references to bias, impartiality, and objectivity. Neither manual provides a significant amount of guidance to assist auditors in addressing the problems of bias in data collection, interpretation, and representation. If bias is to be reduced in audit reports, more must be done.

Palmer, Laura A. JBC (2008). Articles>Business Communication>Government>Reports

3.
#34887

Crossing National and Corporate Cultures: Stages in Localizing a Pre-Production Meeting Report   (peer-reviewed)

Localization includes translating, explaining, and adapting a document for use in a specific culture. This article presents the case of a form for reporting the findings and decisions of pre-production meetings held during development of electronic products. The need to localize such a document may seem less obvious or critical than the need for sales documents like manuals, but this case demonstrates the same cultural requirements and, furthermore, the requirements of corporate differences. To meet local needs, the comprehensive preparation that localization requires should follow specific methods in each step of a process corresponding to the general writing process, like the stages defined in common technical writing texts. The deliberate use of an effective writing process to localize documents will improve results.

Major David L. and Akihiro Yoshida. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication (2007). Articles>Business Communication>Localization>Reports

4.
#34822

Designing a Successful Group-Report Experience   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Report assignments and collaborative assignments can both be fraught with risk. Report projects, if notstration) and/or can leave students wondering what they are supposed to have learned—all while creating a major grading burden for the instructor. Poorly planned group projects can cause similar difficulties, with the added danger of creating interpersonal stress in the student groups. Yet for many reasons, the report assignment is the perfect choice for the collaborative project. Because of its extra length and complexity, the report enables several students to contribute meaningful research, writing, and document design decisions to one product or a related set of products. If the project goes well, each student will learn important lessons both about report writing and about teamwork. To maximize the likelihood that the project will go well, the instructor must think through a wide range of variables and decide, based upon his or her learning objectives, what the features of the project will be.

Rentz, Kathryn, Lora Arduser, Lisa Meloncon and Mary Beth Debs. Business Communication Quarterly (2009). Articles>Education>Business Communication>Reports

5.
#15115

Developing Business Plans for High-tech Companies   (PDF)

Illustrates how technical communicators can add value to business plan projects.

Petersen, Judy H. Intercom (2000). Articles>Business Communication>Reports

6.
#30695

Integrating Business Core Knowledge Through Upper Division Report Composition   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The most ambitious project of many undergraduate business communication courses is the formal report. This assignment typically requires the use of many writing skills nurtured throughout the course. Skills such as proper style, tone, organization, flow, and mechanics are enhanced through the writing of memos and various types of letters (persuasive, bad news, etc.). While these skills are all evident in a report, it is a much different kind of document. This synthesis of writing skills can be complemented by the integration of fundamental business subject knowledge. Both skill sets can be concurrently developed through business simulation report assignments, particularly in upper division business communication courses. Such courses are often required in business programs where students have already completed courses in business law, management, basic business statistics, and computer applications. Choosing an appropriate topic and scope for such a report writing assignment can be challenging. As offered in Business Communication Quarterly, many good assignments lend themselves to adoption, each with varying degrees of flexibility, coverage of current topics, and data analysis requirements. The following formal report assignment provides the opportunity to present a wide enough scope to integrate several business disciplines.

Roach, Joy, Daniel Tracy and Kay Durden. Business Communication Quarterly (2007). Articles>Education>Business Communication>Reports

7.
#27795

Lack of Annual Report Analysis on a Social, Political and Historical Basis

One area of rhetorical analysis of business writing that seems to be neglected is the analysis of annual reports on the social, political, and historical level. An admittedly-brief four hour review of on-line technical journals and academic articles on the subject of annual report analysis failed to produce a single article directly related to this subject. The only articles that I did find dealt with the analysis of contemporary annual reports on a financial basis. However, my research did uncover an article on the teaching of the conventions of business writing, such as annual reports, and an article on reconstructing the image and narrative in distressed organizations.

Remali, Peter. Michigan Tech University (1998). Articles>Writing>Business Communication>Reports

8.
#24561

Mythmaking in Annual Reports   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Annual reports produced today increasingly include elaborate photographs and graphics in the narrative section. Financial analysts and many scholars have judged these reports on their clarity, accuracy, and honesty. Because the narrative invites interpretations, such criteria are not sufficient, and additional standards need to be constructed. A semiological analysis of the textual and visual elements allows for the discovery of the techniques used by document designers to promote their companies' values. Artistic images may encourage positive readings of annual reports, which, combined with similar messages in other media and repeated over time, invoke cultural myths. By definition, myths are broadly accepted commonplaces that conceal details of their subject, and communicators must expose the missing details and judge the myth within a specific context. This kind of analysis, acknowledging the constraints of the rhetorical situation of a single report, can identify effective criteria for judging the narrative's ethics.

David, Carol. Journal of Business and Technical Communication (2001). Articles>Business Communication>Reports

9.
#28846
10.
#36835

Report and Recommendation Writing for Development   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Argues that communication scholarship must play a crucial role in the field of information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D), preparing writers in developing countries to address local and global audiences. Reports a participatory action research intervention designed to improve the report-writing skills of governmental social service workers in a developing country through the use of a workshop.

Dysart-Gale, Deborah, Kristina Pitula and Thiruvengadam Radhakrishnan. Technical Communication Online (2009). Articles>Business Communication>Reports>Case Studies

11.
#32021

Toward a Taxonomy of Corporate Reporting Strategies   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Studies of corporate reporting that focus on information disclosure do so primarily from a mandatory, financial perspective owing the decision to the rationality of corporate actors. Yet, social and environmental disclosures"often reported voluntarily"are increasing in importance because of their impact on a firm's performance and perceived value. Likewise, disclosure decisions are made based on managerial choice, often being communicated for a specific strategic purpose. The aim of this article is to illuminate the importance of voluntary disclosures as an aspect of corporate reporting and to integrate the deterministic and behavioral elements of disclosure decisions. A taxonomy of the disclosure process, activities, tasks, forms, types, and strategies is provided to add to our understanding of the additive and corrective nature of proactively disclosing information either to provide context to existing disclosures or to use information in a preventive manner.

Clark Williams, Cynthia. JBC (2008). Articles>Business Communication>Reports

12.
#29911

Writing in the Presence of Disaster: A Case Study of an Aviation Investigation Report   (PDF)

The investigation of fatal aircraft incidents has gained in importance and in the attention of the public. This paper presents the experience of one documentation company in working on a major aircraft accident investigation report. The paper covers the general approach the company took, the challenges it encountered, the standards it applied, the strategies it developed, and the lessons it learned.

Thurston, John. STC Proceedings (2004). Articles>Business Communication>Reports

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