A 'body of knowledge' is a codified representation of the knowledge of a field, often created in order to create or reinforce a common or standard set of concepts, terminology and best practices of a professional field. It is often created by a body interested in offering professional certification in that field.
Professionalism is a recurrent topic of discussion—formally and informally—among technical communication scholars and practitioners. In the diversity among our programs and approaches to technical communication, the difficult issues surrounding certification in technical communication is a professional goal that major stakeholders have typically considered too complex to be addressed. Increasingly, however, many of these stakeholders agree that we can no longer continue to ignore these complex issues. In an earlier article, I have described twelve issues that must be addressed and tasks that must be undertaken to move the profession towards meaningful certification. In that discussion, I also suggest approaches to begin the work on each of these steps. In this present discussion, I address the first of these steps—codification of the bodies of knowledge through the development of an encyclopedia of technical and professional communication. In order to accomplish this, I describe the categories of knowledge in the field and the editorial and organizational structure of the project.
Professionalism is a recurrent topic of discussion - formally and informally - among technical communication scholars and practitioners. In the diversity among our programs and approaches to technical communication, the difficult issues surrounding certification in technical communication is a professional goal that major stakeholders have typically considered too complex to be addressed. Increasingly, however, many of these stakeholders agree that we can no longer continue to ignore these complex issues. In an earlier article, the author have described twelve issues that must be addressed and tasks that must be undertaken to move the profession towards meaningful certification. In that discussion, the author also suggests approaches to begin the work on each of these steps. In this present discussion, the author addresses the first of this steps-codification of the bodies of knowledge through the development of an encyclopedia of technical and professional communication. In order to accomplish this, the author describes the categories of knowledge in the field and the editorial and organizational structure of the project.
The presenters summarize and discuss two emerging paradigms for defining a technical communication body of knowledge: the EServer Technical Communication Library and the Society for Technical Communication's TCBOK project. The respondent sums up the alternatives presented, then frame the discussion of possibilities these projects present for advancing the field.
For the past nine months the Usability Professionals’ Association (UPA) participated in a project to investigate the feasibility of certifying usability (or user-centered design) professionals. The project was kicked off in Salt Lake City last November when a group of people from many organizations, countries and associations met for three days. That meeting ended with a sense of enthusiasm for creating a certification program based on the international standard for a human-centered design process, ISO 13407. The group planned activities to survey professionals to determine the level of support for certification, and to understand the benefits and drawbacks seen by stakeholders.
The Business Analysis Body of Knowledge is the sum of knowledge within the profession of Business Analysis and reflects what is considered currently accepted practice. As with other professions, the body of knowledge is defined and enhanced by the business analysis professionals who apply it. The BOK describes Business Analysis areas of knowledge, their associated activities and tasks and the skills necessary to be effective in their execution.
STC has meant a lot to my professional growth over the past 20+ years as a teacher and practitioner of technical communication, and I want to help STC expand its educational mission for all technical communicators. It is time our profession had a defined body of knowledge. Why?
First of all, a profession cannot be recognized as a profession until it is defined as such. Engineers, for instance, have a body of knowledge they must master before they can practice as engineers, whether structural, electrical, or mechanical. Although technical communicators may not yet want such a highly codified and subdivided set of skills and practices, we do need an authoritative place to find answers to that eternal question: "What do technical communicators do, anyway?"
The EServer TC Library dwarfs all other tech comm sites. Granted, EServer TC Library is a library, which people primarily use to browse content located elsewhere, so it’s perhaps not in the same category as the other sites. Still, the sheer amount of traffic is impressive. I caught up with Geoffrey Sauer, the creator of the EServer TC Library, and chatted with him over email.
A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)–2000 Edition is the main sourcebook in the project management field. Whilst it covers Project Communications Management, it doesn't extend to user documentation. This article seeks to provide guidance for project managers as to how the user documentation process fits in with the overall project planning. It examines: the traditional way documentation is approached and how it impinges on project planning the effects of making changes to this traditional approach.
Technical communication can be viewed as both a discipline and a profession. As a discipline, it concerns itself with the pursuit of knowledge and the development of theory. As a profession, it attempts to meet the needs of the individuals it serves through the application of knowledge and theory. Research links the discipline and the profession and sustains both by providing the bases from which to develop new areas of inquiry and to find solutions to problems.
This article chronicles the STC Technical Communication Body of Knowledge process from 2007 to 2009 and provides key elements of a landmark project to develop a body of disciplinary knowledge.
Over the years, there has been much debate and discussion in the Society as to whether technical communication is a field, an endeavour, a profession or a discipline, none of the above or all of the above. The topics of professionalism, certification and accreditation have often appeared in the pages of Technical Communication and Intercom. I would like to take the opportunity to review the status of technical communication and to highlight the role of research in technical communication.