ERIC Number: ED216361
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Style and Audience in Technical Writing: Advice from the Early Texts.
A content analysis was conducted of 17 technical writing textbooks published between 1911 and 1938 and of 3 texts published recently to determine if the early texts differ from the more recent ones in the way they define the purposes of technical writing and in their treatment of style and audience. Results showed that both sets of texts define technical writing almost exclusively as writing done by male engineers. The purposes cited for such writing, however, are not so concentrated. In both early and recent texts, technical writing is proposed as a way to advance engineers, to allow them to share their knowledge, to give them writing confidence and practice, and to enable them to write better. However, the early texts present additional purposes that have since disappeared, including that of providing a means of personal and cultural growth. While both sets of texts offer similar abstractions to generalize about technical writing style, the early texts advocate additional qualities, characterized by words such as "interesting,""forceful," and "beauty," that are no longer considered essential. Both sets of books agree in theory to the relationship of audience and style, but neither set identifies specific audiences or considers the possibilities of many different audiences for technical writing. (FL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Audience Awareness
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (33rd, San Francisco, CA, March 18-20, 1982).