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ERIC Number: ED425466
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Apr
Pages: 11
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Instructional Writers' Narratives about Their Ideal Users and Users' Narratives about Their Ideal Instructions.
Yee, Carole
Based on a collaboration between an instructor and an undergraduate student for two different documentation projects, this paper discusses the difference between the language systems of writers and supervisors designing or choosing training materials and documentation and what the research says about the real needs for the documentation. The paper contends that professional writers can bring to an assignment a level of analysis identified as "symbolic analysis"--students must be taught that symbolic analysis is a large part of what they as professional writers apply to writing tasks. According to the paper, conventional wisdom about instructional writing found in technical writing textbooks is that instructions must be clear and easy to follow and that technical writing should be"task oriented." The paper examines projects for a tutorial for the Magdalena Ranger Station's new computer system and for a training manual and short course for Ktech Corporation, a subcontractor in Albuquerque of the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) agency. The paper concludes that "vast distances inevitably separate" the knowledge and experience that research and advanced practice have developed about the needs of users of instructions and end users, such as the ATF agents or the Magdalena Forest service workers. It suggests that when writers of instructions are themselves novices or scientists, not writers, knowledge about nonhierarchical structures, the need for silences in case narratives, and more falls by the wayside in favor of a few simple principles, such as "clarity" or"task orientation." (NKA)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Mexico (Albuquerque)