Download the Technical Communication Report Project Overview (.pdf)
For the Technical Communication Report Project (TCRP), you will research some aspect of technical communication (an subject area, specialty, topic, methodology, or tool) and produce a report and an oral presentation that presents your findings for an audience of undergraduate students with an interest in technical communication. Sample topics include but are not limited to accessibility, activity theory, artifact analysis, content management content strategy, crisis communication, document design, documentation control, ethics, ethnography, globalization, health risk communication, human-computer interaction, human-factors engineering, information architecture, information design, information management, instructional design, interviews (as research), medical writing, multicultural communication, participatory design, publication management, project management, proposal writing, single-source publishing, social media, surveys, style guides and/or style sheets, technical editing, user-centered design, user experience, usability studies, usability testing, visual design, workplace communication.
As you research and report on your topic, remember that your focus is the importance of your subject to technical communication. So, for instance, your goal is not to just research and report upon accessibility, ethics, globalization, social media, style sheets, surveys, or visual design; rather, you need to research and report on accessibility and/in technical communication, ethics in technical communication, the role of social media in technical communication (i.e., how technical communicators use social media, the role of social media specialist, or how social media is changing technical communication practices) the use of surveys in technical communication research, etc.
To get started, you will, of course, want to select a topic. Good places to start investigating topics include returning to the EServer Technical Communication Library and the Technical Communication Body of Knowledge (TC BOK) that I asked you to browse in the first weeks of the course. Johnson-Eilola and Selber’s Solving Problems in Technical Communication is also a great resource—and do look beyond just the 19 chapter topics. For instance, you may have noticed that artifact analysis, ethnography, and interviewing are included in the list of suggested topics above. As you may recall, while there is no chapter dedicated to these three research methods, all three are discussed within the chapter on researching how to fit into an organization.
While you will be required to submit a formal proposal before progressing with your project, if you are interested in a topic I don’t list above, I strongly encourage you to informally run a topic by me either in person or via email prior to the proposal stage, not because the chances are good that I will say no — there are plenty of possible topics I don’t list above — but to make sure that you don’t have to rewrite a proposal because I have concerns about your topic.
Stages and Deliverables
As you can see from the due dates listed below, the Technical Communication Report Project is divided into a number of stages, each with its own set of deliverables. The sequence of tasks and deliverables are representative of what you might be asked to do for a project in the workplace.
While the Technical Communication Report will culminate in a formal written report, the project is divided into a series of assignments with various due dates. For specific information on each assignment, please see the specific assignment guidelines. The assignments and their due dates are as follows: