Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Rise of Technical Writing Instruction in America

My reflections on Robert J. Connors "The Rise of Technical Writing Instruction in America":

While the Civil War and the two Morrill Acts changed the status of the technical fields, it was World War II that gave birth to the field of technical writing. For the first time it was more than an adjunct function of some other activity. The focus moved from engineering to technology.

Mills and Walter 1954 survey of 300 technical writing situations yielded two important assumptions:

1. Rhetorical approach (rather than types of reports) was a better approach to technical writing instruction

2. The only good criterion -- does it work -- the writer-reader relationship is the most important aspect

1965 Britton - technical writing defined by effort of the author to convey one meaning and only one meaning in what he says

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