Re: Certification: Ernest and Scribbler

Subject: Re: Certification: Ernest and Scribbler
From: Wade Courtney <wade -dot- courtney -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: dvora -at- tech-challenged -dot- com, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com, Bill Swallow <techcommdood -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 18 Jul 2010 20:42:11 -0700

Proficiency exams on what?

Second I don't believe that there is an imperically objective way to
measure someone's effectivness as a technical writer.


On 07/18/2010, Deborah Hemstreet <dvora -at- tech-challenged -dot- com> wrote:
> *I've been a proponent of certification for a long time. Why? Because
> I've watched terribly incompetent people become billed as great
> technical writers, while the competent and experienced people get passed
> over and forgotten. I've worked with people in STC who are passionate
> about our profession, and their technical communication skills in actual
> practice are horrific.
> I think that IF STC does this properly (I won't go into my concern on
> that level here), it could be a plus to the profession. But the key
> issue is, how do find out if someone really is a good technical
> communicator? I believe that technical communication is far more than
> the ability to write a procedure. It involves a lot of other things as
> well. When I first entered this profession I was curious about the
> personalities and characteristics I saw in many of the technical
> communicators I was acquainted with.
> At the time I was based in Israel and began doing my MA in Technical
> Authorship via distance learning. I recruited people from this list to
> participate in a survey that I did of technical writers from around the
> world. Part of the survey included professional questions, in an attempt
> to correlate professional effectiveness with personality.
> I won't waste your time with the personality issues right now. Of more
> interest was my professional effectiveness index. How was I going to
> determine if the people who participated in my study were "good"
> technical writers without a writing sample or a personal interview.
> Basically, after reviewing the literature and looking at actual
> professional situations, and a LOT of discussions with other
> professionals, I asked the participants to rate how important certain
> factors relating to the profession were to them. This was a rating based
> on each aspect of our work, not which aspect was more important, rather
> how important was this aspect to the participant.
> However, I had other criteria, which looked at several other issues
> including: years of experience, professional achievements and
> activities, professional satisfaction, and some subjective ratings
> (where the person rated themselves).
> Statistical analysis seemed to indicate that I had a pretty good
> effectiveness rating. There were good correlations with personality
> traits, and to make a long story short, the thesis was accepted.** (The
> correlations, by the way, were supported by the personality test
> results. Certain personality characteristics had already been seen to
> have a positive impact on job performance. The results of my study
> showed that the the more professionally effective technical
> communicators did indeed have the personality characteristics that
> matched their performance!)*
> *
> My point (and Bill, if you'd like, I can share with you the thesis if
> you think it would help in your considerations), I do think that my
> questionnaire helped to find who were the low and high performers within
> a reasonable margin of acceptability. Combining a test like this,
> together with proficiency exams, could help to provide certification to
> those who don't necessarily have a certificate. Having a degree in the
> field does not mean you are a good technical communicator, it is only
> one parameter that should be considered. After all, there are excellent
> technical writers out there who never took a course. They fell into the
> profession.
> If anyone would like to read my thesis, let me know off list. I'd be
> glad to provide it to you for perusal and discussion. Just please note,
> somewhere in-between all of my computers, I have the draft version in
> PDF only, and the version with typos that I had not yet corrected. For
> some crazy reason, I cannot find the final version that I submitted
> (without the typos) anywhere. ARGH!
> Hope this provides food for thought.
> Deborah
> *

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RE: Certification: Ernest and Scribbler: From: Sharon Burton
RE: Certification: Ernest and Scribbler: From: Keith Hood
Re: Certification: Ernest and Scribbler: From: Wade Courtney
Re: Certification: Ernest and Scribbler: From: Suzette Leeming
Re: Certification: Ernest and Scribbler: From: Gene Kim-Eng
Re: Certification: Ernest and Scribbler: From: Mike Starr
Re: Certification: Ernest and Scribbler: From: Suzette Leeming
Re: Certification: Ernest and Scribbler: From: Deborah Hemstreet

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