TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: paradigm for tech comm? From:GOS -at- DT3 -dot- DT -dot- UH -dot- EDU Date:Wed, 17 Mar 1993 08:24:00 -0600
The problem solving paradigm was the dominant tech writing paradigm, I
believe, in the mid to late 80s. Based on the work of Newell and Simon. it
looked at technical communication as a problem solving process. The problem
was to take a given set of circumstances (called the starting state) that
included such things as audience, writer, organizational dynamics, resources,
etc. and change it to a more desireable set of circumstances (the final state).
Essentially, it viewed technical communication as a matter of the solving
of organizational problems. This operates at two levels. First, as writers,
our text is designed to solve a problem (What do we do about the holes in our
parking lot? How do I make the customer understand how to use our software
package?) that is occurring in the organization. That part is clear. What
made it a dominant paradigm, I believe, is the second level of operation, that
communication itself is a problem to be solved (How do I best formulate this
document so the committee will believe my recommendation and think I'm brilliant
). The document itself becomes the final state or brings the other factors to
the final state.
I hope that's clear. It's early in the morning and it's going to be 78
todayand sunny. I'm feeling sorry for myself because I have to work :-(