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Subject:A Definition of Tech Comm From:Joseph J Little <litt0023 -at- MAROON -dot- TC -dot- UMN -dot- EDU> Date:Tue, 6 Dec 1994 16:35:25 GMT
In a recent Rhetorical Theory couse, I defined STC in the following
manner. My definition resembles the Shannon-Weaver model in some
respects, but I believe it emphasizes the transactional relationship
between the tech communicator and the audience (something the
S-W model does not). What do you think of my definition? Comments?
Criticisms? Thanks for any replies!
Scientific and technical communication (STC) is the science of
transmitting, with the least amount of distortion, a scientific
or technical topic from a knowledgelable source to an intended
audience. The goal of STC, therefore, is to accurately educate
an audience on a given scientific or technical topic in the
most usable manner.
To accomplish this goal, the communicator must reduce the scientific
or technical topic to a particular body of knowledge. The particular
body of knowledge is, in part, the selected material from the scientific
or technical topic which the communicator believes to be most usable
to the audience.
After selecting the body of knowledge, the communicator must then
find and use the most effective(1) means of transmitting the body
of knowledge to the audience. In these regards, the communicator
is engaging in a transactional relationship with the audience. However,
in selecting the body of knowledge, the communicator also has a
responsibility to represent the scientific or technical topic accurately.
If the body of knowledge accurately represents the topic, but the
communicator fails to find and use the most effective means of
transmission, he or she will obscurely convey the well-represented
topic to the audience. Conversely, if the body of knowledge
inaccurately represents the topic, but the communicator finds and
uses the most effective means of transmission, he or she will clearly
convey the misrepresented topic to the audience. In either case,
the communicator's primary concern, the audience, suffers.
Therefore, the goal of the communicator is to provide, in the
body of knowledge, the most accurate and usuable representation
of the topic, while finding and using the most effective means
of transmitting that body of knowledge to the intended audience.