So what do you do with SOCIAL sciences? -Reply

Subject: So what do you do with SOCIAL sciences? -Reply
From: Lisa Baker <LISAB -at- WORDPERFECT -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 1995 14:39:35 -0700

I disagree with your statement "it wouldn't do much for me, except I could say
"well I
wrote stuff."

As seven-year professional in technical writing with a BS in psychology and
minors
and journalism and English, I think my psychology degree has been very helpful
and
applicable. A few examples...
First, as a science, obtaining a psychology degree required me to understand
complex subjects, to follow procedures to fulfill an objective, and to write
coherently
within strict style guidelines. When you document an experiment you must
document each procedure clearly and in a repeatable manner. This all sounds
directly applicable to corporate technical writing to me.
Second, the study of psychology deals with the study of human thought,
behavior
and development. These principles are directly applicable to understanding
learning
processes and understanding how users approach a product--things you need to
understand when designing your documentation. And each time I'm in the
usability
lab it looks a heck of a lot like a psychology experiment.
Third, as a study of human thought, behavior, and development, psychology
introduces you to several behavioral and development models. Later in the
corporate
environment and in management classes, you might find these introduced as ways
to
understand customers', workers' or colleagues' behavior. I found 70-80 percent
of my
manager training class to be a rehash of things I studied in psychology. (You
mean if
individuals have different skill levels or learning techniques I should write to
them
differently/manage them differently?)

The study of psychology is not the study of technical communication, but if you
take
a step back and look at the big picture you'll find many areas where your
studies in
psychology can positively impact your work as a technical writer.
Lisa Baker lisab -at- wordperfect -dot- com
Master Technical Writer - WordPerfect, Novell Applications Group
; A child's face can say it all. ;
; Especially the mouth part of the face. ;

>>> Gretchen Toth <TOTHGL -at- CNSVAX -dot- UWEC -dot- EDU> 02/10/95 08:30am >>>
Hello, hello-

Gregg Roberts just asked me how I will be using my background in Psychology with
Technical Writing. I figured that once I get out into the "real world" it
wouldn't do much
for me, except that I could say "well I wrote stuff" and "I did a two-factor
ANOVA one
time."

Is there anyone who has had a background in the SOCIAL sciences who would share
how they have used that background or share how that background may actually be
sought by an employer?


Gretchen L. Toth
University of WI- Eau Claire
Psychology/Technical Writing tothgl -at- uwec -dot- edu


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