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SUMMARY: Journal of Technical Writing and Communication
Subject:SUMMARY: Journal of Technical Writing and Communication From:Penny Staples <pstaples -at- AIRWIRE -dot- COM> Date:Thu, 8 Jan 1998 14:16:20 -0600
A few days ago, I posted a message asking if anyone
had heard of the Journal of Technical Writing and
Communication. I requested that people respond
off-list. Since then, I've had quite a few requests to
summarize the results to the list. So here they are.
- The Journal of Technical Writing and Communication
(JTWC) seems to be a very respectable publication.
- Their focus is more academic than practical.
- You can probably find copies to examine at a local university
or college. There's also a research database of article
titles (see the first response listed).
- If you're *REALLY* interested, you can contact them for a
complimetary copy of the journal. But only do this if you're
truly interested. They're not going to be too happy if 2000
people from TECHWR-L contact them for free copies ;-)
- The publisher, Baywood, publishes books too. They have
a web-site: http://www.baywood.com
I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to respond.
You've helped me make an informed decision about
whether or not to subscribe to this journal at this time.
Here are the actual responses I got (names removed to
retain peoples' anonymity).
Baywood publishes a lot of academic books on technical
writing. I've used the JTWC as a source for many papers
during my master's program. If you're interested in the
theoretical aspects of tech writing, this is a great resource.
You can probably find this at a university near you; I'd
recommend looking through a couple of issues to decide
if it's for you or not. I copied the following list of articles in
a recent issue from a listing in Contents 1st, a research
database that I accessed through http://www.lib.muohio.edu.
This should give you a good idea of the scope of the journal.
Cola Rienzi and the Blasphemy of Documentation
Using Social Learning Theory to Reduce Small Business
Breakdown Along the Internet Superhighway: An Exploratory
Student Perceptions of the Peer Review Process in
Student Writing Projects
The Evolution of the Speech Instinct in Silent Reading:
Implications for Technical Communication
The Role of Abstracting in "Professional Documentation,
" A Technical Writing Class for Hungarian Students of
The Capture Plan -- The Foundation for Preparing Winning
Team Building in the Classroom: Preparing Students for Their
Proposed Guideline for Writing to Convey Factual Information
The GUI Style Guide
Writing in a Milieu of Utility: The Move to Technical
Communication in American Engineering Programs
The Emergence of Standard English
It's very academic and theoretical. I've seen sample copies
only and found them pretty unreadable, even when I thought
the topic interested me.
If you want a more readable and relevant journal, the STC's
Technical Communication is the best I've seen. Some readers
complain it's too academic; I can only assume they haven't
read the *real* academic journals in the field.
Ask'em for two sample issues ... one from 1Q96 and
one from 3Q97 (or pick any two Qs that suit your
fancy ... the old to prove they really WERE in
existance back then and the new to see what is
We had to read lots of articles from JTWC in grad
school. It's pretty good, but like many journal publications,
very "academics" biased (theory, not so much practice).
If you'd like me to elaborate, let me know. you might
want to look at a copy or two from a university library or
other research-type library before you spend the $....
I subscribe to the Journal of Technical Writing
and Communication. For me, it is primarily a
tool I hope to use when I retire from tech writing
and go on to teaching tech writing...Anyway, the
stuff is highly academic...
I'm familiar with the journal, though it's been a
few years( 3 or 4). When I saw it, it was pretty
scholarly, reporting on academic issues and written
by career academics rather than writers-turned-
academic. The size of the page was about 5.5 by
8 inches and usually only about 30 pages. Not
a lot of bang for your buck. If I were you, I'd see
if I could order a sample copy first. The STC journal
is a much better bargain (although at times I wonder
even about that).
I judged 2 articles from The Journal that were submitted to
the Society for Technical Communication annual technical
writing competition. They were excellent articles and, if
examples of what all this journal publishes, I'd say it's
worth it. I'd planned to look into the journal myself (the
local community college subscribes) but haven't
followed through yet. Might be an option to see if your
local library or university library subscribes so you
could peruse some issues.
JTWC certainly is one of the top tech communication
journals. As to whether it's "good" for you depends on
what you need. This particular journal is pretty heavily
oriented toward the academic audience, although
a number of articles can be applied on-the-job if you work at it.