Re: Non-technical, Technical Writers

Subject: Re: Non-technical, Technical Writers
From: Karen Kay <karen -at- WORDWRITE -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 6 May 1998 09:16:00 -0700

Matt Craver said:
> To come back on-topic, I think Candace was right when she said that the
> essential skills are an ability to research and analyze a topic and then
> present it. Most colleges do not teach research or analysis skills,
> whether they are "hard" or "soft". If colleges did teach these skills
> to the majority of their students, politics and advertising would never
> be the same <g>!

Actually, when I was a college professor, I co-ran an undergraduate
research seminar. Our goal was to give students the a taste of the
experience that we had as graduate students. We deliberately chose a
rather broad topic and then narrowed it down through our reading,
following dead ends that appeared interesting, and looking for other
leads. Students presented papers at an undergraduate research seminar
at the end of the year.

Science students (and faculty doing research w/ undergrads) got
funded; liberal arts students did not get funding for their research.
Because the learning of generalized research skills isn't
valued. (Although of course I think our students learned a lot more
than many of the other students who spent a large part of their time
washing glassware or cleaning cages.)

The reason I *like* being a technical writer is that it reminds me of
the best parts of graduate school: you get to root around and discover
how things work and you write up your interpretation of the system on
a deadline. Okay, sometimes the papers are 300 pages long... But
anyway. It feels the same to me, in a good way.

Karen
karen -at- wordwrite -dot- com




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