Twc Chapter 2 Readers And Contexts Of Use

Summary

The main purpose of this chapter is to get the writers to focus on the audience which they are writing for, and what the readers need the writing for. At first, the chapter dictates that it is important to get an understanding of what your readers are going to be using your document for, and exactly who your readers are. They tell the reader to use a flow chart to discover this:

It then gives five guidelines of how you should format your paper, based on your

  • Readers are "raiders" for information
  • Readers are wholly responsible for interpreting your text
  • Readers want only "need-to-know" information
  • Readers prefer concise texts
  • Readers perfer documents with graphics and effective page design

The next step the text gives is to determine what kind of readers you have and the importance of each kind of reader.

It gives each of these kind of readers, with the least important being the furthest from the center, and the most important being closest to the center. Then it gives you the opportunity to create a reader analysis chart based on the needs, values and attitudes that each level of reader has. This allows you to format your paper according to their needs.

The chapter then tells you to identify the contexts that your reader's are going to use your paper for. It lists the readers as primary readers, readers' industry, and readers' company. It then tells you to list the physical context, economic context, political context, and ethical context for each of these sets of readers.

The cross-cultural communication obstacles is then referenced. The book gives examples of different ways that different cultures organize, design, stylize, and content. It also states that you must find ways to overcome these obstacles.

The final piece that the chapter gives is advice on how to stay properly communicating with people from other cultures.

  • State your objects and purpose clearly
  • Use language consistently to increase clarity
  • Do not even attempt humor until a relationship has been well-established
  • Rank issues by importance
  • Handle only one message per e-mail
  • Use headings and subheadings that convey a specific meaning
  • Minimize use of adjectives and adverbs
  • Highlight actions, deadlines, and dates
  • Spell everything correctly

Important Quotations

Analysis

Chapter 2 of Technical Writing for CCNY focuses in on the age-old topic (or so it seems) of the importance of considering your audience in your writing. We began discussing the crucial role that your audience plays in influencing your writing last semester, and this particular book puts that same concept into the context of technical writing in the real world. The chapter begins by introducing the benefits of profiling your reader. In this pre-step before you write, the book suggests that you consider questions such as what your reader needs to obtain from your document and why they will be reading it. The book claims that in a technical environment, readers often want to “raid” texts for valuable information, or in other words, find out the information that they need quickly and efficiently. Therefore, one of the necessary qualities in technical writing is concision. Your writing must quickly and directly get to the main point and not go on unnecessary tangents.

The book also makes sure to note that there might be secondary, and even tertiary, readers of your writing. For example, a secondary reader might be the advisor of your originally intended reader, and a tertiary reader might be a person who just has some form of interest in the topic of your writing and therefore reads it. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind all of your potential audiences and write accordingly. In addition, some other important things to keep in mind when assessing your audience include their familiarity with the subject, professional experience, and education level. Regarding the context of your writing, it is also worth considering where and with what mentality your document is going to be viewed. For example, it is important to consider whether there will be any economic, political, or ethical content that your writing might address which others might find offensive or incorrect.

The chapter then goes on to address the issue of interacting with other cultures. It provides a rather unnecessarily long list of cultural practices that I feel somewhat stereotype each ethnicity. While this section might have been slightly unnecessary, some important points to take away from this section are to state your objectives and purpose clearly, use consistent language in your writing, and to use headings and subheading to convey certain meanings more easily.

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