Introduction: A Three-Part Theory of Technical Communication
New writers, teachers, and researchers have appeared to meet the growing demand for people who can facilitate technological actions by communicating specialized information to nonexpert readers in business, government, education, and the home. If theorists work exclusively with literary and philosophical texts, they can only produce a partial theory of written communication. Genres provide a stopover, a point of connection between the study of signs and the study of communities. Like signs and genres, communities are communication media in the sense that to communicate, writers and readers must transmit information through them. Thus, a particular kind of sign—line drawing, for example—will affect the way the reader responds to the message it represents. The message would have a considerably different effect if it were given in words. The chapter also presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in this book.