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Technical Documents as Information Systems

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Information is the stock in trade for all technical communicators, yet the concept of information as it applies to technical communication has not been well defined. This article presents an understanding of information that, it is hoped, will promote the development of a unified, theoretical base for the practice of technical communication. The concept of information is examined from the perspectives of mathematics, engineering, biology, and human behavior. Characteristics of information common to all information systems are brought forward to a key understanding—that information is inextricably linked with behavior. It follows that the first step in designing an information product is to state its purpose in terms of a desired behavioral outcome. Measuring behavior then becomes the most significant measure of an information product's quality.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 1997

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  • Technical Communication, the Society's journal, publishes articles about the practical application of technical communication theory and serves as a common arena for discussion by practitioners. Technical Communication includes both quantitative and qualitative research while showcasing the work of some of the field's most noteworthy writers. Among its most popular features are the helpful book reviews. Technical Communication is published quarterly and is free with membership.
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