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Expanding the Scope of Technical Communication: Examples from the Department of Technical Communication at the University of Washington

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Today in the U.S., academic, government, and industrial centers of research and development increasingly recognize that the value that technical communicators bring to projects extends far beyond technical writing, editing, and production. As examples, this article presents eight current projects involving faculty in the University of Washington’s Department of Technical Communication that illustrate the broadening nature of the field. These projects address issues in wide-ranging areas: the cognitive processing of visual information, Web-based education, strategic management of information, communicating science and technology in the public arena, digital libraries, international adoption of information and communication technology, multimedia tools for international communication, and outcomes assessment of learning.

These projects, at varying stages of development, range from smaller, student-driven activities to well-funded, multiorganizational efforts. But they all share the attribute of demonstrating how current scholarship, research, and development efforts in technical communication build on yet range far beyond the “traditional” areas of technical writing, editing, and production.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2003

More about this publication?
  • 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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