- Apply and adapt professional/technical writing conventions, including genre, tone, and style for particular writing situations.
- Compose professional/technical documents and oral presentations for multiple audiences and specific purposes by using current technologies.
- Design and implement information literacy strategies.
Now that you are familiar with some generally useful library and internet resources, here are some important journals in the field of professional and technical communication. It is important to know the top publications in your field so that you can keep up to date with current and emerging research and trends. This kind of knowledge reflects your professional development and can advance your career by demonstrating to employers that you participate in the progress of your field.Your work itself will also be more informed when you are aware of the most recent developments in your profession. I have provided the website for each source, but, if you are a student, you may have access to them through a university library’s databases (the library website likely lists all available journals) and do not have to pay for an individual subscription to access them. However, you should consider joining professional organizations that are relevant to your intended career. Besides access to publications, members often receive important networking opportunities, guidance and mentorship, and other services. Including this membership in your resume may also enhance your professional image to prospective employers.
Technical Communication Quarterly is published by the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing (ATTW), an organization of academic and professional technical communicators. The journal combines theory and practice to promote “accessible” research in many technical communication contexts, including government, business, science, and academia.
IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication is published quarterly by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) professional communication society. Its audience is a combination of engineers, most of whom are members of the organization, and academics. Because of its hybrid audience, Transactions articles focus on the practical implications of their studies, whether in teaching, technology, or communication.
Technical Communication is published quarterly by the Society for Technical Communication. Like TCQ and Transactions, it combines theory and research with suggestions for practical implementation. According to its website, book reviews are among its most popular features. This can be helpful in familiarizing yourself with recent book publications in the field.
The Journal of Technical Writing and Communication is a professional and scholarly journal that “performs as the needed bridge between academia and the world of practitioners.” It covers various writing and communication contexts, including government, academia, and professional settings.
The Journal of Business and Technical Communication provides current research about the latest trends, problems, and practices in professional and technical communication. It offers scholarly articles, reviews, practical applications, opinion pieces, and dialogues between authors and readers as a comprehensive study of key communication issues. Like the other journals, it is multidisciplinary and serves a diverse audience of academics, scientists, and other professional communicators.
You now have resources for conducting research, but you will also need resources for citing that research. You should always cite your sources to give proper credit to the authors and to enhance your own credibility as a student and researcher. Showing that you have done the necessary research and can recognize valid sources will make others more likely to want to read your work. Therefore, it is important to cite your sources according to accepted guidelines. Most professional and technical communication documents require references in APA Style. Regulated by the American Psychological Association, APA Style is one of the three major citation styles (the other two are MLA and Chicago/Turabian). While it is tempting to simply plug your source’s publication information into an online citation generator, these websites often produce incorrect results. It is best to write your citation manually using a style guide. Here are the most reliable online APA Style guides:
The American Psychological Association provides an APA Style Guide on its website. It includes basic descriptions of standard formatting and citation. It also offers teaching and learning guides and sells products like hard copy guides. The American Psychological Association offers the official APA Style Guide as a printed book, available for sale through their website. They also offer a more basic printed APA formatting guide, Concise Rules of APA Style.
Many other print versions are available, but their reliability varies. A good one to use is A Pocket Style Manual, APA Version by Diana Hacker and Nancy Sommers, authors of the Bedford Handbook for college writing. In addition to APA citation style, this book also provides a guide for writing papers.
Also outside of the American Psychological Association, the Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University provides an APA Style guide, as well as MLA and Chicago style guide. It provides other useful writing tools, like sample documents and a list of other genres, including a section specific to professional and technical writing.
You probably already have experience conducting research for school projects, and you will continue to use these skills in your career, so it is important to familiarize yourself with the journals most relevant to your profession. When composing a professional document, you may also need to conduct research necessary to follow a certain design and/or citation style. It is important to develop good research skills now, as you prepare to enter your careers.