In the advent of technological sophistication and development in other branches of science, the importance of technical writing and communication cannot be understated. Essentially, technical writing involves the compilation of technical information in a form of writing in a manner that can be easily understood by readers. In most cases, technical information contains words and phrases that cannot be easily understood by all and sundry, and even by people with a background of the topic being discussed in writing.
The concept of Humanistic Rationale for Technical Writing first came into the limelight in 1979 in an article by Carolyn Miller. The article presented Millers opinions and ideas as pervaded by a debated she had the English department of the school she was lecturing. As Miller wrote in the article, the debate was about the teaching if technical writing to students as one of the ways of satisfying humanities requirement. Opinions were divided depending on the subject that each of the parties involved in the debate taught at the university. Pointedly, virtually all science instructors supported the idea of introduction of technical writing as a course while literature tutors fervently objected to the idea. The antagonists in the debate questioned the humanistic value of the technical writing as a course terming is as a “ skills” course with nothing to offer with regards to the development students’ humanistic self being.
Looking as Millers writing, one cannot fail to notice the emergence of pervasive positivist ideologies in the manner college instructors look as science. Though Miller does not appear to take any stance that appears to concur with positivism, several questions emerge, particularly with regards to the humanistic elements in technical communication. On her part, Miller is opinionated that technical writing, and, to some extent, scientific writing, strive to enable the human mind submitting to reality while humanistic approach to writing simply strives to relay information without targeting any effect.
Patrick Moore also notes that the issue of technical writing a course was off the record for a long time until it was introduced by Miller (Moore 171). A careful review of the body on literature published in the 70’s and 80’s talking about the teaching of technical writing as a course reveals that this topic was not covered with any writer. This realization serves to reinforce the notion that Miller’s article was of import as it endeavored to introduce something new to teaching, and it is on this ground that I loud Miller for the instruction of the Humanistic Rationale for Technical Writing.
It should be noted that the definition of technical writing given above is a personal definition that is based extensively on my own perception of technical writing from reading Miller’s article. However, I must admit that the positivists even though vouching for the introduction of technical writing course in schools has not been keen to give an elaborate and succinct definition of technical writing. Movers of the technical writing debate which have published a paper on the same have not been exquisite to address this issue as many simply start their articles and books by writing about what they think without first going through the basics like giving definitions. It can also be noted that from how that word humanistic in used, the real definition of the word is lost and in on this ground that I somewhat take a negative stance with regards to Millers contentions in the article.
Many critics would point out that Miller’s contestation was a failed case in light of her supposition that the rhetoric present in technical writing provided sufficient cultural and historical grounds to warrant the perception of a humanistic class in the same level as a literature class. Others averred that Miller aligned herself to the Aristotelian tradition while writing an article without any further clarification hence making it hard for just anybody to understand what they meant. For a personal standpoint, most of the writings in response to Millers article, and by extension the Humanistic Rationale for Technical Writing approach, were short of technical writing skills. Miller’s postulations in the article are easy to comprehend, and anyone in readership of information on the approach could easily understand that Miller was simply trying to advocate for a better way of writing that does not only entail collecting of words and putting them down on paper for people to read without really having any effect on the readership. I tried to trace the writings of Sharon Crowley, Mathew Arnold, and Tebeaux, among others. The manner in which they presented their views really served to reinforce my already formed opinion that technical writing as described by Miller in the Humanistic Rationale for Technical Writing approach is exceedingly a requisite in writing.
Concisely, Humanistic Rationale for Technical Writing as a concept of writing is exceedingly relevant concept in writing. The concept advocates for the introduction of technical writing as a course to enable students communicate technical information in a manner that is effectual to the readership of technical information. Technical writing, which is essentially a compilation of technical information in the form of writing in a manner that can be easily understood by readers, is deemed to be overly important with regard to current procession technical information. Works Cited
Miller, Carolyn R. “ A Humanistic Rationale for Technical Writing.” College English 40. 6 (1979): 610-617. Print.
Moore, Patrick. ” Legitimizing Technical Communication in English Departments: Carolyn Miller’s ‘Humanistic Rationale for Technical Writing.’” Journal of Technical Writing & Communication. 36. 2 (2006): 167-182.