TW Theory... A Book?

Subject: TW Theory... A Book?
From: Chris Despopoulos <despopoulos_chriss -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 18 Oct 2019 09:33:37 +0000 (UTC)

Geoff says...

Re: how do we arrive at such tips, I'd like to see a concerted effort to
synthesize relevant principles and practices from related disciplines such
as UX (broadly speaking), ethnography, statistics, and more, particularly
in contexts of research and evaluation. [...] but the current spread of resources and
TC-relevant info are so broad (not unlike the TC field I suppose) that it's
somewhat of a barrier to our collective success and evolution. Eh? -- I
look forward to your book, Chris.......................

The approach I like divides TW into two main efforts... To instruct and to inform. I think we already have theory for instruction, from minimal manuals to learning/teaching theory and practices. Kind of attached at the hip, it seems academia is looking hard at rhetoric, which (as far as I can tell) extends learning theory into aesthetic, social, and political issues. I don't want to go there, as I don't see room for big innovations. Maybe somebody else can see it better than I.
What interests me is how writing "informs" the reader. Of course that begs the question, what is "information"? Here's a simple trick... Ask as many people as you like to give you two concise definitions -- one for data and the other for information. (I do this as a writing test for candidates.) My bet is that you will get as many different definitions as people you ask. And yes, the literature shows that your context "informs" your definitions, be it UX design, ethnography, anthropology, psychology, thermodynamics, philosophy, etc.

It would be fun to see any definition sets this list could produce.

Quite literally, I believe that given the right working definition of information, you can come up with the criteria you need for any writing situation. And that's how you get these lists of tips. But the good news is, you don't get them by rote... You can trace each criterion back to a theoretical base, which is your working definition. And from there, you can critically evaluate whether you meet your criteria, and whether your criteria meet your situation.

There... That's my book! Should I do a blog? (Disclaimer: My wife hates blogs, so I'm not anxious to get started.)


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