Plain Language and Ethical Action

Plain Language and Ethical Action:  A Dialogic Approach to Technical Content in the 21st Century

Russell Willerton

Order the book from Routledge or Amazon

Plain Language and Ethical Action examines and evaluates principles and practices of plain language that technical content producers can apply to meet their audiences’ needs in an ethical way. The book offers the BUROC framework (Bureaucratic, Unfamiliar, Rights-Oriented, and Critical) to identify situations in which audiences will benefit from plain language, and it then provides in-depth profiles show how six organizations produce effective plain-language content. The profiles show plain-language projects done by organizations ranging from grassroots volunteers on a shoe-string budget, to small nonprofits, to consultants completing significant federal contacts. End-of-chapter questions and exercises provide tools for students and practitioners to reflect on and apply insights from the book. This volume reflects the global nature of the plain-language movement. It includes a case study of a European group based in Sweden, and it provides results from interviews with plain-language from many countries, including Canada, England, Belgium, South Africa, Portugal, Australia, and New Zealand.

This book will be useful in courses about information design, technical and professional communication, health communication, and other areas producing plain-language communication. It is also a crucial resource for practitioners developing plain-language technical content and content strategists in a variety of fields, including health literacy, technical communication, and information design.

Intended users of Plain Language and Ethical Action include these individuals:

  • Researchers, teachers, and advanced students in technical and professional communication
  • Researchers, teachers, and advanced students in rhetorical studies
  • Industry practitioners of plain language
  • Industry practitioners of technical and professional communication
  • Industry practitioners of health communication and health literacy

Specific university courses in which Plain Language and Ethical Action might be used include these:

  • Ethics in technical and professional communication
  • Health communication and health literacy
  • Rhetorics of health and medicine
  • Editing in technical and professional communication
  • Capstone courses in technical and professional communication
  • Information design
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