Tag Archives: STC History

Coppola: Developing the Body of Knowledge for Technical Communication

Coppola, Nancy W. “The Technical Communication Body of Knowledge Initiative: An Academic-Practitioner Partnership.” Technical Communication 57, no. 1 (2010): 11-25.


Any self-respecting profession maintains a body of knowledge to establish where the profession came from, what current standards are, and where future growth may be possible. In this article, Coppola navigates the technical communication process through the Society for Technical Communication from 2007 to 2009, and how important the relationship between academics and practitioners is to this cause.

Coppola chronicles the development of a technical communication body of knowledge, completed between 2007 and 2009. While in the early stages the process was separated from a similar group investigating accreditation/certification efforts, this process is still invaluable for organizing information that accreditation/certification would need when developing their programs.

A distinct, vibrant, effective, and fluid body of knowledge is important in establishing technical communication as a profession. The first step, as Coppola demonstrated, is organizing a competent body of knowledge with which to assess, evaluate, and train newcomers to the profession. While Coppola recognizes that such a project that have “undesirable costs” to those who lack formal training or for training programs that do not develop critical awareness of how professionalization actually occurs, it is worthwhile as these are the types of struggles that technical communication must endure if they are to benefit from recognition as a profession.


Who should be responsible for maintaining the body of knowledge for a profession?

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