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Defining Quality in Technical Communication: A Holistic Approach

Karl L. Smart, Kristie K. Seawright and Kristen Bell DeTienne
Technical Communication
Vol. 42, No. 3 (THIRD QUARTER AUGUST 1995), pp. 474-481
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43087955
Page Count: 8
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Defining Quality in Technical Communication: A Holistic Approach
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Abstract

Total Quality (TQ) has emerged as a leading issue in the twentieth century. Recently, the principles of total quality have been applied to the field of technical communication. However, technical communicators—along with other TQ practitioners—have suffered from the inability to reach a consensus on what quality is and means. The varying definitions of quality can be categorized and plotted on a two-dimensional grid. The model suggests that quality has four different emphases—internal, external, subjective, and objective—that reflect its complex, multifaceted nature. Definitions of quality differ depending on the context and application of principles. By using a holistic approach that combines the various components of quality, technical communicators can better meet customer needs and expectations.

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