Research in Technical Communication

Research in Technical Communication

Research in Technical Communication

Research in Technical Communication

Synopsis

This cutting-edge collection of essays outlines foundational principles of a range of methodologies in technical communication, reflecting on the process of importing and employing these methodologies into technical communication research. Written by noted scholars in the field and presenting a wide range of research methods, the book combines theory and practice in a way that will prove invaluable to technical communicators and beginning scholars alike.

Excerpt

Technical communication research spans many areas, in terms of both content and methodology. Such research is exciting, because it provides rich analyses rooted in a range of disciplines and perspectives. Yet for the beginning as well as the seasoned researcher, this richness can sometimes be confusing, requiring at once a clear sense of focus and a broad sense of possibilities. Unlike a more narrowly defined field of study, research in technical communication covers events as diverse as organizational issues, Internet and online communication, technical writing, gender and political studies, and so on. A quick scan of the tables of contents for the major journals in the field illustrates this diversity. What the field has in common, however, is an interest in the relationship between applied areas—in particular, sciences and technologies—and the ways in which language is used to convey, construct, and communicate these areas.

Our contribution to this effort is this book, a collection of essays on the range of methods and perspectives one can bring to the study of technical communication. Essays in this collection fall into two major categories. The first six chapters focus on foundational research methods and issues, including ethics, ethnography, textual analysis, historical research, survey and questionnaire research, and experimental work. The second six chapters provide perspectives on applying and contextualizing one's research, covering audience considerations, usability, feminist analysis, cultural studies, science and technology studies, and research in cyberspace. These essays are meant to raise key concepts and provide additional resources. This

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