A case study of a team approach to information architecture at Duke University by graduates of the Duke Continuing Studies Technical Communication Certificate program.
Suggests that the interrelated skills of understanding and representing (re-presenting) the abductive inference (often neglected in technical and professional communication pedagogy) are critical for the scientific communicator vis-a -vis kairos, and that science communication instructors ought to develop a pedagogy that includes the instruction of this skill.
No matter how beautifully designed, if a site’s voice doesn’t ring true, it’s easy to spot an “ugh.” Rather than using this section of a site like a congratulatory press release, consider approaching “About Us” like a magazine’s Editor Letter.
The adage 'absence makes the heart grow fonder' may hold true. Many people in long-distance relationships say that the being away from their partner makes the time they are together special; every day they are together is like Valentine's Day. The absence, they say, helps them to appreciate their partner more and makes the relationship stronger. In fact, people in long-distance relationships tend to maintain their relationships longer, be less likely to break up, and be more in love and satisfied than people in geographically close relationships. Long-distance partners think fond thoughts and some even report they enjoy the anticipation of the reunion and the excitement of being together. People in long-distance relationships tend to be more idealized and romanticized.
This handout describes an organizational structure commonly used to report experimental research in many scientific disciplines, the IMRAD format: Introduction, Methods, Results, And Discussion. (This format is usually not used in reports describing other kinds of research, such as field or case studies, in which headings are more likely to differ according to discipline.) Although the main headings are standard for many scientific fields, details may vary; check with your instructor, or, if submitting an article to a journal, refer to the instructions to authors.
Physicians write child abuse forensic reports for nonphysicians. We examined 73 forensic reports from a Canadian children's hospital for recurrent strategies geared toward making medical information accessible to nonmedical users; we also interviewed four report writers and five readers. These reports featured unique forensic inserts in addition to headings, lists, and parentheses, which are typical of physician letters for patients. We discuss implications of these strategies that must bridge the communities of medical, social, and legal practice.
This article proposes a shift in how researchers study knowledge and knowing in organizations. Responding to a pronounced lack of methodological guidance from existing research, this work develops a framework for analyzing situated organizational problem solving. This framework, rooted in social practice theory, focuses on communicative knowledge-accomplishing activities, which frame and respond to various problematic situations. Vignettes drawn from a call center demonstrate the value of the framework, which can advance practice-oriented research on knowledge and knowing by helping it break with dubious assumptions about knowledge homogeneity within groups, examine knowing as instrumental action and involvement in a struggle over meaning, and display how patterns of knowledge-accomplishing activities can generate unintended organizational consequences.
The complex distribution and negotiation of authority in real time is a key issue for today's organizations. The authors investigate how the negotiations that sustain authority at work actually unfold by analyzing the ways of talking and acting through which organizational members establish their authority. They argue that authority is achieved through presentification—that is, by making sources of authority present in interaction. On the basis of an empirical analysis of a naturally occurring interaction between a medical coordinator for Médecins Sans Frontières and technicians of a hospital supported by her organization, the authors identify key communicative practices involved in achieving authority and discuss their implications for scholars' understanding of what being in authority at work means.
Once viewed more as art than science, marketers are increasingly interested in measuring performance. Like it or not, there is a new wave of accountability in the world of marketing, and if you're not prepared, you could get swept under it. Companies are becoming increasingly concerned with ensuring that all activities are profitable. As a result, each dollar invested in marketing is being challenged to demonstrate bottom line performance. New forms of marketing, escalating ad costs and tools that purport to measure marketing effectiveness have all contributed to the pressure traditional media is facing to "prove its worth."
While accountants have been stereotyped as bean counters or number crunchers, good writing skills are an essential element to their success. Accountants must master the concepts and proper application of generally accepted accounting principles, but also must show they can communicate that understanding to peers, superiors, and clients.
This article examines the potential application of stakeholder theory to the case of a disabled worker returning to work. A gated notion combining both the instrumental and ethical views of stakeholder theory is explored as a way to understand how to determine who may be classified as a stakeholder. This nuanced application of stakeholding to the process of returning to work lends itself to the consideration of mediation techniques as mechanisms of conflict avoidance rather than exclusively as dispute resolution techniques. Implications in terms of the study of the return to work process, disability, and the further potential for practical application are discussed.
The authors report on a 3-year action-research project designed to facilitate public involvement in the planned dredging of a canal and subsequent disposal of the dredged sediments. Their study reveals ways that community members struggle to define the problem and work together as they gather, share, and understand data relevant to that problem. The authors argue that the primary goal of action research related to environmental risk should be to identify and support the strategies used by community members rather than to educate the public. The authors maintain that this approach must be supported by a thorough investigation of basic rhetorical issues (audience, genre, stases, invention), and they illustrate how they used this approach in their study.
The advantages of peer feedback in business writing classes are clear. Students receive more appraisals of their writing than any single lecturer can ever realistically deliver. Also, the feedback comes from different perspectives and sometimes carries extra credibility coming from fellow students. Students gain from giving one another feedback as well. It is certainly learning by doing. Critiquing the work of colleagues raises awareness of the many ways to approach a given task and demands skills of analysis and attention to detail. Delivering feedback also requires tact and the ability to look for positives to commend as well as areas to improve. Reviewing written documents is a skill that students will certainly use in their future work lives. However, many of us have experienced problems with peer reviewing. Students hesitate to criticise their friends and prefer praising in a general way rather than suggesting improvements, which requires confidence.
Corporations increasingly pay attention to issues of social responsibility, but their policies and procedures to articulate such responsibilities are not just a result of the good will of top management. Often, such policies and procedures are devised because some stakeholders raised their voice on issues relating to the interests of employees, investors, governments, and others. One category of visible though heterogeneous stakeholders is composed of 'activist groups.' In this article, we present a range of tactics that activist groups employ to influence corporate policy and conclude with some corporate policy responses to these tactics, illustrated with some examples. Different Tactics Activist groups usually start an influence campaign by collecting and organizing information about some issue about which they are concerned (e.g., sustainable development, human rights, labor conditions), disseminating this information to their audiences and formulating desired outcomes. They inform the target firm's top management of their particular concern and propose desired outcomes or alternative courses of action. If the firm's responses are considered inadequate, they will likely continue their campaign, but by starting to employ a more varied set of tactics. Below, we discuss four different types of tactics that activist groups use to leverage pressure on firms and that do not rely on the state or legal action for resolution of the issue: shareholder activism, political consumerism, social alliances, and alternative business systems (de Bakker and den Hond, 2007).
Some say it's a revolution that will change radio broadcasting and people's listening habits forever. Others say it's a fad that's of limited appeal or use to anyone but geeks and enthusiasts. Whatever anyone says, something that has rocketed out of nowhere and gotten big companies and radio stations alike interested (and after only eight months) must be worth investigating. That "something" is called podcasting.
Policy writing and procedure writing is challenging because of the mechanics involved. Words must be carefully chosen; nuances must be considered. Understanding the mechanics of writing these documents is critical; however, an often overlooked aspect should be dealt with before the first word is written. How can policy and procedure writing tiptoe around the elephant in the room that everyone is trying to ignore?
According to research in educational psychology, advance organizers lead to better learning and recall of information. In this research, the authors explored advance organizers from a business perspective, where larger documents are read under time pressure. Graphic and verbal advance organizers were manipulated into six versions of an advisory report, read by 159 experienced professional readers in a between-subjects design. Their reading time was limited to encourage selective reading. The results show that graphic advance organizers facilitate selective reading, but they do not enhance recall. Verbal advance organizers introducing a problem enhance recall, and graphic advance organizers moderate the effects on both selective reading and recall.
With all the emphasis on ROI of public relations in the so-called 'marketing mix' to increase sales, the communications goals of most leaders and communicators go far beyond public relations ROI connected to sales.
Recent agency scholarship has provided compelling accounts of how individuals can strategically occupy authoritative positions, in order to instantiate change. This article explores the discursive mechanisms of this type of agency in the legitimization of disease. Drawing on ethnographic research, this article investigates how a non-human agent (brain scans) contributed to fibromyalgia's acceptance within the highly regulated discourses of western biomedicine.
Recently, while sitting in the waiting area of an out-patient surgical clinic, I was privy to one side of a cell phone conversation between a woman and a business associate. Apparently the woman was a social worker assigned to assist families with children who have gender identity issues. As the woman continued her conversation, discussing one particular family and giving intimate details of her meetings, I was astounded at the lack of concern for privacy. I learned the child’s full name (including the proper spelling of her first and last name), date of birth, social security number, street address—and then I learned her mother’s name and personal identification information as well. I was not alone.
When your organization lacks a compelling cause, you can at least take comfort in the idea that you’re pursuing your calling or vocation. Aligning with your calling is ideal, but this can be an issue for technical writers, because almost no one feels that technical writing is a calling.
All too often companies are focused on their own processes, wrapped up in a type of organizational navel gazing. They simply don’t know what customers actually go through. What’s more, logical solutions can cross departmental lines. Ideal solutions may require crossing those boundaries. An organization’s rigid decision making makes that difficult. Here’s where I believe IAs and UX designers can use our skills to make a difference. We have the ability to understand and to map out both business processes and the user experience. Visual representations can provide new insight into solutions that appeal to a range of stakeholders. Alignment diagrams are a key tool to do this.
This article challenges the conventional approach to cross-cultural communication teaching that instructs students to adapt their communication styles to different cultures by providing them with details about the particular practices of these cultures. It argues for an approach that focuses on common principles of effective communication by pointing out some limitations of the current culture-specific approach and presenting a pilot study that indicates the commonality of communication needs. It suggests some ways to find a different approach for studying international communication and shows that some current research is, in fact, moving in that direction.