A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Rhetoric

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Visual rhetoric is the study of how document design (including the use of illustrations, charts and graphs, typography and layout) communicate, as opposed to aural or verbal messages. Visual rhetoric examines also the relationship between images and writing.

 

526.
#31023

Toward a Unified Social Theory of Genre Learning   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article discusses the development of a unified social theory of genre learning based on the integration of rhetorical genre studies, activity theory, and the situated learning perspective. The article proposes that these three theoretical perspectives are compatible and complementary, and it illustrates applications of a unified framework to a study of genre learning by novice engineers. The author draws examples from a longitudinal qualitative study of a group of novice engineers who developed their professional genre knowledge through both academic and workplace experiences. These examples illustrate the effectiveness of the proposed framework for the study of professional genre learning.

Artemeva, Natasha. Journal of Business and Technical Communication (2008). Articles>Rhetoric>Engineering>Genre

527.
#14037

Toward an Ethics of Teaching Writing in a Hazardous Context—: The American University   (peer-reviewed)

The following essay is a collaborative effort by a writing teacher and a writing student to make sense out of a situation we experienced together when Sandy Moore, the writer, responded to an assignment given by Michael Kleine, the teacher. In an advanced persuasive writing course, Michael asked students to experiment with the major Aristotelian categories of persuasion: ceremonial, forensic, and deliberative discourse. For the ceremonial assignment, Sandy chose to write an essay of blame about patrons of her workplace, a restaurant/bar. Though ceremonial discourse aims to praise or blame its subject before a public audience, Sandy did not intend to publish the essay outside the context of the classroom. Aware of the charged nature of her essay, Sandy wanted to use the university classroom not as a place from which to launch a public attack on a private workplace; instead, she hoped that the classroom would provide a safe place in which to practice persuasive discourse and to develop her rhetorical skills.

Moore, Sandy and Michael Kleine. JAC (1992). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>Rhetoric

528.
#29238

Toward an Expanded Concept of Rhetorical Delivery: The Uses of Reports in Public Policy Debates   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Preparing students for civic engagement requires new knowledge about the uses of documents for advocacy and social change. Substantial social change results from repeated rather than from single rhetorical acts. Reconsideration of the rhetorical canon of delivery suggests expanding the concept beyond its present connection to publication (visual design, medium) to a rhetorical situation comprehensively defined. Delivery may take place over time and embrace a web of activities including field work, updates, and interconnections with other publications.

Rude, Carolyn D. Technical Communication Quarterly (2004). Articles>TC>Reports>Rhetoric

529.
#20576

Toward Consistency in Visual Information: Standardized Icons Based on Task   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Argues for continued work on developing standards for icon design. Suggests that icons should be standardized not just within products, but across applications. Suggests that icons be standardized based on the complexity of the task represented.

Gurak, Laura J. Technical Communication Online (2003). Articles>Graphic Design>Visual Rhetoric

530.
#21585

Towards a Rhetoric of Tactile Pictures   (peer-reviewed)

This paper offers a first step towards a rhetoric of tactile pictures by applying the visual framework developed by Gunther Kress and Theo van Leeuwen to a tactile alphabet book. After a brief review of tactile research, this paper explores the ways in which tactile pictures represent objects in the world and the stategies the pictures use to enact interative-represented participant relations. These explorations demonstrate that Kress and van Leeuwen's framework offers valuable insights and a sound basis, but their framework must be adjusted to the semiotic codes used in tactile pictures. It is hoped that this essay will encourage interest and research into tactile rhetoric. Such research would benefit both those who rely on tactile pictures and those who study rhetoric in its many manifestations.

Wiest, Carol. Enculturation (2001). Design>Graphic Design>Rhetoric>Visual Rhetoric

531.
#25733

Tracing Visual Narratives: User-Testing Methodology for Developing a Multimedia Museum Show   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

As a cognitive framework for making meaning of the world, the narrative provides a powerful form for structuring information, and has been adopted as a useful design framework for many communicative forms, including interactive media. This paper reports on the use of visual narrative for user-testing an interactive museum show. The viewers’ perceived narratives of a sequence of graphics from a show on brain science were compared to the designers’ intended narrative. Mapping the audience’s reading of the visual arguments proved a useful testing structure in developing the show, with color and pattern tracking proving especially critical when viewers experienced novel or abstract information.

Kim, Loel. Technical Communication Online (2005). Articles>Usability>Testing>Visual Rhetoric

532.
#11887

TradeOff Cube: A Graphical User Interface Device

Decision support systems for multicriteria problems aim to help users understand the tradeoffs between their priorities (i.e., criteria weights) and their impact on the leading alternatives. Assignment of weights in existing systems requires multiple interface screens, so does analysis of the relationship between criteria weights and outcomes. A single-screen user interface device is proposed - a tradeoff cube - for declaration and viewing of all criteria weights - even if the hierarchy is multi-level and for examining the relationships between criteria weights and performance of alternatives. The tradeoff cube displays the entire hierarchy in a single base square subdivided into rectangles, each of which corresponds to a criterion. Criteria weights are adjusted by modifying the area of the rectangle. Valuations of alternatives are dynamically displayed in an adjacent stack bar chart, where stacks represent the lowest level criteria nodes. The dynamic interactive fluid process dramatically speeds up visualiz

Kirshner, Michael. EServer (2001). Design>User Interface>Visual>Visual Rhetoric

533.
#36611

Training the Butterflies: Interview with Scott Berkun

Berkun also emphasizes the importance of meeting an audience’s expectations—and that includes playing and looking the part on stage. You’ve probably never gone to see a lecture to hear someone apologize. But often, you watch speakers walk on stage, fumble with slides, and the first thing they do is apologize for sound, lighting, for not being more prepared. Berkun suggests that regardless of what happens, speakers need to play the part—be confident rather than admitting confusion over their own equipment.

Danzico, Liz and Scott Berkun. List Apart, A (2010). Articles>Interviews>Presentations>Rhetoric

534.
#35331

Trajectories, Kairos, and Tulips: A Personal Reflection and Meditation on Programs in Rhetoric, Technical, Professional and Scientific Communication   (PDF)

The purpose of this article is to reflect upon the emergence of programs in rhetoric, technical, professional, and scientific communication (RTPSC) during the past twenty years through a personal narrative of experiences from graduate study to the present. Using a method of inquiry based in rhetorical meditation, the article presents a story of these experiences at Purdue University, Miami University-Ohio, and Michigan Tech University and then moves outward toward national concerns and, finally, suggests a selected “inventory” of challenges the RTPSC field faces in the coming years.

Johnson, Robert R. Programmatic Perspectives (2009). Articles>Education>Rhetoric>History

535.
#14000

Transferable and Local Writing Skills   (peer-reviewed)

One indication of the state of our profession is the discriminations that we are just getting around to making: useful, even essential, 'sortings out' that, when then, are made, seem embarrassingly obvious. One such 'sorting out' or discrimination is essential for an understanding of what any composition class can do, whether advanced composition, technical writing, feature writing, or whatever. In the writer’s repertoire, there are local and transferable skills. Local skills have to do with a given genre and involve such matters as special forms (e. g., the scientific report), footnoting, vocabularies, special styles, and even the 'tones' that particular fields demand. Transferable skills are the 'basics' of writing: syntactic fluency, control of diction, sense of audience, organizational ability, 'mechanics' such as punctuation and spelling.

Winterowd, W. Ross. JAC (1980). Articles>TC>Writing>Rhetoric

536.
#31806

A Transformative Typology of Pragmatic and Ethical Responses to Common Corporate Crises: Interaction of Rhetorical Strategies, Situational Contingencies, and Influential Stakeholders   (PDF)

Scandals, accidents, product problems, criminal activity, deception or fraud, misconduct, harassment, discrimination, financial or regulatory improprieties, malfeasance, misappropriations, or ethical breaches can not only damage the reputation of corporate executives but can reek financial havoc on the value of a company’s brand 'assets.' When companies face these types of crises they are compelled to act quickly and decisively in order to limit their brand and image losses and seek to repair the 'black eye' to their corporate 'face' as effectively as possible. Although companies will attempt a wide range of actions and messages as symbolic appeals to that organization’s constituent publics, there is little certainty about what types of actions and messages are persuasive.

Wallace, J.D., Denise P. Ferguson and Robert C. Chandler. Association for Business Communication (2008). Articles>Business Communication>Rhetoric

537.
#14035

Treating Professional Writing as Social Praxis   (peer-reviewed)

To explore how professional communications are shaped by the worlds of work, scholars have drawn on several different ways of thinking about the relationship between texts and contexts--literary theories, sociolinguistics, organizational theory, ethnography, and theories of composition. I would like to draw on classical rhetoric to develop a philosophical justification for stressing the social and ethical dimensions of business and technical writing. I am not specifically interested here in how we can apply the techniques of classical rhetoric to professional writing, but in how we can revitalize classical rhetoric's general emphasis on ethical and political values. While classical rhetoric assumed ethical and political values that need to be questioned, it does provide a context in which to ask questions about values, questions that are too often ignored in professional writing classes. Classical rhetoric is particularly useful in talking about technical and business writing because Aristotle's three-part conceptualization of theoria, proxis, and techne undercuts the dichotomy of theory and practice that often limits instruction in 'practical' writing to the mere techniques of the craft. Classical rhetoric can also help us develop a broader social perspective on practical writing, a perspective that includes not just the social context of the company or profession but the larger public context as well.

Miller, Thomas P. JAC (1991). Articles>Education>Business Communication>Rhetoric

538.
#34495

Trouble-Free Color Palettes: Transform

As the internet and television bring us instant information and access to millions of resources worldwide—some more trustworthy than others—separating fact from fiction requires a bit of skill ... and luck. Illustrator Lonnie Busch recognizes this conundrum, as depicted in his illustration below. Using a palette that combines warm, rich shades along with cooler highlights, Busch is able draw the viewer into the action.

Dynamic Graphics (2009). Design>Graphic Design>Visual Rhetoric>Color

539.
#23045

Trust by Design

Studies regarding how people evaluate a web site's credibility show the critical importance of information design and structure. Users trust sites that are well-designed and well-organized. Poor navigation is the key element that decreases earned web credibility.

Semantic Studios (2004). Articles>Web Design>Usability>Rhetoric

540.
#27346

Tune Your Voice

What is voice, and how does the writer tune it?

Clark, Roy Peter. Poynter Online (2004). Articles>Writing>Rhetoric

541.
#25010

Twelve Exercises for Improving Dialogue

Dialogue is one of the most difficult aspects of writing to master. There are many pitfalls you must try to avoid, such as: Stilted language Dialogue that does not sound like natural speech. Filler Dialogue that does not further the scene and does not deepen your understanding of the characters. Exposition Dialogue that has the character explain the plot or repeat information for the benefit of the audience. Naming Having one character use another character’s name to establish identity. People almost never say other people’s names back to them, and if they do it is a character trait typical of a used car salesman. Overuse of Modifiers Too many dialogue modifiers such as shouted, exclaimed, cried, whispered, stammered, opined, insinuated, hedged and a million others. Modifiers such as this can sometimes be useful, but are often annoying and used as a crutch for poorly designed dialogue.

Hewitt, John. Writer's Resource Center (2004). Articles>Writing>Rhetoric>Screenwriting

542.
#30815

Twenty-Two Tips for Writing Software Documentation Users Will Actually Read

How do you go about writing technical manuals for software without going insane? Here are some guidelines you can follow to maintain your sanity when writing software documentation.

HelpScribe (2008). Articles>Documentation>Rhetoric>Software

543.
#21005

typographic

An interactive experience informed by type and typography, which aims to illustrate the depth and import of type, and to raise relevant questions about how typography is treated in the digital media, specifically online.

typographic. Design>Typography>Graphic Design>Visual Rhetoric

544.
#30158

Typographical Design, Modernist Aesthetics, and Professional Communication   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The technology of in-house publishing is radically shifting the responsibility for document design from the graphic specialist to the individual writer. To apply the new technology, professional communicators need to understand the principles underpinning typographical design and their origin in the functionalist aesthetics of modernism, particularly as articulated by the Bauhaus. While some of the key concepts of modernism--strict economy, universal objectivity, intuitive perception, and the unity of form and purpose--are well-suited to business and technical documents, these concepts are bound to an historical and intellectual milieu. By understanding the influence of modernism on typographical design, professional communicators equipped with the new technology can adapt design principles to the rhetorical context of specific documents.

Kostelnick, Charles. Journal of Business and Technical Communication (1990). Design>Typography>Graphic Design>Visual Rhetoric

545.
#39040

A Typology for Data Visualization on the Web   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The need to visualize data has emerged from the research field, it has been a useful tool to the study of scientific problems. However the truth is that data visualization is a great way to present data for any area dealing with information, because visually presented information is not only more appealing due to its use of pictograms and colours, but also more efficient in conveying large amounts of information. Throughout the years there have been efforts to develop a classification for these visualizations, in order to provide a better understanding of this way to present data. There are many different classifications but none of them is fully complete. In this paper it is discussed and developed a typology for online data visualization and info graphics. Such a typology will be relevant for a better understanding of what kinds of visualizations exist and in further research to better identify which elements compose a good visualization that is pleasing to the public.

Figureras, Ana. Information Visualisation (2013). Articles>Web Design>Visual Rhetoric>Charts and Graphs

546.
#34667

Un/Commonplaces: Redirecting Research and Curricula in Rhetoric and Writing Studies   (members only)

This project examines commonplace notions of text and intertextuality, the idea that “writing is recursive,” the disciplinary identification and preoccupation with composition rather than writing, and the historical privileging of pedagogy over (and often in lieu of) curriculum development. In tracing these commonplaces, I also work to establish new directions for our research that are sometimes grounded in our own, often overlooked disciplinary theory, while also moving outside of the humanities in search of cross-disciplinary collaboration.

McNely, Brian J. Scribd (2009). Books>Education>Writing>Rhetoric

547.
#31804

Uncertainties and Resistance to Change   (PDF)

This paper aims to fill a gap between knowledge and practice about the effectiveness of rhetorical strategies in the communication of change inside large private organizations.

Modena, Ivana. Association for Business Communication (2007). Articles>Business Communication>Rhetoric

548.
#30722

Understanding and Reducing the Knowledge Effect: Implications for Writers   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

To be effective, writers must understand what knowledge they share with the audience and what they do not. Achieving this understanding is made difficult by the knowledge effect--a tendency of individuals to assume that their own knowledge is shared by others. Understanding the knowledge effect and methods for reducing it is potentially useful for understanding and teaching writing. In Study 1, we explored the impact of an individual's knowledge of technical terms on that person's ability to estimate other people's understanding of those terms. We assessed how individuals' familiarity with technical terms influenced their predictions that college freshmen and college graduates would understand those terms. Results indicate that familiarity with the meaning of technical terms leads to substantial overestimation of others' knowledge. In Study 2, we evaluated an online tutor designed to improve writers' predictions of other's word knowledge by providing them with feedback on the accuracy of their judgments.

Hayes, John R. and Diana Bajzek. Written Communication (2008). Articles>Education>Rhetoric>Writing

549.
#20453

Understanding Visual Rhetoric in Digital Writing Environments   (PDF)   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This essay illustrates key features of visual rhetoric as they operate in two professional academic hypertexts and student work designed for the World Wide Web. By looking at features like audience stance, transparency, and hybridity, writing teachers can teach visual rhetoric as a transformative process of design. Critiquing and producing writing in digital environments offers a welcome return to rhetorical principles and an important pedagogy of writing as design.

Hocks, Mary E. CCC (2003). Articles>Rhetoric>Visual Rhetoric>Writing

550.
#10773

Understanding Writing: The Rhetorical Situation   (PowerPoint)

A presentation designed to introduce students to a variety of factors that contribute to strong, well-organized writing. This presentation is suitable for the beginning of a composition course or the assignment of a writing project in any class.

Liethen, Jennifer Kunka. Purdue University. Presentations>Slideshows>Rhetoric

 
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