64.3, August 2017

Recent and Relevant

The following articles on technical communication have appeared recently in other journals. The abstracts are prepared by volunteer journal monitors. If you would like to contribute, contact Lyn Gattis at LynGattis@MissouriState.edu.

“Recent & Relevant” does not supply copies of cited articles. However, most publishers supply reprints, tear sheets, or copies at nominal cost. Lists of publishers’ addresses, covering nearly all the articles we have cited, appear in Ulrich’s international periodicals directory.


Analyzing information in complex collaborative tasks

Zaad, L., Lenior, D., van der Geest, T., & van der Pool, E. (2017). Communication Design Quarterly, 5(1), 26–42. doi: 10.1145/3090152.3090155

“In this article, [the authors] present a method for analyzing the communication of people who exchange dynamic and complex information to come to a shared understanding of situations and of the actions planned and monitored by one party, but executed remotely by another. To examine this situation, [the authors] analyzed dispatchers working in police dispatch center in a large city in the Netherlands and their communication behavior in three different settings. The results of [the] analyses answer the question of how collaborative parties should assess an emergency situation in order to decide how to handle the incident in accordance with the procedures. [The] results indicate which information must be communicated in order to deal with the current problem during the course of an incident. [The authors] will also demonstrate the proposed way of analyzing the communication used here is needed to understand how information is collaboratively handled in complex tasks.”

Lyn Gattis


Big data and political social networks: Introducing audience diversity and communication connector bridging measures in social network theory

Maireder, A., Weeks, B. E., de Zúñiga, H. G., & Schlögl, S. (2017). Social Science Computer Review, 35(1), 126–141. doi: 10.1177/0894439315617262

“Social media have changed the way citizens, journalists, institutions, and activists communicate about social and political issues. However, questions remain about how information is diffused through these networks and the degree to which each of these actors is influential in communicating information. In this study, [the authors] introduce two novel social network measures of connection and information diffusion that help shed light on patterns of political communication online. The Audience Diversity Score assesses the diversity of a particular actor’s followers and identifies which actors reach different publics with their messages. The Communication Connector Bridging Score highlights the most influential actors in the network who are potentially able to connect different spheres of communication through their information diffusion. [The authors] apply and discuss these measures using Twitter data from the discussion regarding the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership in Europe. [Their] results provide unique insights into the role various actors play in diffusing political information in online social networks.”

Yvonne Wade Sanchez

Communicating leader-member relationship quality: The development of leader communication exchange scales to measure relationship building and maintenance through the exchange of communication-based goods

Omilion-Hodges, L., & Baker, C. R. (2017). International Journal of Business Communication, 54(2), 115–145. doi: 10.1177/2329488416687052

“A half century of leader-member exchange research suggests that leaders share high- or low-quality relationships with members. However, these binary shortcuts dissolve the complexity of what is actually exchanged between leader and member. Therefore, a communicative view of these special dyadic relationships is forwarded, suggesting that leader-member relationships are a byproduct of, and produced through, concrete and continuous communicative exchanges. This scholarship answers long-standing calls for enhanced theoretical precision in parceling out the literal exchanges that take place between leader and member. Based on the results of focus groups and two self-report surveys, scales are developed to measure various dimensions of leader communicative behavior that may facilitate or hinder relationship development and maintenance. Group-level implications are discussed.”

Katherine Wertz

Creating business value through corporate communication: A theory-based framework and its practical application

Zerfass, A., & Viertmann, C. (2017). Journal of Communication Management, 21(1), 68–81. doi: 10.1108/JCOM-07-2016-0059

This paper reports on “a multi-step research project which explores concepts that explain communication value across different disciplines and builds a framework that identifies and systematizes communication goals linked to generic corporate goals.” Following a review of scholarship in “815 publications in 36 international journals across several disciplines (public relations, marketing, management, etc.) and published from the year 2000 onward, the authors have developed a framework, named ‘Communication Value Circle’” that was used in “a communication alignment process in a global healthcare company.” On the basis of surveys distributed on several continents, “[t]he researchers have identified four major value dimensions of communication (enabling operations, building intangibles, adjusting strategy, and ensuring flexibility). The framework encompasses 12 specific goals for communication that can be derived from corporate strategy. . . . This paper proposes a consistent explanation for the theory and practice of what constitutes corporate communication.”

Yvonne Wade Sanchez

Enhancing user experience with conversational agent for movie recommendation: Effects of self-disclosure and reciprocity

Lee, S., & Choi, J. (2017). International Journal of Human-Computer Studies,103, 95–105. doi: 10.1016/j.ijhcs.2017.02.005

“This study investigates how user satisfaction and intention to use for an interactive movie recommendation system is determined by communication variables and relationship between conversational agent and user. By adopting the Computers-Are-Social-Actors (CASA) paradigm and uncertainty reduction theory, this study examines the influence of self-disclosure and reciprocity as key communication variables on user satisfaction. A two-way ANOVA test was conducted to analyze the effects of self-disclosure and reciprocity on user satisfaction with a conversational agent. The interactional effect of self-disclosure and reciprocity on user satisfaction was not significant, but the main effects proved to be both significant. PLS analysis results showed that perceived trust and interactional enjoyment are significant mediators in the relationship between communication variables and user satisfaction. In addition, reciprocity is a stronger variable than self-disclosure in predicting relationship building between an agent and a user. Finally, user satisfaction is an influential factor of intention to use. These findings have implications from both practical and theoretical perspective.”

Yvonne Wade Sanchez

New lamps for old: The Gulf Leadership Communication Framework

Nickerson, C., & Goby, V. P. (2017). International Journal of Business Communication, 54(2), 182–198. doi: 10.1177/2329488416687055

“[This] study aims to examine ways to counteract the arbitrary mix of organizational communication practices that has evolved in the Gulf Region as a result of the large numbers of different cultures that make up the workforce there. To this end, [the authors] attempt to develop a conceptual model of leadership communication, the Gulf Leadership Communication Framework. [They] see this as a crucial element in organizational communication practices that is of particular relevance for the process of localization in the Gulf Region. In this analysis, [the authors] refer to two sets of empirical data on discursive leadership and interpersonal communication that were collected from around 600 Emirati nationals. [Their] findings show that a leadership model for social contexts like the Gulf Cooperation Council may look very different from the models that obtain elsewhere; this is the case because in the region organizational communication may be most successful when people use strategies that privilege uniformity, rather than selecting strategies that celebrate diversity.”

Katherine Wertz

Speaking into the system: Social media and many-to-one communication

Jensen, K. B., & Helles, R. (2016). European Journal of Communication, 32(1), 16–25. doi: 0267323116682805

“Social media have been associated with the coming of many-to-many forms of communication, but they also depend on many-to-one communication: bit trails or metadata that the users of digital media leave behind and which serve to structure future communications. Departing from a communicative rather than a technical understanding of metadata, this article discusses the place of many-to-one communication in the modus operandi of social media. Speaking into the system, users engage with media that are social in distinctive ways and, thus, participate in the structuration of particular forms of society, with or without their knowledge and consent. The rights and responsibilities of the users of social media can be addressed with reference to a principle of habeas data, which complements both habeas corpus and the classic freedoms of expression and access to information.”

Yvonne Wade Sanchez


Drawing strategies for communication planning: A rationale and exemplar of the geometric page form (GPF) approach

King, A. S., Moore, K. R., Edlin, A. H., & Frankel, S. (2017). Communication Design Quarterly, 5(1), 71–79. doi: 10.1145/3090152.3090158

“Simple drawing tasks are effective for evaluating the many options communicators have during early design stages. These drawing strategies leverage the metaphoric meanings of basic geometric shapes, not complex artistic illustration, to represent ideas while they are in development. [This] paper supports this perspective by linking previous research on sketching, collaboration, and ideation to identify a specific approach to this kind of drawing that [the authors] term Geometric Page Forms. To further illustrate the value of these strategies, [the authors] give an example of how technical communicators used drawing during a workshop to develop communication solutions explaining complex information about sun block efficacy.”

Lyn Gattis

How humans process visual information: A focused primer for designing information

Tetlan, L., & Marschalek, D. (2016). Visible Language, 50(3), 65–88. [doi: none]

Data is presented identifying a major gap between two-dimensional (2D) communication modalities and actual learning of its content. It is proposed that information designers can create formats that are cognitively more effective by incorporating constructs from the cognitive sciences. In order to effectively design information for learning, an understanding of how the brain processes information is important and presented. In addition, application of cognitive constructs [has] the potential to guide designers in creating cognitive-based information designs (CID). Seven cognitive constructs are discussed that can directly impact the effectiveness of information formats.”

Lyn Gattis


Assessing multimodal literacy in the online technical communication classroom

Bourelle, T., Bourelle, A., Spong, S., & Hendrickson, B. (2017). Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 31(2), 222–255. doi: 10.1177/1050651916682288

“This article examines the teaching of a multimodal pedagogy in an online technical communication classroom. Based on the results of an e-portfolio assessment, the authors argue that multimodality can be taught successfully in the online environment if the instructor carefully plans and scaffolds each assignment. Specifically, they argue for an increased emphasis within the technical communication classroom on teaching the e-portfolio as a genre that not only exemplifies students’ multimodal literacies but also establishes their identities as technical communicators in the 21st century. This article provides a model for teaching multimodal composition in the online technical communication classroom and calls for more scholarship on teaching the e-portfolio in the digital environment.”

Sean C. Herring

Designing online writing classes to promote multimodal literacies: Five practices for course design

Bourelle, T., Clark-Oates, A., & Bourelle, A. (2017). Communication Design Quarterly, 5(1), 80–88. doi: 10.1145/3090152.3090159

“In this entry, [the authors] argue that to promote multimodal literacy in online writing classes, instructors should address the following five practices in their course design: Incorporate multimodal assignments and appropriate scaffolding tools; use multimodal instructional tools to teach and model multimodal composition; provide multimodal feedback to students’ compositions; ‘teach’ technology through the use of media labs; [and] encourage reflection as a significant part of students’ learning process. In so doing, [the authors] discuss each practice in depth, addressing the reasons and benefits for incorporating each, as well as advice about how to implement them. By implementing these practices in their online courses, instructors can successfully design classes that promote multimodal literacy.”

Lyn Gattis

Helping doctoral students establish long-term identities as technical communication scholars

Grant-Davie, K., Matheson, B., & Stephens, E. J. (2017). Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, 47(2), 151–171. doi: 10.1177/0047281617692071

“This article aims to help doctoral students in technical communication prepare themselves for the academic job market and for the subsequent process of earning tenure and promotion in increasingly demanding environments. The authors propose that students do four things: (a) learn to spot and articulate research problems; (b) find their vocation—the work to which they feel a personal calling—within technical communication; (c) identify the research methods that best suit their personalities; and (d) articulate a research identity and agenda that they can explain at three different levels of abstraction: describing individual projects, naming the coherent themes that connect these projects, and defining themselves concisely as scholars. All these orienting practices involve students in stepping back, looking for larger patterns in their work and in their professional interests, and finding specific language to represent them.”

Anita Ford

(Re)Kindle: On the value of storytelling to technical communication

Small, N. (2017). Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, 47(2), 234–253. doi: 10.1177/0047281617692069

“In an effort to expand the range of ways graduate programs prepare students to be scholars and practitioners in technical and professional communication, this article argues for a fresh direct reengagement with stories, storytelling, and narrative as valuable ways of studying and effectively producing the varied texts of the workplace. The previous call for acknowledging the value of narrative traces back almost 30 years, and story is still being used in a variety of compelling ways, even as an overt regard for narrative has not been sustained. What may be lacking is a systematic way to transform assumptions about stories as informal anecdotes into stories as data for rigorous analysis. David Boje’s antenarrative theory and method offers technical and professional communication graduate students, scholars, and practitioners just such a compelling and timely position from which to consider workplace processes and products.”

Anita Ford


From deliberation to responsibility: Ethics invention, and Bonhoeffer in technical communication

Boedy, M. (2017). Technical Communication Quarterly, 26(2), 116–126. doi: 10.1080/10572252.2017.1287309

“To make technical communication scholarship more reflective of the complexity of work done by such communicators, a new concept that marries recent parallel turns to ethics and invention is needed. German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a stranger to the field, offers such a concept: responsibility. It covers more explanatory ground than the most cited of ethical concepts, deliberation, and most importantly, centers ethics and invention squarely within the technical communicator’s relationship to language.”

Rhonda Stanton

The role of ethics, culture, and artistry in scientific illustration

Ross, D. G. (2017). Technical Communication Quarterly, 26(2), 145–172. doi: 10.1080/10572252.2017.1287376

“This article is a case-based theoretical exercise designed to investigate the role that ethics, culture, and artistry play in scientific illustration. In this article, the author theorizes a visual model of cultural interplay and scientific illustration in the creation of scientific knowledge and argues that scientific illustrations work as epistemological devices because they are culturally mediated constructions imbued with personal, organizational, and disciplinary trust, and shaped by the embedded cultural worldviews.”

Rhonda Stanton

Health communication

How do credibility and utility play in the user experience of health informatics services?

Shin, D. H., Lee, S., & Hwang, Y. (2017). Computers in Human Behavior, 67, 292-302. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2016.11.007

“While the use of health informatics is increasing in health care, how it is improving health care and how users accept the services has been little studied, and due to increasing uncertainty, credibility has become a key determinant of health informatics adoption and diffusion. However, little is known about the underlying nature of user trust or how early-stage credibility influences later-stage behavior and experience. To enhance the explanatory power and make it more applicable to health consumers’ behavioral intentions, expectation-confirmation theory was extended by adding antecedents and moderating variables from the theory of planned behavior. With health informatics services in place, this study investigates how credibility influence other user perceptions such as perceived utility and how these perceptions together determine user intentions and behaviors concerning health informatics at both the initial and later stages of use. Cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis of these attitudes and behaviors was carried out, and the results showed that perceived utility and credibility are critical at both the initial and later stages in user acceptance of health informatics services. Users’ actual experiences modify their perceptions of utility and influence the confirmation of their initial expectations. These results have implications for the fundamental nature of credibility and perceived utility as well as their roles in the long-term sustainability of future health informatics services.”

Yvonne Wade Sanchez

Mobile health care applications: Authorship, regulatory challenges, and the role of medical writers

Trauth, E. (2016). AMWA Journal, 31(2), 51–54. [doi: none]

“Mobile medical and health applications (apps) have revolutionized health care; consumers, patients, and health care practitioners use these smart-phone and mobile communication device-enabled applications to manage their health in ways that can put health care, quite literally, in their own hands. From apps that can help track weight, caloric intake, and exercise to apps that provide important information about the effects of medications on breast milk, these programs have the potential to guide people to make improved health-based decisions in their lives. Other apps are designed for health care professionals to help them with . . . complex issues . . . . Because of the diversity of app types and audiences and the need for credible health care communication, the expanding app market is of potential importance to a wide range of medical writers and editors, including those who work on medical-device regulatory documents, patient education resources, or continuing education materials designed for researchers or practicing health care professionals. This article provides an overview of the mobile health market, the regulatory environment, standards of review within the industry, and opportunities to improve mobile health apps by the inclusion of medical writers and editors in app development.”

Magdalena Berry

Information management

Comparing InfoVis designs with different information architecture for communicating complex information

Li, M., Gao, R., Hu, X., & Chen, Y. (2017). Communication Design Quarterly, 5(1), 43–56. doi: 10.1145/3090152.3090156

“In this paper, [the authors] explore the connections of information architecture (IA) with information visualization (InfoVis) through the discussion of different visualization designs used to demonstrate the occupations pursued by college students after graduation. In examining this topic, [they] used different information architectures to compare three visualization layouts based on the same data. The three layouts included one published visualization and two visualization designs developed by the researchers. [The authors] then used eight IA principles to compare how these visualizations communicate the complex relationship between majors, occupations, and their related characteristics in relation to the career paths of students.”

Lyn Gattis

Helping content: A three-part approach to content strategy with nonprofits

Flanagan, S., & Getto, G. (2017). Communication Design Quarterly, 5(1), 57–70. doi: 10.1145/3090152.3090157

“Nonprofits must reach a variety of community audiences to sustain their organizations, and these audiences include potential volunteers, donors, and clients. With the increasing availability of open-source, freely available, and inexpensive communication technologies, many nonprofits can now develop a robust web presence that targets a variety of audiences via a variety of channels. In this article, [the authors] present a three-part heuristic to help nonprofits better manage digital content. This heuristic is comprised of developing audience awareness and interaction, making use of emerging technologies, and building sustainable partnerships. Using a project designed to help a homeless shelter improve its content strategy, [they] explore this heuristic and its implications for helping technical and professional communicators improve local nonprofit digital capacities.”

Lyn Gattis

A systematic literature review of changes in roles/skills in component content management environments and implications for education

Batova, T., & Anderson, R. (2017). Technical Communication Quarterly, 26(2), 173–200. doi: 10.1080/10572252.2017.1287958

“Component content management (CCM) enables organizations to create, manage, and deliver content as small components rather than entire documents. As CCM methodologies, processes, and technologies are increasingly adopted, CCM is reshaping technical communication (TC), the roles of technical communicators, and the skills they need for career success. This article reviews scholarly and trade publications that describe changes in roles and needed skills in CCM environments and identifies implications of these changes for TC education.”

Rhonda Stanton


Discourse of leadership: The power of questions in organizational decision making

Aritz, J., Walker, R., Cardon, P., & Li, Z. (2017). International Journal of Business Communication, 54(2), 161–181. doi: 10.1177/2329488416687054

“This study aims to more fully understand leadership when it is understood as primarily discursive in nature and coconstructed by those involved in interactions in which influence emerges. More specifically, it explores the performative role of questions as speech acts. In this case, [the authors] look at how questions are employed as a key discourse type to enable professionals to construct their authority and establish leadership roles. The data consist of transcripts of decision-making meetings. A scheme for coding the question-response sequence in conversation was used to identify the form, social function, and conversational sequence of question use. The questions then were analyzed by speaker and his or her role as leader versus nonleader. While questions can result in or encourage group collaboration by opening the discussion and inviting contributions, they can also be used to direct team members, seize the floor, and influence decision making. The study contributes to the study of leadership and team decision making by looking at how questions operate as a multifunctional discourse type, and how they are used to establish influence in decision-making meetings.”

Katherine Wertz

Leader talk and the creative spark: A research note on how leader motivating language use influences follower creative environment perceptions

Mayfield, M., & Mayfield, J. (2017). International Journal of Business Communication, 54(2), 210–225. doi: 10.1177/2329488416687057

“Garden variety creativity has a vital but often overlooked role in business. Garden variety creativity happens whenever someone develops a new way of dealing with a workplace issue. It contrasts with institutional creativity—actions meant to develop radical new business methods and products at an organizational level. Institutional creativity advances a business’ place in an industry. Garden variety creativity makes daily routines more efficient and fulfills employees’ need for expression in the workplace. This article examines how leader communication—as captured by the motivating language framework—influences employees’ perceptions of the creative environment. Structural equation model analysis found a strong, significant, and positive relationship between leader motivating language use and worker perceptions of their creative environment. Motivating language use explained 55% of the variance in creative environment perceptions in a sample of over 140 workers drawn from diverse organizations. Findings also showed a 7% increase in creative environment perceptions for every 10% increase in motivating language use.”

Katherine Wertz

Racial incidents at the University of Missouri: The value of leadership communication and stakeholder relationships

Fortunato, J., Gigliotti, R., & Ruben, B. (2017). International Journal of Business Communication, 54(2), 199–209. doi: 10.1177/2329488416687056

“A series of incidents in 2015 escalated racial tensions at the University of Missouri that ultimately contributed to the departure of the university president and chancellor. This case highlights the importance of focusing attention on competent leadership communication, which includes the development and maintenance of strong relationships with key stakeholder groups; the ability to predict, recognize, detect, and address issues that may rise to the level of crisis as defined by stakeholders; and the skill to craft timely, sensitive messages and effectively use interpersonal and mediated channels of message distribution and retrieval, especially social media, so that there is adequate information flow to and from institutional leaders allowing them to learn of, understand, and address stakeholders’ concerns as they emerge.”

Katherine Wertz

Strategic communication in the C-suite

Argenti, P. (2017). International Journal of Business Communication, 54(2), 146–160. doi: 10.1177/2329488416687053

“This article explores the ways in which C-suite executives are using corporate communications to execute strategy. Over the past two decades, we have seen a profound shift in how leaders view communications within organizations. This shift has moved from a tactical and superficial focus (speech writing, media placements) to a more strategic and elevated level (developing and implementing strategy through communication, sophisticated measurement using big data to understand constituencies and influence reputation). Thus, the central research question in this article is focused on the following theme: ‘How do leaders use communications to execute strategy in the 21st century?’ Through a review of current literature on the topic and synthesis of both published and newly conducted interviews, the article provides a snapshot of leadership communication in organizations today as it relates to the execution of strategy.”

Katherine Wertz

Professional issues

A case study: Medical writing as a feminized profession

Graham, H. (2016). AMWA Journal 31(3), 112–117. [doi: none]

“Women are on an exodus from the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce following their scientific education. While women are earning undergraduate degrees in biological sciences at a greater rate than men, they account for only 18% of full professors and 5% of executives at biotechnology companies; overall, men make up 70% of the scientific workforce. If women aren’t making it to the top in scientific positions, where are they going? [The author argues] that medical writing is one profession attracting women who leave the scientific workforce. Medical writing has become what is known as a feminized profession, which generally refers to an increase in the proportion of women practicing a particular occupation. Unfortunately, feminization can lead to a perceived de-skilling of the profession and an associated decline in compensation. While AMWA is currently predominantly women, it was founded in 1940 by Harold Swanberg, MD, and 5 of his male physician colleagues. This article is a case study that resulted from interviews with 3 practicing medical editors or medical writers. Common themes that emerged from the interviews included: the fluid entry into the field supported by a strong referral network, the flexibility the profession frequently provides, the increasing necessity to quantify the value of the work being performed, and the need to define what makes a good medical writer. While this small qualitative study cannot be generalized, it does provide a window into perceptions and practices. Further research is needed to shed light on the systematic inequities that occur when professions are feminized and gendered work is unequally compensated.”

Magdalena Berry

Extralocating faculty in technical communication

Dragga, S. (2017). Technical Communication Quarterly, 26(2), 201–208. doi: 10.1080/10572252.2017.1286387

“Tenure-line faculty—teaching onsite or online—are typically perceived as resident scholars and instructors who live local to their institutions. A geographically diversified tenure-line faculty, however, could also serve the education of students by bringing a wider array of influences and opportunities to the online classroom. Programs in technical communication must examine how to incorporate extralocated faculty and how to prepare willing and eligible faculty for extralocated teaching, research, and service.”

Rhonda Stanton


Communication evaluation and measurement: Skills, practices and utilization in European organizations

Zerfass, A., Vercˇicˇ, D., & Volk, S. C. (2017). Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 22(1), 2–18. doi: 10.1108/CCIJ-08-2016-0056

This paper examines “the status quo of communication evaluation and measurement practices in communication departments of companies, non-profits, and other organizations across Europe. . . . The study argues that the challenge to conduct reliable measurement is threefold: first, communication professionals have to understand and develop skills how to conduct evaluation; second, they have to evaluate whether communication activities have reached those goals in practice; and finally, they have to use those insights to advance and manage their future activities. . . . A quantitative survey of 1,601 professionals from 40 European countries was conducted to research prerequisites, implementation and benefits of communication measurement and compare practices across types of organizations. . . . Although robust knowledge of empirical research methods and their application for measuring communication effects is indispensable, many practitioners lack the necessary expertise to conduct reliable evaluation and measurement. . . . The findings highlight the need to reconsider current education and training in communication research methods and their application in corporate practice.”

Yvonne Wade Sanchez

Crowdfunding science: Exigencies and strategies in an emerging genre of science communication

Mehlenbacher, A. R. (2017). Technical Communication Quarterly, 26(2), 127–144. doi: 10.1080/10572252.2017.1287361

“Crowdfunding is a novel mechanism for garnering monetary support from the online public, and increasingly it is being used to fund science. This article reports a small-scale study examining science-focused crowdfunding proposals from Kickstarter.com. By exploring the rhetoric of these proposals with respect to traditional grant funding proposals in the sciences, this study aims to understand how the language of science may be imported into this popular genre.”

Rhonda Stanton


Making practice-level struggles visible: Researching UX practice to inform pedagogy

Rose, E., & Tenenberg, J. (2017). Communication Design Quarterly, 5(1), 89–97. doi: 10.1145/3090152.3090160

“Teaching user experience (UX) can be challenging due to the situated, complex, and messy nature of the work. However, the complexity of UX in practice is often invisible to students learning these methods and practices for the first time in class. In this article, [the authors] present findings from a study of rhetorical strategies of UX practitioners and pair them with strategies for teaching UX to students. While previous work on teaching UX reflects current practices in the classroom or reflections of practitioners, this study demonstrates the benefits of researching existing industry practices in order to inform pedagogy.”

Lyn Gattis

User experience rating scales with 7, 11, or 101 points: Does it matter?

Lewis, J. R., & Erdinç, O. (2017). Journal of Usability Studies, 12(2), 73–91. [doi: none]

“There is a large body of work on the topic of the optimal number of response options to use in multipoint items. The takeaways from the literature are not completely consistent, most likely due to variation in measurement contexts (e.g., clinical, market research, psychology) and optimization criteria (e.g., reliability, validity, sensitivity, ease-of-use). There is also considerable research literature on visual analog scales (VAS), which are endpoint-anchored lines on which respondents place a mark to provide a rating. Typically, a VAS is a 10-cm line with the marked position converted to a 101-point scale (0–100). Multipoint rating items are widely employed in user experience (UX) research. The use of the VAS, on the other hand, is relatively rare. It seems possible that the continuous structure of the VAS could offer some measurement advantages. [The] objective for this study was to compare psychometric properties of individual items and multi-item questionnaires using 7- and 11-point Likert-type agreement items and the VAS in the context of UX research. Some characteristics (e.g., means and correlations) of the VAS were different from the Likert-style (7- and 11-point items), so the VAS does not appear to be interchangeable with the Likert-style items. There were no differences in the classical psychometric properties of reliability and concurrent validity. Thus, [the authors] did not find any particular measurement advantage associated with the use of 7-point, 11-point, or VAS items. With regard to measurement properties, it doesn’t seem to matter (but the literature suggests multipoint items are easier to use).”

Ginnifer Mastarone