65.4, November 2018

Recent & Relevant

Lyn Gattis, Editor

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.


Empathy by dominant versus minority group members in intergroup interaction: Do dominant group members always come out on top?

Vorauer, J. D., & Quesnel, M. S. (2018). Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 21(4), 549–567. [doi: none]

“What power dynamics are instantiated when a minority group member empathizes with a dominant group member during social interaction? How do these dynamics compare to those instantiated when the dominant group member instead does the empathizing? According to a general power script account, because empathy is generally directed ‘down’ toward disadvantaged targets needing support, the empathizer should come out ‘on top’ with respect to power-relevant outcomes no matter who it is. According to a meta-stereotype account, because adopting an empathic stance in intergroup contexts leads individuals to think about how their own group is viewed (including with respect to power-relevant characteristics), the dominant group member might come out on top no matter which person empathizes. Two studies involving face-to-face intergroup exchanges yielded results that overall were consistent with the meta-stereotype account: Regardless of who does it, empathy in intergroup contexts seems more apt to exacerbate than mitigate group-based status differences.”

Yvonne Wade Sanchez

Evaluation markers and mitigators in analyst reports in light of market response to stock recommendations

Klimczak, K., & Dynel, M. (2018). International Journal of Business Communication, 55(3), 310–337. doi: 10.1177/2329488417738082

“Professionals and individuals who invest in equity markets rely on financial analysts’ recommendations and reports to decide on what to invest in and when to trade. This study examines the role of two groups of communication strategies, evaluation markers and mitigators, in establishing analysts’ credibility. The sample consists of 80 reports written in Polish for companies listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange in Poland. In this emerging market setting, where credibility is challenged by uncertainty, analysts deploy various strategies depending on the recommendation they make: ‘buy,’ ‘hold,’ or ‘sell’ shares. The findings point toward a specific group of mitigators, namely subjectivization, as a means of communicating expert opinion. Regression results reveal that investors’ reaction to the publication of a recommendation to ‘hold’ or ‘sell’ shares, measured based on the changes in share prices, is stronger when subjectivization is used in a report. The findings carry implications for research into analyst behavior and for the development of professional writing skills.”

Katherine Wertz

Formulations in delicate actions: A study of analyst questions in earnings conference calls

de Oliveira, M. L., & Pereira, S. M. R. (2018). International Journal of Business Communication, 55(3), 293–309. doi: 10.1177/2329488417712012

“Many of the studies on Earnings Conference Calls have focused on the executive’s discourse. In this article, [the authors] focus on the analysts’ discourse, specifically how they handle delicate actions, such as formulating questions about a company’s negative performance points. Considering that analysts’ questions commonly present more than one version for a request, this study investigates the interactional function and linguistic differences realized in formulations used to identify or describe what analysts actually want to know. The methodological approach compares different formulations produced by the same analyst and by another analyst going back to a previously formulated question. Findings showed that request formulations gain strength when a speaker goes back to a question. Additionally, they showed that, in any case, variations in the degree of generality/specificity of each version of a question play a major role in managing the analyst’s interactive goal, namely gaining information without compromising the relationship with the company.”

Katherine Wertz

The influence of textual cues on first impressions of an email sender

Marlow, S. L., Lacerenza, C. N., & Iwig, C. (2018). Business and Professional Communication Quarterly, 81(2), 149–166. doi: 10.1177/2329490617723115

In this study, the researchers compared first impressions of emails given by the devices used and the closing of the messages. They also gave advice for female senders and for male senders, based on their findings. “The present study experimentally manipulated the gender of an email sender, closing salutation, and sending mode (i.e., email sent via desktop computer/laptop as compared with email sent via a mobile device) to determine if these specific cues influence first impressions of the sender’s competence, professionalism, positive affect, and negative affect. Although no effect of sending mode was found, closing salutation influenced perceptions; females were viewed as less professional when using ‘Thanks!’ as opposed to using ‘Best,’ ‘Thank you,’ or no salutation. However, in general, females were viewed as more professional than males, and ‘Thanks!’ elicited perceptions of positive affect.”

Diana Fox Bentele

Media bias and the role of user generated contents in crisis management: A case-study about the communication of the Hungarian police forces after 2016 Budapest explosion

Pintér, D. G. (2018). Corvinus Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 9(1), 101–125. doi: 10.14267/CJSSP.2018.1.05

“The 2016 Budapest explosion occurred on September 24, 2016, when a young man detonated a nail bomb in an attempt to kill two patrolling police officers. This case-study analyses the official communication of the Hungarian police force, focusing on the time that elapsed until their first official reaction. [The author argues] that the first twenty-four hours after the explosion were the most crucial, and that working with speed and efficiency is important. [The author claims] that a successful crisis management process takes not only the bias of mass media into consideration, but also the influence of internet-user-generated content and conspiracy theories as well. The publication of a holding statement, designed to help control the message the public will hear immediately following an incident, is also essential.”

Yvonne Wade Sanchez


The changing face of the medical/technical editor

Palmer, L., & Lang, S. (2018). AMWA Journal, 33(1), 38–40. [doi: none]

Lang and Palmer propose expanding the definition and role of the editor in a rapidly changing publication landscape. Beyond traditional skills, new requirements include familiarity with electronic platforms, the media requirements of various audiences, and the rhetorical requirements of these audiences (for example, those primarily using social media).

Magdalena Berry


Bridging the gap between food pantries and the kitchen table: Teaching embodied literacy in the technical communication classroom

Swacha, K. (2018). Technical Communication Quarterly, 27(3), 261–282. doi: 10.1080/10572252.2018.1476589

“Drawing from literature on communication as a physical, material experience, this article expands Cargile Cook’s ‘layered literacies’ (2002) pedagogical framework to include a seventh literacy—embodied literacy. The article uses a classroom case study in which students coproduced a cookbook with low-income, elderly, disabled users, to demonstrate how students can become more responsible and effective technical communicators by recognizing users’ divergent embodied experiences. The article includes suggestions for concrete classroom practices that encourage such embodied literacy.”

Rhonda Stanton

Hidden in plain sight: Findings from a survey on the multi-major professional writing course

Read, S., & Michaud, M. (2018). Technical Communication Quarterly, 27(3), 227–248. doi: 10.1080/10572252.2018.1479590

“In this article, the authors report on findings from a survey of writing instructors who teach the multi-major professional writing course (MMPW) across diverse institutional contexts. The authors marshal these findings to advance a series of arguments about the situation of the MMPW course in U.S. higher education.”

Rhonda Stanton

International Organizational Communication Assessment (IOCA): Message analysis and effectiveness for a global age

Aust, P. J., & Allison, A. W. (2017). Connexions / International Professional Communication Journal, 5(2), 1–31. [doi: none]

“Advances in technology, the Internet, and ease of mobility have increased modern organizations’ global outreach and made it easier for companies to establish offices in other nations; however, with these benefits have come the challenge of working with overseas clients, dealing with language barriers, and navigating different cultural expectations. Organizational communication analyzes and addresses these challenges as it relates to message exchange. Organizational communication involves the creation, exchange, and movement of messages in an organizational context for a common goal. The purpose of this teaching case study is to review a graduate-level course (COM 7900: The Integrated Global Communication Capstone at Kennesaw State University) that focuses on an organizational assessment tool designed to examine today’s global organization. This tool is termed the International Organizational Communication Assessment (IOCA). This study explains the IOCA, highlights its pedagogical approach to experiential learning, and critiques the IOCA based on the course’s learning objectives.”

Lyn Gattis

Revisioning exploratory discourse as a rhetorical frame for social media practice in business and professional communication

Walwema, J. (2017). Connexions / International Professional Communication Journal, 5(2), 1–25. [doi: none]

“Several studies have examined the role of emerging technologies and their pedagogical implications in business and professional communication. This paper elaborates on those studies by examining the task of teaching social media as an emerging form of business and professional communication. Supported by James Kinneavy’s exploratory discourse, a form of reasoning that attempts to resolve issues that cannot be resolved by formal logic, the paper reports on a teaching case that employs students as interlocutors to explore social media in workplace communication through dialectic, competing interpretations of texts, and probable knowledge. This paper seeks to develop exploratory discourse as a signature pedagogy for enculturating students in the profession.”

Lyn Gattis

Student philanthropy: Experiencing grant proposals from the funder’s perspective

Bloch, J. (2018). Business and Professional Communication Quarterly, 81(2), 167–184. doi: 10.1177/2329490617752576

This article may be helpful for teachers of service-learning courses, but, in general, it is about writing with a focus on audience. The author reversed the roles of her students by making them the decision makers of applications. “Student philanthropy projects empower students to become grant givers. Through learning by giving, students get hands-on practice making decisions with real monetary impact. This article explains the steps in a student philanthropy project in a grant-writing course, illustrating how business and professional communication courses can be a natural partner for this approach. Results of a qualitative survey show how student philanthropy enhances learning by turning the tables, enabling learners to become decision makers with the important responsibility of writing, evaluating, and responding to communication in ways that will have positive effects on nonprofits in their community.”

Diana Fox Bentele


Critical animal and media studies: Expanding the understanding of oppression in communication research

Almiron, N., Cole, M., & Freeman, C. P. (2018). European Journal of Communication, 33(4), 367–380. doi: 0267323118763937

“Critical and communication studies have traditionally neglected the oppression conducted by humans towards other animals.… The goal of this article is to remedy this neglect by introducing the subdiscipline of Critical Animal and Media Studies. Critical Animal and Media Studies takes inspiration both from critical animal studies—which is so far the most consolidated critical field of research in the social sciences addressing our exploitation of other animals—and from the normative-moral stance rooted in the cornerstones of traditional critical media studies. The authors argue that the Critical Animal and Media Studies approach is an unavoidable step forward for critical media and communication studies to engage with the expanded circle of concerns of contemporary ethical thinking.”

Yvonne Wade Sanchez

Evolving concepts of risk: Justifying safety communication in a high-hazard, intercultural industry

Patriarca, A. (2017). Connexions / International Professional Communication Journal, 5(2), 1–32. [doi: none]

“The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) Susan Harwood Training Grant program produces safety training aimed at workers in many industries, but the construction industry is an area of focus for the program due to the high risk of injury or death for its workers. This risk is significantly higher for Hispanic or Latinx construction workers, making effective safety training for these workers even more important. This article analyzes the effectiveness of the strategies used to justify this training: many of the strategies suggest a desire to frighten workers into safe behavior, rather than an understanding of what will encourage them to pay attention. These ineffective strategies include fatal accident statistics from construction jobsites, images of dead or dying workers, and newspaper articles about unusual fatal accidents on jobsites. More effective strategies include focusing on more common situations, such as non-fatal accidents that can prevent the worker from going to work, or on a judicious use of appropriate humor. The article also recommends ways in which technical communicators can contribute to discussions of risk communication within this and other programs.”

Lyn Gattis

Using technical writing strategies to create Islamic Pakistani subjects: A case study of textbooks in Pakistan

Shah, S. F. A, Jan, F., & Karikari, E. (2017). Connexions / International Professional Communication Journal, 5(2), 1–28. [doi: none]

“In response to the call by Agboka (2013) for the need to take up more international technical communication projects that have a social justice goal, this paper engages some of the complex processes of globalization and cultural identity through the analysis of ‘Pakistan Studies’ textbooks used in grade 9 and 10 in some Pakistani schools. This paper is based on the fundamental assumption that the textbook, as an essential component of formal education, cannot be disassociated from the political, social, economic, and even religious realities of modern life. [The authors] argue that textbooks are technical writing projects that operate from scientific and technologized forms whose legitimation results in the subordination of alternative knowledge. An analysis of the data through Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) reveals that these textbooks reinforce subjectivities through a project that privileges certain forms of cultural identification.”

Lyn Gattis

Health communication

An examination of Microsoft® WordTM features used by medical writers

Valenzuela, R., & Benau, D. (2018). AMWA Journal 33(2), 58–62. [doi: none]

“Training for medical writers generally includes an overview of features in word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software, but information on which features and practices are most useful to medical writers is sparse. Data regarding Microsoft® (MS) Word™ features most regularly used by medical writers were collected by using an online survey consisting of 30 questions. The anonymous survey was distributed to medical writers both online (identified primarily through LinkedIn®) and in person at the American Medical Writers Association’s 2015 Annual Conference. The survey secondarily explored additional tools: Excel TM features, other software, hardware, and best practices. This report focuses only on the MS Word™ results, with some highlights regarding computer monitor use. To assess differences according to years of experience and type of medical writer—regulatory or nonregulatory—the responses of these subgroups were compared for select survey questions. A total of 88 survey responses were recorded over about 1 month of active solicitation. The results showed that keyboard shortcuts, Find and Replace, split screen, AutoCorrect options, and customized ribbons were the most regularly used MS Word™ features. Additional tools cited as essential for the profession included review tools, Styles, Insert:Captions/Cross-references, formatting tools, and Table of Contents features. Seasoned writers were more likely to employ Find and Replace techniques, while newer writers appeared to use split screen more. Regulatory writers were more likely to use Insert:Captions, Insert:Cross-references, and formatting functions, while nonregulatory writers were more likely to use Insert:Footnote, Insert:Endnote, and bibliographic features in Word.”

Magdalena Berry

Information management

Functional complexity and web site design: Evaluating the online presence of UNESCO world heritage sites

De Jong, M., & Wu, Y. (2018). Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 32(3), 347–372. doi: 10.1177/1050651918762029

“Functional complexity is a widespread and underresearched phenomenon in Web sites. This article explores a specific case of functional complexity by analyzing the content of UNESCO World Heritage Web sites, which have to meet demands from both World Heritage and tourism perspectives. Based on a functional analysis, a content checklist was developed and used to evaluate a sample of 30 World Heritage Web sites. The results show that World Heritage Web sites generally fall short in all content categories. A cluster analysis reveals three types of World Heritage Web sites based on their emphasis on World Heritage content versus tourism content: (a) less well-developed Web sites (no emphasis), (b) Web sites of World Heritage Sites with touristic possibilities (emphasis on World Heritage), and (c) Web sites of touristic attractions with outstanding cultural or natural value (emphasis on tourism). In all, the findings show that functional complexity poses serious threats to the exhaustiveness of a Web site’s information and that evaluation approaches based on functional analysis can be useful in detecting blindspots in the content provided.”

Sean Herring

Work motivation in the rhetoric of component content management

Batova, T. (2018). Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 32(3), 308–346. doi: 10.1177/1050651918762030

In this study, strategies for teaching technical and professional writing are noted. “This article describes a 12-month qualitative study that analyzes how a company’s transition to component content management (CCM)—a set of methodologies, processes, and technologies that allows working with texts as small components rather than complete, static documents—influences the work motivation of its technical communicators. The analysis is based on actor-network theory and the theories of work motivation from economics. When technical communicators felt that CCM’s only focus was efficiency and savings and that they were not recognized and connected to the fruits of their labor, their motivation decreased. But their motivation increased when they were engaged in job crafting—reshaping their understanding of the fruits of their labor and gaining recognition through prosocial behavior.”

Sean Herring

Intercultural issues

The power of digital storytelling to communicate complex stem information across cultures

Hill, S. (2017). Connexions / International Professional Communication Journal, 5(2), 1–38. [doi: none]

“The growing internationality of science and technology suggests the need to teach STEM students to communicate successfully across intercultural environments. This article argues that digital storytelling, which combines visuals and narrative to convey a message through story, can be a useful tool to do that. That health and other industries have already adopted this communication tool is further evidence of its potential for usefulness to STEM professional writing students. After defining digital storytelling, this article presents an analysis of the value of narrative (story) in professional communication and also specifically in communicating the complex information of STEM. It also examines the role of narrative in intercultural communication, connecting the multimodal form of digital storytelling to the multifaceted construct that is ‘culture.’ This article further analyzes visual communication and the role visuals play in successful digital storytelling. Finally, the article provides two examples of the use of digital storytelling in the classroom.”

Lyn Gattis

Strategies for managing cultural conflict: Models review and their applications in business and technical communication

Wang, J. (2018). Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, 48(3), 281–294. doi: 10.1177/0047281617696985

“[T]he limited study on dealing with cultural conflicts, along with the current political context in the United States, calls for efforts to systematically address diversity issues and cultural conflict in… research and teaching practices. One obstacle to advance effective communication strategies on cultural conflict in business and technical communication is the lack of communication with other disciplines. Through an interdisciplinary perspective, the… article introduces the concept of cultural conflict, examines strategy models to address cultural conflict in different fields, and provides an example on how to identify a strategy model to resolve cultural conflict in business and technical communication practices.…”

Anita Ford


The epistemic status of predictions in Central Bank reports: A cross-linguistic study

Lejeune, P. (2018). International Journal of Business Communication, 55(3), 357–382. doi: 10.1177/2329488418768691

“This study aims to analyze the strategies of hedging in a prototypical speech act in economic communication—that is, predictions. The analyzed genre is that of central bank projections. [The authors] have used a parallel corpus of four reports (one European Central Bank report and three national bank reports) written in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. The analyzed documents are multimodal (having text, tables, and charts). At a global level, hedging arises from external assumptions that limit the validity of the predictions and from the fact that generally the text does not give direct predictions but rather reports projections without assuming or attributing explicit responsibility regarding their validity. At the microlinguistic level, the epistemic marking of predications about the future is extremely complex, due to the phenomenon of grammatical metaphor. The cross-language analysis shows that because of language idiosyncrasies, the degree of endorsement of the typical utterances about prediction/projection varies between the reports.”

Katherine Wertz

Financial innovation and institutional voices in the Canadian press: A look at the roaring 2000s

Boulanger, P., & Gagnon, C. (2018). International Journal of Business Communication, 55(3), 383–405. doi: 10.1177/2329488417747596

“This corpus-assisted analysis examines seven Canadian newspapers from 2001 to 2008 in English and in French. It focuses on the speech that journalists reported when covering new financial instruments, namely collateralized debt obligations, credit default swaps, and asset-backed commercial paper. Eight years of news were surveyed with a concordancer and the data were analyzed using critical discourse analysis. The data show a wider range of voices in the English subcorpus when compared with the French. In both subcorpora, however, journalistic attitude was neutral and critical voices were deselected, while institutional voices such as those of banks were foregrounded. If polyphony is understood as the inclusion of an array of voices from the community, [this] study shows that the press was monophonic. Concurrently, [the authors’] investigation of the Canadian press reveals that financial innovations were not covered until 2007, when credit derivatives started to falter.”

Katherine Wertz

Persuasion in earnings calls: A diachronic pragmalinguistic analysis

Camiciottoli, B. (2018). International Journal of Business Communication, 55(3), 275–292. doi: 10.1177/2329488417735644

“This study investigates persuasive language in earnings calls. These are routine events organized by companies to report their quarterly financial results. The analysis is based on the earnings calls of 10 companies in the third quarter of 2009, when financial markets were still suffering from the global financial crisis, and the third quarter of 2013 when markets had largely recovered. Earnings call transcripts were compiled in two parallel corpora (Crisis Corpus and Recovery Corpus), thus providing a diachronic perspective. Semantic annotation software was used to extract pragmalinguistic resources of persuasion. The Crisis Corpus had a higher frequency of persuasive items, as executives often emphasized progress and future hopes. However, the types of items were largely the same across the corpora. This suggests a well-consolidated linguistic protocol within this discourse community that transcends financial performance. The findings offer insights into how earnings call participants use persuasive language strategically to achieve their distinct professional objectives as responsible providers of information (executives) versus discerning seekers of information (analysts).”

Katherine Wertz

The use of English-language business and finance terms in European languages

Anglemark, L., & John, A. (2018). International Journal of Business Communication, 55(3), 406–440. https://doi.org/10.1177/2329488418768698

“Although it is generally accepted that English is becoming the lingua franca of international business, the details of this process are not well understood. This article uses the Google Books corpus to provide both a quantitative and a qualitative investigation of the ways in which specific English business terms are penetrating major European languages. Some English business terms now appear to be firmly established in other languages, and can be classified as lexical borrowings, while the use of other terms is better described as code-switching.”

Katherine Wertz


Managing illegitimate task requests through explanation and acknowledgment: A discursive leadership approach

Minei, E. M., Eatough, E. M., & Cohen-Charash, Y. (2018). Management Communication Quarterly, 32(3), 374–397. doi: 10.1177/0893318918755506

This article may be particularly helpful for project managers who need to positively frame a request of a team member to do something outside the typical scope of duties or for self-employed professional writers who too often experience the mission creep of these requests. The demoting illegitimate request is familiar, but the authors point out that some illegitimate requests can be promoting (higher stature than the typical role). “This study explored how discursive framing can mitigate an illegitimate task request—a request from a supervisor that extends beyond the appropriate parameters of the role. Using hypothetical vignettes in an experimental design, [the authors] examined how including an acknowledgment and/or explanation when making an illegitimate task request mitigated perceptions of illegitimacy and anger. Results indicate that acknowledgments mitigated perceptions of illegitimacy whereas explanations mitigated anger. Furthermore, the combination of acknowledgments and explanations had the strongest effects on reducing perceived illegitimacy and anger. [The authors] conclude with practical recommendations.”

Diana Fox Bentele


Artifactual dimensions of visual rhetoric: What a content analysis of 114 peer-reviewed articles reveals about data collection reporting

King, A. S., & McCarthy, M. J. (2018). Technical Communication Quarterly, 27(3), 249–260. doi: 10.1080/10572252.2018.1479587

“This content analysis examined how the authors of 114 peer-reviewed journal articles explained their empirical approaches to visual rhetoric scholarship. The authors’ content analysis sought to answer the question: how do scholars engage with the material dimensions of visual culture, specifically in terms of artifact selection and reporting data collection procedures? The answers to this question, the authors argue, are needed urgently as visual rhetoric research continues to expand because inconsistent reporting will hinder replicability and the reader’s access to the author’s argument. The authors use the findings of their content analysis to surface the implicit norms of empirical visual rhetoric research and to develop recommendations for reporting visual data collection procedures.”

Rhonda Stanton

Feminist historiography as methodology: The absence of international perspectives

Petersen, E. J. (2017). Connexions / International Professional Communication Journal, 5(2), 1–38. [doi: none]

“The recurring methodology of feminist historiography in technical and professional communication (TPC) documents women’s contributions to TPC. This article, based on qualitative content analysis with scant quantitative analysis, highlights what is missing in that body of feminist historiography research: an international perspective, especially from varied viewpoints and contexts. Feminist historiography in TPC has ignored women of color and women of the Global South. TPC has fully embraced white, middle-class feminism from a historical perspective, leaving behind more inclusive, nuanced, and fair understandings and depictions of global women historically. Proposed solutions include expanding methods of feminist historiography beyond content analysis to include flexible methods, including interviews and oral histories, that complement global sites and contexts. Furthermore, TPC scholars must enlarge views of which histories are worthy of study and critique dominant narratives of women from Euro-western perspectives. The invisibility of international perspectives in feminist historiographies suggests that there is vital work to be done in reclaiming and documenting the global history of women in TPC.”

Lyn Gattis

Problems and prospects in survey research

Moy, P., & Murphy, J. (2016). Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 93(1), 16–37. doi: 10.1177/1077699016631108

“Over the last few decades, survey research has witnessed a number of developments that have affected the quality of data that emerge using this methodology. Using the total survey error (TSE) approach as a point of departure, this article documents chronic challenges to data quality. With the aim of facilitating assessments of data quality, this article then turns to best practices in the disclosure of survey findings based on probability and nonprobability samples. Finally, (p)reviewing the use of technology and social media, it provides an overview of the opportunities and challenges for survey research today.”

Lyn Gattis


Moving technical communication off the grid

Garrison, K. (2017). Technical Communication Quarterly, 27(3), 201–216. doi: 10.1080/10572252.2018.1483676

“This article argues for an ‘off the grid’ approach to thinking about technology and technical communication. First, the author presents a metatheory that connects numerous descriptive theories of technology into a unified approach to philosophizing about technology. Then, the author uses this unified approach to argue that the metaphor of off the grid living provides technical communicators with a way of rethinking our approach to pedagogy, user-centeredness, and the future of our field.”

Rhonda Stanton


Distributed writing as a lens for examining writing as embodied practice

Clayson, A. (2018). Technical Communication Quarterly 27(3), 217–226. doi: 10.1080/10572252.2018.1479607

“The author argues for a reinvigorated focus on writing ‘as material, corporeal action’ and proposes a framework of ‘distributed writing’ through which to enact this focus. This framework highlights writing’s simultaneously material and embodied nature and can help scholars further examine and understand interactions among tools, artifacts, and writing bodies. Continuing to study writing ‘as material, corporeal action’ is necessary as 21st century tools for writing continue to change.”

Rhonda Stanton

The narrative strategies of winners and losers: Analyzing annual reports of publicly traded corporations

Laskin, A. (2018). International Journal of Business Communication, 55(3), 338–356. doi: 10.1177/2329488418780221

“This study focuses on the narrative strategies corporations utilize to communicate their annual results to investors and the financial community. Specifically, the study looks at the sample of overperforming and underperforming companies and analyzes how management shapes their performance results using a variety of narrative strategies in their annual reports. The study uses DICTION software in order to perform a computerized content analysis of annual reports of a purposive sample of Standard & Poor’s 500 corporations and identify and compare the usage of the 35 narrative strategies.”

Katherine Wertz

Tools matter: Mediated writing activity in alternative digital environments

Ching, K. L. (2018). Written Communication, 35(3), 344–375. doi: 10.1177/0741088318773741

Though set as a piece about teaching writing, this article is thought-provoking for all professional writers, as it examines how we are affected by the technology we use, especially how technology may distract and/or motivate us. “This study examines the experiences and perceptions of writers who composed text using ‘distraction-free’ writing tools that stand as alternatives to standard word processing programs. The purpose of this research was to develop a clearer understanding of how digital writing tools may shape the activities and practices of writers, as well as what writing with unfamiliar tools and technologies might reveal about writing processes. Analysis of study participants’ reflective narratives of their composing experience suggests the extent to which writing tools and technologies influence routine practices, assist writers as they try to direct their attention (and avoid distraction), motivate writing, and impact writers’ ‘text sense’ as they compose. Moreover, findings indicate how different tools and technologies may be viewed as more or less useful for different writing tasks. This article ends with a call for writing researchers, writing teachers, and software developers to attend more critically to the ways writing technologies shape the practices of writers.”

Diana Fox Bentele