69.3 August 2022

Recent & Relevant

Sean C. Herring, 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 Sean Herring at SeanHerring@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.

Audience analysis

The interaction effect of crisis communication and social support on the emotional exhaustion of university employees during the COVID-19 crisis

Charoensukmongkol, P., & Phungsoonthorn, T. (2022). International Journal of Business Communication, 59, 269-286. https://doi.org/10.1177/2329488420953188

“Although formal communication from an organization’s management is crucial during a crisis to reduce the uncertainties of employee, less is known about the moderating role of social support that could make employees rely less on formal communication to reduce those uncertainties. Grounded in uncertainty reduction theory, this research examines the role of crisis communication on the perceived uncertainties and emotional exhaustion of employees who work at private international universities that have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Furthermore, this research explores the moderating effect of social support in terms of supervisor support and coworker support on the association between crisis communication and perceived uncertainties. Questionnaire data were collected from 300 employees from two private international universities in Thailand. Partial least squares structural equation modeling was used for data analysis. The analysis shows that perceived uncertainties mediate the negative association between crisis communication and emotional exhaustion. Moreover, the moderating effect analysis shows that the association between crisis communication and perceived uncertainties is significantly moderated by coworker support, but not by supervisor support. Simple slope analysis also clearly shows that the negative association between crisis communication and perceived uncertainties only presents in employees with a low level of coworker support. For employees with high coworker support, crisis communication does not associate negatively with perceived uncertainties. This research implies that the informal communication that employees obtain from social support could play a compensatory role for their need to rely on formal communication to reduce uncertainties during the crisis.”

Katherine Wertz


What is it that’s going on here?: Community partner frames for engagement

Shah, R.W. (2020). Community Literacy Journal, 14(2), 72–92. https://doi:10.25148/14.2.009037

“Frames—defined as mental structures built through language and symbols that categorize our thoughts and experiences—have a significant impact on partnerships, shaping how participants understand the nature of the collaboration. While scholars have explored how teachers might frame engagement partnerships for university students and administrators, the field has yet to deeply draw on framing theory to examine community partner frames. This article argues that framing theory can shed light on how intentional frames might foster healthier partnerships for community members, offering a robust tour of framing theory and illustrating its impact through an analysis of how one community leader frames a high school-college writing partnership for local youth—ultimately suggesting that community partners may have much to teach the field of community writing about how to use frames rhetorically in engagement contexts.”

Edward A. Malone


Breaking the sound of silence: Explication in the use of strategic silence in crisis communication

Pang, A., Jin, Y., Seo, Y., Choi, S. I., Teo, H., Le, P., & Reber, B. (2022). International Journal of Business Communication, 59, 219-241. https://doi.org/10.1177/23294884211046357

“Crises present organizations with the ‘rhetorical exigency’ to enact control. Silence is not an option. This study, as the first empirical examination of Le et al’s (2019) seminal study on silence in crisis communication, examines, first, if silence can be strategically used as a bona fide strategy; second, under what circumstances should silence be broken; and third, when silence is broken, how it affects (a) organizational reputation, (b) societal risk perception, and (c) the publics’ crisis information sharing intention. An online experiment was conducted using a nationally representative sample in the United States. Participants were recruited in 2019 via a Qualtrics panel. The stimuli used in this study consisted of two components: (1) an explanation about a fictitious company; and (2) two types of silence breaking (forced vs. planned) embedded in each stimulus accordingly after the same crisis incident. Four hypothesis were conceptualized. They were all supported. Collectively, they showed that the effect of silence-breaking type on crisis information sharing intention was mediated by societal risk perception, which is conditioned by participants’ level of perceived organizational reputation. Silence, or failure to fill the information vacuum, has not been an option to consider thus far as it suggests the organization is ‘not in control.’ However, this study suggests the types of silence organizations can adopt and the modes the organizational silence can be broken. It provides a new lens for organizations to engage in business communication.”

Katherine Wertz

Creating order out of chaos? Development of a measure of perceived effects of communication on the crisis organizing process

Fuller, R. P., Pyle, A., Riolli, L., & Mickel, A. (2022). International Journal of Business Communication, 59, 174-192. https://doi.org/10.1177/2329488420979657

“Organizations are important sources of communication during natural-hazard crises. How members of an organization perceive these communications (e.g., creating confusion, causing disorder, providing clarity, and restoring order) influences response and recovery from such a crisis. Using Chaos Theory as a guiding framework, the authors developed a new instrument measuring the perceived effects of an organization’s communication on crisis-organizing processes. Three distinct studies were conducted to assess the reliability and validity of this new instrument: the ‘Perceived Effects of Communication on the Crisis-organizing Process (PEC-COP)’ scale. This one-factor scale can be used by both scholars and practitioners to assess the effects of an organization’s communication on how people organize (i.e., react and respond) during a crisis. By gaining greater insight into how an organization’s communication is perceived, the organization can better prepare to communicate in ways that promote efficient and effective crisis-organizing processes throughout a natural-hazard crisis. Effective communication can create order out of chaos.”

Katherine Wertz

Investigating disembodied university crisis communications during COVID-19

Sparby, E., & Cox, C. (2022). Communication Design Quarterly, 10(1), 4–13. https://doi.org/10.1145/3507454.3507455

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us many weaknesses in crisis communication, especially at universities where campus communities are often rendered as disembodied monoliths. In this article, [the researchers] select a case example from [their] own institution to show that when bodies are erased from university crisis communication, power imbalances are reinscribed that render campus community members powerless. Using a critical feminist methodology, [the authors] end with several suggestions for more inclusive embodied institutional crisis messaging.”

Lyn Gattis


Experience report streamlining complex website design using a content audit selection heuristic

Altamirano, A. & Stephens, S. H. (2022). Communication Design Quarterly, 10(1), 14–23. https://doi.org/10.1145/3507454.3507456

“In this project experience report, [the authors] describe [their] experience working as researchers specializing in technical communication that informed the risk communication decisions for an interdisciplinary, grant-funded, risk communication website called HazardAware.” After discussing “how content audits serve as a website design research method,” the authors present the “Content Audit Selection heuristic in a process flowchart format to enable communicators to understand how practical application of content audits serve as a formative tool to streamline the decision-making processes for complex website design content.” The authors end by describing “how [they] used the Content Audit Selection heuristic to inform the risk communication decisions for HazardAware.”

Lyn Gattis

The women behind Times New Roman: The contribution of type drawing offices to twentieth century type-making

Savoie, A. (2020). Journal of Design History, 33(3), 209–224. https://doi.org/10.1093/jdh/epaa025

“The narrative behind the creation of Times New Roman, one of the most widely used typefaces in the western world, is well established and revolves around famous male figures of British typographic history. This article recognises the role played by the Monotype Type Drawing Office (TDO), and of its draughtswomen in particular, in the making of the typeface. While female figures are largely absent from type histories, this contribution emphasises the key role played by the women who worked on adapting Stanley Morison’s original idea for Times New Roman into a fully working, extensive type family. Based on original archival material, it discusses the background of these women, their working conditions, and the nature of their contribution to type-making. In a wider perspective, this article advocates a more inclusive and collaborative view of design history and of its narratives.”

Edward A. Malone

Discourse communities

Exclusionary public memory documents: Orientating historical marker texts within a technical communication framework

O’Brien, A. (2022). Technical Communication Quarterly, 31, 111–125, https://doi.org/10.1080/10572252.2021.1977851

“This paper theorizes historical marker texts (HMT) as succinct, public facing informational reports that reinforce white supremacy and minimize or erase the memory of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) individuals. In this layered content and discourse analysis, I evaluate the demographics of the commissioners at the local and state level, the instructions for the HMT application, and the text of a selected group of HMTs.”

Rhonda Stanton


Ethical deception: Student perceptions of diversity in college recruitment materials

Dayley, C. (2022). Communication Design Quarterly, 10(1), 38–50. https://doi.org/10.1145/3507454.3507458

“The use of images of students from traditionally underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds in college recruitment materials presents a seemingly difficult dilemma. Should colleges and universities use diversity in recruitment materials to try and attract students from underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds even if those images do not accurately represent the amount of diversity at the university? To discover student perceptions relating to this question, [the researcher] used a mixed-methods approach,” surveying 117 students and then interviewing 10 survey participants. “Survey and interview questions were based on utilitarian versus deontological ethics with an emphasis on whether exaggerating diversity in recruitment materials is ethical. The results of this exploratory study showed that most students believe using a disproportionate amount of diversity in recruitment materials is unethical. Student participants who identified as a person from an underrepresented racial/ethnic group indicated that it is unethical to exaggerate diversity in recruitment materials at a higher percentage than their white counterparts. This is likely because people from underrepresented backgrounds face a much higher risk of harm from misleading recruitment materials than their white peers.”

Lyn Gattis


Unjust revisions: A social justice framework for technical editing

Clem, S., & Cheek, R. (2022). IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 65(1), 135–150. https://doi.org/10.1109/TPC.2021.3137666

“There is a lack of conceptual framework for how to develop more inclusive practices in the subfield of technical editing. . . . Some researchers have posited theories, like feminism and rhetorical theory, as ways to conceptualize technical editing. This piece extends that literature into social justice using Walton, Moore, and Jones›s 3Ps heuristic of positionality, privilege, and power“ to question ideologies within technical editing pedagogy and suggest strategies to make that pedagogy more inclusive. The authors used the 3Ps social justice heuristic to analyze rhetorically “the major academic works in technical editing, including books, textbooks, and academic articles.” The authors found “strong instrumentalist underpinnings to much of the current literature in technical editing, making the goal of technical editing linguistic conformity to American Standard English (ASE) at the expense of linguistic diversity. [The researchers] offer a conceptual framework, the inclusive editing paradigm (IEP), to challenge that linguistic hegemony in technical editing and provide technical editors with theoretical and practical foundations for developing a more inclusive editing practice.” The authors conclude “[m]ore work needs to be done to shift technical editing in a more inclusive direction.”

Lyn Gattis


Art advocacy: Applying a public memory rhetorical framework to health crisis communication

Taylor, M.A., & Glowacki, E.M. (2022). Health Communication. Advanced online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/10410236.2022.2071391

“Health campaigns and public health messaging strategies often rely on text-based efforts to communicate with audiences. As research grows in the areas of health and visual media, this essay puts a rhetorical framework of public memory in conversation with health campaign communication to show possibilities for audiences who are less likely to be moved by traditional institutional health narratives. The artifact for analysis is an art installation by Domenic Esposito, who in 2018 designed and placed a large scale “Opioid Spoon” at the headquarters of Purdue Pharma in Stamford, Connecticut. After situating public art as an effective way to advance health crisis messaging, [the authors] then preview the next phase of this research project that analyzes COVID-19 art as a counterpublic health narrative. [The authors] conclude by suggesting future health communication scholarship engage with the intersections of public health art, memory, and advocacy in order to reflect more accurately how communities experience health inequity.”

Walter Orr

Ethical issues

Building toward more just data practices

Gouge, C. C., & Carlson, E. B. (2022). IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 65(1), 241–254. https://doi.org/10.1109/TPC.2021.3137675

“This tutorial offers technical and professional communication (TPC) professionals a heuristic designed to support more just data practices. . . . Understanding how data contribute to discussions of public problems matters, especially in times of crisis during which multiply marginalized communities are disproportionately affected. Critical Data Studies clarifies how data practice and priorities emerging from various domains of power exacerbate structural inequalities. If we recognize, reveal, and reject data practices that cast data as if they were neutral or fixed, we can ensure that our data practices as TPC professionals are more just. . . . By acknowledging the relationship between data and context, we can promote better, more just data practices, preparing TPC professionals to work alongside community stakeholders in intersectional coalitions and challenging the conditions that lead to unjust data that fail to represent, over-represent, or blatantly misrepresent the realities of vulnerable communities.”

Lyn Gattis

Health communication

Facing the strain: The persuasive effects of conversion messages on COVID-19 vaccination attitudes and behavioral intentions

Conlin, J., Baker, M., Zhang, B., Shoenberger, H., & Shen, F. (2022). Health Communication. Advanced online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/10410236.2022.2065747

“This study examined two-sided conversion messages in relation to one-sided advocacy messages in reducing vaccine hesitancy related to COVID-19 vaccine uptake. Results demonstrated that, for vaccine-hesitant participants, conversion messages increased pro-COVID-19 vaccination attitudes and behavioral intentions. For high vaccine-hesitant participants, the relationship between conversion messages and attitudes toward COVID-19 vaccinations was mediated through source credibility. For low vaccine-hesitant participants, mediation occurred through counterarguing. Findings have implications for health message tailoring related to COVID-19 vaccine uptake.”

Walter Orr

Information management

Information processing and data analytics for decision making: A journey from traditional to modern approaches

Nanda, P., & Kumar, V. (2022). Information Resources Management Journal, 35(2), 1-14. https://doi.org/10.4018/IRMJ.291693

“Decision making is required by all organizations; however, the decision-making styles may differ. The most commonly used decision styles include (1) autocratic, (2) democratic, (3) consensus, and (4) participatory. With the globalization and expansion of businesses, professionals have become highly dependent upon the technology to support the decision-making process, and decision-support systems have come up as the fastest growing discipline. The present work discusses the evolution of computerized decision support, considering the (1) model-driven, (2) data-driven, (3) communication-driven, (4) document-driven, and (5) knowledge-driven decision-support systems. All three different business levels—operational, tactical, and strategic—have been considered in the present work to review the development of decision-support systems. The traditional data analysis-based approaches have been compared with the latest data analytics approaches including social media analytics and web analytics. Examples from the different industry sectors have been incorporated for better illustrations of decision support.”

Yvonne Wade Sanchez


Drawing into being: Charter graphics and their functions

Dush, L (2022). Journal of Business & Technical Communication, 36(2), 165-189. https://doi.org/10.1177/10506519211064615

“Prior researchers have identified charter documents as texts that serve an outsize role in stabilizing social reality and mediating work, writing, and network building. While charter documents are typically authoritative and text-only tomes, this article expands the category to include charter graphics, visual texts that serve similarly important genre and network functions. Through retrospective analysis of one charter graphic and its role in a decade-long project by a nonprofit organization, this article demonstrates the potential rhetorical, social, and network functions of charter graphics; distinguishes them from charter documents; and offers suggestions for both practitioners and researchers.”

Sean C. Herring

Intercultural communication

Bodies of Proof: COVID-19 and unwitnessed remote work

Randazzo, C. (2022). Technical Communication Quarterly, 31, 143–158, https://doi.org/10.1080/10572252.2021.1998639

“Using a case study of four professionals who suddenly worked from home during COVID-19, this article discusses participants’ experiences of proving work when their bodies were not physically near coworkers (“proof”). I explain proof’s features; participants’ concerns and responses to it; its consequences for workers; and its potential devaluation of nonproductive, unwitnessed processes. I suggest technical and professional communicators are in a kairotic moment for negotiating the value of nonproductive time and unwitnessed work.”

Rhonda Stanton


Tools for overcoming oppression: Plain language and human-centered design for social justice

Sims, M. (2022). IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 65(1), 11–33. https://doi.org/10.1109/TPC.2022.3150236

“Technical and professional communication (TPC) audiences are increasingly international and intercultural. Some of these audiences, such as US asylum applicants, may be vulnerable and suffering trauma following violations of their human rights and dignity.” This study asks whether “the language and design strategies in the I-589 application and instructions [are] appropriate for their audience from an HCD perspective” and how the documents might be revised and improved in the service of social justice. “This article uses adapted plain language guidelines combined with human-centered design guiding principles to perform a qualitative document analysis and explore revisions of the application and instructions.” The author finds “the I-589 documents are not appropriate for their audience and proposes revisions to correct major issues.” The author concludes by arguing for continued integration of plain language and human-centered design in practice and pedagogy, research surrounding the ways in which technical and professional communicators should balance the needs of vulnerable audiences with the interests of powerful stakeholders, and meaningful collaboration between them and government institutions.”

Lyn Gattis


Expanding ethical pedagogy in technical communication: Learning from nanobots

Duncan, M. (2022). Technical Communication Quarterly, 31, 207–219, https://doi.org/10.1080/10572252.2021.1977850

“Attention to the ethical dimension in technical and professional communication (TPC) is paramount, especially when dealing with new, emerging technologies. Such technologies frequently rest within corporate environments that may resist ethical gatekeeping. I suggest several methods by which TPC instructors can critically question the limits of corporate structure to show students that they have a variety of options for responding to assignments other than those their employers may offer them.”

Rhonda Stanton

Fostering employee trust via effective supervisory communication during the COVID-19 pandemic: Through the lens of motivating language theory

Men, L. R., Qin, Y. S., & Jin, J. (2022). International Journal of Business Communication, 59, 193-218. https://doi.org/10.1177/23294884211020491

“This study examines how supervisory leadership communication during the COVID-19 pandemic fostered employee trust through the lens of motivating language theory. Drawing insight from self-determination theory, this study also reveals the mediating effects of employees’ psychological need satisfaction for competence and relatedness in this process, which help explain how supervisory leadership communication influences employee trust. Through an online survey of 393 full-time employees from various organizations in the U.S., results showed that supervisory use of meaning-making (0.15), empathetic (0.60), and direction-giving language (0.27) during the pandemic all showed significant positive effects on employee trust toward leadership and the organization directly, and indirectly through satisfying employees’ psychological need for competence and relatedness. Theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed.”

Katherine Wertz

Political discourse

To wear or not to wear: A commentary on mistrust in public comments to CDC tweets about mask-wearing during COVID-19

Batova, T. (2021). International Journal of Business Communication, https://doi.org/10.1177/23294884211008584

“Trust is an important component of crisis communication, and social media has been shown a promising avenue for building trust. Yet, mixed findings about how effectively government organizations utilize social media during health crises such as pandemics or infectious disease outbreaks require further research to better understand how trust is created and destroyed. This study investigates the factors that reflect mistrust in the public comments to the CDC tweets about mask-wearing during the 3 months after the first reported case of COVID-19 in the U.S. The findings show that multiple factors representing mistrust were present in the public comments. What is more, the feeling of anger was growing in the comments as the health crisis progressed, which also could have been trust-damaging.”

Yvonne Wade Sanchez & Katherine Wertz

Public relations

Tactical risk communication: Observations from teaching and learning about crisis communication during COVID-19

Bishop, T., Capan, E., Larsen, B., Preston, R., & Sparby, E. (2022). Technical Communication Quarterly, 31, 175–189, https://doi.org/10.1080/10572252.2021.2008509

“In a Spring 2020 Technical and Professional Communication (TPC) course on risk communication, we watched the COVID-19 pandemic unfold and discussed how technical communicators can foreground vulnerable and marginalized populations who are often excluded from official communication channels. The article below offers perspectives on tactical communication and/or coalition building during a pandemic, coining the term tactical risk communication (TRC) and examining how TRC functions in the face of a global health crisis.”

Rhonda Stanton


Information adequacy and strategic behavioral change communication as a pandemic management tool: The mediating role of interaction resonance

Bashir, H., Nangoli, S., Musaasizi, Y., Nakajubi, F., Basemera, M., & Ayibo, C. (2022). International Journal of Business Communication, 59, 242-268. https://doi.org/10.1177/23294884211027545

“A strategic approach to behavioral change communication streamlines communication processes of a health institution in a crisis setting like COVID-19 pandemic. In such a setting, it is important to focus communication efforts to reach the different audience groups and ensure common understanding and willingness to act by all the groups in order to achieve the institution’s mission of curbing the pandemic. This study contributes to these efforts by examining the mediating effect of interaction resonance in the relationship between information adequacy and strategic behavioral change communication. The study adopted a cross sectional survey design that involved collecting quantitative data from 223 health organizations of Uganda’s health sector in the different regions of the country. In order to test the study hypotheses, the study used Structural Equation Modeling of AMOS and the bootstrapping approach to test the mediating role of interaction resonance. The results revealed that interaction resonance fully mediates in the relationship between information adequacy and strategic behavioral change communication. This implied that having adequate information per say, does not cause behavioral change among the intended message recipients but requires a communication system that enables high quality interactions.”

Katherine Wertz


Precarious data: Crack, opioids, and enacting a social justice ethic in data visualization practice

Welhausen, C. A. (2022). IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 65(1), 50–69. https://doi.org/10.1109/TPC.2022.3144826

“The linguistic framing strategies used in media reporting on illegal drugs have been extensively documented, but less attention has been directed toward visuals, particularly data visualizations.” This study investigates “the rhetorical strategies used in data visualizations published during the crack and opioid drug epidemics, respectively” and asks whether and how “these strategies advance dominant media narratives that crack addiction should be criminalized but opioid addiction should be treated like a public health issue. . . .” The author applies “the concept of ‘scripto-visual’ rhetoric to select data visualizations published by mainstream news media during both drug epidemics,” finding “these graphics escalated the perceived threat during both drug epidemics but different scripto-visual rhetorical strategies were used.” The author concludes by “arguing that a social justice ethic is needed in data design work,” proposing “a critical heuristic constructed from Jones et al.’s positionality, privilege, and power framework that can be used analytically or as an inventional tool to tease out the ways particular scripto-visual rhetorical decisions may be promoting inequities.”

Lyn Gattis

Writing climate change assessments: Scientific author challenges and rhetorical negotiations

Reeves, C.A. & Ross, M. (2022). Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, 52(2), 182-212. https://doi.org/10.1177/0047281621989640

“The rhetorical challenges and deliberations of scientific authors writing climate change assessment reports have received scant scholarly attention. As [the authors’] interviews with 21 authors reveal, authors engage with multiple stakeholders who bring diverse scientific, political, economic, and cultural interests and perspectives. They must remain aware of politically motivated climate change denial and scientific illiteracy while remaining committed to producing policy relevant rather than policy prescriptive statements. These challenges lead to intense rhetorical negotiations over the lexical and visual features of a document they hope will deflect denial and contribute to meaningful policy solutions.”

Anita Ford

Scientific writing

Digital enhancements of scientific content at virtual and hybrid conferences

Zhou, Q. (2022). American Medical Writers Association Journal, 37(1), 35-37. https://doi.org/10.55752/amwa.2022.121

“Since the beginning of 2020, scientific conferences around the globe have evolved quickly to adapt to a virtual or hybrid format when in-person meetings were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the digital platforms now in place to enable virtual participation, interaction with scientific content in a digital format will likely become a new norm of the scientific conference experience. Digital enhancements of scientific presentations and posters may help bridge the gap of communication in a virtual format and may extend the reach of scientific content. This article provides a brief overview of common types of digital enhancements and summarizes insights from two conference organizers from their conversations at the “InformED” podcast. Researchers, conference organizers, and medical communication and publishing professionals will continue to optimize the digi-tal enhancements and explore innovations to maximize the value of scientific content disseminated at virtual and hybrid scientific conferences.”

Walter Orr


Teaching participative justice in professional writing

Hashlamon, Y. & Teston, C. (2022). Technical Communication Quarterly, 31, 159–174, https://doi.org/10.1080/10572252.2021.2000031

“Technical and professional communication (TPC) curricula tend to prioritize hyperpragmatist learning outcomes, objectives, and activities. Drawing on a grounded theory analysis of curricular self-assessment data, including interviews with community partners, we argue that TPC in the U.S. is at constant risk of co-option by market logics. Through a speculative curricular framework that works toward building more just, liveable worlds, this essay reimagines TPC curricula as an opportunity to redress inequities caused by exploitative market logics.”

Rhonda Stanton


Antiprogrammatic action and the student ID: An ANT 2.0 analysis

Foltz, H. (2022). Technical Communication Quarterly, 31, 126–142, https://doi.org/10.1080/10572252.2021.1963488

“This article examines a system of organizational keypunch identification technology between 1966 and 1972 via diachronous actor-network theory (ANT 2.0) visualized with ForceAtlas2, a network spatialization algorithm. This article’s greatest impacts lay in its analytic focus on programs and antiprograms and its evolution of existing visualization methodology, most notably by incorporating community detection and partitioning, which helps scholars and readers more easily identify macrotrends in the evolution of networks.”

Rhonda Stanton

Usability studies

Analysis of direct-to-consumer healthcare service advertisements on television: An application of the patient expectation framework

Park, S.Y., Hill, K., Yun, G.W., Friedman, S., & Coppes, M.J. (2022). Health Communication. Advanced online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/10410236.2022.2051349

“Direct-to-consumer advertisements for healthcare services constitute a rare channel of public communication where consumers see and hear directly from their local providers and healthcare organizations. Although spending on these advertisements has increased drastically during the past decades, research on their content and effects remains rare. To fill this gap, [authors] analyzed primetime television advertisements for healthcare services directly targeting consumers. The advertisements were collected from the two largest media markets in Nevada for one month. In total, 795 advertisements were identified, and 106 of them were non-duplicates. Analysis revealed that the advertisements focused on patients’ good health outcomes by showing them smiling, going out and about, having fun with others, and enjoying rigorous physical activities. On the other hand, the advertisements focused less on the providers. Although the advertisements often showed providers in clinical settings, basic information about their professional degrees was often missing. Mentions of providers’ other qualifications and professional experiences were even scarcer. Also, a substantial number of advertisements failed to show providers interacting with patients. Additional analysis of patient and provider characteristics revealed under-representation of racial or ethnic minority and older adult patients. Representation of women and minorities as providers was even more uncommon. [Authors] discussed the implications of these findings from the perspective of patient expectation and made suggestions to help providers improve their direct-to-consumer advertisements.”

Walter Orr

User experience

Day or night at the museum: A UX analysis of virtual exhibits

Williams, J.: (2022). Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, 52(2), 166-181. https://doi.org/10.1177/00472816221074101

“The virtual museum tour has claimed new audiences during the pandemic, but not all virtual tours are created equal. First, this paper . . . explore[s] the world of virtual museums and UX scholarship. Secondly, the paper . . . propose[s] a viable set of options in determining effectiveness of virtual museums. Thirdly, the paper . . . discuss[es] specific examples of UX design among museum virtual exhibits offered currently, specifically those that do not require any additional downloads or software. Finally, the paper . . . discuss[es] the implications of high quality UX design within the realm of virtual museum tour.”

Anita Ford

How real is too real? User-testing the effects of realism as a risk communication strategy in sea level rise visualizations

Richards, D. & Jacobson, E. (2022). Technical Communication Quarterly, 31,190–206, https://doi.org/10.1080/10572252.2021.1986135

“In visual risk communication, there has been a push toward using realism to show potential effects of sea level rise on coastal communities, often with the assumption that higher degrees of realism are more effective. We challenge this assumption by sharing the results of a user-based study exploring reactions to simulated images of flooded landmarks. The findings identify nuanced rhetorical and emotional responses, encouraging technical communicators to contribute to risk scholarship in psychology and cartography.”

Rhonda Stanton

Understanding podcast users: Consumption motives and behaviors

Chan-Olmsted, S., & Wang, R. (2022). New Media & Society, 24(3), 684-704. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444820963776

“Through a large-scale national survey, this study provided the first comprehensive examination of podcast users in the United States from the perspectives of motivation and usage. It deepened our understanding of this new on-demand audio platform in the context of consumption drivers, behaviors, and competing media options. The results showed that entertainment, information, and audio platform superiority were the most important motivators for podcast consumption. In addition, motives were found to affect listening behaviors, including listening settings, width, depth, and routine of listening, and usage of competing audio media, such as regular radio, online radio, and streaming music. The findings revealed that podcasting is a distinct medium with unique characteristics rather than a mobile, on-demand extension of existing audio platforms like radio. Podcast consumption, especially on today’s complex media platforms, is multidimensional and should be measured from multiple aspects and examined in various settings.”

Yvonne Wade Sanchez


Chinese women's reproductive justice and social media

Wang, H. (2021). Technical Communication Quarterly, 30, 285–297, https://doi.org/10.1080/10572252.2021.1930178

“By utilizing rhetorical analysis with a focus on agency and feminist rhetoric, this article focuses on China’s most popular pregnancy and mothering app – Babytree – to examine how users assume the mantle of technical writers, writing their pregnant and mothering experiences into online narratives and selling them to generate income. This article shows how Chinese women take advantage of the technical affordances of Babytree to share their embodied experiences and, in so doing, respond to and push back against the traditional norms of motherhood and healthcare provision. The women whose experiences are examined here participate in social media as a way to reenter job markets by using their embodied experiences, thus asserting their rhetorical agency politically and economically while implicitly critiquing the traditional situation of contemporary pregnant women and the state of motherhood in China.”

Rhonda Stanton