Qualitative Research in Technical Communication: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Qualitative Research in Technical Communication

1st Edition

Edited by James Conklin, George F. Hayhoe


402 pages

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Addressing the explosive growth in qualitative research in recent years, this volume represents the first anthology to bring together a representative sample from this growing body of work, and comments on the reasons for the extraordinary interest in qualitative research. Contributors to the volume bring forward reports of significant, structured qualitative research into various aspects of technical communication practice, addressing the questions of what new insights researchers are generating about the working reality of today’s technical communicators, and how technical communicators are perceived and treated by managers and by colleagues from other disciplines.

Including examples of qualitative methodologies—including ethnography, case study, focus groups, action research, grounded theory, and interview research— used by technical communicators to strengthen their practice, the result is a rich harmony of perspectives, as diverse as the field of technical communication itself.

This book will be of interest to to students and academics seeking up-to-date information on current industry practices in technical communication, as well as to practitioners in technical and professional communication. The book will also serve as a text in undergraduate seminars and courses at the master’s level.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

James Conklin & George F. Hayhoe

2 Qualitative Research in Technical Communication: Issues of Value, Identity, and Use

Patricia Sullivan & Rachel Spilka

3 Evaluating Qualitative Inquiry in Technical and Scientific Communication: Toward a Practical and Dialogic Validity

Ann M. Blakeslee, Caroline M. Cole, & Theresa Conefrey

4 The Future of Technical Communication: How Innovation, Technology, Information Management, and Other Forces Are Shaping the Future of the Profession

Barbara Giammona

5 Modeling Information for Three-dimensional Space: Lessons Learned from Museum Exhibit Design

Saul Carliner

6 Toward a Meaningful Model of Technical Communication

Hillary Hart & James Conklin

7 The Role of Rhetorical Invention for Visuals: A Qualitative Study of Technical Communicators in the Workplace

Tiffany Craft Portewig

8 A Work in Process: A Study of Single-source Documentation and Document Review Processes of Cardiac Devices

Lee-Ann Kastman Breuch

9 A Call for New Courses to Train Scientists as Effective Communicators in Contemporary Government and Business Settings

Scott A. Mogull

10 Proceeding with Caution: A Case Study of Engineering Professionals Reading White Papers

Russell Willerton

11 Using Web 2.0 to Conduct Qualitative Research: A Conceptual Model

Christopher Thacker & David Dayton

12 Heuristic Web Site Evaluation: Exploring the Effects of Guidelines on Experts’ Detection of Usability Problems

Marieke Donker-Kuijer, Menno de Jong, and Leo Lentz

13 Making and Acting: Ethnographi Development of a Case Study Approach

Thomas Vosecky, Marika Seigel, & Charles Wallace

14 Integrating Experts and Non-Experts in Mathematical Sciences Research Teams: A Qualitative Approach

Linda Phillips Driskill & Julie Zeleznik Watts

15 Team Learning in Usability Testing

Michael Hughes & Tom Reeves

16 Qualitative Research in Technical Communication: A Review of Articles Published from 2003 to 2007

Debbie Davy & Christina Valecillos

17 Conclusion

George F. Hayhoe & James Conklin

About the Editors

James Conklin is president of Cadence Human Systems, Inc., and currently serves as the coordinator of the Ontario Research Coalition of Research Institutes / Centres on Health and Aging, and as the co-leader of the research and evaluation team that is investigating the performance of the Seniors Health Research Transfer Network. He has a professional adjunct appointment with Concordia University, where he teaches in the MA program in Human Systems Intervention.

George F. Hayhoe is professor of Technical Communication and director of the MS program in Technical Communication Management at Mercer University’s School of Engineering. A fellow of the Society for Technical Communication, he was editor of its journal, Technical Communication, from 1996 to 2008. He has co-authored two books, and published book chapters, articles, and conference papers on a variety of topics in technical and professional communication.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Communication Studies