As I have mentioned in previous posts (analysis of hacking responses and Kickstarter PR response), as more PR and marketing communications concern technical issues (either directly regarding a technology or technological information about a product or service) there is a need for writers who can write both technical and rhetorically — that is, knowing not just what to say but how and where.
Tag Archives: ethics
“Important Kickstarter Security Notice”
What happened in summary?
- Last week on Wednesday (this date is relevant) Kickstarter’s website was hacked and users’ personal data was stolen. Kickstarter released a PR statement regarding the security incident on Saturday (yes, 3 days later, on a holiday weekend) with recommended instructions that users should take.
Why am I writing about this?
- Security breaches are becoming more and more common and with the need for companies to release PR statements informing their users of an incident, invariably technical instructions need to be conveyed as well. For example, see my previous post on this topic: Rhetorical & #TechComm Analysis of Adobe, Avast, Avira, & AVG “hacking” responses. Continue reading
The purpose of this post is to provide some of the content for my thesis that I completed July 2013. The full text of my thesis is available through ProQuest (UMI):
The programs that were included in my study are the following: Auburn University; James Madison’s MA and MS programs; Mercer; Minnesota State University, Mankato; Montana Tech of the University of Montana; New Jersey Institute of Technology; North Dakato State University; University of Wisconsis-Stout; West Virginia University.
In this research, I performed a content analysis of the required courses in technical and professional communication (TPC) graduate course syllabi to investigate the prevalence of ethics-related materials included in course instruction. The content analysis for my research included collecting the syllabi of required courses from a sample of TPC graduate programs, and coding for the occurrence of journal articles and textbook chapters that included the word “ethics” in the title, summary, or keywords. My findings show that on average Continue reading
Article Review: 350-word summary of “A Question of Ethics: Lessons from Technical Communicators on the Job”
Dragga, Sam. 1997. “A Question of Ethics: Lessons from Technical Communicators on the Job.” Technical Communication Quarterly 6 (2): 161–178.
The questions of how useful, desirable, or effective ethics instructions is for professional technical communicators has been visited and revisited for decades. Most of the literature concerning ethics instruction focuses on the analytical perspective rather than on narratives. In this article, Dragga offers a claim based in part on Continue reading
Article Review: 350-word summary of “The Big Chill: Seven Technical Communications Talk Ten Years After Their Master’s Program.”
Wilson, Greg, and Julie Dyke Ford. 2003. “The Big Chill: Seven Technical Communications Talk Ten Years After Their Master’s Program.” Technical Communication 50 (2) (May): 145-159.
This “Applied Research” study uses an interactive qualitative method and what the authors define as an “autoethnography” to critically examine the culture of technical communicators. The authors posed questions to stimulate an unstructured conversation on how technical and professional communication (TPC) Master’s programs prepared students for the workplace. The four topics addressed in this survey were Continue reading
Article Review: 350-word summary of “Do Curricula Correspond to Managerial Expectations? Core Competencies for Technical Communicators”
Rainey, Kenneth T., Roy K. Turner, and David Dayton. 2005. “Do Curricula Correspond to Managerial Expectations? Core Competencies for Technical Communicators.” Technical Communication 52 (3) (August): 323–352.
This research article uses survey data to analyze the curricula at undergraduate technical and professional communications programs (TPC) and interviews with technical communication managers to evaluate which competencies they desire in workers.
The research takes a broad view and only looks at which competencies (skills or knowledge) programs focus on and which ones managers desire—it does not determine the value of these competencies outside of these two perspectives.
Similar to other research of TPC program curricula, ethical considerations rank in the 50-percentile based on the qualitative content analysis curricula correlated to the surveyed manager expectations. The findings are not representative of all technical communication managers, as noted by Rainey et al. because a large enough random sample could not be found and instead a “sample of convenience” was used to draw some general trends. The top competencies and trends that managers desire from TPC graduates are interpersonal skills and a general knowledge of technology—the ability to learn new technologies is valued more than specific knowledge of technological tools.
Application of research
There are a few ideas that I thought were interesting when applied to my own research. Related to this paper’s methodology, I thought that using a “pre-survey” at the beginning of the survey to gain unbiased results before presenting the managers with a selection to choose from is a good idea. And whereas my research will focus only on ethical considerations, this research did present findings that support my research topic—namely, how approaches to “skill building” versus “depth of cognitive insights” (Rainey, Turner, and Dayton 2005, 323) are important TPC curricula to prepare graduates to understand the impact technology has on people and on their own work.
Article Review: 350-word summary of “Linking Ethics and Language in the Technical Communication Classroom”
Sims, Brenda R. 1993. “Linking Ethics and Language in the Technical Communication Classroom.” Technical Communication Quarterly 2 (3): 285.
This essay combines a literature review with case studies to examine what communication-ethics principles students are learning and to demonstrate how technical communication courses should approach ethics instruction. The author discusses current literature (as of 1993) and suggests that the current pedagogy structures ethics learning around actions, or what I call the industrial approach, instead of by