Writing in the Workplace: New Research Perspectives
- Publish Date: 1998-02-17
- Binding: Paperback
Rachel Spilka brings together nineteen previously unpublished essays concerned with ways in which recent research on workplace writing can contribute to the future direction of the discipline of technical and professional writing. Hers is the first anthology on the social perspective in professional writing to feature focused discussions of research advances and future research directions.
The workplace as defined by this volume is a widely diverse area that encompasses small companies and large corporations, public agencies and private firms, and a varied population of writersengineers, managers, nurses, social workers, government employees, and others. Because much research has been conducted on the relationship between workplace writing and social contexts since the ground~breaking 1985 publication of Odell and Goswamis Writing in Nonacademic Settings, Spilka contends that this is an appropriate time for the professional writing community to consider what it has learned to date and where it should be heading next in light of these recent discoveries. She argues that now professional writers should try to ask better questions and to define new directions.
Spilka breaks the anthology into two parts. Part 1 is a collection of ten essays presenting textual and qualitative studies conducted by the authors in the late l980s on workplace writing. Spilka has chosen these studies as representative of the finest research being conducted in professional writing that can serve as models for current and future researchers in the field. Barbara Couture, Jone Rymer, and Barbara Mirel report on surveys they conducted relying on the social perspective both to design survey instruments and to analyze survey data. Jamie MacKinnon assesses a qualitative study describing what workplace professionals might need to learn about social contexts and workplace writing. Susan Kleimann and editor Rachel Spilka discuss multiple case studies they conducted that help explain the value during the composing process of social interaction among the participants of a rhetorical situation. Judy Z. Segal explores the negotiation between the character of Western medicine and the nature of its professional discourse. Jennie Dautermann describes a qualitative study in which a group of nurses claimed the authority to restructure their own procedural information system. Anthony Parfinds in a case study of social workers that writing can be constrained heavily by socially imposed limitations and restrictions. Graham Smart describes a study of discourse conventions in a financial institution. Geoffrey A. Cross reports on a case study of the interrelation of genre, context, and process in the group production of an executive letter and report.