Welcome to Issue 9.2 of Xchanges!
We hope you enjoy reading our current issue, which features four scholarly research projects by undergraduate students. The writers are Terri Cole, a recent graduate of Rhode Island College, Travis Griffin, a recent graduate of New Mexico Tech, Amani Husain, a recent graduate of University of Colorado, Boulder, and Lysandwr McNary, a recent graduate of New Mexico Tech. The essays included by these four writers indicate the high level of scholarly research conducted by graduating undergraduate students and serve, furthermore, as models for currently enrolled students completing theses, capstone courses, and Senior seminars in the fields of Technical Communication, Writing, and Rhetoric. As exemplary pieces of writing and research, these essays demonstrate the high quality possible in student writing, writing that involves rigorous primary research study (all IRB approved when involving human subjects) and the thorough inclusion of secondary research materials relevant to each projects. We hope that in reading these four essays that you – whether you are a scholar in one of these fields, an undergraduate or graduate student completing a degree, or a professor guiding students in research and writing – are inspired!
Terri Cole’s study, “Transition In and Between Discourse Communities: One Nurse’s Struggle,” offers an analysis of a nurse’s process of enculturation as a writer once she enters the professional domain of a hospital’s oncology unit, her workplace upon graduating with her nursing degree. Cole considers the outside social and political forces that have an impact on her focal nurse’s enculturation; Cole points to several important take-aways for scholars and teachers of writing in university settings and in workplace-orientation settings.
Travis Daniel Griffin’s essay “Intermediate-Level Communication: A Model of Communication for Multiple Cultures” offers insight into methods that writers might employs to ensure the highest level of comprehension among the different groups of readers who might encounter their texts. By focusing on a single set of documents that were available online to readers from different cultural backgrounds, readers who were native English speakers and readers whose training with the English language came via English for Specific Purposes (ESP) programs, Griffin measures how well the meaning from they documents was conveyed to these groups of readers and suggests an alternative model for document-creators, intermediate-level communication, that might more usefully guide their composition of user-oriented texts.
“Reclaiming Rhetorical Worth: Feminist Blogs as a Space for Equality, Cooperation, and Action,” Amani Husain’s contribution to this issue, closely examines the rhetorical devices used be three feminist blogs. By examining the tactics used by the blog writers, Husain reveals that group- or community-formation is sought by these writers through the language choices they actively make, in areas of descriptive words/metaphor- and inclusive-language usage. Husain used a data-coding approach to assess the blogs. Her findings reveal the rhetorical significance of these blogs and point to the need for further research of such communicative spaces used by groups marginalized for reasons of race, sexual-identity, gender, or culture.
Lysandwr McNary’s study, “Cybersecurity Computer-Based Training and Technical Communication Design: An Examination of Technical Communication Design in Federally Mandated Cybersecurity Training,” examines whether the online training modules that civilian and federal employees are required to complete, in order to be complaint with Federal Information Management Security Act (FISMA) requirements, are designed following best practices in technical communication. McNary considers these training modules in light of research scholarly research relevant to the creation of training materials and online modules and she points to a potential gap in Technical Communication curricula in selected programs nationwide, which do not include computer security or information awareness training.
These students’ research projects suggest the wide array of subjects writing and technical communication undergraduate students are pursuing today in Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication programs. After reading the engaging work of these undergraduate scholars, I am confident that students will be inspired to emulate their research rigor, in the domains of primary and secondary research, and faculty will be motivated to push their own students towards such levels of accomplishment, thoroughness and originality of research, and textual clarity.