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Communication of technical information --Study and teaching (Higher) -- Surveys, Universities and colleges -- United States -- Curriculum, Written communication, Writing -- Pedagogy, Technical writing


This paper explores preliminary results from an on-going IRB-approved online survey of workers in scientific, academic, technical and industrial contexts on their attitudes about and approaches to writing in their work. The survey collects samples of language use by scientists and technical professionals when talking about writing and communication in their work and careers in order to document how conventional, or regularized and non-controversial, their language choices are (i.e., “Successful writing is clear and concise”). Coding of survey responses for the construct of the Communication Metaphor reveals a multivalent complex of tacit beliefs, assumptions and learned practices that inform and maintain conventional language about professional and technical writing and communication. Documenting this multivalency is the first step in revealing, recognizing, rejecting, and replacing tacit, but harmful, language practices.


© 2022 Sarah Read


Presented at the 2022 IEEE ProComm conference, Limerick Ireland.

This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document.

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