Keywords

Technical communication, writing centers, technical writers, writing consultants, identity, expertise, theory of liminality, communication theory, genre theory

Abstract

This paper examines the roles of technical communicators and writing center consultants in regards to their identities and the expertise that they bring to what they do. Both fields have struggled with a lack of understanding surrounding what their positions entail and more importantly how they perform in their roles. With this in mind, the goal of this paper is to analyze how the growth of each field and the variations of each position contribute to the issue of identity. Furthermore, as a result of the identity problem that faces each position, I suggest using the theory of liminality, communication theory, and genre theory to examine more closely how technical communicators and writing center consultants approach the work they do. Technical communicators and writing center consultants perform very similar roles in their respective fields. Both positions have the ability to contribute to various fields through the work that they do. Technical communicators have the ability to communicate in multiple areas without necessarily being subject matter experts in the areas they participate in. The same holds true for writing center consultants who may, in one day, assist students in multiple subjects without necessarily having specific disciplinary knowledge of each area addressed. Outsiders do not understand how technical communicators and writing consultants can communicate within an unfamiliar field, which creates a main area of controversy for both roles. Using the three theories mentioned above, I make an argument for just how it is possible for them to perform in this capacity. By focusing on how technical communicators and writing center consultants perform in their roles instead of on their writing, their identity and expertise becomes clear and confusion surrounding each field can be banished. Although technical communicators and writing consultants both face similar challenges, their responsibilities differ in ways that affect how these theories apply. Still, all three theories illuminate how rhetoric provides the basis for expertise in both technical communication and writing centers.

Notes

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Graduation Date

2014

Semester

Spring

Advisor

Young, Beth

Degree

Master of Arts (M.A.)

College

College of Arts and Humanities

Department

English

Degree Program

English; Technical Communications Track

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0005146

URL

http://purl.fcla.edu/fcla/etd/CFE0005146

Language

English

Release Date

May 2014

Length of Campus-only Access

None

Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)

Subjects

Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic; Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities

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