Technical communication, writing centers, technical writers, writing consultants, identity, expertise, theory of liminality, communication theory, genre theory
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.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
English; Technical Communications
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic; Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities
Cepero, Nichole, "Technical Communicators and Writing Consultants: Identity and Expertise" (2014). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 4692.