The Top 50 Best Articles on Written Communication. Journal articles include those from The Journal of Technical Communication, and The Journal of Business, and Technical Communication. Vote up your favorite!
Written communication skills can be useful, even crucial, for career success. If you're good at business writing, you're more likely to create a good impression. But if you aren't getting the message across clearly with your words, your chances for getting jobs, promotions, raises and bonuses may be harmed.
Whether you’re sending a winning cover letter to a hiring manager, a memo to a colleague, a report to your team or an email to a client, crisp, highly focused and error-free writing signals that you’re someone who is organized, knowledgeable and detail oriented.
Humans communicate three ways: verbally, nonverbally and through written word. Effective speaking and confident nonverbal language go a long way in hashing out a deal over a lunch or networking in a crowd, but it’s writing that leads the list on job skills sought by employers.
This article addresses the importance of teaching transformative usability and accessibility concepts through the lens of disability studies in general business and professional communication courses. It argues that when students learn to analyze audiences, include diverse users, and foresee accessibility before the final draft because they practice user-centered design, their documents become more accessible for all users and situations. It presents a four-unit course plan that integrates disability studies and usability, including legal requirements. The unit plan advocates considering disability and diverse users and uses at the beginning of the design process.
Do you form opinions about people based upon their written communications with you? Can you distinguish between the people who take pride in their communications and those who don’t?
In today’s electronic age, one of the primary ways we are branding ourselves is through our typed words. Our emails, text messages, and posts on social media sites reveal much about who we are.
How you are viewed impacts the respect people have for you, the influence you have with others, and the people you attract into your life. These things play an important role in your personal and professional relationships, in the value you bring to the market, and how you feel about yourself.
Politeness has been a source of inspiration for research in pragmatics and inter- and intra-cultural communication. However, the existing literature focusses more on how politeness is realized in the context of first language use. Few studies have investigated the issue related to the use of English by second language learners from varying subcultures within the same cultural tradition. The present study examines how Hong Kong and Shanghai tertiary-level learners of English convey politeness in their business letter writing, as reflected in the use of modal sequences. Three hundred business letters were collected from students in Hong Kong and another 300 from students in Shanghai. Majoring in various disciplines, these students were all in their final year of study, and their English proficiency level was generally scored at B2, as compared with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Following a mixed-methods approach, the study tracked a rather complex distribution of politeness realizations by different modal sequences. The findings were that Hong Kong ESL learners appeared to be more strategic users of modal sequences as evidenced by a variety of usage examples from the two purpose-built learner corpora, which were developed to monitor and compare English learners’ business writing at the tertiary level. Another finding was that epistemic modality tended to better preserve politeness in the writing.
It is established that transcription skills (handwriting and spelling) constrain children’s writing. Yet, little is known about the mechanism underlying this relationship. This study examined the mediating role of bursts and pauses on the link between transcription skills and writing fluency or text quality. For that, 174 second graders did the alphabet task and wrote a story using HandSpy. Path analyses indicated that writing fluency and text quality models were excellent descriptions of the data, with 80% and 46% of explained variance, respectively. Results showed that handwriting and spelling influenced writing fluency only indirectly via burst length and short pauses duration (full mediation); and that whereas only handwriting contributed to text quality directly, both handwriting and spelling contributed to text quality indirectly, via burst length (partial mediation). These findings suggest that better transcription skills allow students to write more words without pausing, which in turn results in more fluent and better writing.
This study examines the experiences and perceptions of writers who composed text using “distraction-free” writing tools that stand as alternatives to standard word processing programs. The purpose of this research was to develop a clearer understanding of how digital writing tools may shape the activities and practices of writers, as well as what writing with unfamiliar tools and technologies might reveal about writing processes. Analysis of study participants’ reflective narratives of their composing experience suggests the extent to which writing tools and technologies influence routine practices, assist writers as they try to direct their attention (and avoid distraction), motivate writing, and impact writers’ “text sense” as they compose. Moreover, findings indicate how different tools and technologies may be viewed as more or less useful for different writing tasks. This article ends with a call for writing researchers, writing teachers, and software developers to attend more critically to the ways writing technologies shape the practices of writers.
Stance is a growing focus of academic writing research and an important aspect of writing development in higher education. Research on student writing to date has explored stance across different levels, language backgrounds, and disciplines, but has rarely focused on stance features across genres. This article explores stance marker use between two important genre families in higher education—persuasive argumentative writing and analytic explanatory writing—based on corpus linguistic analysis of late undergraduate and early graduate-level writing in the Michigan Corpus of Upper-Level Student Papers (MICUSP). The specific stance markers in the study, both epistemic and textual cues, have been shown to distinguish student writing across levels; this study, then, extends the analysis to consider the comparative use of these markers across genres. The findings show two stance expectations persistent across genres as well as significant distinctions between argumentative and explanatory writing vis-à-vis stance markers that intensify and contrast. The findings thus point to important considerations for instruction, assignment design, and future research.
Design has come to be understood as an essential aspect of the work that technical communicators claim. As a result, research in the field of technical communication has approached studies of design in numerous ways. This article showcases how technical communication researchers assume the roles of observers, testers, critics, creators, and consultants in their handling of design artifacts. Such a model regarding these roles may help us to better understand the design relationships researchers presume as they further knowledge of design within our field. This article offers a framework to leverage into a comprehensive and integrated model for explaining our work on design to others outside of technical communication.
Sage Journals describes the importance of facial expressions in communication. "This study explores how a spokesperson’s facial expressions and verbal response strategies affect participants’ evaluations of an organization’s crisis communication responses. Using a between-subjects experiment with Taiwanese participants, the study investigates the effects of congruence and incongruence between an organization’s emotional and verbal responses on participants’ perceptions of the acceptability of its crisis response. The findings suggest that an organization’s emotional response should be congruent with its verbal response strategy in order to enhance the audience’s acceptance of its crisis response and in turn protect its reputation."
Any management consultant will tell you that communication skills are vital to success in business. Business is fundamentally about getting other people to do things -- getting employees to be productive, customers to buy your product or service, government to leave you alone -- and you can’t make these things happen if you can’t communicate well.
The great writer Samuel Beckett once said that “words are all we have.” Each day—which includes going to work each morning for many of us—we speak an average of 16,000 words. In fact, during one study, the chattiest of test subjects spoke nearly 47,000 words per day. That's a lot of words that we probably don't put much thought into because they flow so naturally.
In the world of entertainment, relationships are the key to success. While this is true in all business, it has unique relevance in Hollywood. When I worked at a talent agency in Beverly Hills, it was expected that the talent agents have their calendars filled with lunch meetings. These meetings did not have to be tied to any specific job but should be with entertainment executives. The idea was that one could only know what is going on around town if one is going around town. The added and perhaps unspoken benefit was that by spending face time with producers, executives and other people with whom you will make deals creates a more productive dealmaking experience. If you know the person, see them often and will have to work with them on various projects for the next 20 years, then you are less likely to rake them over the coals.
Spend a day in any office, and you’ll quickly observe the multitude of different communication styles present in the workplace. Some people like to stick to facts and figures; others love to ask about your latest family vacation. Some people’s eyes glaze over if you start by diving into nitty-gritty details; others panic if you don’t start a project with a robust timeline in place.
When we don’t feel heard at work, where we usually spend most of our waking hours, we can become incredibly frustrated, judgmental and apt to misinterpret situations way more often. It can lead to breakdowns and unengaged employees or leaders if they don’t feel valued and respected. Bad communication creates tension and a negative dynamic and environment. Ultimately, communication is the key to building trust interpersonally and within a team, and trust is essential to great performance and outcomes.
Consider the eye contact that confirms you’re listening, the smile that acknowledges their insightful suggestion, the head nod that encourages them to go ahead and ask a difficult question, the grimace you share about a snafu with a prickly employee in another department, and the touch on the arm to thank them for speaking up and giving helpful feedback.
Hiring managers and executives consistently rank good communication as one of the most important skills for employees to have. This is because communication is at the core of every business—even an employee who sits by themselves still likely communicates with people, either on the phone or via email. Being able to get information across clearly makes work more efficient, understandable, and less frustrating. As part of the regular suite of training, every employee at your company should also receive communications training. It is a vital part of keeping an organization running smoothly and cohesively.
Written Communication: An International Quarterly of Research, Theory, and Application has published a number of special issues throughout its 34-year history, each one focusing on a topic of general interest to the field of writing studies and engaging with relevant as well as timely subject matter. While diverse in content and scope, these issues collectively emphasize writing as an object of inquiry: what it is, what it does, who does it and how, and what we can do to capture its complexity through disciplined and interdisciplinary study.
Big data is one of the most hyped buzzwords in both academia and industry. This article makes an early contribution to research on big data by situating data theoretically as a historical object and arguing that much of the discourse about the supposed transparency and objectivity of big data ignores the crucial roles of interpretation and communication. To set forth that analysis, this article engages with recent discussion of big data and “smart” cities to show the communicative practices operating behind the scenes of large data projects and relate those practices to the profession of technical communication.
Sage Journals says, "This systematic review of 46 published articles investigates the constructs employed and the meanings assigned to writing in writing-to-learn assignments given to students in science courses. Using components of assignments associated with the greatest learning gains—meaning making, clear expectations, interactive writing processes, and metacognition—this review illuminates the constructs of writing that yield conceptual learning in science. In so doing, this article also provides a framework that can be used to evaluate writing-to-learn assignments in science, and it documents a new era in research on writing to learn in science by showing the increased rigor that has characterized studies in this field during the past decade."
"This report details the second phase of an ongoing research project investigating the visual invention and composition processes of scientific researchers. In this phase, four academic researchers completed think-aloud protocols as they composed graphics for research presentations; they also answered follow-up questions about their visual education, pedagogy, genres of practice, and interactions with publics. Results are presented first as narratives and then as topologies—visualizations of the communal beliefs, values, and norms (topoi) that connect the individual narratives to wider community practices. Results point toward an ecological model of visual invention and composition strategies in the crafting of research graphics. They also suggest that these strategies may be underrepresented in scientists’ education. More explicit attention to them may help improve STEM visual literacy for nonexperts." -Sage Journals
Sage Journals summarizes the article. "The literature suggests that the success of innovation clusters is based on personal networks that connect members of scientific, educational, and business organizations, stimulating more formalized cross-boundary collaborations between the three sectors. But it is still unclear if such organizational collaborations actually correspond with these personal ties and which aspects of personal communication are most strongly associated with organizational collaborations. To investigate these issues, the authors applied network analysis to study an innovation cluster in Algarve, Portugal. They found that cross-boundary organizational collaborations corresponded with personal ties. Moreover, they found that collaborations appeared to correlate most strongly with emotional attachments between individuals."
The article is summarized by Sage Journals. "Through a study of collaborative writing at a student advocacy nonprofit, this article explores how writers distribute their text planning across tools, artifacts, and gestures, with a particular focus on how embodied representations of texts are present in text planning. Findings indicate that these and other representations generated by the writers move through a spectrum of durability, from provisional to more persistent representations. The author argues that these findings offer useful insights into the relationships among distributed cognition, materiality, embodiment, and text planning and have implications for practitioners and students of writing. Additionally, the author recommends that scholars further investigate the ways in which embodied representations of texts are generated through lived experiences with the materials of writing."
The following abstract is from Sage Journals. "In most assessments of students’ argumentive writing and in most research on the topic, students write on topics for which they have no specific prior preparation. We examined development in the argumentive writing urban middle school students did as part of a two-year dialogic-based intervention in which students engaged deeply with a series of topics and participated in various kinds of electronic and verbal dialogic activities related to the topic. Students’ achievements exceeded those typical of the extemporaneous expository writing of middle school students. The gradual developments observed over time included ones in (a) addressing and seeking to weaken the opposing position, (b) identifying weaknesses in a favored position and strengths in an opposing one, (c) connecting and integrating opposing arguments, and (d) using evidence to weaken as well as support claims. In addition to identifying a trajectory of what develops in the development of argumentive writing, these analyses support the claim of dialogic argumentation as a productive bridge to individual argumentive writing and highlight the contribution of deep engagement with the topic in enhancing writing."
In an information technology (IT) organization, effective communication is a core competency that is often overlooked. As leaders build technology teams, we focus on employees that have strong technical aptitude, problem-solving skills and how a person’s demeanor and attitude will fit into the team. However, we can take communication skills for granted. Why do we do this? Communication is critical to a successful IT career and organization and can be quite detrimental if it goes unaddressed.
Remember that when talking about “millennial” communication preferences, we’re really talking about the future of workplace communication overall—and whether you like it or not, you’ll need to prepare for those changes. As of 2015, according to Pew Research Center, millennials have surpassed Gen Xers as being the most prominently represented generation in the modern workforce, with 53.5 million people. So how do these millions of millennials prefer to communicate?
The shift toward text-based communication has eliminated context and increased the opportunity for miscommunication. But even worse is what we’re not saying. In a world where a global audience is the default and political scandals, advertising missteps and CEO gaffes go viral in seconds (believe me, I know), caution has replaced meaning as our main concern. We’re talking more than ever, but we’re not saying very much. In a business context, this results in unclear expectations, unmet objectives and a general waste of time.
Recently, I wrote about how a wall is a powerful concept because it's so specific and tangible. Whether it's made of steel or cement, a wall is concrete. We can picture it. But what about $5.7 billion, the amount that a certain wall is supposed to cost? That's a big number, but here's the thing: A number is not compelling. It's abstract. And because of that, a number doesn't stick.
That's why if you're communicating about numbers, you should listen to my husband, Paul B. Brown, who has written more than 40 business books. His rule is this: Never use a number unless you compare it to something else. (I don't always listen to him, but I do about this.)
In fact, Sam Walker the author of The Captain Class stated in a recent interview with me on the Follow My Lead Podcast, "The best leaders are always communicating, almost to the point where it's tiring. All of the captains of the greatest sports team's of all time were extremely effective communicators even though they weren't always eloquent."
Powerful communication will allow you to better connect with those you lead and inspire them to produce their best work. Here are four ways you can improve your workplace communication practices.
In recent decades, the contextualisation of academic literacy practices through in-discipline initiatives has become more common in Australian universities (Harris & Ashton, 2011), and such approaches are encouraged by the Australian Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations’ Good Practice Principles for English Language (DEEWR, 2009). Although this approach makes sense to those of us who work in academic language and literacy (ALL) contexts, it can be difficult to demonstrate the effectiveness of the interventions, and studies so far have often relied on student satisfaction or analysis of course pass rates. This paper reports on a study which took a different approach. We analysed students’ written texts for evidence of the effectiveness of an in-discipline literacy intervention in a first year management course. A convenience sample of nine student essays was de-identified and examined for evidence of how effectively students applied the academic writing skills and conventions highlighted through an in-discipline intervention. Each of the essays was qualitatively analysed using a discourse analysis framework which reflected the intended learning outcomes of the ALL intervention. Although the student essays bear the hallmarks of novice writers, and in particular we found that the students struggled to use complex management theory effectively to build an argument, the students all demonstrated their ability to emulate the genre required in a management essay. Our analysis suggests that the students in this study did indeed benefit from the intervention, and contributes another perspective to the already strong body of research supporting in-discipline embedding of academic literacy development.
A growing body of scholarship in the field of writing research from a cognitive perspective suggests that girls tend to outperform boys in particular writing tasks. Still, our understanding about gender differences continues to evolve. The present study specifically focused on gender differences in writing between students from Grade 4 to Grade 9. We examined differences in handwriting and self-efficacy, as well as in three measures of written composition across two genres (viz., spelling, text length, and text quality in stories and opinion essays). Moreover, we tested whether there were differences in written composition above and beyond handwriting and self-efficacy. Findings suggest that girls consistently outperformed boys in handwriting, self-efficacy, spelling, text length, and text quality. These effects were moderated by neither students’ grade nor text genre. In addition, after accounting for handwriting and self-efficacy, females still performed better than males in the three measures of written composition. Overall, findings confirmed the gender difference typically found in writing and indicated that potential explanatory variables for it may be handwriting and self-efficacy.
This article reexamines Henry’s 2006 proposal for training technical communicators as “discourse workers,” as a solution within a certain postmodern problematic, in which changing economic conditions in the late 1990s and early 2000s made workers vulnerable to exploitation, outsourcing, and layoffs. Henry used postmodern and critical theory to describe discourse as a medium of leverage for enabling workers to define new workplace agencies. Even though Henry’s discourse worker is an appealing concept buttressed by solid theory, it did not become a widely implemented model for pedagogy or workplace practice. To reexamine Henry’s concept, the authors exchange late 20th-century postmodern theory for the more recent articulation of “post-postmodern” theory proposed by Nealon and explore the implications of swapping out the postmodern puzzle piece for a post-postmodern puzzle piece in Henry’s formulation of the discourse worker.
This article examines the teaching of a multimodal pedagogy in an online technical communication classroom. Based on the results of an e-portfolio assessment, the authors argue that multimodality can be taught successfully in the online environment if the instructor carefully plans and scaffolds each assignment. Specifically, they argue for an increased emphasis within the technical communication classroom on teaching the e-portfolio as a genre that not only exemplifies students’ multimodal literacies but also establishes their identities as technical communicators in the 21st century. This article provides a model for teaching multimodal composition in the online technical communication classroom and calls for more scholarship on teaching the e-portfolio in the digital environment.
Non-literary texts are being interpreted and studied as narratives to great advantage in many, diverse fields. In contrast, narration is widely devalued among teachers and researchers of technical communication This devaluation is unwarranted in light of the complexity, pervasiveness, and potential power of narration in technical communication. Research into narration as a focal topic may facilitate a fuller, more conscious exploitation of the narrative mode.
"This study aims to explore the process of reading during writing. More specifically, it investigates whether a combination of keystroke logging data and eye tracking data yields a better understanding of cognitive processes underlying fluent and nonfluent text production. First, a technical procedure describes how writing process data from the keystroke logging program Inputlog are merged with reading process data from the Tobii TX300 eye tracker. Next, a theoretical schema on reading during writing is presented, which served as a basis for the observation context we created for our experiment. This schema was tested by observing 24 university students in professional communication (skilled writers) who typed short sentences that were manipulated to elicit fluent or nonfluent writing. The experimental sentences were organized into four different conditions, aiming at (a) fluent writing, (b) reflection about correct spelling of homophone verbs, (c) local revision, and (d) global revision. Results showed that it is possible to manipulate degrees of nonfluent writing in terms of time on task and percentage of nonfluent key transitions. However, reading behavior was affected only for the conditions that explicitly required revision. This suggests that nonfluent writing does not always affect the reading behavior, supporting the parallel and cascading processing hypothesis."
The article from Sage Journals includes the following information. "Writing studies scholarship has long understood the need for context-based studies of student writing. Few studies, however, have closely examined how students use intertextual relationships in the context of learning to compose argumentative essays. Drawing on a 17-day argumentative writing unit in a ninth-grade humanities classroom, this article uses the concept of “intertextual trace” to explore how students make intertextual connections in their writing and negotiate the social dynamics of classroom learning. Intertextual analysis of students’ final essays revealed overlapping tracings and resonances across multiple resources, showing how and the ways in which students create arguments and respond to exigencies within a classroom setting. Analysis of thematic, structural, and lexical tracings also showed students making intertextual connections through repeating, reordering, responding to, and extending the texts offered by their teacher and peers. In so doing, students served as curators—shaping ideas, curricular offerings, and language into final argumentative essays—who were able to develop agency in and through their writing."
The article from Sage Journals discusses the following information. "This article is an investigation of composing practices through which people create networks with mobile phones. By looking through the lens of actor-network theory, the author portrays the networking activity of mobile phone users as translation, what Latour describes as an infralanguage to which different disciplinary perspectives can be appended. Given how much mobile phone use is information-based, the author describes how five people composed on mobile phones to create coordinated networks of professional and domestic activity. To arrive at this discussion, the author first considers the objectives of mobile networking, which include creating a sense of place and coordination within that space. The author then describes the findings of a case study of mobile phone users who build translational networks. The discussion focuses on the participants’ composing practices."
Sage Journals summarizes this article in the following abstract. "Negotiating membership within a disciplinary community is as much an exercise in rhetorical facility as it is content expertise. Where individuals reside in the hierarchy of membership is determined by not only what they talk and write about, but how. Yet, there are many factors that can impact newcomers’ acculturation into a disciplinary community on a rhetorical level. In this article, I use positioning theory and intersectional identity to examine how Anne, a woman of color participating in undergraduate research in science, learned to read and write as a scientist and the ways her social position as a woman, person of color, and low-income and first-generation student influenced her perception and adoption of the discourse as her own. I argue that social positioning influences students’ views of scientific discourse and affects their rhetorical skill development as scientific writers. Because recognition as a group insider is heavily influenced by discourse, this research has potential implications for those interested in retention and persistence of women of color in STEM, as well as for those interested in changing learning cultures and incorporating writing instruction into disciplinary arenas."
Sage Journals shares the following information in the article, "A growing body of scholarship in the field of writing research from a cognitive perspective suggests that girls tend to outperform boys in particular writing tasks. Still, our understanding about gender differences continues to evolve. The present study specifically focused on gender differences in writing between students from Grade 4 to Grade 9. We examined differences in handwriting and self-efficacy, as well as in three measures of written composition across two genres (viz., spelling, text length, and text quality in stories and opinion essays). Moreover, we tested whether there were differences in written composition above and beyond handwriting and self-efficacy. Findings suggest that girls consistently outperformed boys in handwriting, self-efficacy, spelling, text length, and text quality. These effects were moderated by neither students’ grade nor text genre. In addition, after accounting for handwriting and self-efficacy, females still performed better than males in the three measures of written composition. Overall, findings confirmed the gender difference typically found in writing and indicated that potential explanatory variables for it may be handwriting and self-efficacy."
Sage Journals explains, "Argumentation schema theory guided four experiments on the processing of plausible and implausible reasons and warrant statements testing the hypothesis that most reasons produce greater agreement with claims than when claims are presented without support. Another hypothesis was that leaving warrants unstated often produces greater agreement than when the warrant is made explicit. In Study 1, American participants were more likely to agree with claims after they read arguments than beforehand—even those with implausible reasons and warrants. In Study 2, American history and environmental science majors read brief arguments and agreed more with implausible arguments than claims alone. Study 3, with Chinese participants, replicated some but not all earlier results. In Study 4, with Chinese participants, blatantly false claims supported by bogus reasons yielded marginally greater agreement than unsupported claims. These findings suggest that many people have uncritical argumentation schemata with low support thresholds, making them vulnerable to weak and bogus arguments.
Sage Journals describes the following study. "This study examines the experiences and perceptions of writers who composed text using “distraction-free” writing tools that stand as alternatives to standard word processing programs. The purpose of this research was to develop a clearer understanding of how digital writing tools may shape the activities and practices of writers, as well as what writing with unfamiliar tools and technologies might reveal about writing processes. Analysis of study participants’ reflective narratives of their composing experience suggests the extent to which writing tools and technologies influence routine practices, assist writers as they try to direct their attention (and avoid distraction), motivate writing, and impact writers’ “text sense” as they compose. Moreover, findings indicate how different tools and technologies may be viewed as more or less useful for different writing tasks. This article ends with a call for writing researchers, writing teachers, and software developers to attend more critically to the ways writing technologies shape the practices of writers."
Sage Journals reports: "Writing studies scholarship has long understood the need for context-based studies of student writing. Few studies, however, have closely examined how students use intertextual relationships in the context of learning to compose argumentative essays. Drawing on a 17-day argumentative writing unit in a ninth-grade humanities classroom, this article uses the concept of “intertextual trace” to explore how students make intertextual connections in their writing and negotiate the social dynamics of classroom learning. Intertextual analysis of students’ final essays revealed overlapping tracings and resonances across multiple resources, showing how and the ways in which students create arguments and respond to exigencies within a classroom setting. Analysis of thematic, structural, and lexical tracings also showed students making intertextual connections through repeating, reordering, responding to, and extending the texts offered by their teacher and peers. In so doing, students served as curators—shaping ideas, curricular offerings, and language into final argumentative essays—who were able to develop agency in and through their writing."
Brian McNely from Sage Journals explains the article. "Professional and technical communication increasingly involves developing narratives that traverse multiple genres, media formats, and publishing venues. In marketing and advertising, brand stories unfold across Web sites, ad campaigns, and social media properties. A fundamental challenge in such work is multigenre coordination, leading to a key question: How do professionals manage complex ecologies of genres, media content, and interactions in ways that build and sustain narrative coherence and audience engagement? Reporting findings from a study of transmedia writers, this article argues that metageneric texts may emerge as important coordinative resources for planning, developing, and tracking uptakes within multigenre narratives. It thus contributes to professional and technical communication by describing a widening gap in scholarly approaches to metagenre; arguing for empirical examinations of metageneric constructs in tangible, flexible texts that serve situated needs in given activity systems; and demonstrating how such texts may emerge and play a formidable role in coordinating contemporary, multigenre narratives.
Sage Journals explains the article in detail. "We examined longhand note taking strategies when reading and summarizing a source text that was formatted with bullets or that was presented in a single paragraph. We analyzed cognitive effort when reading the source text, when jotting notes, when reading the notes, and when composing the summary, as well as time spent in these activities and the content of the notes and the summaries. With a formatted text, students’ perceived comprehension difficulty was lower and they expended less cognitive effort, spent less time reading the text, and noted more ideas. While composing the summary, only those students who read the formatted source text continued selecting ideas in their notes. Finally, the summaries were unaffected by the formatting of the source text. The study shows that formatting a source text with bullets facilitates note taking by helping students to grasp its structure and by reducing the cognitive effort of reading."
According to Sage Journals, "There has been much interest recently in researching the changes editors, supervisors, and other language brokers make to the writing of L2 researchers who are attempting to publish in English. However, studies focused on the presubmission proofreading of students’ university essays are rarer. In this study of student proofreading, 14 UK university proofreaders all proofread the same authentic, low-quality master’s essay written by an L2 speaker of English to enable a comparison of interventions. Proofreaders explained their interventions by means of a talk aloud while proofreading and at a post-proofreading interview. Quantitative and qualitative analysis of the data reveals evidence of widely differing practices and beliefs, with the number of interventions ranging from 113 to 472. Some proofreaders intervened at the level of content, making lengthy suggestions to improve the writer’s essay structure and argumentation, while others were reluctant to do more than focus on the language. Disturbingly, some proofreaders introduced errors into the text while leaving the writer’s errors uncorrected. I conclude that the results are cause for deep concern for universities striving to formulate ethical proofreading policies."
Sage Journals summarizes the article. "Based on Vygotsky’s theory of the interplay of the tool and sign functions of language, this study presents a textual analysis of a corpus of student-authored texts to illuminate aspects of development evidenced through the dialectical tension of tool and sign. Data were drawn from a series of reflective memos I authored during a seminar for new doctoral students designed to encourage the development of their identities as educational researchers. In an effort to understand how the tool and sign functions played out in this developmental context, I employed three methods of analysis: (a) I parsed them into evidential units of induction or deduction, (b) I positioned each unit on semantic differential scales to indicate the assumptions and authorial roles manifested, and (c) I examined how these positions were discursively realized through problematizing, intertextual reach, procedural membership, and reciprocal membership. The analysis demonstrates how examining the dialectical relationship of tool and sign illuminates the developmental trajectory of a student writer."
Shorthand, social media writing has become all too familiar for my generation. (Isn't filtering in 'lol' to almost any conversation second nature at this point?). But our hundred or so texts a day and witty Instagram captions don't really help translate into the style of writing we use at work.
It turns out, being a good writer --even in an e-mail, letter, or staff memo -- is more important than you think. Cara Stein, chief talent officer for NBC Universal, would know. Cara identifies top talent at the company and also oversees the coveted and competitive NBC Universal Page Program, a 12-month, early career development program in the media. Cara's tasked with recruiting the best in the industry.
By definition, a memo (short for memorandum) is a business document that seeks to engage staffers inside a company and communicates important messages on key issues on meetings, company policies, and corporate business.
Writing a good memo is mostly about good formatting, solid structure, and the ability to clearly and succinctly convey the intended message.