Published on September 4, 2018

The September 2018 issue of the IEEE Transactions on Professional Communicationhas recently been published online. If you are a paper subscriber, you will receive the issue, printed together with the December issue, in early December.

Volume 61, Number 3, September 2018

Research ArticleFraming Controversy on Social Media: #NoDAPL and the Debate About the Dakota Access Pipeline on Twitter,by J. M. Smith and T. van Ierland

This article explores how controversial engineering decisions become the subject of social media debates, using the case of the Dakota Access pipeline. The #NoDAPL hashtag allowed Twitter users to shape the debate through how they framed the controversy. The authors of this article categorized #NoDAPL tweets by frames exhibited. The most-used frames were conflict/strategy and morality/ethics, with no middle path frame, leading to the echo-chamber effect and online polarization. The scientific/technical uncertainty frame was used only sporadically, in contrast with project proponents who tried to emphasize the pipeline’s safety

Research Article—A Multidimensional Analysis of Article Discussion Sections in the Field of Chemical Engineering, by B. Jin

This study investigates linguistic characterizations in the form of linguistic co-occurrence patterns in discussion sections of English research articles (RAs) in chemical engineering, and linguistic variations that distinguish discussion sections of high-impact articles from those in low-impact articles. Six linguistic co-occurrence patterns were identified in RA discussion sections. The results examine the linguistic characterizations in the RA discussion sections and interesting differences in the high- and low-impact discussion sections.

Research Article—An Investigation of Maintenance Technicians’ Information-Seeking Behavior in a Repair Center, by J. Lundin and Y. Eriksson

We lack a good understanding of maintenance technicians’ information-seeking behavior. For instance, little is known about what kinds of information needs that technicians exhibit and what types of sources they employ. Understanding such information-seeking behavior is essential to design useful information. Workplace observations reveal that technicians exhibited 50 different types of information needs. They seldom sought instructions covering an entire work task. Instead, to satisfy their information needs, they consulted four types of sources.

Research Article—Resolving Discourse at Technical-Support Helpdesks, by V. D. Robles

This study examined discourse during problem resolution in face-to-face technical-support interactions between technical-support providers and users. Using speech-act discourse analysis, this study examined 17 helpdesk interactions that resolved problems. Statistically significant results about both speakers’ discourse indicate that typical instructional strategies (such as explanations) do not necessarily characterize more satisfactory interactions. Instead, providing minimal responses or giving background information from personal experience contribute toward satisfactory outcomes. Also, users’ facility in asking follow-up questions or giving further background information promotes satisfaction.      .

Research Article—Metaphor Use in Chinese and American CSR Reports, by Y. Sun, G. Jin, Y. Yang, and J. Zhao

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports help develop concerned stakeholders’ perceptions of corporate image. This study investigates metaphor use as a discursive and cognitive strategy for developing corporate images in Chinese and American CSR reports using corpus-based conceptual metaphor analysis. Both countries’ CSR reports share most metaphor parings that contribute to building corporate images of being economically competitive, ethically cooperative, and environmentally responsible. Although both stress self-development and taking a leading position, American companies pay more attention to external cooperation with others. Chinese companies stress internal cooperation and a well-organized hierarchy

Teaching Case—Global Technical Communication in 7.5 Weeks Online: Combining Industry and Academic Perspectives, by T. Batova

Although excellent practical materials for teaching global technical communication (TC) have been published over the last 20 years, we need comprehensive course descriptions, particularly for courses in online and intensive formats. This teaching case describes a 7.5-week online global TC course at Arizona State University that is divided into six theme-based units and a unit that focuses on a research/revision project. The course was well-received, and students posed critical questions to explore in future courses in their degree program.

Teaching Case—Transliteracies in Intercultural Professional Communication, by J. Walwema

The comparative/contrastive approach to teaching intercultural communication predisposes learners to contrasting those cultures against their own and reinforces their preconceptions about national cultural characteristics. Augmenting that approach with transliteracies—emphasizing the benefits of knowledge sourcing not limited to scholarly/academic sources—offers a multidimensional perspective to intercultural communication. The approaches described here draw on the work of literacy researchers who delineate ways in which transliteracy broadens the scope of learning materials, including texts that are cultural and social, and that can be studied for what they convey about those cultures.

Book Review—Lisa Emerson, The Forgotten Tribe: Scientists as Writers, reviewed by R. Floyd

Book Review—Alberto Ferreira, Universal UX Design: Building Multicultural User Experience, reviewed by R. J. Pinkerton

The issue is available online at: Note that a user ID and password are required to view individual articles.