Published on June 5, 2020

The new issue is now available online.

Research Articles:

Go or No Go: Learning to Persuade in an Early-Stage Student Entrepreneurship Program, by C. Spinuzzi, D. Altounian, and G. P. Pogue

Early-stage accelerator programs teach new entrepreneurs how to identify and exploit venture opportunities. In doing so, they implicitly teach these new entrepreneurs how to develop and iterate claims. But since this function of teaching persuasion has been implicit and generally unsystematic, it is unclear how well it works. This study examines one such accelerator program via a qualitative case study analyzing interviews, observations, and artifacts using thematic coding. It concludes with recommendations for improving how accelerator programs can better train new entrepreneurs to communicate and persuade.

A Comparison of Research Topics Associated With Technical Communication, Business Communication, and Professional Communication, 1963–2017, by S. Carradini

Technical communication, business communication, and professional communication are potentially overlapping disciplines with open disciplinary questions. This study used collocation analysis of the phrases technical communication, business communication, and professional communication from a 4822-abstract corpus to find words unique to a single term, shared by two terms, or shared by all three terms. Findings identified science communication as a technical communication topic. Business communication findings identified an emphasis on global communication. Findings also showed that professional communication is a term that creates a space for emerging concepts and expands disciplinary boundaries. The three shared communication, pedagogy, international, and disciplinary concerns. The study concludes that professional communication is a distinctive discipline that assists technical communication and business communication by incubation of emerging concepts.

Diversity or Division: Language Choices on International Organizations’ Official Websites, by H. Zhang, Y. Wu, and Z. Xie

With the extensive use of the internet, cyber language management has become a critical issue for international organizations (IOs). The language choices on their official websites represent the interests of member nations and are key to organizational image construction. However, research on IOs’ cyber language management is limited. Data from the official websites of 50 intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) and 20 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were collected and analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively. The findings show that English is the dominant language on IOs’ official websites, and is especially preferred by NGOs; inconsistency of IOs’ cyber language policy is found among the languages used on specific pages, e-documents, and the general available languages; and IGOs’ language choices are more diversified, unified, and standardized than NGOs’. Accordingly, the study analyzed the effect of technology on IOs’ language policy. The article also presents suggestions for IOs’ language management concerning the linguistic ecology at supra-national levels.

Creating Contexts in Engineering Research Writing Using a Problem-Solution-Based Writing Model: Experience of Ph.D. Students, by L. L. Khaw and W. W. Tan

The ability to create a context is essential in writing the introduction of a research article (RA). This study explores the experience of engineering Ph.D. students in Australia, for whom English is an Additional Language (EAL), in using a problem-solution-based writing model to develop context-creating skills in writing RA introductions. Twenty-nine Ph.D. students responded to a questionnaire nine months after learning the model and reflected on their ‎experience using it. The findings were corroborated with data obtained from interviews, researcher observation, and writing samples. The results confirm the usefulness of the proposed model and reveal how a continuing process of learning and practicing using the model helps students develop their skills to create contexts and enhance their genre awareness.

The Use of Multimodal Resources by Technical Managers and Their Peers in Meetings Using English as the Business Lingua Franca, by T. Räisänen

Engineers increasingly work and advance their careers in international business settings. They need management and technical skills when working with different stakeholders with whom they may not share a common first language. This article proposes that studying the use of multimodal resources (spoken language, gaze, gestures, and objects) in meetings can unpack how work tasks are accomplished through different communicative strategies. It reports on two case studies and multimodal discourse analysis of video-recorded meetings among technical managers and their peers in four companies. The use of multimodal resources is analyzed in explanatory, consensus-seeking, and solution-finding communication. In meetings where English is used as a business lingua franca, assemblages of spoken language, gestures, tools, whiteboard, and documents contribute to constructing  shared meaning.

Teaching Case:

Engaging US Students in Culturally Aware Content Creation and Interactive Technology Design Through Service Learning, by B. Matheson and E. J. Petersen

As technical and professional communication (TPC) becomes increasingly networked, students must learn to work cross-culturally. However, these skills can be difficult to develop. This article reports on a service-learning project aimed at helping students write and design for an audience in India. The study analyzed student reflection documents from two courses to answer questions about how service-learning opportunities shape student skills. The responses illustrate the successes and failures in the course designs and provide strategies for instructors working on similar projects. The article provides practical suggestions for implementing similar course designs at other institutions and information about implementing relevant technologies.