Writing and Rhetoric
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

2010 Projects

Rosanna Alvarez

Improving Our Model for Working with Contractors

This study focused on improving collaboration in a workplace process. The methodology involved researching collaboration models, conducting semi-structured interviews, and surveying participants. Findings from the interviews and surveys were analyzed and evaluated against the research. Based on this evaluation, recommendations to improve the process were made. The final deliverable was a long report to be submitted to the workplace decision-makers.

Courtney Chiaparas

Discussing Digital Books: The Rhetorical Evolution of Scholarly and Popular Discourse

A body of scholarship describing the effects of digital technology on the book publishing industry is marked by a rhetorical pattern of excessive optimism and pessimism initially and more even-keeled assessments over time. I investigate whether this rhetorical pattern is exhibited by public discourse by examining eReader product-release discourse and reviews. My analysis reveals that this rhetorical pattern is exhibited by current public discourse: product-release discourse continues the optimistic vision, but product reviews mostly reflect the more tempered assessments of current scholarship over pessimistic polemics.

Carla Kayajanian

War of the Words: The Debate Over the Use of Rhetoric Within Government Communications

This is a case study of strategic planning and the evolution of government rhetoric in Albemarle County, VA. Strategic planning was adopted in Albemarle County to improve the quality of public administration by replacing rhetoric with objective criteria and data. The article argues, however, that the Strategic Plan serves many rhetorical functions, supplying the data necessary for government officials to more clearly and more concretely deliberate, communicate, and defend their public administration priorities.

Stephanie Kern

Revising Danbury Forest's Resident Handbook: A Report for the Danbury Forest Board of Directors

Danbury Forest's existing Handbook had only been revised once in over 30 years, and was largely outdated, poorly organized, and lacking in content. A user-centered design methodology was used to survey, interview, and conduct usability studies with community residents, whose feedback was then combined with traditional design principles to shape a revisions of the Handbook. The report announces the findings, summarizes the revisions, and makes recommendations for future updating.

Kara Murray

A Text Isn't Just a Text: Text Messaging Practices of Adults in Romantic Relationships

This case study explores how adults in romantic relationships use text messaging to communicate with their partners. The study found that although text messaging was developed to send quick informational messages, in romantic relationships they are predominantly marked by features of phatic communication, which serves to maintain social connections rather than to communicate information. The use of text messaging in this way serves to strengthen romantic relationships according to its users.

Jill Petzolt

Visual-Verbal Collaboration: Understanding Third Meaning in Specific, Complementary Image-Text Interactions

This interview study explores participant interpretations of complementary image and text combinations alone and together from two advertisements to examine how image and text meaning(s) may change when combined. The findings suggest that visual-verbal techniques based on similarity may be a more effective rhetorical tool for a wider audience and that a follow-up study could better understand types of audiences who may interpret a third meaning when the visual-verbal techniques are based on differences between text and image.

Cat Pham

Responsibility, Bipartisanship, and the Economy in Obama's Health Care Speech

George Lakoff coined the term "The Obama Code" to describe seven of Obama's distinct rhetorical methods. This article applies Lakoff's code to the analysis of the President's health care speech, as well as to the analysis of conservative reactions to the speech. Results from the rhetorical analysis supports Lakoff's claim that despite Obama's incorporation of bipartisan ideas and argument that social issues are also economic issues, conservatives cannot be persuaded through Obama's rhetorical strategies.

Kelly Rose

The Bubba to Scientist Ratio: How Workplace Writing in one Office Defines the Authority of a Technical Writer

This auto-ethnography of a technical writer in a government program found that she was not granted authority in the office due to the organization's weak rhetorical situation, which both shaped the failing genre of her primary document and exacerbated an already complex relationship between herself and her colleagues. The article contributes new findings on the relationship between genre and authority in professional writing.

Shoa Tavassoli

An Online Format for the Young and the Restless: An Investigation of the Marketing Benefits of Interactive Video over Classic Video

This pilot study examined responses of young professionals to a new digital format: interactive online video. Research participants viewed two videos with similar content. One video was in the classic linear format. The other video contained questions that required viewer response to continue and a menu for navigation. The study suggests that young professionals prefer interactive video over conventional online video. The article lays out the background research, findings and recommendations for a follow up marketing study.

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