Practitioner’s View of Research

St.Amant, K., and Melonçon, L. (2016). Reflections on research: Examining practitioner perspectives on the state of research in technical communication. Technical Communication, 63(4), 346-363

Purpose: While research is an important to both academics and practitioners alike, it seems the field is currently at an impasse about what constitutes research and what questions should be a priority for the field. We wanted to give practitioners a forum to provide their perspectives on what research is and what questions the field should be researching.

Method: We conducted 30 asynchronous interviews with practitioners, and then analyzed the interviews for common themes and topics.

Results: Interviewees (practitioners) noted an interest in research that examined how individuals (particularly specific audiences) use different technologies as well as an interest in collaborating with academics to explore research on different topics and from different perspectives.

Conclusion: The information reported here and the related questions it raises can enhance understanding of and facilitate collaboration across the field. This study helps industry practitioners of technical communication to better understand how other industry practitioners in the field view and think of research; it also helps academic researchers in technical communication to better understand perspectives, assumptions, and expectations industry practitioners have about research.