Two particular themes run through and guide my research. First, I am invested in making connections from past to present to help technical communication scholars move from the present to the future. For example, the questions printers and authors faced concerning document design and audience considerations in the early part of the sixteenth century are surely similar to those we face now as we move to a culture reliant on many new forms of communication. The same holds true for examining past programmatic challenges and being able to articulate how programs have adapted to changes in industry or in the case of health communication showing how online mediums have changed existing genres. Second, every project emphasizes writing and rhetoric (and all that each term entails) in their particular context, and sheds light on how language works and why it may not work. The opportunities for research are almost limitless, and as each project uncovers new information, technical communication scholars will have better insights into the production of effective communication.
My research converges around two primary areas: rhetoric of health and medicine and programmatic research in the field of technical and professional communication. My current, in-progress projects extend or complement my published scholarship.
Following are some of my current projects in and around the broad category of rhetoric of health and medicine:
I also am finishing up a project in the history of medicine: Vernacular health and healing: Making medicine through rhetoric, 1450-1575
My current programmatic research focuses on questions and problems that arose when I was working on TechComm Programmatic Central, a 6 year longitudinal study of technical and professional communication programs in the US (though we do now have some international data we are starting to organize!). The projects that came out of that work and are currently in progress are
Sitting in the middle of these two areas is my ongoing concern and interest about the research enterprise itself. I am starting to articulate through critical reflection and reorientation the way the field does and teaches research. The works in progress around research method/ologies are