PWR Master's Theses

2013

"Victim Articulation In Mainstream Online News Coverage: A Case Study Of Hurricane Sandy"
Patricia K. Ro

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Coupled with a critical examination of disaster research and disaster myths, and mainstream media's use of frames when reporting on disasters,this thesis draws on Agamben's theory of homo sacer to illustrate the ways in which disaster victims can potentially be marginalized in media accounts. After reviewing existing researh on Hurricane Katrina as an example of marginalization through news coverage, the author performs a frame analysis of Hurricane Sandy news accounts, focusing on how those directly affected by Hurricane Sandy are articulated by carrying in select online news media coverage.

2012

"Multimodal Analysis as a Framework for Studying Social Movement Rhetoric: A Comparison of Theoretical Perspectives on the Counterpublic Discourse of Occupy Wall Street and Wikileaks"
Lauren DeLaCruz

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This thesis argues that we should adopt a theory of social movement that is based in rhetorical principles—one that accepts social movement as changes to a set of meanings, or ideology. Instead of focusing primarily or exclusively on the resources and leadership of organizations, this thesis argues that we should study the discourse of counterpublics—the entities involved in social movement activities. By critiquing and expanding upon DeLuca's work on image events, this thesis argues that we should examine the entire process that counterpublic discourse goes throughfrom a multimodal perspective. This thesis identifies Occupy Wall Street and WikiLeaks as counterpublics and examines each discourse from three perspectives—traditional, image event, and multimodal—in order to demonstrate the strengths of a multimodal theoretical framework.

"A Case Study for American English Editors: Japanese Forward-Back Translation of the Job Descriptive Index (JDI) Job Satisfaction Measures"
Gregory Greer

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This thesis describes the process of conducting the forward-back translation of the Job Descriptive Index (JDI) job satisfaction measures to/from Japanese. Data for this study was drawn from a focus group case study in Japan among the four Industrial-Organizational Psychology (I/OP)-competent Japanese university professors recruited to do the forward-back translation. A comparison between Human Translation (HT) and Machine Translation (MT) was also conducted. The single largest finding of this thesis for the benefit of technical editors was learning the full depth of what kind of translation is being conducted. The role of the technical editor (i.e., the researcher) for the translation project of this thesis was that of an organizer: assembling the translation team, overseeing their work, amassing the draft material, securing the final product. The goal of this thesis was to expose the relationship between technical editors and translation teams.

"Debugging Democracy: A Critical Analysis of the Rhetoric of Gov 2.0 at the USPTO"
Ben Lucas

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In its first year, the Obama administration established the Open Government Initiative, a program requiring all executive agencies to use digital media to advance transparency, collaboration, and participation. In this thesis, I consider the consequences of the initiative for democratic communication by examining an open government program administered by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The USPTO is using an online platform called IdeaScale to allow the public to suggest revisions to the written policies in the office's Manual of Patent Examining Procedure. First, I situate the program within the discourse of key proponents of the Open Government Initiative. Second, drawing on public contributions on the IdeaScale website and interviews with officials in the USPTO, I analyze IdeaScale as a site of generic communication. Third, I consider the way that the computer process implemented by IdeaScale functions as an expression of open government rhetoric. My analysis shows that the Open Government Initiative represents a shift away from the deliberative public-sphere model of communication and toward a competitive information-exchange model, drawing on a tradition of neoliberalism that is modulated by open-source development methods./p>

2011

"Getting Grammar Back into the Composition Classroom"
Maria Dabrowski

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This thesis explores the roles grammar has played with respect to composition instruction to determine what roles it can play and what needs it can satisfy for composition students today. Different types of grammar and the various methods of teaching them are discussed to in order to contextualize the ongoing debate regarding the role grammar should play in the composition classroom. Further contextualization of the debate is provided by tracing the relevant histories of both sides to where they presently stand. Answers to a questionnaire were collected from a small sample size of George Mason University composition instructors to determine their experiences with and attitudes toward grammar as a subject and grammar instruction in their own classrooms. This snapshot depicts a set of instructors willing to teach—and occasionally even enthusiastic about teaching—grammar in their composition classrooms, but ill-prepared to do so. Finally, positive and productive methods of teaching grammar are introduced to provide these current and future composition instructors with solid grounds for the inclusion of grammar in their classrooms and suggestions for how to incorporate it to the benefit of their students.

"Buying Women's Work: Various Approaches to Transferring Childcare"
Farrah Dang

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This thesis employs theory and case-study methodology to examine variations on approaches to childcare that best enable women to join the non-domestic labor force. Employing women's non-domestic labor is crucial to ameliorating poverty and increasing a country's competitiveness. Yet, childbearing has been, and still proves to be, a keystone of labor division that hinders women's autonomy and ability to fully contribute. The divisions between perceived public (non-domestic) and private (domestic) spheres enhance the gender role conflict, mirroring the Marxist concepts of class creation, recognition, and struggle for autonomy. As an oppressed class realizes its oppression and gains public visibility, it gains valuable political power. Supporting this claim are historic moments where labor pool needs softened gender role rigidity—where women were able to work outside the home, advances in gender equality movements followed soon after. Therefore, with a methodological framework built on the public/private rhetorical divide and Gøsta Esping-Andersen's welfare regime clusters, this thesis determines which childcare policy configurations best supports female labor participation; side-effects of childcare policies are also noted. Social democrat approaches, such as Sweden's, prove most effective, treating childcare as a very public concern deserving of strong funding and protective legislation. The conservative/corporatist countries of Italy, Spain, and Germany, influenced by strong religious tradition, uphold the male-as-breadwinner family model, thus discouraging women from work and having more (or any) children. In the liberal economic regimes of the United States, Canada, and Great Britain, childcare needs are left to the family's discretion or private markets, which results in a you-get-what-you-pay-for system that places huge burdens on impoverished families. In the developed East Asian regimes of Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, the mixture of strong Confucian family values and reliance on the private market and corporate social insurance schemes once again protects the male-as-breadwinner model; these countries currently experience the lowest birthrates in the world and rapidly shrinking taxation pools. Lastly, in the Latin American case studies of Chile and Uruguay, there exists a trend toward universal, public distribution of childcare services, but the lack of adequate public resources and parental leave laws overburdens mothers seeking to raise families and provide family income.

"At Work and At War: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Combat Job Descriptions on GoArmy.com"
James Graham

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The Army has historically been subject to criticism for its recruiting practices, which even in peacetime have drawn fire from media, scholarly and advertising industry sources for the tendency to be one-sided at best and outright deceptive at worst. This study examines how the service currently represents combat jobs to potential recruits. I conduct a critical discourse analysis of the combat job descriptions on the Army's recruiting website goarmy.com to identify the means by which the Army's recruiting discourse constructs the modern combat soldier's work. In conclusion, I show how this discourse obscures the less-attractive aspects of the combat soldier's work, such as physical, moral and psychological hazards while foregrounding other, more attractive potential aspects of service, such as technology skills and training.

2010

"Overcoming Mere Rhetoric: Cross-Disciplinary Rhetorical Education and Development"
Jennifer Borwey

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Rhetoric is regularly misconceived of in the public realm as a negative force due to a history fraught with ups and downs in education curriculums. The positive uses of rhetoric as a subject matter as well as a tool are an important part of our daily lives. I turn to education to promote rhetoric, specifically through programs such as Writing Across the Curriculum.

"Charting the Future for Newspapers"
Jonathan Kelly

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In this thesis, I demonstrate that newspapers, despite their current financial troubles, can nevertheless survive and prosper in the digital, new-media era if they can find more reliable ways of raising revenue. No newspaper can hope to succeed in the contemporary media landscape unless it can adjust its business model to meet the challenges presented by Internet-based news. With large amounts of news and information available for free on the World Wide Web, newspapers need to reconsider their traditional business model in order to remain relevant and competitive. Based on my research into numerous proposed economic models for print publications, I believe that the most favorable newspaper business model would be a combination of selective electronic paid content and Web-based advertising. A model in which newspapers display some of their online content for free, hide other content behind a pay wall, and make extensive use of Web advertising is, in my view, the model that is most likely to enable print publications to prosper over the long term. Combined with using the latest online media technologies, newspapers will be able to continue their role as disseminators of news, analysis and opinion.

"Friending The Government: Why U.S. Government Social Media Websites Do Not Function As Public Spheres And What Can Be Done To Promote Civic Participation"
Rebecca E. LaPaze

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The promise of social media tools to facilitate virtual public spheres coupled with the recent push in the federal government for agencies to use the Internet to engage with the American public and create civic participation calls for a review of the discourse appearing on these sites. As such, an analysis of selected agencies' use of social media (specifically blogs and Facebook) shows that it is not yet being used to facilitate dialogue between the agencies and the constituents they serve due to the language, structure, and content of the communications. While some have made more progress than others in this regard, the communication on the sites is largely one-way and top-down. Furthermore, the citizens' participation on the sites more closely represents a mass rather than a desired public. If agencies' social media sites are to truly serve as public spheres, then agencies must adopt techniques and behaviors that demonstrate they value civic participation. Until this happens, users of these sites must understand that because an agency has adopted new technology it does necessarily mean that it has adopted the spirit of participation that embodies Web 2.0 principles and they should not expect the sites to always function as a collaborative space.

"Application of Oral History Genre in Organizational Writing: A Study of Oral History Collection and Production at the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)"
Sharon Moreno

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This thesis studies, from the perspective of a student of professional writing and editing, the use of oral history within a government office, the Center for the Study of National Reconnaissance (CSNR), at the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). The CSNR oral history program includes a distinctive application of the oral history genre in which interviews conducted each year with selected NRO alumni are turned into first-person narratives—called "recollections"—that will be published eventually as a compilation of stories about the NRO's "Pioneers of National Reconnaissance." The CSNR writers and editors who produce the narratives contend with special challenges as they transform interview transcripts into engaging and instructive stories that offer lessons learned and portray role models for the present and future workforce. Through study of the recollection-production process, this thesis shows how CSNR has created an atypical application of the oral history genre that provides professional writers the opportunity to employ their craft in a style not commonly found in workplace writing.

"The Flip-side of Gender Stereotyping in Sports Media : Reinventing the Female Athlete in Title Nine"
Rebekah Musgrove

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While there have been numerous studies dedicated to exploring the prevalence of gender stereotyping in sports media, the implicit role that some sports publications catering to women play in perpetuating those stereotypes has not been considered as thoroughly. This thesis examines how a women's sports apparel catalog like Title Nine employs various rhetorical strategies and adopts the ideology of third-wave feminism to reclaim and use gender stereotypes to its advantage.

"Unstable Situations: A Rhetorical Approach to Studying Blogs about Muslims"
Fatima Pashaei

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The emergence of Internet writing, particularly blog writing, has complicated our understanding of the "rhetorical situation" as first articulated by Lloyd Bitzer. As a basic definition, the rhetorical situation consists of the author/rhetor, audience, constraints, exigence and text. As the genre of the blog emerged shortly after the millennium, the basic premise of Bitzer's definition needs to be revised to incorporate how rhetorical situations operate in the blogosphere and specifically how the concept of audience, exigence, and invention need to be reconceptualized in this genre. Whereas Bitzer saw the rhetorical situation as consisting of separate and discrete elements, in the blogosphere these concepts appear to shift and transform through social and historical fluxes, making for a more fluid rhetorical situation that inevitably raises doubts about the stability of the genre itself. An analysis of blogs relating to Muslims serves as a useful tool when discussing the rhetorical situation and concepts such as exigence, audience, and invention. As these terms are viewed in the social and historical contexts and discourses in which they were produced, the evolution of these terms and the lens through which their meanings are derived will shed more light onto the genre of blogging and its ability to remain stable over time.

"The Future of History: It's All About the Web"
Jessica Pritchard

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This thesis explores the rhetoric of online history exhibits and the methods historians employ to translate the physical into the virtual. I begin by explaining the evolving relationship between history and digital technologies, more specifically the relationship between history and the web. The data for my study come from six interviews with historians who work and conduct research in both physical and virtual museum exhibits in institutions in the greater Washington, D.C. area: Timothy Grove from the National Air and Space Museum; Sharon Leon from the Center for History and New Media (CHNM); Nicole Osier from the Civil War Preservation Trust; and Laura O'Hara, Kathleen Johnson, and Matthew Wasniewski from the Clerk's Office of History and Preservation. The latter half of my study investigates the pedagogical extension of these online historical museum exhibits and the ways in which historians see their digital work aligning with teacher's curricula.

"Science and Fiction in Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems and Somnium: Galileo's and Kepler's Literary Techniques for Discussing Scientific Theories"
Jennifer Rahm

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Both Johannes Kepler and Galileo Galilei are known primarily as astronomers. Their publication of scientific treatises firmly established them as two of the most important figures in this field during the early modern period. Fewer know of their forays into fiction, and fewer still have delved into their literary skills with this fiction. Somnium and Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, written by Kepler and Galileo, respectively, are explored in this thesis. Their backgrounds are investigated to discover their influences—from religious training to classical training to humanist training—on their works. And, these two fictional pieces are explored to discern the literary techniques utilized. These two fictional pieces are also compared to modern scientific writing to show their heritage and dissimilarities.

"Situated Resistance: Document Cycling And Power In The Workplace"
Yvonne Rannels

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This study examines the workplace practice of document cycling, defined by the author as the procedural steps subordinates follow in order to obtain a superior's approval of a written text. To explore this process, the author conducted an ethnography of her workplace, a federal government office concerned with diversity management and equal employment opportunity. Research methods used included conducting observations, collecting written texts and other artifacts, and performing a series of formal interviews with employees. A detailed analysis of findings exposes how the act of document cycling shapes and is shaped by an organization's culture. In particular, this study shows that members of management assert their authority and claim power during the document cycling process but this is also the scene at which employees protest.

"Writing within the Modern Machine"
Alison Sbeih

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This thesis examines the history of writing tools, the writing process (both on a cognitive level and a text development level), and contemporary theorists' notions on how modern writing tools have affected the writing process. The content within this thesis suggests that, with an understanding of how the various writing tools (from pen and paper, to typewriter, to computer) can affect the composition of text, a writer is furnished with an ability to manipulate his/her practices; this can empower a writer to control writing strategy and process. Descriptions of the various methods for measuring and assessing the effects of the computer on the writing process are included as well. This thesis is slated to be a reference and resource for writers of all stages (novice, student, professional) as they attempt to refine process and practices.

"The Intersection Of Voice And Policy: How Collaborative Writing In A Congressional Office Generates A Public Voice"
Malisah M. Small

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This thesis examines the role congressional staffers play in orchestrating the voice of the Member of Congress through the crafting of press releases, letters, speeches, and other texts on his behalf. The author conducted an ethnographic study of the congressional office where she has worked for four years, examining how the staff writing team works collaboratively to generate the Congressman's public voice. The study explores the sources of authority in the writing process, particularly in a culture where writing on behalf of the Congressman has the power to determine and communicate public policy. It examines how staff writers orient first to the Congressman himself, then to various audiences and to each other. It argues that the writing process is significantly impacted by the power structures in the office, but that it also plays an important role in shaping power relationships among writers and between the Congressman and his staff. Finally, this study argues that the congressional voice has a significant impact on crafting and implementing public policy and that staffers, as orchestrators of this voice, have authority to shape policy decisions.

"Facebook and the Changing Rhetorical Situation"
Maureen Soyars

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Facebook is a site rich with public discourse among its 410 million users and it is changing the way we fundamentally communicate. Among its varied users, Facebook is continually evolving into multiple genres, meeting different exigencies for different rhetors. In this thesis, I will explore what makes Facebook rhetorically significant today. I will look at how Facebook is changing the nature of rhetorical theory in Web 2.0 discourse practices by imposing specific constraints on expression and interaction while also allowing for new possibilities of communication. I want to examine particularly how Facebook, under the category of "new media," has refashioned prior ideas of rhetorical situation and how it fits well within the framework of a "rhetorical ecology." Through its status as a rhetorical ecology (i.e., the way the software is designed, the patterns by which information is circulated on the site, the way members communicate using the software, and the political and social practices that the site demands), Facebook is altering the way we communicate by altering social interaction and the organization of information.

2009

"Blogs in the Classroom: How to Heighten Audience Awareness and Improve Writing"
Humera Arsala

"Applying New Media Concepts in the Association Environment"
Mary Ann Burns

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The debate about the future of mass media has intensified over the past year as the economic downturn has media companies and advertisers intensely scrutinizing their budgets to see where expenses can be cut. Revenue models that rely on print advertising are becoming less viable and revenue from online sources is not replacing print revenue fast enough. Publishers that previously attracted mass audiences are attempting to create communities of readers to offer advertisers a more targeted audience. In another area of the publishing world, this is not a new concept. Association publications are built around specialized communities of readers. My thesis will look at the intersection of print and online publishing in the association space where a natural social networking community exists. A case study of one association illustrates how publications are integrated within an association and how it is making the transition to new media. The results indicate that associations are in a better position to capitalize on the new media environment than their for-profit counterparts.

"Greener Than Thou: How the Rhetoric of the Green Food Market Reinforces Socioeconomic Hierarchies through the Illusion of Moral Superiority"
Piper Corp

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The market for "green" foods has expanded in recent years, largely due to the powerful rhetoric it employs. The rhetorical strategy behind green consumerism draws on deeply embedded cultural narratives to assert a rift between consumers and nature, a rift that is both initially unavoidable and entirely resolvable through acts of consumption. Green consumption is thus presented as an opportunity for enlightenment (e.g. living in harmony with nature) and political activism (e.g. protecting nature by supporting sustainable agriculture). Drawing on the theories of Lyotard and Debord, this thesis suggests that these two features create an occasion particularly well-suited for acts of differential representation. Consumption, in other words, provides consumers with the feeling of social responsibility and spiritual ascendance, which together create an illusion of moral superiority. By definition, this superiority only has meaning with reference to an amoral other, a role inhabited in this case by non-green consumers. This discourse is particularly problematic because of the significant price difference between green and non-green products--individuals without the financial means to purchase green products are recast as amoral consumers. A moral hierarchy emerges on top of the existing socioeconomic hierarchy, creating what appears to be a morally justified elite. It is ultimately this discourse, rather than a desire for environmental reform, that sustains green consumerism.

"Integrating Text and Visuals to Communicate Effectively and Ethically"
Kristin Eckels

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Increasingly, society is using (and expecting) visuals to communicate both in casual and business settings, but there is still a need for text to provide a clear and ethical message to the reader. Due to readily available technology, visuals from graphs and charts to tables and pictures are easily incorporated into documents, but the access to and use of technology does not ensure the visual's clarity, persuasiveness, or ability to inform. Text can provide detailed accounts of analyses, methodologies, and processes but can be overwhelming in large quantities, include jargon, and require specific language and literacy skills to interpret. By looking at what makes visuals rhetorically effective, the strengths and weaknesses of visuals and text, visual literacy, the ethical questions and choices faced by communicators, and best practices using visuals and text within a document, this thesis explores how the appropriate and logical integration of text and visuals may provide a more rhetorically effective and ethical presentation of information. In the absence of well-established ethical guidelines or rules, the integration of text and visuals can also result in a more universally understood document that prevents deception and harm to readers.

"How Visual Rhetoric Supplements Technical Communication: A Study of Professional Writing"
Erin Cassidy Lipari

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This thesis describes how visual rhetoric can and should supplement technical communication. By starting with the definition of visual rhetoric as the role of visual communication in a document intended to solicit a particular audience reaction, this work begins by framing the issue for professional writers. Through a working knowledge of both the concept of visual communication principles and the practice of information design, professional writers can learn how to implement visual rhetoric into their documents with the goal of obtaining a positive response from audience members.

"An Adventurer's Guide to Washington, D.C."
Kristin Petersen

"Obesity: A Study of the Body in Popular Science Discourse"
Suzanne Price

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This thesis evaluates how the fat body is constructed in the popularizations of scientific obesity studies. This is accomplished through discourse analysis, including examination of the vocabulary used in describing the fat body and analysis of the narratives of causation- causes of obesity and consequences of obesity- in the news articles. This study found that the fat body is viewed as Other, an idea strengthened by the characteristics of popularizations as outlined by Fahnestock and Carosso, which increase the ability of the narratives to name causes and consequences of fat bodies. Furthermore, the portrayal of obesity as contagious demonizes the obese as bodies to be avoided. Finally, the deprivation of agency for the obese denies the fat body a voice and power within the circulating fatness debate.

"Examining the Changing Role of Professional Editors in the Workplace"
Christy L. Sadler

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In this study, I explore how the professional experiences of nontechnical editors, a group often underrepresented in existing scholarship, are being shaped by current workplace environments and identify which of their skills are particularly valued by superiors and colleagues to determine how editors can best position themselves to succeed in the modern workplace. The findings of my online survey of 51 nontechnical editors, primarily self-employed or working in nonprofit environments, demonstrate that currently employed editors and those preparing to enter the field must align their work with the priorities of their workplace and profession, proactively adapt to changes in these priorities and professional expectations, and maintain a strategic, big-picture orientation if they are to be successful in their jobs. I argue that editors need to be more aggressive in bringing their contributions to the attention of those in charge so that their work will not go unnoticed, denying them opportunities for advancement or other professional rewards. They must also continually ensure that they get the training they need to not only learn how to skillfully use relevant new technologies (e.g., word-processing software, online content management systems, design programs) but also understand how to best utilize them in their work. To prepare editors for success under these conditions, undergraduate and graduate education programs should help students learn business-related skills like strategic thinking and effective collaboration, as well as textual-editing skills. Additionally, I recommend that current professional editors work with editing students to build professional resources and communities that will help new and current editors develop the skills they will need to be successful at a multifaceted job in a dynamic environment.

"Keeping to the Code: A Rhetorical Analysis of the Evolution of Technical Style Guides in the Computer Age"
Rachel Wimer

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This thesis provides a rhetorical analysis of technical style guides beginning with the history of technical writing and style guides, the evolution of style guides, and individual case studies, concluding that a style guide must be kept up to date or otherwise be rendered irrelevant.

"Reflections on Writing: Analyzing Representations of Professional Writing Expertise in Popular Culture"
Adrianne Wyatt

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The professional writing field as a whole is concerned with what expertise is and how the rest of the world perceives a professional writer's expertise. Professional writers must be able to explain how their function within a company or organization is not only important, but irreplaceable. They need to be able to define what they offer as writers, and, in turn, companies need to understand what writers do. Thus, there has been much discussion within the field about how to define the expertise of a professional writer (Beaufort, Brandt, Faber, Regli). However, this discussion has omitted an important consideration — the influential portrayals of professional writers within popular culture. The visual/rhetorical techniques within popular cultural media, in particular television and movies, contribute to providing images that affirm normative conceptions of what "being a writer" means. Such images carry persuasive force, especially when they go unnoticed and unquestioned. In this thesis, I will analyze how popular culture portrays writers within the field of professional writing, and how those images support or undermine professional writers' claims of expertise.

2008

"The Power of Language: A Rhetorical Analysis of the National Rifle Association (NRA) Rhetoric in Correlation with the Second Amendment"
Stacey L. Alwine

"Collaborative Writing across Distances: An Ethnographic Study of Workplace Writing across Coasts and Cultures"
Lauren J. Cassidy

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This thesis describes the collaborative writing practices among colleagues within the same company who work in two geographically-dispersed offices. The author conducted an ethnography of ERC, the education research division within a large research and development organization, observing and interviewing staff in both the east and west coast offices over a period of five months. The study examined the overall organizational culture, the two distinct office cultures that emerged in part because of the distance, and the individual writing team cultures, and how both the cultures and distance influenced writing collaborations. It also addressed how collaborative writing shapes the various cultures. Although a literature review suggested that being in two different places with two different office cultures would hinder collaboration, this study found that ERC was able to have successful writing collaborations because of the cultures of the overall organization, the two separate offices, and the individual writing teams.

"Mitigating Entropy in a Post-Merger or Acquisition Environment: Rhetorical Reframing for Successful Integration"
Jennifer Nicole Church

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Pervasive merger and acquisition (M&A) trends validate a 70% rate of failure to reach projected growth targets and long-term return on investment (ROI). This phenomenon has been addressed by specialists in various disciplines whose subsequent publications illuminate the problem, but provide no executable solutions. In general, studies indicate that problems stemming from people during the integration process are the root of the M&A failure factor. However, traditional business approaches to integration aim to maximize value and, in doing so, marginalize the significance of human resources and organizational morale. The following thesis reframes the M&A problem using rhetorical theory to establish crosswalks among disparate bodies of research. The resulting analysis forms a hybrid approach to integration and corresponding communications plan that aim to leverage employee engagement, thereby enhancing productivity.

"Social Networking Sites as Employment Tools"
Jennifer M. Igoe

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Social networking sites have steadily gained in popularity since their introduction more than 10 years ago. As people increasingly count co-workers and other acquaintances among their networked "friends" on such sites, a natural extension is to use the sites as employment tools. However, while social networking sites are starting to support employment search and recruiting practices, many of their users remain unaware of their inherent professional networking capabilities. This thesis presents preliminary findings about the use of social networking sites by both employers and job-seekers, and provides an exploration of what these findings say about the rhetorical use of social networking sites -- including a consideration of the implications and issues associated with the fusion of professional and social networking.

"The Impact of New Media on the Practice of Journalism"
Valerie Lambros

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The rise of the Internet has altered many industries, including the field of journalism. With its multitude of resources and myriad online tools, the Web affords those who use it the ability to quickly reach many people all over the globe. However, these same characteristics have brought about unforeseen challenges for news professionals and have presented a host of items to consider in today's wired world. This thesis examines the encroachment of the Web imperative on traditional journalistic practices by focusing on three aspects of the newest medium: 1) the immediacy of the Web and the subsequent imperative to update frequently, often with little new to say; 2) the ability to track audiences as never before, with the result that newsroom staff and business managers seek new ways to engage, document, and track the audience through eye-grabbing stories and images and interactive features, hoping to keep viewers coming back in a highly competitive medium; and 3) the inherent ability for anyone and everyone to publish online and the pressure that public accessibility places on the professional news outlets. By analyzing the input of practitioners in the field, we learn that not only do feelings about the Internet's impact on the telling of news vary widely, so do the perceived notions for what we as the audience should expect as the Web looms even larger in our day-to-day lives.

"Through a Dark Wood"
Eileen Lavelle

"Lady of Courage"
Marique Newell

"A Prescription for Change: The Professional Writer in the Healthcare Industry"
Katherine S. Packard

"Tradition versus Technology: Is E-learning Really Worth the Hype?"
Cynthia A. Parks

"Displaced: One Woman's Survival of World War II"
Kira Plummer

"Workplace Writing within the Web of Science and Regulation: An Ethnographic Study"
Carolyn Murray Spencer

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This ethnography presents a thick description of the culture of writing at a scientific and regulated workplace, arguing that writing, regulation, and science function as mutually shaping elements in this culture. Using Clifford Geertz's theory that culture is defined by the signs and symbols that invoke commonly shared meanings, the study examines the ways in which employees value and define writing against these contexts of science and regulation. The researcher, a co-worker of the participants, conducted detailed employee interviews and workplace observations over the course of 12 weeks, focusing on the primary report writers at the company. The research questions explore the ways in which these writers value their writing within the scientific and regulatory frameworks, and within their roles at the company. The study's findings show that science permeates the company's culture of writing, and as such, writing consists primarily of scientific interpretation and analysis; employees consider non-analytical writing to be perfunctory. Additionally, regulation functions as a central aspect of the company's culture; however, because of its integration into standard procedures, employees may not be fully cognizant of its role and influence in their work lives.

"The Working Lives of Eight Technical Editors"
Cynthia L. Turner

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This thesis is a study of eight technical editors in order to learn how they experience their working lives. This study focuses on the problems and issues that the editors face and how they handle and resolve those problems. The author has found that, overall, these editors are happy with their chosen profession but have a relatively low status at work. They are often placed in supporting positions and are not expected or required to contribute expertise beyond basic editorial functions. The editors would like to increase their responsibilities and contribute more, but are often blocked by preconceived notions about editors and their skill set. Even though these editors plan to remain in their current positions, most would like to have a job where they can earn more respect. A solution to these problems would be to professionalize the field of technical communication and to have practitioners in the field take a more active role in advancing the interests of technical communicators.

"Creating Social Action through Facebook"
Kelly S. Vandersluis

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Facebook, as a popular representative of the social network site genre, has changed the way that social network site users manage their on- and offline social lives and communication, and creates a new rhetorical situation in which users create and perform their identity roles to an unknown audience. This new rhetorical situation requires connectivity, integration, and an understanding of both self as a performer of identity and as a member of a greater audience of other performers. Facebook creates Facebook-specific social action. This social action can be seen in how users manage their social information, communicate, and gather and share information. This thesis is framed by Lloyd F. Bitzer's theory on elements of rhetorical situation (exigence, constraints, audience, and author) and is inspired by Carolyn Miller and Dawn Shepherd's genre study of blogs, "Blogging as Social Action: A Genre Analysis of the Weblog." Bitzer's theory and Miller and Shepherd's method assist in demonstrating that social network sites, and Facebook specifically, are functioning rhetorically and are a fitting rhetorical response to American social exigencies.

"Communicating Organizational Culture in the Workplace through Writing"
Jacob B. Weyant

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Organizational culture is vital to business success in everything from mergers to attracting high-quality personnel. This article explores how writing influences organizational culture. This study examines the professional writing practices and artifacts of a medium-sized technology company through several theoretical lenses from the discipline of professional writing. Genre, articulation, and structuration theories provide a framework for studying the company's writing practices in a way unexplored by previous research. Combining this analysis with employee interviews, the study catalogues tactics and strategies within the firm that have meaningful consequences for the company's organizational culture and, consequently, its business success. The results indicate that the study and management of writing practices within an organization are vital to creating a strong organizational culture. The analysis also suggests several strategies to that end.

2007

"Exploring the Remediation of Text: Literacy Revised"
Leslie D. Aird

"Reader/Writer Interaction in Political Blogs"
Megan C. Conniff

"Click: How Smart Web Applications Lead to Unthinking Users"
Alycia Eck

"Emerging Genres in Professional Writing: Corporate Rhetoric and New Media"
Heidi Lawrence

"Portrait of a Suburban American High School"
Barbara B. Moody

"Reorganization: Financial World's Shift to the Center"
Chris Quay

"Redefining the Digital Dialectic: the Dialectics of User-Generated Media"
Kristin Youmans

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This thesis redefines a dialectical model that is appropriate for today's contemporary technological context, specifically based on the introduction of user-generated technologies. In the chapter titled 'Dialectic Through History' I describe the history of dialectic up to and including its most recent use in the 1999 essay collection The Digital Dialectic: New Essays on New Media. The following chapter describes the shift from the Industrial Age to the Information Age, as illustrated through the transition from Web 1.0 technologies to Web 2.0, and then illustrates a dialectical model that is based on its historical foundational principles described in Chapter 2 combined with today's emerging technological, social, and economic contexts. The next chapter lists current day examples of today's dialectical oppositions between the social and economic principles founded in the Industrial Age versus those emerging during the Information Age. I then conclude by discussing the possibilities for the future of dialectic as related to Web 3.0

2006

"Media Bias: A Content Analysis of the Cindy Sheehan Antiwar Protest of August 2005"
Lisa Aszklar

"Whose News is it Anyway?: The Merging of News Organizations and Online Communities"
Carol Horen

"Gender Violence in Pakistan"
Mehroo Siddiqui

2005

"Caught in Chaos: Saved by the World Wide Web from Institutional Power"
Marjorie Clarkson

"Combining Education and Entertainment: The Role of Closed-Captioned Television in the Classroom and Beyond"
Amy Szczepanski Evanego

"Application Fees, Survivor Guilt, and Dance Lessons: A Look at What's Keeping First-Generation College Students Down"
Jessica McCaughey

"A Rhetorical Understanding of the Violation of Reputation in America"
Arthur A.E. Pitts

"Unraveling Hawthorn's 'Young Goodman Brown'"
Tiffany Zattiero

2004

"Tales from the Train: Stories of the Washington, D.C. Metro Experience"
Kristie Bates

"Black Ink at 3am: A Training Manual for Resident Directors"
EJ Belcher

"The Place of Alcoholics Anonymous Among Social Movements"
Brigitte Harrington

"Transformation and Design Methodology of 21st Century Command Centers"
Jill Janson

2003

"Procuring Government Contracts: What They Never Taught about Proposal Writing"
Ann K. Holliday

"'What is a Blogger?': A Poststructuralist Examination of a New Collaborative Textuality"
Erin Pressley

"A Guide to Distance Education for Curriculum Developers"
Cayce Lee Palmer Russell

"Barnstorming the Brain in the Cubicle Farm at Pacific Global"
Donald Benjamin Ryder

"The Land of Used to Be": Frontier Womanhood and Resistance in the Books of Laura Ingalls Wilder"
Jill Sulam

"Establishing Avid Publishing LLC, a Small, Independent Publishing Company"
Jeanne Trapani

2002

"Winking in the Dark: The Challenge of Creating a Good Online User Interface"
Rohit Bhargava

"English Major's Guide to Meeting Planning: From Site Selection to Paying the Bill"
Sheila Teresa Costa

"Prototype Employer/Employee Handbook for Virginia Nonprofit (501-c6) Associations"
Diane R. Glanz

"Faculty Perspectives of Writing-Intensive Courses in Arts-Based Disciplines"
Sarah Libby Jackson

"In Search of a Playground: An Exploration of the Bryan County Recreation Amenity, Issues Affecting its Development, and Ideas for Progress"
Julie A. Passamonti

"The Essential Role of Writers in the Design of Company Web Sites"
Gavin Rodkey

"Working Together: The Role of Interpersonal and Electronic Networking in Technical Communication"
Janet F. Scharp

2000

"Perceptions of Technical Writers in the Washington, DC Area"
Jennifer K. Blain

"Math Difficulty and Disability: Exploding Myths, Facing Realities, Forging Progress"
Bridget A. Murray

1999

"Bad Decisions: Lessons from a Dysfunctional Culture"
Andrew H. MacCallum

"Chiropractic, Hydrotherapy, and Massage Therapy: The Growing Acceptance of Untraditional Therapies in Mainstream America"
Megan M. Monaghan

"Female Minds Building Male Voices"
Maureen O'Driscoll

"Review of Plain English Writing Tips for U.S. Government Documents"
Diane C. Williams

"Proposal Development Handbook"
Gretchen M. Zience

1998

"Creating a Unified Identity for Your Association"
Katherine E. Behnke

"Challenges of Collaborative Writing in a Technical Environment: Lessons Learned"
Cary Lee Hanes

"Intellectual Property Rights in the Electronic Publishing Industry"
Catherine N. Hurst

"How to Create a Successful Business-to-Business Newsletter Direct-Mail Campaign"
Lauren M. Johnson

"A Ramble through Rappahannock"
Laura A. Matthews

"Collaborative Writing Teams: Hierarchic and Dialogic Influences in Contingent Decision-Making Models"
Margaret Sanderson Moss

"The Progression form Print to Online Literature: Problems and Potential"
Anita Sharifi

1997

"School-Based Management: A Solution is 'In-Site'"
Kathleen A. Kelly

"Through a Glass Darkly: A Series of Essays"
Noël R. King

"Unread Messages: Electronic Mail Paints a Portrait of a Workplace"
Cinnamon Melchor

1996

"Analysis of Publication Writing in a Hospital Culture"
Michele R. Bupp

"Careers in Crisis: Adapting to the Changing World of Work"
Rosa B. Dean

"How to Produce a Newsletter"
Philip Dion

"User Representation in Software Documentation and its Relationship to Usability: A Case Study"
Charles D. Fisher

"Reevaluating the Production Process in a Small Publications Setting"
Karen Lafferty Lunny

1995

"Values in Conflict: An Ethnography on Writers in a Bureaucratic Mode"
Brenda Boelts Chapin

"Freelance Editing: How to Survive on Your Own"
Mary S. Donovan

"Large-group Collaborative Writing: Process Streamlining"
Linda Jacobson

"Office Style, Writing Style: Relationships with Organizations"
Shara Jurentkuff

"Compendium and Analysis of Trends in the Master's Theses in English, Professional and Technical Writing Concentration at George Mason University"
Jennifer A. Peart

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This is a clear and concise guide to the existing theses in Professional and Technical Writing, currently housed at George Mason University, as well as an analysis of the content of these theses. A summary of each thesis appears in the first part, and the second part maps the changes and similarities over the years, specifically the use of computers in the theses and their affect on the theses.

"How to Export Dairy Products to Mexico"
Susan A. Sadinski

1994

"A Place in the Choir"
Susan Scally Blackerby

"Simple Peace"
Hui-Chuon Chi

"In Their Shoes: A Journey through the Holocaust from the Stories of Survivors"
Deborah A. Discenza

"The Art of Elementary Band Directing"
Eileen W. Fraedrich

"How Corporate Culture Influences the Success of A Total Quality Management Program"
Laurie Gavitt-Smith

"The Elements of Style (Checkers): An Analysis of the Editorial Personas Implicit in Electronic Editing Programs"
Julia Gothe

"The Rhetoric of Small Business"
Terry Donald Hill

"Patchwork Patterns of My Work"
Maria Lexandra Krawciw

"For Someone Else's Signature: An Ethnography of Writing in a Military Organization"
Judith L. Lotz

"The Essential Guide to OSF1 and Mason1"
Mark Rais

"For Immediate Release: How to Create Publicity for Small Theater Productions"
Michael A. Tucker

1993

"Nutrasweet and the Search for Sweet Perfection"
Janelle Cesari

"School-Based Management in Prince William County"
Irene Louise Cromer

"Black-Jewish Relations from a Reading of Four Newspapers of Washington, D. C., 1979-1989"
Mary K. Faber

"How to Write a How-To Manual"
William E. Linden III

"Spirit of the Mountain"
Crosby Mouzauires

"One Cadet's Experience: Naïve Dream to Life Decision"
Katrina M. Powell

"From Pre-Complaint to Post Trial: A Litigation Assistant's Guide to Civil Case Responsibilities"
Alice Freeman Stewart

1992

"Writing and Editing for a Geoscience News Magazine"
Mary Beck Desmond

"Writing Clearly: A Style Manual for the FBI"
Virginia Walker Field

"A Collection of Travel Articles"
Laurie A. Julianna

"How to Buy Commercial Printing"
Catherine Lemmon

"Keeping the Door Open: A Planning Process for Adult Religious Education"
Betty Jo Middleton

"From Islets to Island Universes: Three Articles"
Jenifer F. Walker

"Public Information and Education for the Emergency Services"
Pamela R. Weiger

1991

"How to Write User-Friendly User Documents"
Cheryl Greer Ben-Ami

"IDA Publications Guide: Procedures for the Publication of Documents at the Institute for Defense Analysis"
Michelle Moore Crewell

"Life after Afterlife: How Proof of Life After Death Would Affect the Modern World"
David Foss

"The Visionaries"
Alice Caldwell Granger

"Completion of the Revision Process"
Brett Frederick Hann

1990

"Writing Across the Corporation"
Frank T. Abbott III

"The Politics of Publishing: Joosef Skvorecky, Exile"
Jody H. Bolcik

"Getting Funded: The Basics of Preparing an Effective Grant Proposal"
Timothy Brown

"The Earth Observing System (EOS): Remote Sensing Technology to Predict Global Change"
David Jon Dokken

"Trainning Manual for Part-Time and Full-Time Text Editors at the National Captioning Institute"
Jennifer C. Elcano

"Multi-Purpose Passenger Vehicles: The Station Wagon of the 1990s is Not as Safe as You Think"
Michelle A. Glass

"Marketing Architectural Services"
Chris Maria Kormis

"A Manual for Philatelic Exhibitions and Bourses"
Peter D. Martin

"Hatshepsut: Enigmatic Queen of Egypt"
Jerletta Ann McGivern

"The Fault with the Stars"
Dean T. McIntyre

"The National Building Museum: A Volunteer's Manual"
Regina Cecile Nealon

"Grandfather's Gift"
Susan Marie Reiss

"Dying to Lose: My Battle with Compulsive Eating and Bulimia"
Lawrence Jacob Reppert

1989

"A Guidebook for Study-Aid Preparation in Secondary Vocational Materials"
Juliana Lockwood Bickus

"Processing the Magazine Manuscript: An Orientation and Training Project for Novice Copy Editors in Six On-the-Job Sessions"
Emily Kendall Hoar

"Case Study of a School Board Referendum"
Kristin T. Larson

"Six Essays on Health Care"
Joyce Alexis Mitchell

"A Handbook for Satellite Technology"
Emily Sardonia Toone

"Training Manual and Usage Guide"
Kelly A. Trippe

1988

"Running the Office with Computers: Procedures Documentation for Automated Information Systems"
Sandra Travis Barr

"James Gale Twyler, Nineteenth-Century Marine Artist"
Ruth B. Kerns

"A Study of Agenda-Setting in the Mass Media"
Melanie Marr Matthews

"Editorial Style Guide for E-Systems Melpar Division"
Kimberly C. Steffen

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This style guide was prepared for use by the editors and writers of E-Systems Melpar Division. It covers style issues concerning everything from acronyms to updating documents. Its examples are based in the language of the electronic defense industry.

1985

"Considerations in Creating and Producing Newsletters"
Michelle Anne Marra

"The Computer in the Writing Class"
Donna B. McKinney

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This thesis surveys the current literature on computers being used to teach writing. It explains how computer-assisted instruction (CAI) is used to teach writing by covering the most widely used programs. It also deals with student and teacher reaction to the computer and potential problems. The thesis is intended as an informational guide for the educator considering the use of CAI in the writing classroom.

"Soft-Drink Sell: A Look at Carbonated Beverage Advertising"
Karin E. Smith

1984

"How to Write and Rewrite for Success"
Stephen D. Gladis

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This thesis surveys some of the more common errors made in written business communications and offers solutions. The rules are stated briefly, the examples related to business, and the analysis is simple and direct. The thesis serves as a grammatical review book, a revision manual, a desktop reference, and an instructional aid for businesspeople intent on improving their writing.

"Training Writers through Teamwork: A Handbook for Trainers in Business and Professional Writing"
Deborah J. Smyth

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The purpose of this thesis is to function as a guide for teachers of business and professional writing. Unlike other books of this type, it applies the writing process to specific types of business writing rather than to writing in general. Each chapter gives an overview of the type of writing discussed, suggests a sample workshop for the trainer, and includes sample handouts.

1983

"A Novice Lobbyist's Guide"
Elizabeth M. Coyne

PWR Contacts

  • Coordinator, MA concentration in PWR: Douglas Eyman, deyman@gmu.edu