For 5363, Introduction to Research Methods in Technical Communication and Composition, we have to do both a replication study and a micro-study.
For the replication study, I decided to imitate Maxine Hairston’s study, “Not All Errors Are Created Equal: Nonacademic Readers in the Professions Respond to Lapses in Usage.” What I liked about this study was its focus on nonacademic professions and professionals, and their thoughts on writing.
I’ve heard people in the industry say that we (teachers) were producing students into the industry that could not write; this – though I found fault with their thoughts – told me that people in the business world, detached from academia, cared about writing. The fact that teachers were being paid nicely to go into these businesses to teach employees (and employers) how to write effective memos, reports, etc. only strengthened my belief.
Reading this study added to that belief.
The study was conducted in 1981; it seems like a good time for a replication.
I plan to replicate Hairston’s study by doing a questionnaire of my own.
I’ve decided to continue looking at Hairston’s study for my micro-study by conducting interviews with participants, getting more insight into their thoughts and problems they face with writing within their profession.
I had another topic for the micro-study, which the professor liked, and I DO plan to move forward with it at some point because I think it might have the makings for a longer project.
We shall see.
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