Prompt 6 (Blakeslee p. 27): Brainstorm a list of (broad) questions relating to your topic:
- How does medical communication affect patient actions? (And are the privacy guidelines and ethical considerations involved in studying medical communication too much for a fledgling researcher to overcome?)
- How do legal writings like the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act actually affect citizens? (And which citizens, and how can I measure this?)
- Is journalism a branch of technical communication? (And who defines it so?) Does this contribute to the difference in the gender/sex of people entering these fields?
By the end of my research, the question I most want to be able to answer is this …
How does gender (not just sex) affect the ways that people perform and perceive communicative activities in professional/technical settings … how does knowing about these performances/perceptions shape communication?
Prompt 7 (Blakeslee p. 27): Try using a tool provided by the authors to formulate a better research question:
I am looking for recurrent themes as described on page 24. First, I will “manually” consider themes in what I’ve been reading and writing. Main themes involve rhet/comp, gender, and tech comm. As the latter two can fall under the umbrella of rhet/comp, I will move forward with the assumption that I should be looking for ideas related to gender and tech comm. As this is already how I formulated the very drafty research question above, I seem to be on the right track.
Now, for something completely different. I used Wordle.net to create a word cloud based on my personal blog, where I often post items written for classes or responses to extra reading I’m doing. The biggest words in the image below are apparently the ones I use the most. Here is the result:
While I am interested in authorship, I am exploring that concept in another class right now. As such, it appears that I should consider refocusing my research on students. Since my ultimate goal is to teach, this makes sense … it’s just that my journalism background also makes me drawn to issues outside academia, and I think this connection is important to my students.
So, the conclusion of this exploration is that I might want to focus my research on issues of gender in technical communication and that I might want to do this in a way that involves or interests students.