Negotiating between conflicting discourse communities : scientists writing technical marketing copy Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/rr1721058

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  • This case study investigates how scientists who write technical marketing copy experience and resolve the tension that results from the conflicting demands of their local (company) and global (research science) discourse communities. Twelve scientists, who are currently technical marketing writers at a small biotechnology company, were interviewed by e-mail over the course of three months, and they were also asked to submit writing samples. The results of this study challenge the theory that a writer's perception of audience, which is also linked to philosophical orientation (positivist/constructivist), is the primary factor that determines whether they will write persuasively or informatively. Killingsworth's concepts of local and global discourse communities were applied to help develop a comprehensive picture of the tension experienced by these authors. Although all of the positivists in this study did choose a strictly informative writing style, there appeared to be a number of factors affecting whether the constructivists wrote persuasively or informatively. These factors included the strength of a writer's professional identification with the local (company) or global (research science) discourse community, the level of tension created by the conflicting demands of the local and global discourse communities, and the extent of a writer's perception of audience.
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