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Knowledge transfer across disciplines: tracking rhetorical strategies from a technical communication classroom to an engineering classroom

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1 Author(s)
J. D. Ford ; Humanities Dept., New Mexico Inst. of Min. & Technol., Socorro, NM, USA

This article presents findings from an empirical study investigating the transfer of rhetorical knowledge, defined as audience awareness, sense of purpose, organization, use of visuals, professional appearance, and style, between the technical communication and the engineering disciplines. Various data collection methods were used to examine the skills and rhetorical knowledge students learned in a technical communication course and determine whether or not students relied on that knowledge as they completed writing assignments in an engineering course. Also examined was the effect of workplace experiences on shaping students' rhetorical knowledge. This study indicated that students did appear to transfer rhetorical strategies between different contexts, and those strategies were learned in the workplace as well as the classroom.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication  (Volume:47 ,  Issue: 4 )