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Toward Multidirectional Knowledge Flows: Lessons from Research and Publication Practices of Technical Communication Entrepreneurs

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Purpose: This article asks what can be learned about knowledge flows in the field of technical communication from the networking activities that independent entrepreneurs use to learn relevant information, influence practice, and build professional conversations.

Method: The article uses qualitative methods informed by theories of social network analysis to examine interview data collected from eight successful technical communication entrepreneurs.

Results: Technical communication entrepreneurs actively publish and read publications to learn relevant information about the field, influence practice, and build professional conversations. Academic publications are often outside these entrepreneurs' scope of interest because of differing timescales, venues, and key terms; however, they often read publications of and publish toward the professional networks generated as they connect with others for business interests.

Conclusion: The field must continue to find ways to bridge academic and practitioner divides by seeking common venues, shared timelines, and collaborating on emerging topics of interest. However, these divides are more complex than simply among academics and practitioners, as knowledge flows in the field have become multidirectional rather than two-sided.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2016

More about this publication?
  • Technical Communication, the Society's journal, publishes articles about the practical application of technical communication theory and serves as a common arena for discussion by practitioners. Technical Communication includes both quantitative and qualitative research while showcasing the work of some of the field's most noteworthy writers. Among its most popular features are the helpful book reviews. Technical Communication is published quarterly and is free with membership.
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