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Promoting User Advocacy to Shift Technical Communication Identity and Value

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Purpose: This study highlights key behaviors three professional technical communicators (TCs) used to enhance their professional identities and value in unique organizational contexts. It suggests that when TCs explicitly promote user advocacy to explain their work practices, it more positively represents the work that TCs do to other stakeholders. Method: Using an ethnographic perspective, we reflect on how grounding our thinking, decisions, and actions in user advocacy during interactions with non-TCs resulted in successful outcomes. Results: Promoting user advocacy while conducting user-centered design and user experience (UCD/UX) activities resulted in positive perceptions about our technical communication work; it broadened how non-TCs viewed our work beyond predetermined technical communication contexts. Conclusion: Promoting user advocacy in tandem with UCD/UX methods may provide a productive avenue for TCs to connect their value to broader organizational goals and promote and preserve positive workplace identities.
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Keywords: TECHNICAL COMMUNICATION IDENTITY; TECHNICAL COMMUNICATION VALUE; USER ADVOCACY; USER EXPERIENCE; USER-CENTERED DESIGN

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2017

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  • 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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