A Comparison of Research Topics Associated with Technical Communication, Business Communication, and Professional Communication, 1963-2017

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Technical communication, business communication, and professional communication are potentially overlapping disciplines with open disciplinary questions. A comparative topical analysis of research topics can identify similarities and differences between them, addressing intellectual and physical concerns for each. Literature review: Recent topical analyses have been done for technical communication. Historical topical analyses have been done for business communication. Few professional communication topical analyses exist. Some studies were done 15 or more years ago, and one related comparative study exists. Research questions: 1. What research topics are unique to each of the disciplines of technical communication, business communication, and professional communication in a corpus of research abstracts spanning 1963-2017? 2. What topics are shared among the disciplines of technical communication, business communication, and professional communication in a corpus of research abstracts spanning 1963-2017? Research methodology: I used collocation analysis on the target phrases technical communication, business communication, and professional communication from a 4822-abstract corpus. I compared words collocated with target phrases to find words unique to a single term, those shared with two terms, or those shared with all three terms. Results/discussion: Findings identified science communication as a technical communication topic; other findings corroborated previous research. Business communication findings corroborated previous research and identified an emphasis on global communication. Findings show professional communication as a rhetorically flexible term that creates a space for emerging concepts and expands disciplinary boundaries. The three shared communication, pedagogy, international, and disciplinary concerns. Conclusions: The disciplines feature some overlap but maintain distinct research foci. Professional communication is a distinctive discipline that assists technical communication and business communication by incubation of emerging concepts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9099940
Pages (from-to)118-138
Number of pages21
JournalIEEE Transactions on Professional Communication
Volume63
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Business communication
  • corpus analysis
  • disciplinarity
  • metaresearch
  • professional communication
  • technical communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial relations
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'A Comparison of Research Topics Associated with Technical Communication, Business Communication, and Professional Communication, 1963-2017'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this