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IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication Call for Submissions: Special Issue on Data-Driven Approaches to Research and Teaching in Professional and Technical Communication (December 2018):

Guest editors: Ryan K. Boettger (University of North Texas) and Suguru Ishizaki (Carnegie Mellon University)

The approaches, theories, and technologies that inform professional communication remain a consequential and ever evolving area of study.

In 2006, Thomas Orr guest edited a special issue of IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication that provided insight from corpus linguistics for professional communication [1]. Orr described the “quest” to understand and improve how professionals communicate in the workplace, citing corpus linguistics as a useful and complementary tool for empirically oriented researchers. The issue showcased rhetorical and linguistic analyses of professional genres and language strategies, as well as introduced readers to what is now one of the most widely used text analysis toolkits in the world [2].

The quest to understand the nuances of professional communication continues and now includes a host of new disciplinary partners and approaches. The interdisciplinary field now known as data science (or data-driven science) has emerged as a promising resource for allowing us to engage in new research questions and to expand our thinking about communication artifacts. We are now saturated with terms often associated with data science (e.g., big data, content analysis, text mining, sentiment analysis, topic modeling, network analysis) that span numerous disciplines (e.g., corpus and computational linguistics, learning technologies, artificial intelligence, statistics, and business analytics). Yet the field of professional and technical communication is just beginning to embrace the power of data-driven approaches.

Our proposed special issue extends Orr’s work by exploring advances in data-driven approaches to the study of professional and technical communication in the past decade. We invite submissions from researchers across the disciplines who employ computer-aided approaches to written, oral, visual, and digital forms of professional communication. We are interested in submissions related to the following questions:

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