7300: Methods (Weeks 7-9)

Well, I’m a little behind on my blogging due to the intensity of my life….which has been even crazier than usual. We had our annual fall fundraising event, A Night of Hope, on Oct. 6th and then I’ve been wrapping up my time as Executive Director. It has been a busy couple of weeks. This morning, I reviewed my notes and I’m diving head-first into this interesting research class. Even though my work life has been all consuming, I have given some thought to my research project. I do my best thinking when I’m driving..which is probably scary since I should be thinking about driving, and have come up with a framework. Anyway, below are the highlights of my notes over the past few weeks and some thoughts about my research project.

Week 7- I missed class, which I really hated, because Dr. Barb was either there in person or skyped in. I discovered a systematic approach to researching and writing grant proposals through her class. I’ve been successful in securing several hundred thousand dollars in funding for SPSF and enjoy the whole process researching, organizing, and writing grant proposals.

Week 8- Sociolinguistics and the corpus method of research was a new concept to me. I thoroughly enjoyed the guest appearance from Dr. Laura Aull and her research on first year writing research. The corpus method is very cool and I’m going to incorporate this method into my research proposal. I’m also very interested in teaching first-year writing and literacy classes so the article was relevant and interesting. The corpus.byu.edu website is fascinating and it has been great to spend some time exploring. I like patterns because I like process. So, the corpus method has strong appeal.

Week 9- Usability, visual analysis, multimodality and research…because I have nerdy friends, I’ve spent some time on the “A List Apart” website and also on the “Using 5 E’s to Understand Users”. This is a fascinating area of research and it is always cool to make rhetorical connections. As I continue to learn, study, and research, I find it fascinating that much of my reading leads back to Kenneth Burke and his theories. Like Mr. Wonderful on the Shark Tank, where all roads lead back to him, it seems all rhetorical roads (at least the research I’ve done) lead back to Burke.

Finally, my thoughts on my project…I’d like to analyze writings in a specific area of nonprofit work. My thought is to take one specific area of nonprofit technical communication: meeting minutes, meeting agendas, or emails–specifically communication between board members and the ED and analyze them. Is there anything in common that stands out and makes communication and advancing the mission effective? What do they have in common? What conclusions can be made from the analysis?

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