Using Bayesian Induction Methods in Risk Assessment and Communication

by J.D. Applen
Bayes’s theorem allows us to use subjective thinking to find numerical values to formulate assessments of risk. It is more than a mathematical formula; it can be thought of as an iterative process that challenges us to imagine the potential for “unknown, unknowns.” The heuristics involved in this process can be enhanced if they take into consideration some of the established risk assessment and communication models used today in technical communication that are concerned with the social construction of meaning and the kairos involved in rhetorical situations. Understanding the connection between Bayesian analysis and risk communication will allow us to better convey the potential for risk that is based on probabilistic assumptions.

CDQ Issue 8-1 is now live!

We are happy to announce the latest issue of Communication Design Quarterly (Volume 8 Issue 1) is now live. Featuring work by Daniel P. Richards, Derek G. Ross, Sonia H. Stephens, Jennifer Roth Miller, Brandy Dieterle, Jennifer deWinter, Stephanie Vie, Ryan Cheek, and Ella Browning.

Social Media in Professional, Technical, and Scientific Communication Programs: A Heuristic to Guide Future Use

by Jennifer Roth Miller, Brandy Dieterle, Jennifer deWinter, and Stephanie Vie
This article reports on the results of a research study supported by a CPTSC research grant that analyzed programmatic use of social media in professional, technical, and scientific communication programs (TPCs). This mixed-methods study included a survey of TPC program administrators (n = 29), an inventory of TPCs’ social media account use (n = 70), and an inventory of TPCs’ course offerings that included social media (n = 27). Results showed that programmatic use of social media requires strategic consideration, particularly in order to generate two-way communication, a goal of many of the TPCs studied. To that end, our article generates questions and guiding suggestions (drawn from our three-part study) to guide administrators who wish to include social media in their TPC.

Message from the Executive Committee: update on SIGDOC 2020 regarding COVID-19

Hello, SIGDOC community—
We are writing to inform you that as of right now SIGDOC 2020 in Denton, TX is still scheduled to be held as planned (October 3-4, 2020). Even though we are seven months out from the event, we want to be transparent and active in our communication with you. The safety and well-being of all conference participants is of course our priority, and as such we are—as everyone is—following updates on the situation from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Story Mapping and Sea Level Rise: Listening to Global Risks at Street Level

by Sonia H. Stephens and Daniel P. Richards
While interactive maps are important tools for risk communication, most maps omit the lived experiences and personal stories of the community members who are most at risk. We describe a project to develop an interactive tool that juxtaposes coastal residents’ video- recorded stories about sea level rise and coastal flooding with an interactive map that shows future sea level rise projections. We outline project development including digital platform selection, project design, participant recruitment, and narrative framing, and tie our design decisions to rhetorical and ethical considerations of interest for others developing interactive tools with community participation.

Career Advancement Research Grant 2019 Winners Announced

On behalf of the SIGDOC Executive Committee, we are pleased to announce this year’s winners of the Career Advancement Research Grant:

“Ideals and Realities: Exploring Usability in Born-Digital Scholarship”—Rob Grace and Jason Tham (Texas Tech University)

“Social Media Article Visualizer Project”—Stephen Carradini (Arizona State University)

Join us in congratulating these amazing scholars and wonderful projects!

Humanistic Communication in Information Centric Workplaces

by Nupoor Ranade and Jason Swarts
Professional writers adapt their skills to suit expanded professional roles that involve production and management of information, but preparation through mere skill-based training is problematic because that communication work is messy in ways that are not addressable through simple skills training. We must understand how skills “influence and shape the discursive activities surrounding their use” (Selber, 1994). This paper reports the results of a study of people trained in humanities disciplines like communication, English, writing studies, technical communication, etc., on how they have found means to employ their training in their workplace and keep what is humanistic about writing and communicating at the foreground of their interactions with information technologies. Instead of focusing on technology alone, this research encourages a unified approach to preparing students for the workplace.

Toward a Heuristic for Teaching the Visual Rhetoric of Pitch Decks: A Pedagogical Approach in Entrepreneurship Communication

by Sean Williams, Clay Spinuzzi, and Curtis Newbold
This study examined how three successful entrepreneurs/investors assessed the visual rhetoric of actual pitch decks from novice entrepreneurs. We compare their evaluations to the result of a heuristic for assessing visual rhetoric, Color CRAYONTIP. While the pitch deck is recognized as a key artifact in entrepreneurship, no studies have specifically addressed the visual design of the deck nor the key design skills novice entrepreneurs should implement to effectively persuade potential investors of the idea’s promise. This preliminary and exploratory case study begins a dialogue on this topic by performing a visual analysis of seven novice decks which were deemed successful by experienced angel investors. The analysis revealed five key skills that appear to account for the success of these decks with the reviewers: rhetorical awareness, typography, color, photography, and contrast.