Science writing readings

Huckin’s article … I didn’t know there was a term for it.

 I wonder a little about being able to justify it.  I guess I will go back and look at the other articles he says are done in the same genre.

            “Writers belong to multiple discourse communities…”

is an interesting statement and one that I will be dealing with in my dissertation, if the company I want lets me study their stuff.  All their writers are scientists, working as tech writers.

            “Was this of interest to composition teachers?”

  I wonder that myself sometimes.  But I think that this topic I am looking at will be of interest to tech writing teachers.

            I thought it was interesting that Nate had fewer connectives and demonstratives and article ratios than the scholars.  Even for a formal paper, most people don’t write the same way as they would for a journal article.  I also think it is interesting that Haswell is invoked to corroborate, after the fact, their intuitive response.  Haswell says a competent writer doesn’t need all those things.  They take that to mean that Nate is a competent writer.  That also implies that the ten scholars are not.

            I thought they were silly to say that he was rejecting one community for a new one.  They aren’t members of multiple communities?  Being a member of one doesn’t necessarily reject the others, unless they are philosophically or politically opposed.

            Voice.  Huckin mentions voice, just saying he was using different voices.  Where does that come from?  Where is research on voice?  What is voice?  Why doesn’t anyone talk about this?  Have I missed the literature?

            I didn’t think the two methods, context-sensitive text analysis and rhetorical criticism, were all that different.  I got the idea that rhetorical criticism could easily be part of a context-sensitive text analysis.  Is this true?  If not, could you give me some pointers?  I’

ll go read the book, but I want to know if I am missing something.

Thomas N. Huckin. “Surprise Value in Scientific Discourse.” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (38th, Atlanta, GA, March 19-21, 1987).    

I know longer remember which Haswell article I was referencing.  But his vita is available at

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