Learning Writing and Communication in the Technician Workplace

Submissions open: 1 Jan 2022

Submissions deadline: 1 April 2022


This special issue will present current best practices in formal and informal learning and training on professional writing and communication in the workplace for technicians and other certified and licensed professionals. It will present interventions, case studies, and best practices to assist the learning process on the job and the professionals responsible for providing that teaching and training.  The issue can also include  overviews and guidelines for organisational policies, politics, resources on professional writing for these workers.

A survey of Skills, Technology, and Management Practices (STAMP) among 2304 participants found that almost everyone does some form of reading and writing on the job across the upper and lower white and blue collar workforce (Handel, 2010). Professional writing and communication are also important for upward mobility in the blue collar workforce; it is essential for making petitions for work-life balance, promotion, and other benefits (Bochantin & Cowan, 2016). 

The literature in the field of workplace learning on professional writing and communication for technicians and other certified and licensed professionals is nascent.  For example, Sommer & Nja’s 2011 study of Norwegian firefighters’ learning process found factors that resemble school-based writing studies such as training, exercises, storytelling, personal experience, and embodied knowledge. Other studies on the impact of learning on the job have found other important factors, such as mentorship efficacy, gender, and workplace safety, (Santos et. al, 2019; Sjöberg et. al, 2020; Yap & Choy, 2018). However, research on writing in JWL dating  back to the 1990s utilizes frameworks and methods that were popular yet controversial at the time, e.g., reading level and the Fog Index (Egan, 1998; Nale, Rauch, & Barr, 1998; Turner, 1992). Since then, these frameworks and methods have been complemented and sometimes replaced with more holistic, mixed methods approaches to studying workplace writing (Moreno & Casasola, 2016). To date, technician workplace research and writing studies use common theoretical lenses, like activity theory (Engestrom & Kerosuo, 2007; Ianeva, Vacherand-Revel, & Licoppe, 2017). However, these perspectives have not been combined to show how new workplace dynamics and technologies  inform writing  for certified and licensed professionals today. 

It  is clear that writing is important in the workplace for certified and licensed professionals; however, more research is necessary to uncover and recommend best practices, as it is for understanding how best to teach these professionals. This special issue proposes to advance research in this field by serving as a landmark collection of research in this emerging field. 

We propose a collection that can support researchers, teachers, and learners in this workplace. This special issue will prove useful to them because it promises to address the unique issues, problems, and dimensions of writing in these allied fields, including questions about training, practice, genres, and new developments.  

This special issue welcomes proposals that engage a variety of research methods and theoretical frameworks. Ultimately, this special issue will contribute to our theoretical, pedagogical, methodological, and practical understandings of what it means to write in certified and licensed professional contexts. 


Guest editors

Elizabeth Angeli, Associate Professor, Department of English, Marquette University, [email protected]

Aimee Roundtree, Professor, Department of English, Texas State University, [email protected]  

Submissions information

Submissions open: 1 Jan 2022

Submissions deadline: 1 April 2022

Submissions are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts. Registration and access are available at: https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/jwl 

Author guidelines must be strictly followed. Please see: https://www.emeraldgrouppublishing.com/journal/jwl

Authors should select (from the drop-down menu) the special issue title at the appropriate step in the submission process, i.e. in response to “Please select the issue you are submitting to”.

Submitted articles must not have been previously published, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else, while under review for this journal.