Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Charles Kostelnick

Second Advisor

Geoffrey Sauer


Over the past 25 years, the field of technical communication has been witness to an influx of information technologies that have drastically changed the work and roles of academic and non-academic practitioners and researchers, pushing questions about authorship and legitimacy of information construction into focus. Factors affecting technical communicators' work roles include transitions from an industrial economy to a support economy (Zuboff & Maxim, 2004), changes in management philosophies (Dicks, 2010), and changes in methodologies for content delivery (Carliner, 2010). As a result, the inherent reuse, reconstruction, and recontextualizing of texts in these new environments has raised questions within technical communication scholarship about how writers and designers construct trustworthy ethos, manage audience expectations, and mitigate doubts about the legitimacy of communication (Slattery, 2007; Swarts, 2007, 2010). This dissertation presents three separate papers considering the ways in which distrust manifests in communication through diagnostic procedures, new media tool usage, and professional identity construction. The articles in this collection dive into three distinct discursive worlds, all with their own conventions, affordances, and dangers. The similarities between brain injury diagnostics, web developer toolsets, and user experience hiring practices, are certainly few. However, each case shares an attention to how the invisibility of some types of knowledge create a context within which tools, products, or people can lose an audience's trust or identification.


Copyright Owner

Tom Lindsley



File Format


File Size

122 pages

Included in

Rhetoric Commons