The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

English: M.A.




College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

James Heiman

Second Advisor

Carol Morbacher

Third Advisor

Dennis Guster

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Technical Communication, Professional Writing, Authorship, Modernism, Post-modernism


From the very beginning of the technical communication, definitions of technical writing have varied amongst scholars and practitioners of the field. The technical writing discourse has evolved essentially into what some refer to as professional communication or professional writing; however, with these new and current distinctions, the issue of defining the field has still yet to be resolved. Moreover, the problem of defining technical communication and its practitioners is further complicated by the conceptions and misconceptions of who technical communicators are and what it is they do. The following study, a personal ethnography of a technical writing intem's experience, explores this same situation, studying how images of writer are formed during collaboration, how they differ from the technical writer's own perception of self, how those perceptions then affect the writer throughout the writing process and then when assigning authorship. The author then also discusses how perception, collaboration, image and notions of authorship all contribute to the problem of defining the technical communication field and how certain misconceptions of the technical writer need to change in order to create a greater understanding of the field and what it is technical communicators do.