Writing and Linguistics faculty member, student researching inclusive technical editing practices
Georgia Southern University associate professor of writing and linguistics Joanna Schreiber, Ph.D., and senior Sedona Benjamin are working together to highlight trends in professional and technical editing to figure out the best inclusive editing practices.
While there has been a lot of research done on technical writing practices, technical editing is still a largely untapped subject. Schreiber said the research is important because of the significant role editors play in technical content creation.
“Editors develop the guidelines for content across platforms, and this perspective is crucial for ensuring effective and inclusive content,” Schreiber said. “The goal of this project is to bring together industry and academic perspectives to build a new model or framework for technical editing that can be taught in the classroom and applied in the workplace.”
Currently Schreiber and Benjamin are in the process of surveying and interviewing editors and editing instructors about their approaches to accessible content, relationships between branding and information design, and inclusive content.
Benjamin said the advocacy and inclusivity aspects of the research have inspired her to incorporate inclusivity into her personal and professional life.
“This research project focuses heavily on advocating for people with disabilities, multilingual users and other commonly marginalized groups, which has shown me how I can incorporate advocacy and inclusivity into my career,” Benjamin said. “After beginning this project, even in my daily life I’ve started noticing failures of inclusivity, accessibility and user experience, such as missing or broken doors on handicap stalls in public restrooms. This project continues to teach me about the importance of inclusive practices, not only in technical editing, but in all areas of life.”
Through the project, Schreiber has been able to help Benjamin develop specific skills related to editing and research, including coding data, developing effective survey and interview questions, research ethics, indexing manuscripts and writing conference proposals.
Benjamin said working with Schreiber has helped her become a better student and professional.
“Working with Dr. Schreiber has been an extremely valuable experience,” Benjamin said. “She has helped me to build confidence for my career goals by guiding me through our research and allowing me to work independently on certain aspects of the project. Dr. Schreiber truly cares that I understand the information of our research project, and she is very supportive of my education and career goals.”
Schreiber and Benjamin are currently co-authoring a paper, “Updating Technical Editing Models for Accessibility and Advocacy,” and they will present preliminary findings about accessibility and inclusive content at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Design of Communication this fall.
For more information about the Department of Writing and Linguistics, visit cah.georgiasouthern.edu/writling/.