Toward a Taxonomy of an Interdisciplinary Area: The Case of Technical Communication

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Association for Interdisciplinary Studies


Although an interdisciplinary program derives strength from its abilily to gain insights from a variety of disciplines, these same multiple disciplines hinder the development of common terminology necessary for advancing research in the field. Technical communication began as a practitioner-dominated field but recently academic programs have started to add the theoretical and research base. As an interdisciplinary field, technical communication benefits from research in art, cognitive psychology, computer science, education, engineering, English, graphics, and rhetoric. Howcver, the lack of a dominant academic discipline has fragmented the development of a coherent discipline; likewise, lack of clear definitions and common terminology hinders the research and theory development of the field. Building a taxonomy for technical communication will help researchers benefit from the multidisciplinary input into the field. The basis for such a taxonomy begins with a Theoretical Model of Technical Communication, then continues with a Framework for a Taxonomy based on the model.




Beck, Charles E. "Toward a Taxonomy of an Interdisciplinary Area: The Case of Technical Communication." Issues in Integrative Studies 10 (1992): 61-78.