Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communication Studies

Committee Member

Dr. Victor Vitanza, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. David Blakesley

Committee Member

Dr. Michael Meng

Committee Member

Dr. Alexander Herzog


This dissertation seeks to answer one fundamental question: How can I as a researcher conduct social justice research that is ethical, durable, and portable? As social justice research becomes more prominent in the field of technical and professional communication, ethical research practices must be maintained to avoid an unintentional wounding of the subjects for whom researchers hope to advocate. The dissertation is divided into five sections, each written as a stand-alone article that builds on the principles of the section before it. Each section addresses a key question:

1) How do I ethically engage in social justice research?

2) How do I ethically engage with big data and algorithmic rhetorics?

3) How do I frame my research to have the most impact outside my home discipline?

4) What does an ethical, computational content analysis look like?

5) How do these principles translate into the classroom?

Together, these articles identify a methodology called Institutional Genre Analysis, which focuses on text as data that was produced by an institution rather than individual users, avoiding many of the pitfalls of big data research while providing a means for what Vitanza calls “intellectual guerilla warfare conducted by [marginalized individuals]” (1987, p. 52).



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