Bridging Rhetorical Genre Studies and Ethics of Representation in Meeting Minutes

Main Article Content

Kelly Whitney


This essay describes a project that introduces undergraduate students in a technical and professional writing course to rhetorical genre studies, context, and ethics. In this project, students (1) study examples of meeting minutes and consider their functions within specific contexts, (2) take meeting minutes of a class session, and (3) analyze their minutes to abstract larger lessons on the rhetorical, epistemological, and ethical work of technical and professional writing. This project brings students' attention to the complex decision-making processes writers face as they seek to produce useful, ethical, recognizable professional documents.

Article Details

How to Cite
Whitney, K. (2019). Bridging Rhetorical Genre Studies and Ethics of Representation in Meeting Minutes. Prompt: A Journal of Academic Writing Assignments, 3(1).


Association of Teachers of Technical Writing. (n.d.). Code of ethics. Association of Teachers of Technical Writing.

Bawarshi, A. S., & Reiff, M. J. (2010). An introduction to history, theory, research, and pedagogy. West Lafayette, IN: Parlor Press.

Dias, P., & Paré, A. (Eds.). (2000). Transitions: Writing in academic and workplace settings. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.

Dias, P., Freedman, A., Medway, P., & Paré, A. (1999). Worlds apart: Acting and writing in academic and workplace contexts. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Dombrowski, P. (2000). Ethics in technical communication. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Eilperin, J. (2016, September). White House women want to be in the room where it happens. The Washington Post.

Freedman, A., & Adam, C. (1996). Learning to write professionally: “Situated Learning†and the transition from university to professional discourse. Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 10(4), 395–427.

Hausman, B. L. (2000). Rational management: Medical authority and ideological conflict in Ruth Lawrence’s breastfeeding: A guide for the medical profession. Technical Communication Quarterly, 9(3), 271–289.

Heathfield, S. M. (2017, July). What are meeting minutes and who records them at a meeting? The Balance Careers.

Ingham, D. (2008). These minutes took 22 hours: The rhetorical situation of the meeting minute-taker. In J. MacLennan (Ed.), Readings for technical communication (pp. 229–231). Ontario: Oxford University Press.

Katz, S. B. (1992). The ethic of expediency: Classical rhetoric, technology, and the Holocaust. College English, 54(3), 255–275.

McEachern, R. W. (1998). Meeting minutes as symbolic action. Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 12(2), 198–216.

Miller, C. R. (1979). A humanistic rationale for technical writing. College English, 40(6), 610–617.

Miller, C. R. (1984). Genre as social action. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 70(2), 151–167.

Miller, C. R., & Kelly, A. R. (Eds.). (2017). Emerging genres in new media environments. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan.

Moeller, R. M., & Christensen, D. M. (2009). System mapping: A genre field analysis of the National Science Foundation’s grant proposal and funding process. Technical Communication Quarterly, 19(1), 69–89.

Ornatowski, C. M. (1992). Between efficiency and politics rhetoric and ethics in technical writing. Technical Communication Quarterly, 1(1), 91–103.

Paré, A. (2002). Keeping writing in its place: A participatory action approach to workplace communication. In B. Mirel & R. Spilka (Eds.), Reshaping technical communication: New directions and challenges for the 21st century (pp. 57–73). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Spinuzzi, C., Hart-Davidson, W., & Zachry, M. (2006). Chains and ecologies: Methodological notes toward a communicative-mediational model of technologically mediated writing. In Proceedings of the 24th annual ACM international conference on Design of communication (pp. 43–50). New York: ACM.

Wolfe, J. (2006). Meeting minutes as a rhetorical genre: Discrepancies between professional writing textbooks and workplace practice tutorial. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 49(4), 354–364.

Wolfe, J. (2010). Team writing: A guide to working in groups. New York, NY: Bedford/St. Martin’s.