Why Writing Works

Disciplinary Approaches to Composing Texts

Research in Professional Writing & Communication

by Dr. Teresa Henning

Finding credible sources

Students should follow SMSU’s library’s advice about source credibility AND consider these additional criteria:

  • The article should appear in a peer reviewed journal OR
  • The article should appear in a publication sponsored by one of the aforementioned professional organizations.

Scholarly publications

The following is a brief list of key journals in my field. They are key because they are relevant to what my field studies – writing and the teaching of writing.

  • Across the Disciplines
  • Assessing Writing
  • Business Communication Quarterly
  • College Composition and Communication
  • College English
  • Composition Forum
  • Composition Studies
  • Computers and Composition
  • Computers and Composition Online
  • Currents in Electronic Literacy
  • Enculturation
  • English Journal
  • JAC
  • Journal of Business and Technical Communication
  • Journal of Business Communication
  • Journal of Second Language Writing
  • Journal of Teaching Writing
  • Journal of Writing Research
  • Kairos
  • Pedagogy
  • Philosophy & Rhetoric
  • Quarterly Journal of Speech
  • Queen: A Journal of Rhetoric and Power
  • Research in the Teaching of English
  • Rhetoric & Public Affairs
  • Rhetoric Review
  • Rhetoric Society Quarterly
  • Rhetorica
  • Teaching English in the Two-Year College
  • Technical Communication Quarterly
  • The WAC Journal
  • WPA Journal
  • Written Communication
  • Writing Centers Journal
  • Issues in Writing
Trade publications

The following is a list of trade journals in my field. The work in these journals is peer reviewed, but the articles tend to be shorter and have an immediate practical application.

  • The Council Chronicle
  • Programmatic Perspectives
  • Intercom
  • The Writing Lab Newsletter (renamed: WLN: A Journal of Writing Center Scholarship)
  • Writer’s Digest

Non-scholarly writing

Some scholars in Professional Writing & Communication write non-scholarly blogs or advocacy websites as a way of making the world a better place. 

Scholars in the field might also cite non-scholarly pieces in their scholarly writing, but they also always cite scholarly pieces. In other words, a scholar in Professional Writing & Communication would never rely on only non-scholarly work in a scholarly piece of writing.

Internet resources

Open Internet searches are only ever a starting point. They must be followed up by a search for scholarly articles in library databases because the journal and trade articles in my field are considered to have the more current and reliable information.

Government agencies

These agencies are important – particularly the Department of Education and the Department of Labor. Work from these agencies is frequently cited in journal articles.

Statement of ethics and research

Every single professional organization that listed for Professional Writing & Communication has a statement of ethics. Across the board, the biggest issue of corruption in my field is that of plagiarism and copyright infringement.


Professional Writing and Communication: Disciplinary Perspective

Writing in Professional Writing and Communication

Reading in Professional Writing and Communication

Documentation in Professional Writing and Communication 


View videos for the related field of English.