Some examples of my previous work.


"Unhappy Customers are Just the Beginning." An explanation of possible negative business consequences of not putting sufficient resources into technical or product documentation. The primary audience is technical writers. Published in Intercom, Society for Technical Communication, February 2013. A two-part webinar based on the article is available on the TC Dojo website.
Download article

"Conversational Maxims and Technical Documentation." I have been making an effort to introduce the use of a tool used by linguists into the field of technical writing. The maxims of conversational cooperation are "rules" that people use unconsciously when conversing. A technical manual is a sort of "asymmetric conversation," and should follow the same rules. Published in Intercom, the member magazine of the Society for Technical Communication, October 2018.
Download article

"Managing Multiple Information Channels: Strategies for Designing Effective Presentations." Each of the tools a speaker has available--voice, slides, handouts, etc.-- has its own strengths and weaknesses. I identify three attributes to consider when deciding how to use each one: information density, ephemerality, and flexibility. Published in Intercom, the member magazine of the Society for Technical Communication. The ideas were first presented in a one-hour presentation. Please contact me if you want me to give that presentation to your group.
Download article

"Clarity in Death Penalty Jury Instructions: Ensuring Justice by Explaining the Law to Non-Lawyers." I see the drafting of jury instructions as a technical writing task. The knowledge from SMEs--judges and law professors--must be made available to average citizens who have not studied law. This article describing how it should be done was written with an audience of lawyers in mind. It was never published in a law review, though some editors said they regretted they did not have the space for it.
Download article

"'Next Time You Turn on a Tap, Thank a Meadow.'" A profile of the work of an environmental scientist. Published in HNC Today, the alumni magazine for Holy Names College (now University).
Download article

Academic Papers

"Gender Differences: Polite Terms." Do women use polite terms such as "please," "thank you," and "sorry" more than men do? I performed a computational linguistic analysis to determine if this conventional wisdom in the field of sociolinguistics could be supported by data. The appendix to the paper is my Python program.
Download paper

"Reporting and Editorializing: Linguistic Differences." What differences in language use can be detected between the reportage in a newspaper and its editorial page through the use of computational linguistics? I used UNIX commands and then Microsoft Excel to answer that question.
Download article

Other Publications

"Creating a Table of Contents in Microsoft Word." I designed and wrote a four-page booklet to explain the process of adding a table of contents to a document created in Word. This was the prototype of a planned series of quick guides to software. Unfortunately, the company that was going to publish the series went out of business, and the series never grew beyond this prototype.
Download booklet

Rewritten jury instructions. A particular California jury instruction that gives guidance to jurors in deciding between a death sentence or life imprisonment for a convicted murderer is difficult to understand. This has been shown in research by me and others. I applied techniques from the fields of technical writing and linguistics to the instruction in order to make it more comprehensible. This document includes both the original instruction and my rewrite. It was created as a handout to supplement a presentation I gave at an academic conference.
Download handout