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Seeing and Listening: A Visual and Social Analysis of Optometric Record-Keeping Practices
Journal of Business and Technical Communication (2007)
  • Lara Varpio, University of Ottawa
  • Marlee M. Spafford, University of Waterloo
  • Catherine F. Schryer, University of Waterloo
  • Lorelei Lingard, University of Toronto

This article investigates the contribution visual rhetoric and rhetorical genre studies (RGS) can make to health care education and communication genres. Through a visual rhetorical analysis of a patient record used in an optometry teaching clinic, this article illustrates that a genre's visual representations provide significant insights into the social action of that genre. These insights are deepened by an insider analysis of the patient record that highlights how content analyses of visual designs need to be elaborated by contextual considerations. A combined visual rhetoric and RGS analysis shows that clinical novices learn to interpret the record's visual cues to safely traverse the complex requirements of this apprenticeship genre. The article demonstrates that visual rhetoric research can meaningfully contribute to the understanding of genres by presenting an enriched contextual analysis achieved by consulting with context insiders.

  • Visual rhetoric,
  • Rhetorical genre studies,
  • Health care education,
  • Patient records
Publication Date
October, 2007
Publisher Statement

Nominated for the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) award for Best Article Reporting Qualitative or Quantitative Research in Technical or Scientific Communication. 

Dr. Lorelei Lingard is currently a faculty member at The University of Western Ontario.

Citation Information
Lara Varpio, Marlee M. Spafford, Catherine F. Schryer and Lorelei Lingard. "Seeing and Listening: A Visual and Social Analysis of Optometric Record-Keeping Practices" Journal of Business and Technical Communication Vol. 21 Iss. 4 (2007)
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