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Utilizing Techniques Applied by College Writing Center Tutors in Medical Editor-Author Dialogue
American Medical Writers Association 72nd Annual Conference (2012)
  • Misty Bailey
  • Kirsten Benson
The medical editor-author dialogue may be improved by applying coaching techniques used by college writing center tutors. Writing centers encourage tutors to consider themselves as coaches, there to improve students’ overall writing and help them improve the writing in hand. In keeping with this goal, tutors practice and employ communication skills—active listening, body language, and verbal and written comments—that convey patience and respect and that encourage better written performances. These same techniques, when applied effectively to the medical editor-author dialogue, can increase the comfort level of both the editor and the author, as well as make their relationship more productive. For example, editors can improve the face-to-face, author-editor interaction by listening actively. Active listening includes allowing an author enough time to finish a thought before making a recommendation, making eye contact, mirroring and granting validity to author concerns, and maintaining friendly posture. An editor can further facilitate by asking guiding, open-ended questions, which might include requesting more information or clarification and then making formative suggestions for revision. In addition, inquiring about how a text might affect an intended reader (rather than how it affects the editor) allows an editor to maintain respect, professionalism, and empathy. Lastly, with electronic or pen-to-paper editing, some of these same techniques, especially open-ended inquiry methods, may be applied in written comments to the author. Using a professional and friendly tone is particularly important in written comments because, as with e-mail, the benefit of using body language to contextualize meaning is lost. Although the primary purpose of the editor may not be to coach or teach writing, editors—and the authors with whom they work—can benefit from utilizing such communication techniques employed by writing center tutors.
Publication Date
Fall October, 2012
Citation Information
Misty Bailey and Kirsten Benson. "Utilizing Techniques Applied by College Writing Center Tutors in Medical Editor-Author Dialogue" American Medical Writers Association 72nd Annual Conference (2012)
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