Digital dissemination practices: An analysis of explanatory strategies in the process of recontextualising specialised knowledge

Vol.17,No.1(2024)
Discourse and Interaction 1 2024

Abstract

Researchers and scientists are increasingly encouraged by their institutions, by external organizations and by societal demands to foster the global dissemination of their knowledge production. Such dissemination is nowadays very frequently carried out online through different digital practices and texts. The current Web 2.0 and Science 2.0 context requires complex discursive practices to recontextualise and communicate specialised knowledge in a way that is accessed, understood and accepted by multiple audiences. The use of explanatory strategies has been highlighted by previous research as playing a key role in the recontextualisation of scientific findings. Such strategies can be realised verbally and non-verbally through diverse semiotic modes and affordances of the digital medium. A taxonomy of verbal explanatory strategies (elaboration, explicitation, exemplification, enumeration and comparison) and non-verbal (visual representations and spatial organisation) is presented stemming from the data-driven analysis of a sub-corpus of web-hosted practices, which is part of the SciDis Database compiled by the InterGEDI research group at Universidad de Zaragoza. In particular, the sub-corpus consists of 30 texts: 10 author-generated digital texts – from the knowledge dissemination community The Conversation –, and writer-mediated digital texts – 10 feature articles and 10 research digests – on circular economy and sustainability. Results show that verbal explanatory strategies are more frequent than non-verbal ones and that within the latter exemplification and explicitation are most common across all three types of digital dissemination practices. Author-generated scientific digital texts present more non-verbal explanatory strategies than writer-mediated ones – feature articles, and especially than research digests. The findings on the strategies resorted to and their realisation can be used to design tools for researchers, scientists and scriptwriters, mediators of disciplinary knowledge, who need to communicate such knowledge through digital platforms to diversified audiences.


Keywords:
recontextualisation; scientific dissemination; knowledge communication; digital discourse analysis; digitally mediated communication
Author biography

Pilar Mur-Dueñas

Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain

Pilar Mur-Dueñas is a senior lecturer at the Department of English and German Studies at Universidad de Zaragoza (Spain). She is a member of the InterGEDI research group (https://intergedi.unizar.es/) and is currently involved in the research project “Processes of recontextualisation in the transfer of knowledge: A pragmatic, linguistic and multimodal study of digital scientific discourse for dissemination purposes (SciDis)”. Her research focuses on the analysis of scholars’ digital practices in the communication of specialised knowledge.

Address: Pilar Mur-Dueñas, Departmento de Filología Inglesa y Alemana, Facultad de Educación, Universidad de Zaragoza, C/Pedro Cerbuna 12, 50009, Zaragoza, Spain. [e-mail: pmur@unizar.es]

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