Genre Field Analysis (GFA) is a method for investigating complex organizational and rhetorical situations in which writing plays a key role in communicating critical information. David Christensen and I have applied GFA to computer game documentation processes, to Wikipedia's editorial processes (with Jennifer deWinter and Lee Sherlock), and to the National Science Foundation's research grant proposal funding system. The NSF research site is the subject of Christensen's doctoral dissertation.
GFA draws upon rhetorical theory, genre theory (especially the work of Bill Hart-Davidson, Clay Spinuzzi, and Mark Zachry on genre ecologies), and play theory to deconstruct the elements of a genre field and identify strategic opportunities for human action. We have presented the method as a flowchart, as a heuristic, and as a process similar to learning a game (like chess) for the first time.
Links will open in a new browser window.
Moeller, R.M., & Christensen, D.M. (2010). System mapping: A genre field analysis of the National Science Foundation’s grant proposal and funding process. Technical Communication Quarterly, 19(1), 69-89.
Christensen, D.M., Cootey, J.L., & Moeller, R.M. (2007). Playing in genre fields: A play theory perspective on genre. Proceedings of the 25th annual ACM International Conference on Design of Communication. 22-24 October 2007. University of Texas, El Paso. 1-8.
representative presentations and workshops
Workshop: Genre Field Analysis (with D.M. Christensen, J. deWinter, and L. Sherlock). (2009, October). SIGDOC’09: 27th ACM International Conference on Design of Communication.Indiana University. Bloomington, IN.
Playing in genre fields: A play theory perspective on genre. (with D.M. Christensen). (2007, October). SIGDOC’07: 25th ACM International Conference on Design of Communication.University of Texas at El Paso.