Myers, Greg 1954- (Gregory Alan Myers)

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Myers, Greg 1954- (Gregory Alan Myers)

PERSONAL:

Born May 28, 1954. Education: Pomona College, B.A., 1993; Columbia University, Ph.D.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Department of Linguistics and English Language, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YT, England. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Taught scientific writing and literature; Lancaster University, Lancaster, England, professor of rhetoric and communication.

MEMBER:

British Association for Applied Linguistics (secretary, 1998-2001).

WRITINGS:

Writing Biology: Texts in the Social Construction of Scientific Knowledge, University of Wisconsin Press (Madison, WI), 1990.

Words in Ads, E. Arnold (London, England), 1994.

(Editor, with Geoffrey N. Leech), Spoken English on Computer: Transcription, Mark-Up, and Application, Longman (New York, NY), 1995.

Ad Worlds: Brands, Media, Audiences, Arnold (New York, NY), 1998.

Matters of Opinion: Talking about Public Issues, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 2004.

Editor, with Ruth Wodak, of the "Discourse Approaches to Politics, Society, and Culture" series published by John Benjamins. Member of the editorial boards of Applied Linguistics, ESPecialist, Language in Society, Language Teaching Research, Science as Culture, Text & Talk, and Written Communication.

SIDELIGHTS:

Greg Myers taught scientific writing and literature in New York and Texas before taking a position with Lancaster University as a professor of rhetoric and communication. Myers teaches undergraduate courses on the media and is researching the language of blogs. He notes on the Lancaster University Linguistics & English Language Department Web site that his "best-known work focused on the social context of written academic texts, especially in science, treating such issues as politeness, cohesion, narrative structure, commonplaces, and illustration, drawing on frameworks from the sociology of scientific knowledge. More recent work has studied expression of opinions in talk, particularly in focus groups and consultation processes; the approach is largely through conversation analysis."

Myers serves on the editorial boards of Applied Linguistics, ESPecialist, Language in Society, Language Teaching Research, Science as Culture, Text & Talk, and Written Communication. He is also the author of several volumes, including Ad Worlds: Brands, Media, Audiences, a study in three parts. In the first part, Myers considers ad results and discusses globalization in advertising. The section on media includes a discussion of online advertising, and the final section considers how audiences perceive advertising and how advertisers can create an audience for their product or service.

In reviewing the volume in Communication Research Trends, Ann D. Kiburz noted that audiences commonly analyze advertisements, adding: "It is so common, says the author, that ‘advertisers are painfully aware that their audiences know something about ads, and try to build this knowledge into ads that refer to other advertising’…. At the same time, it is argued that ads must be seen within the culture in which they are released in order to fully appreciate them." Consequently advertisers must consider how to market their product, how their advertising will be received by their audience, how the audience sees itself, and how it is seen by others. Myers includes a glossary, references, and a bibliography.

With Matters of Opinion: Talking about Public Issues, Myers studies the work of researchers who compile public opinion based on individual opinions. He notes that public opinion must be considered within the context of how it is expressed and how it is translated by the media. He writes that opinions result from interactions between researchers and interviewees, as well as between individuals, and that these interactions must be considered in order to understand these opinions. He applies his theories to focus groups, televised interviews, and radio call-in shows.

Myers points out that opinions gleaned from focus groups may be less reliable than opinions expressed in meetings or classes or among friends and family, in that in the case of the former group, assumptions may be made. In the first part of the book, Myers analyzes the framework of opinion gathering, and discusses research tools that include discourse analysis, conversation analysis, pragmatics, and rhetoric.

In reviewing Matters of Opinion in the Public Opinion Quarterly, Yuqiong Zhou found the second part of the book, in which Myers considers the interpretation of focus group data, to be the most beneficial. Myers advises researchers that instead of categorizing topics, they should look at the structure of topics from six perspectives—such as opening topics, acknowledging topics, interpreting topics, changing topics, closing topics, and reopening topics. Zhou wrote: "Fortunately, Myers has not indulged in conversation analysis but captures the essence of participants' involvement in developing, linking, and closing topics—that is, to recognize group constraints and acquire group identities."

In the sixth chapter, Myers considers the acts of agreeing and disagreeing, and he demonstrates how disagreement is most often initiated by the moderator. In chapter seven, he notes that focus groups often speak for others as well as for themselves. He follows by showing how participants take on the role of expert in presenting their opinions. "By drawing on self-experiences or collective memory, people can identify themselves as provisional experts and thus claim some privilege to discuss a topic," noted Zhou. "Readers may find it enjoyable to go through these two chapters, in which Myers has done a remarkable job of letting the data speak for themselves."

The last part of the book focuses on television and radio interviews, and in the case of the latter, how callers and hosts collaborate to express opinion through their conversations. Zhou concluded by writing that "this book tells an important fact that has been neglected by most researchers for a long time: people talk not only to express opinions but also use opinions to get along with other people."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Choice, September, 1999, P.G. Kishel, review of Ad Worlds: Brands, Media, Audiences, p. 192; February, 2006, P.J. Kurtz, review of Matters of Opinion: Talking about Public Issues, p. 1009.

Communication Arts, July, 1995, Byron Ferris, review of Words in Ads, p. 208.

Communication Research Trends, spring, 1999, Ann D. Kiburz, review of Ad Worlds, p. 74.

Isis, March, 1992, Trevor Melia, review of Writing Biology: Texts in the Social Construction of Scientific Knowledge, p. 100.

Journal of Consumer Affairs, summer, 1996, review of Words in Ads, p. 275.

Language, June, 1998, Vicky Hopwood, review of Spoken English on Computer: Transcription, Mark-Up, and Application, p. 426.

Language in Society, September, 2007, Joanna Thornborrow, review of Matters of Opinion, p. 620.

Philosophy of the Social Sciences, September, 1993, review of Writing Biology, p. 379.

Public Opinion Quarterly, fall, 2006, Yuqiong Zhou, review of Matters of Opinion, p. 409.

Quarterly Journal of Speech, February, 1996, review of Writing Biology, p. 74.

ONLINE

Lancaster University Linguistics & English Language Department Web site,http://www.ling.lancs.ac.uk/ (April 10, 2008), author profile.

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Myers, Greg 1954- (Gregory Alan Myers)

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