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Topsight Discussion


The reading begins with the definition of the term Topsight which the author defines as, “an understanding of the big picture”(Spinuzzi, Ch1). Topsight was created to access an organization’s overall activity and how that organization’s activity can be changed to produce more efficient results. Topsight includes multiple factors in order to help accomplish this including the resources that they use, chains of communication that people use in the organization, and how employees combine and substitute resources to address their tasks. How Topsight is created is through a five step format starting with the design of a field study, conducting a field study, navigating data from the field study, analyzing the data for trends, and creating recommendations to help use the data to benefit the organization. Chapters 2-5 go on to explain in more depth the use of research and field studies and some of the more important prerequisites that one needs to know in order to use Topsight correctly. Chapter two talks about the use of research design and a research design matrix in order to pinpoint what types of data that needs to be collected and what categories the data needs to be split into. A common research design matrix would include information based on levels of activity (macro, meso, and micro) as well as by the perspective of the tester and the subject being tested. In Chapter three it goes over the importance of building in protections in your research. Creating privacy for subjects, confidentiality and trust between the organization and the testers, control over the participation of the subject in the study, and control over the time that the subject spend being tested. Chapter four talks more about gaining the permission to perform these types of field studies within the company. It addresses the importance of contacting managers and stakeholders at the company in order to make sure everything being done is ethical and legal. Finally, Chapter five talks about preparing the study for data collection. It makes sure that you know the importance of knowing the tools and paperwork behind the study and using the right questions to collect the right data. This includes making sure the data being collect is confidential and that the prompts being used do not breach any of the rights of the subjects in question.


  1. What aspects of the Topsight method ensure that the data being collected will reveal the right information for the organization?
  2. Based on what the class has gone over with rhetoric and ethics, would you say Topsight is a good tool for professional writers to use for field studies? Why or why not?
  3. What is the most important step in the formation of Topsight within an organization? Why do you believe this?
  4. How can Topsight be used within the careers of professional writers? Give examples.



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