Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Writers accommodate the primary audience: A study of technical and legal writers' composition principles used for usability purposes
by Dancisin, Nicole, M.A., The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2015, 114; 1598001
Abstract (Summary)

Kenneth Bruffee argues that for action to commence and for knowledge to be shared and furthered, communication must successfully occur between two or more individuals. Successful communication requires the reader or listener to interpret a message as the communicator had intended. Technical writers are responsible for composing documents that are easy to interpret and are useable for the intended readers. In contrast, lawyers have a reputation for being poor writers despite the extreme importance well written documents have for their careers and the negative consequences that may occur as a result of poorly written documents. Three lawyers and three legal writing professors were interviewed to learn about lawyers’ perspectives of the importance of legal writing and how they accommodate primary audiences. Three technical writers and three technical writing professors were also interviewed and asked parallel questions for comparison purposes. The interviews and additional academic resources showed that both technical writers and lawyers value writing in their careers and are responsible for clearly communicating specialized information to their readers. However, lawyers are often responsible for writing contracts that are not necessarily accommodated to the primary audience which makes it difficult for readers of the general public to understand. The thesis concludes that technical writers and lawyers, with the exception of the genre of contracts, use language as a social act to share knowledge and to persuade readers to perform practical tasks.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Wickliff, Gregory
Commitee: Bosley, Deborah, Morgan, Margaret, Toscan, Aaron
School: The University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Department: English
School Location: United States -- North Carolina
Source: MAI 55/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Law, Technical Communication, Rhetoric
Keywords: Audience, Legal writing, Technical writing, Usability
Publication Number: 1598001
ISBN: 9781339021997
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