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.
|Commitee:||Bosley, Deborah, Morgan, Margaret, Toscan, Aaron|
|School:||The University of North Carolina at Charlotte|
|School Location:||United States -- North Carolina|
|Source:||MAI 55/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Law, Technical Communication, Rhetoric|
|Keywords:||Audience, Legal writing, Technical writing, Usability|
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