Robert Ralph Johnson

Rhetoric and use: Toward a theory of user-centered computer documentation

Robert Ralph Johnson

  • School: Purdue University
  • Degree: PhD
  • Date: 1991; pp: 309
  • Advisor: Sullivan, Patricia
  • Source: DAI-A 53/01, p. 135, Jul 1992
  • Subjects: Language, General (0679); Computer Science (0984); Psychology, Industrial (0624)
  • ProQuest Document Number:
  • ISBN:
  • UMI Number: AAT 9215572

Abstract:

    • This study investigates the nature of user-centered print and online computer documentation, and draws from the disciplines of rhetoric and human factors to argue that print and online user documents are part of a discourse complex that is situationally constrained. A theoretical framework, called the discourse complex of user-centered computer documentation, is offered as a foundation for analyzing user documents within a variety of situational constraints. Specifically, this study focuses on the situational activity of users within their active situations of learning through doing and doing. Theories of human activity from human activity design research are used to develop a vocabulary for analyzing both print and online user documents within these active situations. An analysis is carried out using this vocabulary. In addition, the problems of literacy are addressed, and it is suggested that print and online user documentation will help to redefine the parameters of literacy in the years to come.