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Cultural differences in technical instructions : a cross-cultural comparison of the use of differently structured manual

Li, Qian (2015) Cultural differences in technical instructions : a cross-cultural comparison of the use of differently structured manual.

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Abstract:Purpose: Research shows that technical writers from Chinese and western cultures structure documents in different ways. In this research, we conducted an experiment to find out whether there were differences when users from different cultures use differently structured technical instructions. Method: A 2x2 experiment was conducted to test how those differences found by prior researcher influenced users’ performances and preferences. The independent variables are participants from different cultural background (Chinese and Western) and manuals designed based on different cultural structure (Chinese and Western); and the dependent variables are performance of a designed task as well as judgment of the software and manual. 80 participants were asked to use SDL Trados Studio 2014 with the designed manuals of different structures, and their performances were recorded. Then they filled out a questionnaire to indicate their opinions about the software and manual. Results: No significant differences were found in performance and preferences when participants from different cultural background use instructions structured in different ways. This might be due to the fact that users did not often use manuals and the structure elements found were not as important as expected. Conclusion: Based on this study, for future researches, more structural elements can be found and analyzed, participants less influenced by other culture can be recruited, and manuals that users are more dependent on should be designed.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/66747
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