Usage Error in Technical Communication
College students who seek careers as technical communicators must master technical writing and editing skills to succeed in the workplace. Effective technical communication stems from the communicator's ability to perceive usage errors in documents; therefore, this research study examined students' abilities to detect errors commonly found in technical editing tests. A convenience sample of East Carolina University students enrolled in English Composition served as the control group, and students enrolled in technical communication-related courses served as the cluster group. The research study entailed a brief demographic survey followed by a quasi-experiment that consisted of an editing test. The 1,000-word editing test introduced 60 errors into excerpted technical communication documents; some sentences contained multiple errors, while others were error free. The students in this small-scale study detected few of the types of usage errors found on editing tests. The results indicate that (1) Electronic editing tools detect few usage errors, (2) Students in the study group do not perceive most style-related usage errors as errors, and (3) The placement of usage errors may affect error perception. Repeating the study with a larger, randomized sample could yield findings generalizable to technical writing and editing practices and to technical communication pedagogy.
Flanagan, Suzan. (January 2014). Usage Error in Technical Communication (Master's Thesis, East Carolina University). Retrieved from the Scholarship. (http://hdl.handle.net/10342/4399.)
Flanagan, Suzan. Usage Error in Technical Communication. Master's Thesis. East Carolina University, January 2014. The Scholarship. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/4399. March 28, 2020.
Flanagan, Suzan, “Usage Error in Technical Communication” (Master's Thesis., East Carolina University, January 2014).
Flanagan, Suzan. Usage Error in Technical Communication [Master's Thesis]. Greenville, NC: East Carolina University; January 2014.
East Carolina University