Author and reader in Instructions for use


Steehouder, Michael F. (1997) Author and reader in Instructions for use. In: IEEE International Professional Communication Conference, IPCC '97, 'Crossroads in Communication', Snowbird, Utah,USA, 22-25 Oct. 1997 (pp. pp. 77-90).

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Abstract:Instructions for use should not be seen as merely instrumental-they should also persuade the reader to read the text and to act accordingly. Moreover, they should establish a positive image of the product and the manufacturer. In this paper, a collection of instructions for use is used to identify strategies that technical writers apply to fulfill these `rhetorical' demands; especially strategies that involve the author-reader relationship. The analysis shows that the implied author's role is not only that of a neutral instructor, but also that of a teacher or a salesman. The reader is not only addressed as a technical `operator', but also as a `user' who applies the product in a `real-life task'. The analysis also shows that technical writers sometimes use subtle politeness strategies to compensate for `face threatening acts' (FTAs). However, all of these rhetorical strategies seem to be applied very unsystematically and often clumsily. The conclusion is that technical writers may be aware of rhetorical demands for their documents, but that the instrumental function still is paramount in their eyes
Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Copyright:©1997 IEEE
Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social sciences (BMS)
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