Date of Award

Spring 2000

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Professional and Technical Communication - (M.S.)

Department

Humanities and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Nancy Coppola

Second Advisor

Doris Zames Fleischer

Third Advisor

Jonathan Kies

Fourth Advisor

John Harmon

Abstract

Computer anxiety is the fear or avoidance of the computer and the environment it represents. The anxiety can manifest in all computer users regardless of their experience or complexity of the tasks they must complete. The anxiety can be alleviated on one task, but as technology changes and advances, the user's comfort level is compromised and the anxiety reappears. Understanding computer anxiety as it relates to computer user documentation is a compelling research question. Although there have been many efforts to understand computer anxiety, there has been no clear way for technical communicators to resolve this problem in their approach to writing computer user documentation.

This study will determine the impact of computer anxiety on the preparation of computer user documentation as well as attempt to apply Carl Rogers "Rogerian" theory to computer anxiety as a means of describing what needs to happen in fostering a positive interaction between the user and the computer. In addition, a discussion of the "Minimalist Manual," as an effective computer user documentation strategy will show a parallel between features of minimalism and the "Rogerian" theory.

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