Empirical Evaluation of Concept Mapping: A Job Performance Aid for Writers

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Abstract:

The usefulness of concept mapping as a job performance aid for writers of technical documents was examined. Thirty-four writers were randomly assigned to one of two groups. The experimental group received 2 hours of training in the use of concept mapping. Both groups revised the same chapter from a computer manual, and an experienced technical editor blindly evaluated each revision.

In part two of the study, revised texts were given to two groups of users. One group received a concept-mapped revision, while the other group received a text revised by a writer who had used conventional revision techniques. Readers' comprehension was tested and compared.

Revision time was not significantly different between groups, and the editor's ratings of quality were not different. However, readers' comprehension was significantly higher with the concept-mapped versions.

These results suggest that concept mapping is a useful revision tool for writers.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 1996

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  • Technical Communication, the Society's journal, publishes articles about the practical application of technical communication theory and serves as a common arena for discussion by practitioners. Technical Communication includes both quantitative and qualitative research while showcasing the work of some of the field's most noteworthy writers. Among its most popular features are the helpful book reviews. Technical Communication is published quarterly and is free with membership.
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