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Accentuate the Negative: Obtaining Effective Reviews Through Focused Questions

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Abstract:

How you ask a question strongly determines the type of answer that you will obtain. For effective documentation reviews, whether they are conducted internally or externally as part of usability testing, it's important to use precise questions that will provide concrete information on which to base revisions. This paper proposes an approach to obtaining useful feedback that emphasizes negative, "what did we do wrong?" questions. This approach focuses limited resources on areas that need improvement rather than areas that already work well and that don't require immediate improvement.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1997-02-01

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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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