Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.546728
Title: An investigation into the development and evaluation of a controlled language for English language technical documentation
Author: Crabbe, Stephen J.
Awarding Body: University of Portsmouth
Current Institution: University of Portsmouth
Date of Award: 2012
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Abstract:
The majority of existing controlled languages for English language technical documentation for industrial and consumer electronics are in-house, proprietary systems. As a result, limited information or research has been published and disseminated about them. This has created knowledge gaps that are addressed in this thesis. First, the thesis provides a detailed description of existing controlled languages with a stated aim to improve technical documentation comprehensibility and readability for native and non-native English users. This is achieved through obtaining information, much of which was previously unavailable or difficult to obtain, about their rule sets and lexicons. This fills a gap in knowledge about existing controlled languages. Second, the thesis analyses and synthesises the best-practice features of the text in modern, quality technical documentation that have been identified in government, academic and professional literature as contributing to comprehensibility (the cognitive use of the text to process and identify information) and readability (the physical use of the text to visually scan and recognise information). It then uses the identified linguistic, organisational and visual features of the text to analyse the rule sets from existing controlled languages. The main finding of the analysis is that the existing controlled languages fail to address the visual features of the text despite their prominence in the literature as contributing primarily to readability. The thesis seeks to address this failure to adopt a holistic approach to the improvement of technical documentation in existing controlled languages by developing a new, broader controlled language for consumer electronics with comprehensibility and readability-oriented rules that fully address the linguistic, organisational and visual features of the text. This is named COED (an acronym for Controlled English Documentation). Third, the thesis provides a detailed description of a study to evaluate the effect of applying the comprehensibility and readability-oriented rules from COED to extracts from existing technical documentation for consumer electronics. The findings clearly show that the application of the comprehensibility-oriented rules (that aim to make it easier to cognitively process and identify information) allows the native and non-native English users in the study to locate and understand information more accurately. With the additional application of the readability-oriented rules (that aim to make it easier to visually scan and recognise information), the native and non-native English users in the study are also able to locate and understand information more quickly. The study provides an encouraging demonstration of the potential of COED to improve both the accuracy and speed with which information in technical documentation for consumer electronics can be located and understood by native and non-native English users. It also fills a gap in research knowledge about controlled languages.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.546728  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Languages and Area Studies
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