EFFECTIVE TECHNICAL COMMUNICATIONS, MECHANICAL DESCRIPTION -EXPERIMENT II.
AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OHIO SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING
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The effects of variables upon the effectiveness of a written technical communication were tested in a 3x2x2x2 factorial experiment. The subject matter was a description of a simple mechanism. The variables were 1 the manner in which the size and shape of the machine and its parts were presented, 2 introduction present or absent, 3 internal orienting material present or absent, and 4 headings present or absent. The effectiveness of the message was measured by 1 comprehension, 2 reading time, 3 the readers impression of the authors knowledge of the subject matter, and 4 the readers impression of the authors competence as a writer. The audiences tested were 1 bright young people with known technical interests, 2 bright young people without known technical interests, 3 young men of average intelligence known to have technical interests, and 4 young men of below average intelligence known to have technical interests. The structural aids introduction, internal orientation, and headings contributed little to the effectiveness of the message as measured by the criteria used, and they even proved harmful in some instances. The experimental method used shows promise as a fairly reliable predictive instrument.