Volume 1, Issue 3
  • ISSN 1388-8951
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9722
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This paper focuses on the way in which production tasks — in this case writing an instructive text — can provide us with data, which can be used to evaluate textual variables which are assumed to be relevant in processing, using, and hence designing instructive texts. The second and third sections describe the set-up and results of a production experiment in which subjects had to write an instructive text given one of two users' conditions: they had to assume that their readers either had to execute the instruction only once (reading-to-do) or that they had to learn the instructions described (read-ing-to-learn). This independent variable was claimed to have an effect on the strategies writers choose, in particular on the way in which they use two important types of information in instructive discourse, goal vs action information. As such, this experiment sheds light on the interaction between use conditions and design characteristics of instructive documents. As the method used in the experiment is not self-evident in assessing the effectiveness of text design variables, the last section evaluates the use of production tasks as a way of replicating, amending, refining and perhaps even outperforming data obtained from other methods.


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