Faculty Advisor

Higgins, Lorraine D


Documentation for new technologies can often save time and money for users and developers. Technical writers who specialize in writing documentation must often consider the needs of their audience. This report overviews how rhetoricians, instructors, and working technical writers view the relationship between users and writers. Current rhetoricians and instructors suggest theories of audience that are very user-centered but too simplistic in comparison to those used in practice. Both rhetoricians and instructors tend to ignore the user's cultural context, writer's temporal and monetary constraints, user resistance, established company tools and guidelines, the writer's educational and professional background, and the division of labor in the technical writing process.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

April 2009


Technical, Scientific and Professional Communication

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project



Advisor Department

Humanities and Arts