Date of Graduation

Summer 2016

Degree

Master of Arts in Writing

Department

English

Committee Chair

Lyn Gattis

Keywords

technical writing, ethics, intuition, rhetoric, visual rhetoric, data displays, information design, logos, ethos, pathos, emotion

Subject Categories

Creative Writing

Abstract

This study is meant to deepen the discussion Dragga and Voss began in "Cruel Pies” by exploring the connection between data displays and their ability to evoke or suppress emotional reactions in readers. It begins with a literature review of relevant discussions in ethics and technical writing, and then describes how readers responded to a series of news excerpts—some of which were paired with data displays or photographs—both by answering Likert scale questions and by thinking aloud and responding to written, open-ended questions. Though the quantitative data collected from the Likert scales is not robust enough to make any generalizations, the verbal responses indicated that readers' emotional reactions were typically caused by specific interpretive lenses through which they viewed the excerpts. Data were not related to interpretative lenses that typically seemed to cause stronger emotional responses, but sometimes affected emotional intensity by helping or hindering readers' understanding.

Copyright

© Hanna Louise Landgrebe

Open Access

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