Browsing by Author "Gabriels, Carmen Allison Pamela"
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- ItemThe communicative effectiveness of section 3.3 of the benefits policy (DV0406) of Stellenbosch University (SU) after rewriting it into plain language and according to document design principles(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2020-03) Gabriels, Carmen Allison Pamela; Lourens, Amanda; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Afrikaans and Dutch.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: All documents, including policy documents, should be as clear, understandable and transparent as possible. It should enable any individual of average literacy, including the academic staff (C1), administrative/support staff (C2) and technical staff (C3) of Stellenbosch University (SU) to understand text when reading it for the first time, regardless of educational level. A text is written in plain language when its readers are able to discover, understand and apply the intended information after only reading the text once. Hence Kimble’s (1996-1997) notion that plain language is not a form of “baby talk” or “dumbing down” the language – it is simply a form of comprehensible and useful communication that could enhance the reading and comprehension of Benefits Policy DV0406 3.3. During in-depth individual interviews this study investigated precisely why readers do not perceive and understand Benefits Policy DV0406 3.3 clearly. Furthermore, it explored the results of writing policy documents in plain language whilst adapting it according to the principles of document design. The focus group discussions was the test phase of this study and an investigation was conducted to determine whether and to what extent plain language techniques rendered the redesigned document more transparent and comprehensible. In addition, Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) was employed to investigate the dialogue used in Benefits Policy DV0406 3.3. It examined the communicative methods used by those in power. It was engaged to examine the use of language that attempts to disguise social power relations that is often employed by those in power in order to achieve a certain outcome. Additionally, CDA was drawn upon in order to examine the manner in which discourse constructs social control, i.e. the guiding of one group over others by way of language (Wodak, 2009). Plain language together with document design principles were applied in order to produce a policy document in a manner that is as easy and as user-friendly as possible in order for the reader to operate more effectively after internalising the text. Subsequently, they should not experience the need to acquire external sources in order to comprehend a particular document or text. It is with this awareness that this study explored the effects of Benefits Policy DV0406 3.3 on SU employees. Lentz and Pander Maat (2004) believe that document design is a process of combining the varied goals of the text with the varied readers. Its objective is to not only combine the goals of the document with that of its readers, but also to consider financial and legal considerations. Plain language writers endeavour to produce texts that correspond to the readers’ level of understanding (DuBay, 2008) whereas document design principles affirm that successful communication does not depend on error free writing, but it is concerned with the degree to which the content of a text is understood by its readers (Shriver, 1997).