Cross-cultural technical communication: Exploring cultural differences between Chinese and Western user instructions

Qian Li

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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Due to the ongoing globalization, cross-cultural and intercultural communication have become increasingly important within the academic and professional discipline of technical communication. Understanding cultural differences and their possible impact on user instructions might be critical for designing effective user instructions—in terms of usability and user experience—for broad and international user groups. However, the available research on cross-cultural and intercultural technical communication is limited and diverse, with relatively many informal and small-scale studies and somewhat scattered findings.
Therefore, this dissertation aimed at more extensively and comprehensively investigating the cultural differences between China and Western countries that might affect the design of user instructions. Three types of research were conducted, representing three different angles: document design practices manifested in existing user instructions, expert views and experiences of technical communicators, and user research.
In sum, the outcomes of the studies presented in this dissertation illustrate the complexity of cultural impact on user instructions, relativize the importance of cultural differences for usability, and suggests that future research in cross-cultural and intercultural technical communication should focus more on user experience.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • de Jong, Menno D.T., Supervisor
  • Karreman, Joyce, Co-Supervisor
Award date3 Oct 2019
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-4816-8
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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