Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Marketing



First Advisor

Daniel W. Kemper

Second Advisor

Joseph Silverio

Third Advisor

Donald Moreland


This thesis will focus on the study of developing effective tutorial documentation.

In the past, computer documentation was written almost exclusively by engineers and programmers (or other highly trained personnel). Because of this, it was referential rather than tutorial, and it tended to assume the audience had a high level of technical knowledge and expertise. People using computers today come from a wide variety of backgrounds, many of them not technical. These users need tutorial manuals that are written in every day language and that emphasize what the user does, not what the machine or the program does.

The instructions for use that accompany a computer product can play a major role in helping to provide the success that is necessary to overcome the fears and reservations of the new user. Tutorial manuals should stand alone to teach the naïve reader bow to use a computer product. However, tutorials that do this are very rare. Even tutorials that are well written often fail as instructional tools.

Tutorial documentation can be contrasted with other types of computer documentation by its educational intent; unlike reference. installation, or maintenance manuals, the main purpose of tutorial documentation is to teach. The underlying assumption of tutorial documentation is that it will teach the learner (user) the basic skills needed to use a computer-related product.

Before beginning to write the tutorial documentation, the intended audience needs to be investigated and described. A task analysis also needs to be conducted. identifying the tasks to be taught. Once these preliminary steps have been completed the writer begins building the tutorial document.

The purpose of the present study is to examine the strengths and weaknesses of current tutorial documentation. This research has culminated in the creation of an effective tutorial manual for the Project Accounting System at the Olin Corporation.

Seven co-workers served as evaluators of the documentation developed. The evaluators completed a preliminary questionnaire regarding their background and expertise. Each evaluator received a copy of the tutorial manual and an introduction letter giving general instructions. The evaluators were then given a questionnaire to record their perceptions of the tutorial. This questionnaire was followed by an interview with each evaluator.

The results of the evaluation concluded that the tutorial documentation produced is an effective training tool.

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