Graduation Year

2016

Degree

M.A.

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

English

Major Professor

Meredith A. Johnson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Nathan Johnson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Julie Staggers, Ph.D.

Keywords

Accessibility, Critical Discourse Analysis, Document Design, Power Structure

Abstract

This project seeks to understand the relationship between visual rhetoric and power structure between FEMA’s Earthquake publications and their audience. Research shows images leave a longer impression on readers than text, causing more studies to focus on visuals rather than just text in technical communication. Author uses Critical Discourse Analysis to analyze the images in relation to text, design, and intended audience to determine what information is being privileged. It is determined that homeowners are being privileged with information over non-homeowners, established through a collection of images and image types. The lack of information for non-homeowners could result in injury or death of potential disaster victims, making it crucial for technical document revision.

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