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Thesis (M.A)—University of Nebraska—Lincoln, 2000. Department of Journalism.


Copyright 2000, the author. Used by permission.

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A role for professional communicators to play in a postmodern context is to work as an experimentalist, designing a system that supports users’ free engagement with the content of the system, inviting people to engage that system, observing the ways in which those engagements proceed, and from those observations, learning how to refine the system to support more fruitful future engagements.The role serves to cultivate an environment in which users’ conversations with one another and their interaction with the system’s content may thrive.This thesis purposes that the experimentalist is a useful and practical role for a communicator in the current cultural context, demonstrates through the design and experimental implementation of a detector of users’ behaviors in a system that the role can be played effectively, analyzes the results of an experimental test, and suggests refinements to the experimental method.

Advisor: Michael Stricklin