Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Charles A. Bleckmann, PhD

Second Advisor

Kim Campbell, PhD


The purpose of this research effort was to investigate the application of certain principles of effective communication to improve the comprehension, and ultimately the usability, of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Principles from cohesion theory (an area of research describing effective design) were used to manipulate the design of select sections of two sample EISs. Each sample EIS was altered to manipulate the presence and/or absence of visual and linguistic cohesion. Subjects were required to read select versions from each section of the two sample EISs and answer four short answer questions. The dependent variables were accuracy in answering the questions (a measure of coherence), and time to complete the task (a measure of usability). Statistical analyses provided no indication of significant differences between and among the visual and linguistic cohesive elements. The underlying theory and experimental design may have been contributors to these results, but since this effort was constructed as a pilot study, there were many valuable observations made for future work in this area.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number