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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

Roseann Hannon

First Committee Member

Pam Dell Fitzgerald

Second Committee Member

David S. Hall


Studies have shown that people are opposed to writing in nonsexist language and that attempts to teach nonsexist language have been unsuccessful in causing people to change their writing styles. Previous studies focused on how to write in nonsexist language, but did not focus on why using nonsexist language is important. In the present study an attempt was made to change attitudes toward sexist language, as well as to teach how to write in nonsexist language by comparing two methods of teaching nonsexist language. All participants completed an interactive computer program that taught nonsexist language. The experimental group then discussed/role played the importance of writing in nonsexist language whereas the control group discussed/role played ethical issues involved in experimental research. Groups were compared on their attitudes towards sexist language using the Hawken Sexist Language Questionnaire, designed for this study. Groups were also compared on how well they recognized sexist language using the Gender-Specific Language Scale and wrote in nonsexist language when answering six short essay questions.

Results showed no difference between the experimental group and the control group on any of the dependent measures post-intervention or during a 3-week follow-up. Implications for future research are discussed.



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