Purdue University Graduate School
Jessica Eise Dissertation May 2020.pdf (29.9 MB)

The Objective/Subjective Nature of Affordance Use in Digital Environments: Building a Tailored Climate Change Adaptation Website for the Colombian Coffee Sector

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posted on 2020-05-06, 01:00 authored by Jessica Eise

This dissertation extends our knowledge of digital affordances in communicating complex scientific information by building and testing a climate change adaptation website for the Colombian coffee sector, www.climaycafe.com. This project offers both a practical component (scholarship of engagement) and theoretical component (extension of our understanding of the objective/subjective nature of affordances). Practically, it seeks to create a collaborative and tailored science communication solution for improved information access to support climate change adaptation. Theoretically, it extends our understanding of affordances in a digital environment through a qualitative assessment, specifically how occupational identity influences the subjective nature of affordances. Data is gathered through an iterative qualitative assessment of users’ interpretation of the perceived affordances on the website. The results demonstrate that occupational identity has an influence on perceived digital affordances, particularly influenced by (1) Perceived Social Status of Occupation, (2) Perception of Value Based on Occupational Demands, (3) Occupational Influence on Perceived Reliability and (4) Usability Preferences Based on Occupation. We additionally found that as creators we can set general goals for digital tools and achieve general success in obtaining them, but ultimately the users will dictate their needs within this broader framework. Lastly, there is a self-identified need for more practical knowledge and information access for coffee farmers in these regions of Colombia around climate change adaptation.


Purdue University College of Liberal Arts

Purdue Climate Change Research Center

Purdue University Brian Lamb School of Communication


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Communication

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Dr. Marifran Mattson

Additional Committee Member 2

Dr. Natalie J. Lambert

Additional Committee Member 3

Dr. Jeffrey S. Dukes

Additional Committee Member 4

Dr. Sorin A. Matei