ERIC Number: ED341365
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Jun
Reference Count: 0
Effects of Word Processing on Student Writing in a High Computer Access Environment. Technical Report 91-3.
Owston, Ronald D.; And Others
This study examined the impact of word processors on the writing of eighth grade students experienced in computer use. Four classes of students (n=111) were asked to write one expository paper on the computer and another paper on a similar theme by hand in a repeated measures research design that controlled for effects of order of writing (on or off the computer first) and differences in difficulty of topic. Draft and final versions of handwritten papers were transcribed and printed. Computer written papers were printed in the same typeface so that a reader could not tell whether a paper was a draft or final version written on or off computer. Papers were scored on four key characteristics by trained raters. A multivariate analysis of variance revealed that computer written papers were rated significantly higher than handwritten papers. Moreover, the papers were judged superior on all four scales when follow-up univariate analyses of variance were performed. Students were more apt to make microstructural changes to their work, such as correcting punctuation, when writing on the computer, as opposed to macrostructural changes such as block movements of text. Data further indicate that students continuously revised and edited their work at all stages of the writing process, with most of the revision done in the initial drafting session, making the traditional distinction between draft and final versions of a piece less meaningful. It is concluded that better quality writing is produced on computers than using paper and pencil alone. (50 references) (DB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: York Univ., North York (Ontario). Centre for the Study of Computers in Education.