ERIC Number: ED216553
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Composing and Coherence. The Writing of Eleven Pre-Medical Students. Linguistics and Literacy Series: 3.
Jacobs, Suzanne E.
A study was conducted to examine writing skill, particularly maintenance of coherence, in an environment where the information load was heavy and students would be expected to have problems organizing it. The students, all proficient in English, were enrolled in a postsecondary biology class. Two of the six students in the study had high objective test scores in the course, two had borderline and two had failing scores. Discussion and results of the study are presented in three parts. The first of these is a descriptive case study of two students whose learning of biology information got in the way of their coherence in writing. Under pressure to be relevant to the lead-in sentence assigned, the students began producing prose which, although clumsy, was shaped to follow logically from the lead in sentence. The new structure, termed here "predication load," carried more information and more types of information than their previous structure. In a second part, samples of six students' work were analyzed for predication load in order to compare essays written two months apart. The high predication load brought with it the possibility of increased errors and awkwardly constructed sentences. The final section explores the implications of the study, especially the hypothesis that predication load in writing is a function of the task. (AMH)
Descriptors: Coherence, Cohesion (Written Composition), College English, Discourse Analysis, Expository Writing, Higher Education, Language Research, Paragraphs, Student Writing Models, Writing (Composition)
Center for Applied Linguistics, P.O. Box 4866, Hampden Station, Baltimore, MD 21211 ($8.95 paperback, $15.95 hardback).
Publication Type: Books; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Center for Applied Linguistics, Washington, DC.