ERIC Number: ED269802
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Mar
Reference Count: 0
But What Do They Say? Gender and the Content of Student Writing.
A study examined whether male and female writers would respond in identifiably different ways to the same writing task, and whether a content analysis of the discourse produced for these writing tasks would reveal distinctly "male" and "female" concerns. It was hypothesized that themes relating to autonomy would appear more often in men's essays, while women would write more frequently about their connectedness to others. Two hundred essays, one on each of two topics and written by 50 men and 50 women selected from a university writing proficiency test, were examined by male/female pairs of raters. The first topic asked students to identify an unreasonable demand that had been made of them, while the second required students to identify a decision they regretted making. Surprisingly, the results indicated a greater number of autonomous responses for both topics. The demand topic produced 72 autonomous and 25 connected responses. The autonomous responses occurred in precisely equal proportions for each sex. Of the 25 connected responses, 14 were written by women, 11 by men. The decision topic produced 64 autonomous responses, 36 written by men and 28 by women. Of the connected responses to this topic, 22 were written by women and 14 by men. Although women produced fewer connected than autonomous responses, and although some of the connected responses were produced by men, the overall pattern within sex was for men to produce the autonomous responses and for women to account for most of the connected responses. (HTH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (37th, New Orleans, LA, March 13-15, 1986).