ERIC Number: ED297374
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1988-Aug
How the Writing Context Shapes College Students' Strategies for Writing from Sources. Technical Report No. 16.
Nelson, Jennie; Hayes, John R.
Observing the composing processes of students working over real time in naturalistic settings, two exploratory studies asked: (1) What skills and assumptions do freshman and advanced writers invoke when they are searching for information to be used in writing? (2) What strategies and goals do students bring to a typical writing-from-sources task like the research paper? and (3) How do particular classroom contexts influence student performance? The research paper was used as a vehicle. The first study observed the way eight freshman and eight advanced writers planned and searched for information, revealing two differing purposes: content-driven (a fact-finding mission) and issue-driven (arguing for a position). The second study examined how students perform the many tasks involved in writing research papers. Eight students at Carnegie-Mellon University, randomly selected from courses requiring research papers, kept a daily process log of all paper-related activities from the time they received the writing assignment to the time they finished writing. The resulting material (over 500 pages) revealed two strategies in use. Low-investment strategies centered around the rote reproduction of other authors' ideas for the teacher-as-examiner. High-investment strategies centered around the transformation of source material to produce original conclusions. The teacher's role in influencing these strategies was a powerful one: high-investment writing was fostered by providing intermediate feedback, focusing on high level goals, providing an audience other than the teacher, and getting writers started early. (Fourteen references conclude the study.) (SR)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Center for the Study of Writing, Berkeley, CA.; Center for the Study of Writing, Pittsburgh, PA.