ERIC Number: ED310403
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989-Jul
Reference Count: N/A
Differences in Writers' Initial Task Representations. Technical Report No. 35.
Carey, Linda; And Others
An exploratory study investigated how writers represent their task to themselves before beginning to write. Using data from verbal protocols, the initial plans of 12 writers (5 experts and 7 student writers) who were working on an expository writing task were examined. The protocols were coded for types of planning. Independent measures of the quality of the subjects' plans and of the quality of their texts were also obtained. The analysis suggest that both the quantity and quality of a writer's initial planning may make a difference in the quality of the final text. A positive correlation between the amount of initial planning and text quality, and between the quality of planning and text quality was also found. In particular, the study revealed that writers who developed rhetorical plans (i.e., plans for audience and purpose) tended to produce higher-rated texts. The data indicated that experienced writers build a rhetorical representation of their task. A rhetorical representation is defined as one which is rich in rhetorical goals and plans relating to the audience, purpose, form and language of the text, and in which the writer integrates his plans to form a coherent theory of the task. (Four tables of data are included and two appendixes containing rating instructions for texts and rating instructions for protocol excerpts are attached.) (Author/KEH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Naval Research, Washington, DC. Psychological Sciences Div.; 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.