Title

Writing as Process and Product: The Impact of Tool, Genre, Audience Knowledge, and Writer Expertise

ISBN or ISSN

0747-5632

Volume

10

Issue

4

Publication Date / Copyright Date

Winter 1994

First Page

511

Last Page

527

Publisher

Pergamon Press

DOI Number

10.1016/0747-5632(94)90044-2

Abstract

Two experiments investigated the impact of writing tool (word processing or handwriting), genre (narrative or exposition), and audience (familiar or unfamiliar) on measures of writing quality, syntactic complexity, and number and type of initial text production revisions. In the first, 84 undergraduates with little word processing experience wrote letters by hand or computer. The 64 subjects in Experiment 2 were experienced college writers who always wrote by computer. Subjects composed more syntactically complex letters of higher rated quality to an unfamiliar audience than to a familiar one. Handwritten letters were of higher rated quality than word processed. Although there were more total revisions when using a word processor, there were more text-preserving than meaningful revisions. The number and distribution of revisions also depended upon the writers' level of experience. The Hay es and Flower (1980) model of the writing process remains a useful heuristic, but our data indicate that it warrants extension.

Disciplines

Medicine and Health Sciences

Keywords

Writing Tool, Genre, Audience, Writing Quality, Syntactic Complexity, Revisions, College Writers

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