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Methods in Writing Process Research

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Edited By Dagmar Knorr, Carmen Heine and Jan Engberg

Methods for studying writing processes have significantly developed over the last two decades. The rapid development of software tools which support the collection together with the display and analysis of writing process data and new input from various neighboring disciplines contribute to an increasingly detailed knowledge acquisition about the complex cognitive processes of writing. This volume, which focuses on research methods, mixed methods designs, conceptual considerations of writing process research, interdisciplinary research influences and the application of research methods in educational settings, provides an insight into the current status of the methodological development of writing process research in Europe.
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Context in Writing Process Research: An exploratory analysis of context characteristics in writing process research in educational and workplace settings

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This paper reports on an exploratory study of the representation of context in writing process research. A sample of 70 publications that report on 74 studies into writing processes has been analysed by means of a coding scheme that addresses aspects of study methodology, setting for writing, writing task and task conditions. The outcomes of the analyses point out that writing contexts vary in systematic ways with study settings, study designs and study approaches. Studies in the educational domain, experimental studies and studies with a solely quantitative orientation often involve impoverished, unnatural conditions for writing. The degree to which context is a theoretical inspiration and/or a methodological concern also covaries with research settings, designs and approaches. Future research could strive for a richer and more realistic picture of the processes involved in real life writing by addressing the ‘white spots’ this exploration has identified.

Writing is an activity with a dual nature: the composition of text has both social and individual aspects. Writing is social in the sense that writers interact with readers in contexts that are shaped by social, cultural and historical tools, practices and understandings. Its individual character is clear from the fact that writers bring their personal goals and resources to the act of writing. Accordingly, writing can be studied from social and individual perspectives. Theory and research with a social orientation address the use and appropriation of shared cultural forms, functions and technologies of writing. Accordingly, sociocultural studies of writing focus on the situated...

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