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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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Combining methods in AL-informed writing research

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Doing writing research from an applied linguistics (AL) perspective means investi gating individual, collaborative, and organizational writing and text production as language-based activities in complex and dynamic real-life contexts. In doing so, micro and macro levels, product and process perspectives, as well as theoretical and practical questions are combined. Appropriate methods have to be deliberately chosen and transparently explained and combined. Methodological questions need to be clarified, such as: which method fits which problem – and how should and can various methods complement each other? – In this contribution, I start from two methodo logically complementary ways of doing research into real-life writing processes: ex post and in situ (part 1). I then outline a typology of state-of-the-art methods in writing research (2) and explain some challenges of combining perspectives and methods in research projects (3).1

Throughout this chapter, I use two methodo logically complementary approaches to research into writing processes to illustrate what I mean by methodology and methods of writing research that is informed by Applied Linguistics (AL). Also, the two cases represent methodological challenges of professional writing in two distinct domains of professional writing: literary writing and mass media text production.

The poet’s and the journalists’ writing both represent relevant cases for applied linguistics (AL). As a “user-friendly linguistics” (Wei 2007: 117), AL has always been oriented towards practice with a twofold goal: understanding and improving language use. From a production perspective, it deals with the reflection and optimization of speaking and writing for...

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