Revision in writing : cognitive and linguistic aspects




Parr, Judith Margaret

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Despite its importance to good writing, revision has been only recently researched and is still poorly understood. Studies on the topic have tended to focus either on text-specific knowledge or on general cognitive factors as possible foundations of effective revision. Perhaps this tendency to focus on one of these aspects, to the exclusion of the other, contributes to our current confusion when faced with explaining revision, predicting revision performance or instructing students in ways of revising their written work. The study reported in this thesis paid due regard to each of the two foci of enquiry outlined above. It comprised both an investigation of the relationship between revision and text-related knowledge (Part I of the thesis) and an investigation of the relationship between revision and selected cognitive abilities(Part II), in three age samples from a secondary school population. In the research reported in Part I (Chapters 3-5) an error identification paradigm was used in conjunction with two theoretical frameworks, one specifying the major subprocesses of revision, the other delineating criteria for good writing. The principal fmdings from this research were i) that there were increases with age in the range of criteria to which the students adhered, tacitly or explicitly, and ii) that, while tacit acknowledgement of the importance of a criterion generally implied that it could also be applied explicitly, the fom1er did not always entail the latter. Part II (Chapters 6-8) of the thesis was concerned with the general cognitive skills underpinning revision. These skills were initially derived from an analysis of the component processes of revision. The analysis resulted in the postulation of five skills as being particularly pertinent. All five were found to be significantly correlated with revision performance in bivariate correlational analyses, and three were found to remain so in multivariate analyses. Following Part II of the thesis. a fmal chapter (Chapter 9) reviews the results of both parts in terms of their theoretical, assessment and instructional implications.






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