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The Writing Approaches of University Students Author(s): Ellen Lavelle and Nancy Zuercher Source: Higher Education, Vol

. 42, No. 3 (Oct., 2001), pp. 373-391 Published by: Springer Stable URL: Accessed: 13/09/2009 16:50
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Higher Education 42: 373-391, 2001. ? 2001 KluwerAcademic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.


The writing approaches of university students
U.S.A. 1Department of EducationalLeadership,SouthernIllinois University-Edwardsville, (E-mail:;2Departmentof English Universityof SouthDakota, U.S.A.

Abstract. University students' beliefs about themselves as writersand about the experience of learningin writing were investigatedas related to writing approachesas measuredby the Inventoryof Processes in College Composition (Lavelle 1993). General findings included supportfor the deep and surface paradigmas well as variationin students' conceptions of writing, in their attitudes about themselves as writers, and in their felt need for personal expressionin writing.Implicationsfor instructionand furtherresearchare included. Keywords: interviewmethodology,tertiaryor universitylearning,writingapproaches,writing beliefs

Althoughcognitive models have focused on describingthe writingprocesses of college students in terms of problem solving (Flower and Hayes 1979), memory (McCutchenson 1996), and cognitive development (Bereiter and Scardamalia1987; Fitzgeraldand Shanahan2000), writing theory remains somewhatlimited. One shortcominginvolves the reductionisticnatureof the traditionalcognitive perspective, which results in isolating processes such as planning, translatingand revision (e.g. Flower and Hayes 1979); doing violence to the natureof writingas an integrative process (Luria1981). Along the same line, the assumptionthat writing processes occur in a tidy, linear sequence is questionable. Additionally, the role of writers' intentions and beliefs as related to writing processes has not been a major consideration. Writing is the externalizationand remaking of thinking (Applebee 1984; Emig 1977), and to consider writing as separate from the intentions and beliefs of the writer is not to address composition as a reflective tool for makingmeaning. In the area of university learning, researchershave described students' approachesto learning as reflective of the relationshipbetween the student and the task (cf. Biggs 1999; Martonet al. 1997), and the same notion has been applied to college writing (Biggs 1988a, b; Hounsell 1999; Lavelle 1993, 1997) and to writing at the graduatelevel (Biggs et al. 1999). The

as both a reflective and behavioral undertaking. low or alternating)as related to the structureof learning outcome. Hayes and Flower 1980).g. affect learning outcomes (cf. 1988b. linear outcome (listing or organizing). The basic distinction is between a deep. Lavelle 1993. a surface approach. VanRossum and Schenk 1984). which. Previous validity studies (Biggs et al. ProsserandWebb 1994). Biggs (1987) elaboratedthat paradigmto incorporate motivational factors (intrinsic.and a surface approachbased on reproduction of informationand memorization.ratherthan on the acquisition of skills as independentprocesses (e. The assumptionhas been thatstudents' beliefs affect their choices of strategies.clearly serves to reshape both thinking and product. Writingapproaches Models of individual variationin student learning have offered a comprehensive and sensitive perspective on how it is that students engage in academictasks such as reading(Martonand Saljo 1976). The primary goal of the present research is to examine university writing approachesas measuredby the Inventoryof Processes in College Composition (Lavelle 1993) in relationto students'beliefs aboutthe natureof writing.g. with learning processes serving as an interfacebetween the situationof learning. and extended it to include the student's level of focus (high.When the student's goal is just to comply with task demands. memorizing or repetition) and a superficial. extrinsic and achievement oriented) as linked to study strategies. 1997) supported validity using quantitativemethods. In a psychometric study. and studentfactorssuch as intentionalityand motivation. However. studying(Schmeck 1983).A secondary goal is to use interview data to furthervalidate the Inventory of Processes in College Composition (IPIC).are linkedto writingprocesses and outcomes. Here beliefs about the function of writing. The term "approach" was originally used by Marton to describe the quality of students' processing. and about themselves as writers. 1997.the process is largely a reciprocalone in writing because revision. 1999. 1997). the learning activity involves a low level of cognitive engagement (e. Hounsell 1997. thus extending the writing approaches paradigm.374 ELLENLAVELLEAND NANCY ZUERCHER emphasis is on variationin how it is that studentsgo about making meaning in writing to include considerationof writing intentionsas relatedto writing strategies. The approach perspective is dynamic. and academic writing (Biggs 1988a. Lavelle 1993. and later the same notion was extended to include emphasison students'intentionsas relatedto the qualityof processes (Marton et al. in turn.On .or teachingcontext. but it was felt that the interview strategywould offer an additionaldimensionof support. meaningful approach based on seeing the task as a whole andproactiveengagementin learning. and aboutthe writingsituation.

Thus. Drawing on studies of text comprehension(e. In particular. Lavelle (1993) factor analyzed students' responses to 119 items reflecting writing strategies and writing motives to operationalizethe approaches-to-writing framework. b. Biggs 1988a. Rather. gearedtowardmanipulating layers of meaning. b) extendedthe approachparadigmto addressuniversitylevel writing. Biggs (1988a) articulated a Process x Levels framework to include considerationof writers' levels of ideation (e. symbolizersand socializers (Dyson 1987).approachesrepresentan interactionbetween the learnerand the situation of learningwith strategiesserving as a negotiatinglink leading to task outcomes. Kirby 1988.g. Dimensions parallelingthe deep and surface dichotomy had also been identified by composition researchersworking with children: reactive and reflective (Graves1973). grammar.reflexive and extensive (Emig 1971) (AppendixA). Martonand Saljo 1976). and. Biggs (1988a.It is the activity of learning that affects the quality of the learning outcome. as well Bigg's adaptationof that model to college writing.WRITINGAPPROACHES OF UNIVERSITYSTUDENTS 375 the other hand.sentence. Biggs 1987). Based on this broadframework. nor are they entirelydeterminedby context (cf. conceptions of the function of writing. Silva and Nicholls 1993) and to the structureof writing outcomes (Hounsell 1997. The inventorywas administered using a trueand false format to 423 in enrolled response undergraduates generaleducationcourses at a major Midwestern (USA) university. Martonand Saljo as cited in Biggs 1999). in young adults. the focus is at a stylistic models such as those of Kolb and Schmeck (as cited in Raynerand Riding 1997) would suggest. and Hounsell's (1997) conceptual analyses. Ryan 1984. grammatical)as related to processes in writingalong a deep and surfaceapproachcontinuum. Biggs and Collis 1982). levels of focus. when the intention is to fully engage the task based on a need to know.revision).items were written to mirrorwriters' intentions. word level.Based on a scree test and on an . as well as common writing strategies(outlining. a deep approach.Lavelle then drew on the approachesto writing model to formulatethe Inventoryof Processes in College Compositionas a measureof writingapproaches. paragraph.g. thematic. knowledge transforming(Scardamaliaand Bereiter 1982). knowledgetelling v.Items were designed to reflect the deep and surface continuumas defined in models of college learning(Schmeck 1988. Thefactor structureof universitywriting Workingfrom a psychometric perspective. Writing processes had previously been linked to the beliefs of college students regardingwriting (Hounsell 1997. 212 items were devised to reflectthe core trendsin the literature. approachesare not consistentpersonaldifferences.

similarto Silva and Nicholls' (1993) logical reasoning factor. "Reflective-Revision. College has been associatedwith self-efficacy (Meieret al."High scores on the Elaborativescale have been relatedto the degreeof personalinvolvementin writinga narrative essay (Lavelle 1997) but were not predictive of competence in academic writing (Lavelle 1993).""Iput a lot of myself in my writing. These writers appearneedy: "Studyinggrammarand punctuation would greatly improve my writing. 1984. if any. a deep personalinvestment. largerideas. It is as thoughstudentsscoring high on this scale have a high degreeof learnedhelplessness."This approachevolves aroundpoor writingself-concept. Reflective-Revisionimplies willingness to take charge in writingto make meaningfor oneself and for the audience. Five factors.and by viewing writing as symbolic.The focus is high employing tools such as visualization. "Poeticquality and personaltaste.involving applying new informationin a personal manner(Schmeck et al. The Elaborativeapproach reflects self-referencing.The level of focus is high involving thematicand global concerns.the numberof factors was adjusteddownwardand interpretability then rotatedto the varimaxcriterion.a strategybased on using writing as a tool for one's own learningor bringingoneself to the situationof writing:"Writingmakes me feel good. The strategyis to get it all out in a rough draftfor revision ratherthanto dawdle at the sentence level: "I (do not) complete each sentenceandrevise it before going on to the next.376 ELLENLAVELLEAND NANCY ZUERCHER criterion. and Silva and Nichols (1993) have subsequentlydefined a similar writing factor. accompanying perceptions of skill deficits. and extension or going beyond the bounds of the assignment in general." A similardimensionhad been definedin college learning. The second factor"LowSelf-Efficacy"describesa highly fearfulapproach based on doubtingability and thinkingaboutwritingas a painful task."the third approach. and little. self-investment. thoughtto be reflectiveof the writing approachesof college is markedby students. 1991)." similar to Hounsell's "essay as argument" conception(1999). I use some ideas to supportother.manipulationof audienceand voice. and it may be that self-efficacy provides a critical link to acquiringskill and masteringvariousgenres (Lavelle et al. awareness of the function of writing as a tool of meaning and of personal expression.emerged (AppendixB). and ideation is hierarchical: "In my writing. The focus is low involving grammarand sentence structure. 2001)."It is .an Elaborative processingstrategy. The first factor"Elaborative" a search for personal meaning. writingperformance Zimmermanand Bandura 1994) and self-esteem (Daly and Wilson 1983).""Having my writing evaluated scares me. describes a deep writing process based on a sophisticatedunderstandingof revision as a remaking or rebuildingof one's thinking.surface concerns.

(p. "When writing an essay or paper. The Spontaneous-Impulsive skill andfear representsoverestimating approach of fully dealing with what the writerperceives as limitations." profiles an impulsive and unplannedapproachsimilarto Biggs' SurfaceRestrictiveapproach(1988a). "Wherecan I put this informationthat I just came across?" The strategyis listing or providinga "sequenceof ideas.similarto Silva and Nichol's methodologicalorientation(1993). Spontaneous-Impulsiveand Low Self-Efficacy interpretedas surface approaches. If writersare unsureof themselves. Berieter'scommunicative (1980)."Reflective-Revisionscale scores predictedhigh grades in a freshman compositioncourse (Lavelle 1993). Writing and revision are intertwinedin a dynamic process gearedtowardmakingmeaning:"Revisionis findingthe shape of my essay. "Spontaneous-Impulsive. Perhapsthe proceduralemphasis on "control"in writing. withoutany prejudgments aboutthe specific of the or reasonableness of their gravity topic expectations. Biggs et al. Proceduralscale scores were predictive of the complexity of writing outcomes when writers wrote under a timed condition (Lavelle 1997). the rules and "arranging" may keep them afloat. or Bigg's Surface-Elaborative approach(1998a). keeps writerson task as limitedby time demands. an orderlyarrangement"which is reflective of Hounsell's "essay as arrangement" conception. 1999)." The "Procedural" approachinvolves a method-drivenstrategybased on strictadherenceto the rules and a minimalamountof involvement. It is as though you just do it and then it is done. It is as though writingis to be managed and controlledtowardthatend. Entwistle 1999). Such writers ask themselves.analytic component while Elaborativerepresents the more personal and affective . not allowing for emergentfactorssuch as voice and theme.will result in creativeprogress.Reflective-Revisionrepresentsa deep thinking. Reflective-Revision and Elaborative represent deep approaches with Procedural. 23) The proceduralapproachreflects wanting to please the teacher ratherthe intentionto communicateor reflect. The fourth factor. it will prove to be miraculouslybuoyant:and writersknow that a succession of little strokes on the materialnearestthem.WRITINGAPPROACHES OF UNIVERSITYSTUDENTS 377 as thoughthese studentsadoptthe "sculptor" ratherthan "engineer" strategy (cf.or as Stafford(1978) says in Writingthe AustralianCrawl: But swimmers know that if they relax on the water.I just say what I would if I were talking!"The focus is at the surfacelevel: "Revisionis makingminor alterations.""I never thinkabouthow I go about writing. just touchingthings up. Similarapproachesbased on strivingto manifest competence have been identified in studying (Biggs 1987.the approachis defensive.

The style interpretation"encourages teachers to take student differences as given" while the approachesperspective"addressesthe challenges of teaching". and as related to their writing approachesas measuredby the IPIC. However. Querying studentsas to the natureof theirwritingexperienceshadpreviouslybeen used in college writingresearch by Hounsell (1984) to supportconceptions of the academic essay as related to writing strategiesand essay outcomes. and syntax (Biggs 1988. 1999. althoughthe dichopunctuation. it is possible to interpretthe factor scores as either an outcome of a particularteaching environmentor as a more stable student characteristic or trait (Biggs et al.then move toward refining via genre familiarity and procedures. and micro concerns (words. Biggs et al. an emergent structurereflecting students'understanding in preparing for writtenexaminations. we wanted to investigate Students' experiences of writing as reflected in personal interviews. be a bit crude for describing writers' beliefs or conceptions of tomy may writing. p. by Biggs (1988b) to furtherdefine writing approaches in term of level of ideation. 1999)). Studentsmay use spontaneouswritingas a tool to get it all started. voice.from a processingperspective.and hopefully move towarda deep outcome. Although the original assumptionwas for consistency among the factors.378 ELLEN LAVELLEAND NANCY ZUERCHER dimension in writing similar to Silva and Nicholl's aesthetic and expressive goals orientation(1993) (AppendixC). Biggs et al. sentences. and Ryan (1984) linked epistemolo- . 1999). and by Entwistle (1994) in investigating the 'knowledge object'. However. In the present study. instructional vantagepoint (Biggs et al. Webb (1997) has warnedthat the binary notion of "deep"and "surface"may be too crude. Prosser and Webb (1994) had interviewed students and supporteddeep and surface approachesin terms of students' conceptions of academic essay writing. Writing approachesare relationalin natureand is useful to thinkaboutthe alternating levels of focus in writing as writers constantly shift between macro concerns (theme.Here the interview methodology was used to furtherdifferentiateand expand categories of writing processes. 296). writing is about change and the assumption that students are driven by personal characteristics is a dangerous one given the potential impact of instruction. noting that some learners may take surface approaches for deep purposes (although that would be predictable given that approachesare largely modifiable given the writing/learningsituation). However. (1999) found increasedElaborativescale scores and decreasedSpontaneousImpulsiveand Proceduralscores for graduatestudentswritingin English as a Second languagewho were enrolledin a two day academicwritingworkshop. a stylistic perspective. audience).

We felt that the interviewstrategywould provide an additionalmethodto supportthe inventoryand thus lend validity.that studentsadoptinga deep approachin writing.own writing. 1984). Students were instructedto respond on a four-level Likert format on computerized answersheets. Spontaneous-Impulsive). we also wanted to examine the relationshipof students' of themselves as writersto their writing approaches personalinterpretations as measuredby the IPIC inventory. and describe the experience of writing as involving learning and changes in thinking. Meier et al.A.66).WRITINGAPPROACHES OF UNIVERSITYSTUDENTS 379 gical beliefs to college students' definitions of coherence in writing and to writingoutcomes. We also suspected that there would be less concern for how much time the writingtask took among Reflective-Revisionand Elaborative writers than among writers scoring high on the surface level scales (Low Self-Efficacy. and content. 1.Of the total seventeenwere male and thirteenwere female.S.concurrent andpredictivevalidity were supportedin the original of the scales (Lavelle 1993. In line with earlier research on the role of selfhood in writing (cf.) university. Method Sample The sample consisted of 30 students enrolled in two freshman composition classes at a medium sized Midwestern( well as offering additional validity for the writing approachesmodel. Lavelle 1997. Thirteenstudents were chosen for interviewsbased on high scores on the scales (scores lying . Participation was anonymousand voluntary. Daly and Wilson 1983. In particular.Procedural.have a morepositive writingself-concept.based on Lavelle'spsychometricresearch. Reliability estimates for the scales were considered acceptable(0. 1997). we hypothesized. Instrumentation The Inventoryof Processes in College Composition(previously discussed) is a 74-item scale measuringfive college writing approaches(AppendixB).83-0. would be more likely to view themselvesas writers.Now we sought students'commentson developingknowledge as per writing approachesas measured by the IPIC with the goal of elaboratingthe writing approachesparadigm. development Procedures The IPICwas administered duringa regular50-minute class period. as measuredby the ReflectiveRevision and Elaborativescales of the IPIC.

standard deviationsand range. Albert Low Self-Efficacy/Procedural Elaborative/Reflective-Revision Kathy Tara Elaborative Bob Procedural Joe Low Self-Efficacy/Procedural Barb Elaborative . to add truthvalue (Merriam1988) to the researchprocess. the interviewerindividually asked permission to tape recordthe interviewfor transcription and then proceededto ask each studentthe following: 1. Who are you as a writer? 2.g. Whattypes of writingtasks do you prefer?Why? 3. Interview format A semi-structured interview format. Does your thinking change in of the task? writing?Yourinterpretation 4. and a preference for narrative writinghad been relatedto the Elaborative approach(Lavelle 1997). Results Table 1 shows IPIC Scale means. Our strategywas to alternateseveral open questions with several framework. Interviews were conducted by the researchersin a privateoffice and tape recordedfor transcription. who also scored high on Procedural. Hounsell 1997. Biggs 1988b). Focus on "how long it takes" had been associated with surface learning. However.preferencesfor various genres as related to writing processes has not largely been addressedby researchers. Participantswere not informed as to their scores so as not to bias their comments. in line with previous writing approach research(e.studentsscoring high on more than one scale reflectedeither the deep or surfacedichotomy with one a surfacescale. above the mean). was used to allow maximum opportunitiesfor depth. Interestingly. interpretationand expansion. The minor questions involved students' perceptionof time as related to engaging in writing task and writing preferences.380 ELLEN LAVELLEAND NANCY ZUERCHER beyond 1 s. Entwistle and Entwistle 1991. and Table2 indicates individualstudents' scores. Are you concernedabouthow much time your writingtask takes? 2. Matt.d. After introducingherself. Describe your experience of writing. exception. The open specific (safe) questionsin orderto providea supportive their questionswere gearedto reflectstudents'emergingcommentsregarding and their of in the writing self-concepts experiences learning writing situation.

21 L. Pr.9 3.7 3.5 8.6 sd.WRITING APPROACHES OFUNIVERSITY STUDENTS Table1.S. high Elaborative .both deep approaches. 12 14 14 24 9 9 22 18 22 9 10 21 12 15 10 9 10 S. R.3 2. Carol Reflective-Revision Mary Spontaneous-Impulsive Matt Elaborative/Reflective-Revision/Procedural Mike Low Self-Efficacy Crista Reflective-Revision Mellanie Low Self-Efficacy/Spontaneous-Impulsive Jack Elaborative A pervasive trend involved students' awareness of the role of process in writing as related to their writing approaches. In particular.I.9 10. studentswith high scores on the inventoryof processes in college composition Students Kathy Carol Mary Barb Joe Albert Bob Tara Christa Jack Mike Melanie Matt Elab.8 6. Those scoring high on Elaborativeand Reflective-Revision. Means and standard deviationsfor the IPICscale scores Scale Elaborative Low Self-Efficacy Reflective-Revision Spontaneous-Impulsive Procedural Mean 16.E. 4.3 5.Barb.1 Range 8-24 1-10 4-22 2-15 3-10 381 Table2. scorerslinkedprocess to self-expression.inseparablefromproduct.articulatelyand consistentlyvoiced process as a criticalcomponent.5 2.R.

I see myself as a good writer. I see the task changing and have a feeling if somethingis missing.also an Elaborative andReflective-Revisionscorer. perhapsthis personalorientation of seeking . both Reflective-Revisionand Elaborative approachwritersexpressed a willingness to fully engage the topic. one that affordsthem skill in troubleshooting.. the topic may change as I go but it's still the way that I think. a feeling of satisfactionand wholeness (cf. Jack reported"It's not easy but I know what I'm doing.class evaluation is very important. and concernfor an intricatestructure." Although neitherdeep nor surfacewritersconsistentlycited classroomrevision or peer commentsas criticalto theirprocesses. Along the same line. stated.. it changesmy life. only two studentssaw themselves as writersin response to the prompt"Whoare you as a writer?" Again. it kinda evolves. One "Elaborative" writing that he readily developed ideas for subsequentpapers. their writing processes. Elaborativewritersreportedhaving a strong awareness or feeling as to the completeness of their composition.382 ELLENLAVELLEAND NANCY ZUERCHER an Elaborative scorer.stated."SometimesI change directionandI change as an individualbecause it gives me a new look. Tara."Similarly."The awareness of what's missing has been described as a critical component of the emerof knowledge (Entwistle structure gent "knowledgeobject"an organizational It is that this to the "intuition" is Elaborative related 1994).. likely approaches' emotionalconnectionto product. I start with one idea but finish in a differentdirection. it expresses who I am. I pick up an idea and start . stated ". writing simplifies it. Entwistle felt that often his thinking changed so much in 1994).Jackdescribedhis process. whose approachwas also Reflective-Revision claimed "Myideas aboutwritingchange when I look at what others have written. Spontaneous-Impulsive were not Elaborative.stated"It'slike yourclothes. and studentsscoring high on any of the articulating and Procedural)." and Mattclaimed "I'mconfident. who scored high on the Elaborative.Reflective-Revisionand Proceduralscales.Studentsscoring high on Elaborativeseem to bring an strongaffective dimensionto their writing."Ideasdevelopin writingas I go." all studentsadoptinga deep approachwere comfortablein fully Interestingly.its a feeling thatyou get when something'smissing. I feel fine aboutwritingpapers. both scored high on the Elaborative scale.I wear the hat.. Matt." It is. maybethe colors or style arenot right. "If the concept is large.Kathy. Surprisingly. surface scales (Low Self-Efficacy. and spoke to the generativenatureof writingand to the impact of writingon their lives. Writersadoptingthe Elaborativeapproach more consistently cited meaning as personally relevant." Similarly." Carol. Those students scoring high on both the Elaborative and ReflectiveRevision scales describedwritingas primarilyrelatedto changingone's own thinkingaboutthe topic.

and then I reorder.Jackstates "Ithinkof myself as a writer. process awareness. it calms you and helps you realize things more. Elaborativesalso referred to their feelings about writing and to personal ownership of their documents more thanReflective-Revisionapproachwriters.a Spontaneous-Impulsive planningand organize a bit after. and writingmakes my own understandingmore clear. For example. and he was concerned with how much time his assignmentstook. extensive revision. students scoring high on the Reflective-Revisionscale did not reporta great deal of concernfor personalexpressionor for theirpersonalrelationshipto writing. Writers scoring Spontaneous-Impulsive) on Low high Self-Efficacy reporteddisliking writing. was confirmed by the interviews. He preferred writingby hand but was easily distracted.Barb stated "Writing expresses who I am."Similarly. One writer. whereasElaboratives seemed more inclined to "tell the story" of their writing. but it may be that Elaborativestake this for granted.he cited his attemptto organize with the goal of meeting the requirements. a basic distinction may be made between Reflective-Revision and Elaborativeapproachesinvolving personal relevance and the role that self-referenceplays. a high Procedural.I won't say it comes easy.Bob.Tarastated "I feel that what I writeis my opinion. It's about personal growth often throughreadingand having a revelation. Writingis for me and if someone else doesn't like it that is their bag. I put my thoughtson paper. in a low almost inaudibletone. Although Reflective-Revisionapproachemphasizes the synthesis of information."Ihave no If there is a it's writingpreference. Procedural.I write stuff down. understanding expression."No writersscoring high on the surface scales reported their own process. althoughthe interviewermade every effort to help them to feel at home. "IwritebecauseI have to."She also keeps a journal as does Tara. I like to pick my topic. because in your head it's a mind race. Mike said "I hate writing.commented"Ijust sit down with no Mary." scorer.Only Reflective-Revisionsspecificallycited makingtheir ideas clear to the audience.Most spoke in a very low tone and answeredin brief responses."Elaboratives' interviews were longer and more in-depth. process. The validity of the three surface scales (Low Self-efficacy." usually takes me 15 minutes to an hour from startto seems to take a long time.Statingthat he exception was Albert. just pretty unorganized. or a need for selfemphasizingrevision. He claimed that he had come a long way. things that I have experience with. I thinkwritingis therapeutic.WRITINGAPPROACHES OF UNIVERSITYSTUDENTS 383 self-expressionthatleads one to developingan identityas a writer. a Low Self-Efficacy/Procedural wrote better withoutpressure.Albert took pride in his progress . Theircommentswere morefactualandconcise. responded. I only write if I have to." and Joe said. Writingjust rolls off the top of my head.

the Reflection Revision approachmay be further distinguishedfrom the Elaborativeapproachin terms of the formerimplying a more critical.and the lattera more personal. reportinga "get it all out and be done" strategy. as Staffordhas articulated. 3. However. analytic. and beliefs about the function of composition) emerged as critical process components which serve to supportthe basic deep and surface continuum.Efficacy approach.writing frameworkbrings a new understandingof these tactics.Here. a deep approach. The key to facilitatingwritingat the universitylevel is found in designing a high quality writing climate to include deep tasks. and those scoring high on the Spontaneous. Similarly.awarenessof writingas a learning tool. emphasis on revision and meaning. modeling and integratingwriting across content areas (relevance). Generally writers' perceptions of the writing situation (including writing self-concept.and to more fully extend that paradigm to writing. wholeness in writing. It is the writer's relationship to writing which serves as a defining motivational factor with the Elaborativeapproachlinked to feeling and writing self-concept. and critical dimension. Most notably.writersscoring high on the Proceduralapproachreportedemphasis on organizationand a concern for how much time writing tasks take.structural.None of the surface approachesreflected awarenessof process as relatedto outcome. Discussion Although our writing approachesmodel is not yet fully crystallized. a dislike and a general fear and avoidance of writing situations was a trend in the comments of students scoring high on the Low Self .Impulsive scale. Here . interviews with studentwritershave extended the basic frameworkalong several important lines. and the Reflective-Revisionapproachmore the detached. scaffolding.384 ELLENLAVELLEAND NANCY ZUERCHER which may be a key to helping basic writers. nor the experience of finding oneself or learningin writing. and he was able to acknowledgehis shortcomingsin writing." Similarly a certaindegree of reliance on proceduremay.affective dimension involving a high degree of connection and self-reference and feeling in writing. The interviewdataconfirmedthe threesurfaceapproaches. While these themes may be familiar. (Stafford1978) as perhaps keep poor writers"afloat" a critical step towardmaturityin wrinting. the approachesto .His attitudewas fairly positive. dimension. both represent a proactivestanceaimed at makingmeaning.Self-acceptance accompaniedby a certain reliance on the rules may serve to keep surface writers "afloat.a sense of involvementor feelings of completeness. hierarchicalstructureand a high or alternatinglevel of focus.

Clearly our system engenders surface learningwith an abundunceof atomistic. interventionsand artifactsthat are partof the writingenvironment as opposed to a focus on the discreteacquisitionof skills or on the persistent characteristics that writersmight bring to the classroom. instructorsneed to provide meaningful feedback."It is as though writing is a dialectic between intention and form.essays on the natureof writing.Indeed. Studentsneed to be familiarwith how writingworks as a tool of learningand of self-expressionas well as to findpersonalvoice in expositoryandacademic tasks. Evaluatingwriting Biggs point system fosters surface andbreakingwritinginto numerouscomponentpartsas common approaches. Writingacrossthe curriculum may be redefinedas a key to relevance. combining the two strategiesas a beginningstep might advancewritingskills for novice writers. This may be especially criticalfor those adoptinga Low Self-Efficacyapproach. Along the same line. as well as for writers faced with mastering a new genre. clear evaluationrubrics should incorporatedeep criteria such as structural and meaning (cf. In terms of writing instruction. in addition to academic essays. and.or movementin terms Instructors of ontological position as reflected in written work.WRITINGAPPROACHES OF UNIVERSITYSTUDENTS 385 the emphasis is on the situation of writing to include focus on the cues. complexity to reflect the dynamic naturebetween structure and Collis on a 1982). and Proceduralapproachesmay representproSpontaneous-Impulsive an of at early stage writing development. as Staffordsays "Relianceon the rules keeps you afloat.Here tasks might be both academic as well as personal to foster both Reflective Revision and Elaborative writing is importantto help writers to gain a positive identity in writing in conjunction with acquiringincreased skills. Along the same line. "gettingit all out" gress or free writingis a well respectedinstructional tactic in composition (Elbow 1998). in additionto familiarizingstudentswith a variety of academic for studentsto share genres. Perhapsthe axiom "Physician heal thyself' is applicablehere.and opportunities theirown perspectiveson the role of process could be important. history courses might require journal-writingto reflect students'developingparadigmsregardingcriticalevents and movements.For example. perspective taking and self-expression need to be well-specified. or listing expectations. in many rubrics is not in line with fostering writing as a tool of meaning. welldefined tasks that engender deep processes such as analysis.common in tasks and assessments. For example. and to generally model a deep reflectiveapproachto instructionthemselves. Here. Here. Theoreticalimplications drawn from the currentstudy provide a strong basis for futureresearch. need to value perspectivetakingin writing. Future researchshould fully investigatethis hypothesis. messages.The present study served to confirmand elaborate .

as does the relationshipof approachesto writingto varioustypes of tasks. andhigherElaboration workshopinterventionat the graduatelevel (Biggs et al.reproductive Focus at the local level Linear.the bidimensional nature of deep writing processes to include both an affective and critical dimensions. In particular.g. going beyond assignment Autonomous Teacherindependent Feelings of satisfaction.386 ZUERCHER ELLEN LAVELLE ANDNANCY the original model particularlyin terms of supportingthe basic deep and surface paradigm.coherence and Connectedness SurfaceWriting Redundant.cultural validity using various student populations (e. community college or vocational training students. 1999). A preliminaryinvestigationhas supportedsignificantlylower Proceduraland scale scores given a writing Spontaneousscale scores. internationalstudents.self-referencing Actively making meaning (agentic) Audience concern Thinks aboutessay as an integratedwhole Thesis-driven Revision Transforming. Tests for cross . merits further exploration. Appendix A Deep and surface writingapproachesof universitystudents Deep Writing Metacognitive.graduatestudents)should also be conductedto examine the cultural validity of the inventory.sequentialstructure Detachment Passive orderingof data Less audience concern Sees essay as an organizeddisplay Data-driven Editing Telling within the given context Rule-bound Teacherdependent . Futureresearchplans also include examinationof developmentaltrends across the scale scores both in longitudinaland instructionalinvestigations. The Inventoryof Processes in College Compositionalso provides a tool for students' personal assessment andreflectionas well as a comprehensivemodel for teachersand researchers. to writingmodel may help teachersto gain Familiaritywith the approaches a more sensitive understanding of thatprocess.Reflective High or alternatinglevel of focus Hierarchicalorganization Engagement.

Writingremindsme of otherthings thatI do.48 0.54 0. I tend to give a lot of descriptionand detail. and punctuationwould greatlyimprovemy writing.45 0. 21. 2.40 0.g.41 0. I visualize whatI'm writingabout.41 0. -0. Writingan essay or paperis making a new meaning. 14. 8. 13.50 0. I often use analogy and metaphorin my writing. my writinghas given me deep personalsatisfaction. 9. I often thinkaboutmy essay when I'm not writing (e.36 0. 22.41 0. I need special encouragement to do my best writing. I like to workin small groupsto discuss ideas or to do revision in writing. 17.62 0.35 . 18. Writingis symbolic. 7.44 0. I put a lot of myself in writing. I try to entertain. 11. At times. When writing a paper.35 0. I can write a termpaper. late at night).38 0. 4.52 0. I sometimes get suddeninspirationsin writing.36 0. Writingmakes me feel good. 7.37 0. Originalityin writingis highly important.56 0. My writingrarelyexpresses what I really think.33 0.33 0.47 0. 8. compoundand complex sentences.41 -0. 12.37 0.38 0. It's important I thinkabouthow I come across in my writing. I cue the readerby giving a hint of what's to come.47 0.49 0. 10.I often get ideas for otherpapers. 6.51 0. 9.inform or impressmy audience. 16. 3. 2. 5.54 0. 3. to me to like what I've written.43 0. I use writtenassignmentsas learningexperiences. 4.31 FACTORII Low Self-efficacy 1. I expect good grades on essays and papers. Writingan essay or paperis always a slow process. Writingis like a journey. Studyinggrammar Having my writingevaluatedscares me.38 -0. 6. 0. 19. 20. I compareand contrastideas to make my writingclear. I use a lot of definitionsand examples to make things clear. I can write simple.APPROACHES OFUNIVERSITY STUDENTS WRITING 387 Appendix B Inventoryof processes in college composition:sample questions FACTORI Elaborative 1. I imagine the reactionthatmy readersmight have to my paper. Writinghelps me organizeinformationin my mind.39 -0. 10. 23. I do well on essay tests. 15.42 0. 5.

12. I plan out my writing and stick to the plan.35 0.41 -0. I can't revise my own writingbecause I can't see my own mistakes.30 0. Thereis one best way to write a writtenassignment.34 . I plan. 5. If the assignmentcalls for 1000 words. I just write 'off the top of my head' and then go back and rework the whole thing. 0. I am my own audience. 0. The reason for writing an essay really doesn't matterto me. 4. Revision is the process of findingthe shape of my writing.388 11.31 FACTORIV Spontaneous-Impulsive 1. In my writing.45 0. 9.45 0. 8.41 -0.37 0.35 -0. I usually write severalparagraphs before rereading.42 0. write and revise all the same time. 0. 6.45 -0. 7. 12. Revision is a one time process at the end. I have only a vague idea of how my essay would come out. 9.51 0.47 0.33 0. Often my first draftis my finishedproduct.39 -0. 3. 14. ANDNANCY ELLEN LAVELLE ZUERCHER The most importantthing in writingis observingthe rules of grammar. My prewritingnotes are always a mess.29 0. 13. 10.33 0. I startwith a fairly detailed outline. 8. Often my first draftis my finishedproduct. I often do writtenassignmentsat the last minute and still get a good grade. I immediatelyknow which side I'll take.39 -0. punctuationand organization. 10.35 0.40 0. 4. When I begin to write.39 -0. 5.36 -0. I never thinkabouthow I go aboutwriting. 11. My writing 'just happens' with little planningor preparation.26 FACTORImReflective-Revision 1. 2.I use some ideas to supportother. 2. It's importantto me to like what I've written. I try to writejust about that many.33 0. 13. 7. When given an assignmentcalling for an argumentor viewpoint. 3. I complete each sentence and revise it before going onto the next.largerideas. I re-examineand restatemy thoughtsin revision.39 0.52 -0. 6. I often do writtenassignmentsat the last minute and still get a good grade. The question dictatesthe type of essay called for.

31 0. When writing an essay or paper.29 FACTORV Procedural 1. pain To make meaning Spontaneous-Impulsive To get done Please the teacher Procedural . I closely examine what the essay calls for. collaborate. I can usually find one main sentence that tells the theme of my essay.drafting. 12. Revision is makingminor alterations.32 0.52 0.41 0.just like talking. 5. I keep my theme or topic clearly in mind as I write. Revision is a one time process at the end. 389 0. An essay is primarilya sequence of ideas. Study grammar.just touching things up andrewording.34 0. 7. 13. I worryabouthow much time my essay or paperwill take. I like writtenassignmentsto be well-specified with details included. 4.40 planningor Revision.29 0. I set aside specific time to do writtenassignments.28 Appendix C Approaches to Writing Approach Elaborativevoice Low Self-Efficacy Reflective-Revision Motive To self-express To acquireskills/avoid Strategy Visualization.31 -0.WRITING APPROACHES OFUNIVERSITY STUDENTS 11. My intentionin writingpapersor essays is just to answer the question. an orderly arrangement. 14. 3. 2.33 0. I stick to the rules.54 0. organizeand managewriting. When writing an essay.43 0.audience. find encouragement. 0. 10. The teacheris the most importantaudience. 9. 15. 6. Revision. 8.34 0. I can't revise my own writingbecause I can't see my own mistakes. The main reason for writing an essay or paperis to get a good gradeon it.I just write out what I would say if I were talking. Last minute. Observerules. reshaping.33 0.

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