Hearing Ourselves Think: Cognitive Research in the College Writing Classroom

By Barbara M. Sitko; Ann M. Penrose | Go to book overview
Save to active project

verbal reports, retrospectives and concurrent protocols. We discuss the logistics of collecting process data and briefly overview recent uses and discussions of formal process methodologies.

The Advantage of the Research-Based Classroom

Writers vary a great deal in their understanding of reading and writing and in the amount of control they have over the many processes and interactions described above. The classroom research activities described in this volume, from process logs to conference transcripts to think-aloud protocols, are all designed to increase student awareness of their processes, to enable them to engage in reading and writing tasks more purposefully and more critically. We see classroom process research as a natural outgrowth of the now wellestablished multiple draft approach to writing instruction (cf. Elbow, 1973; Murray, 1979), which has long provided teachers with a means for helping students gain insights into the nature of composing. In the following process log excerpt we see a student reflecting on the generative potential of such an approach:

Chris: The next step was going back and making all those corrections on the computer. This was kind of difficult because I had to make an entirely new introduction. From the new introduction, a whole new thought process followed, so I had to go back through what I had done in the rough draft and incorporate my new material into my old material. This might sound kind of long and tedious but I actually think it helped me clarify some of the main points in my paper. Instead of going through something only once, which is what I have typically done in previous papers, I went through it twice, so I had a chance to say things twice, only in different ways.

We believe Chris's testimony about the generative nature of writing is far more persuasive than our lectures about the writing process could ever be. Classroom research activities give students the opportunity to discover and articulate such insights for themselves and for their classmates -- to recognize the problems and the potential of reading and writing. Process research in the classroom provides us, students and teachers alike, the opportunity to pause and "hear ourselves think," and in so doing, to help ourselves learn.


Applebee A. N. ( 1981). Writing in the secondary school (Research Rep. No. 21). Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.

Applebee A. N. ( 1984). Contexts for learning to write. Studies of secondary school instruction. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

Beal C. ( 1989). Children's communication skills: Implications for the development of writing strategies. In C. G. Miller and M. Pressley McCormick (Eds.), Cognitive strategy research: From basic research to educational applications (pp. 191-214). New York: SpringerVerlag.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Hearing Ourselves Think: Cognitive Research in the College Writing Classroom


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 214

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?