Intermediate text representations in the writing process : their relationship with writing strategy
A survey of two hundred and fourteen undergraduates explored the inter-relationship between the writing strategy adopted, the intermediate text representations created, the methods used to create them, the processes performed on them, and their function in the writing process. The sequence of intermediate text representations created was elicited as a progression through a six box grid where each box represented a different type of intermediate text representation that may have been created. This method was found to be valid and a wide variety of routes through the grid were identified that displayed stability, efficacy, and utility in describing writing behaviour. Five stable writing strategies were elicited from a cluster analysis of the undergraduates' responses to a series of questions on their writing behaviour. A fresh sample of forty-nine undergraduates was able to readily identify from the cluster descriptions the strategy they had adopted to complete a similar writing task, and the writing strategies displayed similarities with those identified in other studies. A relationship was found between the adopted writing strategy and the sequence of intermediate text representations created. The intermediate text representations were created by a variety of methods and served a variety of functions including: collecting information, determining the scope of the task, establishing gaps in knowledge, reducing the cognitive load during planning, developing and expanding ideas, organising ideas, summarising points, facilitates translation, and facilitating collaborative writing. A relationship was found between the sequence of intermediate text representations created, and both the reported method of creating an intermediate text representation and the function it served in the writing process. The results have implications for future research on the writing process and for teachers of writing concerned with raising the standard of undergraduate writing. Six recommendations are made regarding the direction and scope of future research.