Practical skills for writing process research in primary and secondary schools.

We invite early-stage writing researchers to a training school, part funded by the EU-COST European Literacy Network on practical skills for writing process research in primary and secondary schools. Writing process research refers to realtime processes by which students produce text on the page or screen.

The training school will give applied, practical introduction on task design, data capture (keystroke logging and handwriting capture), data processing, and statistical methods for understanding writing processes. Our aim is to provide an introduction to these topics, leaving participants with sufficient understanding  to implement the methods themselves when they return to their own research groups. Our focus will be on research with school age children much of the workshop content will generalise to adult writers.


The training school will take place within the Norwegian Reading Centre at the University of Stavanger (UiS), Professor Olav Hanssens vei 10, N-4036 Stavanger.


October 16-18, 2017. 09:00 Monday to 13:00 Wednesday with evening sessions and meals together on the first two days.


The main focus of the workshop will be four half-day workshops aimed at researchers with fairly minimal relevant background knowledge.

  1. Computational Linguistics for complete beginners. Including an accessible introduction to natural language processing in R.
  2. Handwriting process analysis, basic theory and hands on practice at segmentation into psycholinguistically-meaningful units.
  3. Collecting and interpreting keystroke data from students writing by keyboard.
  4. Introduction to data manipulation and statistical analysis using linear mixed effects models in R.
  5. Task design clinic – students develop their own research plans, in teams, and then present these for expert scrutiny.

Interleaved with these longer workshops will be a number of short talks on the following topics:

  • Choosing and developing measures for use with children
  • How to conduct good intervention research
  • Methods for capturing pen-movement data
  • Use of eye-movement capturing in writing research
  • “I wish I had known X when I started” (short practical talks from late-stage PhD students)

We will also hold an evening poster and short-talk
session on the first night at which participants explain their own research, or research plans.


Main sessions will be led by the following…

Raquel Fidalgo
Professor of Educational Psychology at University of León, Spain,

Guido Nottbusch
professor of German Primary Education at University of Potsdam,

Mark Torrance
Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Nottingham Trent
University and Adjunct Professor in the National
Reading Centre, University of Stavanger

Per Henning Uppstad
Professor in the Norwegian National Reading Centre

Christer Johansson  
Professor of Computational Linguistics, University of Bergen.

…with contributions from members of their research teams and colleagues in the Reading Research Centre.

Applying to take part…

Spaces on the training school are limited. There are no specific entry requirements, but participants will benefit from a basic understanding of inferential statistics, including multiple regression, and basic understanding of concepts in linguistics and psychology. All participants will require their own laptops with R ( and R Studio ( already installed (free software – we will send guidance to successful applicants).

Researchers who wish take part in the workshop should email indicating their current position (PhD student, researcher, postdoc, …), relevant educational background, and a short summary of their current research or research plans (maximum of around 300 words). Places to appropriate applicants will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Places are limited, and we expect them to fill quickly.

The workshop will be free of charge for all participants, including meals. Participants must cover their own travel and accommodation. 

We are able to provide a limited number of 600 euro COST-ELN travel and accommodation bursaries. If you would like to be considered for one of these, please indicate this in your application.


The workshop is jointly sponsored by the Norwegian Research Council (NFR), University of Bergen, the Norwegian Reading Centre at University of Stavanger, and COST-ELN ( .


Christer Johansson, University of Bergen,

Per Henning Uppstad, University Stavanger,

Vibeke Rønneberg, University of Bergen and University of Stavanger,

Mark Torrance, Nottingham Trent University and University of Stavanger,

Boy at his desk is writing