Cohesion management in text writing

Research on writing has traditionally been split between process or product. Such studies have also been separated from reading research. This project eliminate these traditional divisions.

Little attention has been paid to the reading aspect of writing, and research is limited on the impact which reading can have on writing and vice versa.

By concentrating on the visual attention paid to the writer’s own text during the writing process, the project will help to eliminate the traditional division between reading and writing research.

The project will focus on the reading writer, and the dynamic relationship which exists between the visual attention paid to the writer’s own text and the use of cohesion mechanisms to ensure a well structured text.

The methodology employed by this PhD project is based on registration of eye movements combined with keyboard activity. That yields data which make it possible to analyse the interaction between the visual attention paid by the writer to their own text and its written production.

Data acquisition embraces 40 texts from 20 university students aged 19 to 22. One text is written under normal conditions for visual feedback from the writer’s own text, and the other under manipulated conditions for visual feedback from the text whereby all the letters are replaced by an x.

The project is based on three articles. The first describes the various cohesion mechanisms utilised by the writers, and the role played by visual attention to the writer’s own text in its activation and use.

The second article describes how cohesion mechanisms are used when visual attention to the writer’s own text is not possible compared with occasions when such attention can be paid.

Finally, the third article sketches the outlines of a model for cohesion management, with contributions from the two previous articles compared with established writing models.

PhD student: Gunn Helen Ofstad Oxborough

Supervisor: Per Henning Uppstad

Co-supervisor: Mark Torrance