Degree Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2020

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

English

Major

Teaching English as a Second Language and Applied Linguistics

First Advisor

Evgeny Chukharev-Hudilainen

Abstract

Fluency is undoubtedly an important aspect of written language production, but little is known about the best ways to encourage the fluent production of text. This article presents a new intervention for improving first language (L1) writing fluency and reports an empirical study investigating writing quality with this intervention. The intervention explicitly encourages fluent text production by providing automated real-time feedback to the writer. The design of this intervention was informed by previous studies on strategy-focused interventions and by two learning theories: skill acquisition theory and the cognitive process theory of writing. Guided by previous research and these theories, this study developed two research questions concerning the new intervention. These questions concerned the impact of this intervention on product and process measures of writing and on users' perceptions of the intervention.

To address these research questions, this study employed a mixed-methods approach. It collected quantitative and qualitative data from twenty native-English-speaking undergraduate students at a large Midwestern university. The quantitative data consisted of scores earned by the participants upon completing two writing tasks: one which included the new fluency intervention and one which served as the control condition. These tasks were conducted using an online text editor with embedded keystroke logging capabilities. Linear mixed-effect models were run to analyze the effect of the intervention on the final product of writing (i.e., the text that is produced) and the process of writing (i.e., the time-course of the moment-by-moment actions that taken to produce the text). Findings demonstrated that there were significant differences between the fluency intervention condition and the control condition in terms of the product and the process. Specifically, participants wrote more text, expressed more ideas, and produced a higher-quality text in the fluency intervention condition. The qualitative data consisted of responses to questionnaires in which participants reported their perceptions of the intervention upon completing it. They expressed some potential benefits of the intervention, including being able to think faster and generate more ideas, feeling motivated to write, and writing more intentionally. After presenting these findings in more detail, this thesis concludes by discussing potential practical applications of this intervention.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.31274/etd-20200624-51

Copyright Owner

Emily Nicole Dux Speltz

Language

en

File Format

application/pdf

File Size

95 pages

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