Understanding Graduate Writers’ Interaction with and Impact of the Research Writing Tutor during Revision

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Huffman, Sarah
Link, Stephanie
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Cotos, Elena
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The Department of English seeks to provide all university students with the skills of effective communication and critical thinking, as well as imparting knowledge of literature, creative writing, linguistics, speech and technical communication to students within and outside of the department.

The Department of English and Speech was formed in 1939 from the merger of the Department of English and the Department of Public Speaking. In 1971 its name changed to the Department of English.

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  • Department of English and Speech (1939-1971)

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Center for Communication Excellence
We are dedicated to supporting graduate students and post-doctoral associates through unmatched, intellectually stimulating opportunities for advancing communication competencies. Our team provides effective specialized programming, opportunities for practice and improvement, and a range of resources – all grounded in the study of communication genres and in the scholarship of teaching and learning. Leveraging innovative practices, trans-disciplinary collaborations, creative endeavors, and cutting-edge technologies, we promote professional development through individual and community support that culminates in transformative learning experiences in a diverse, equitable, inclusive and accessible environment.
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Teaching the craft of written science communication is an arduous task that requires familiarity with disciplinary writing conventions. With the burgeoning of technological advancements, practitioners preparing novice research writers can begin to augment teaching and learning with activities in digital writing environments attuned to the conventions of scientific writing in the disciplines. The Research Writing Tutor (RWT) is one such technology. Grounded in an integrative theoretical framework, it was designed to help students acquire knowledge about the research article genre and develop research writing competence. One of its modules was designed to facilitate revision by providing different forms of automated feedback and scaffolding that are genre-based and discipline-specific. This study explores whether and how the features of the RWT may impact revision while using this module of the tool. Drawing from cognitive writing modeling, this study investigates the behaviors of a multidisciplinary group of 11 graduate-student writers by exploring how they interacted with the RWT’s features and how this interaction may create conditions for enhanced revision processes and text modifications. Findings demonstrate promising potential for the use of this automated feedback tool in fostering writers’ metacognitive processing during revision. This research adds to theory on cognitive writing models by acknowledging the evolving role of digital environments in writing practices and offering insights into future development of automated tools for genre-based writing instruction.


This article is published as Cotos, E., Huffman, S., & Link, S. (2020). Understanding graduate writers’ interaction with and impact of the Research Writing Tutor during revision. Journal of Writing Research, 12(1), 187- 232. doi: 10.17239/jowr-2020.12.01.07

Wed Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2020