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The Writing Strategies of Graduate Research Students in the Social Sciences

M. Torrance, G. V. Thomas and E. J. Robinson
Higher Education
Vol. 27, No. 3 (Apr., 1994), pp. 379-392
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3448190
Page Count: 14
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The Writing Strategies of Graduate Research Students in the Social Sciences
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Abstract

A 35-item questionnaire concerning writing habits, experiences of writing and productivity was sent to 228 full-time, U.K. domiciled, social science research students. One hundred and one complete responses were received. Cluster analysis was used to identify three distinct groups of students in terms of the strategies they used when writing: "Planners", who planned extensively and then made few revisions, "Revisers", who developed content and structure through extensive revision, and "Mixed Strategy" writers, who both planned before starting to write and revised extensively as part of their writing processes. The Planners reported higher productivity than both the Revisers and Mixed Strategy Writers. Planners and Revisers did not differ significantly in how difficult they found writing to be; Planners found writing less difficult than did the Mixed Strategy Writers. We conclude that working from a plan can be an effective writing strategy for some, but that planning is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for writing success.

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