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Textual Cohesion and Coherence in Children's Writing Revisited

Dixie Lee Spiegel and Jill Fitzgerald
Research in the Teaching of English
Vol. 24, No. 1 (Feb., 1990), pp. 48-66
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40171445
Page Count: 19
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Textual Cohesion and Coherence in Children's Writing Revisited
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Abstract

The study examined the relationship between cohesion and coherence in children's writing and whether this relationship varied with story content, quality of writing, and grade level. Findings from this study, which used a unidimensional, linguistic, text-based measure of coherence (Hasan's [1984] cohesive harmony index), were compared to the results of an earlier study, which used a multidimensional, holistic rating of coherence. Two stories written by each of 27 third graders and 22 sixth graders were scored for 11 cohesion variables, coherence, and quality. Main conclusions of the present study were: (a) there was evidence of a relationship between cohesion and coherence; (b) the relationship varied according to text content; (c) the relationship did not vary according to quality of writing; and (d) the relationship did not vary according to the students' grade level. Additionally, in the first study, developmental effects were found for cohesion, coherence, and quality. When compared to findings from the earlier study, both similarities and disparities were noted.

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