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21-06-2019 | Original Article | Uitgave 8/2020

Psychological Research 8/2020

Online management of text production from pictures: a comparison between fifth graders and undergraduate students

Psychological Research > Uitgave 8/2020
Elise Drijbooms, Margriet A. Groen, Denis Alamargot, Ludo Verhoeven
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This study was designed to enhance our understanding of the online management of writing processes by two groups of writers with a different level of expertise, and to explore the impact of this online management on text quality. To this aim, fifth graders (mean age 10.5 years) and undergraduate students (mean age 22.6 years) were asked to compose a narrative from a visual source of images, while their handwriting activity and eye movements were recorded by means of Eye & Pen software and a digitizing tablet. Results showed that fifth graders and undergraduate students used different strategies to engage in high-level source-based text elaboration processes throughout their writing. The main differences concerned the density of source consultation during prewriting, on the one hand, and during pauses, on the other hand. Relationships between these characteristics of online management and text quality were minimal in fifth graders, while in undergraduate students they were more substantial as in the case of syntactic complexity. These findings suggest that with age, the online management of writing becomes more closely related to text quality. In line with a capacity view of writing, it is also concluded that the online management of writing processes of fifth graders is highly constrained by a lack of fluent text production skills which ultimately affects their text quality.

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