Effects of process journals on college basic writers' awareness of themselves as writers

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Schramm, Mary Jane
Hanson, Linda K.
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Thesis (M.A.)
Department of English
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In recent years, many composition teachers and theorists have turned to the process approach to writing in an attempt to better understand both the act of writing and the writers themselves. Even though various theorists have made headway in the analysis of students' writing processes, further research is needed to explore whether college basic writers are aware of their own writing processes and whether this awareness can lead to discovery of the self as a writer and to diminished writing anxiety.One way for students to become aware of their composing processes is through process journals, in which they write about their actions in creating and revising their papers. Using process journals as an independent variable, this project studied differences among three groups of basic writers at Ball State University: those who wrote process journals frequently, infrequently, and not at all. I evaluated effects of process journals on self-reported awareness of process, as measured by a Writing Skills Questionnaire, and on writing apprehension, as measured by the Writing Apprehension Test (WAT). To measure changes among groups over two semesters, I analyzed students' questionnaire responses using mean scores and two Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) tests.Results showed that process journals did have a significant impact on students' attitudes about themselves as writers and on their awareness and control of writing processes. This study did not find, however, that process journals significantly decreased students' writing apprehension scores. In addition, it did not find Ball State University's basic writing students to be highly apprehensive writers. Although further research is needed to verify these results and expand the scope of research in process journals, the initial findings here suggest that process journals can be an important part of many students' writing experiences.