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Title:The effects of training with Burke's dramatistic pentad on the coherence and certain cohesive characteristics of the compositions of basic writers
Author(s):Ross, Suzanne
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Madsen, Alan L.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Language and Literature
Education, Curriculum and Instruction
Abstract:The major purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between training to improve basic writers' invention skills (using one heuristic procedure, Kenneth Burke's dramatistic pentad) and judgments of writing quality indicated by measures of coherence and certain cohesive characteristics of their texts. A second purpose was to determine the effects of using this heuristic on students' attitudes toward writing and themselves as writers and their opinions regarding its usefulness in the exploration of reading materials and in the planning of writing assignments.
The study, consisting of two control and two experimental classes, spanned one semester. The 53 college freshmen wrote pre- and post-test essays on the same topic, using the same reading materials. The 106 essays provided the primary data analyzed. They were rated for overall coherence by three trained raters, then scored for the number and type of conjunctive ties and for cohesive density.
All students responded to a pre- and post-test writing apprehension survey. Experimental group students commented in journal entries and on questionnaires on their use of Burke's pentad with their reading and writing assignments.
Results of the analysis of the 106 essays indicate that the post-test essays of all students were significantly more coherent, contained significantly more total conjunctive ties, and were rated significantly higher for cohesive density than their pre-test essays. However, no significant differences were found between the post-test essays of the two groups.
Similarly, an analysis of the 106 post-test writing apprehension surveys showed a significant decrease in writing apprehension over their pre-test scores. No significant difference was found on this measure between the post-test scores of the two groups. In journal entries and on questionnaires experimental students responded positively to their use of Burke's pentad, crediting it with an increase in their sense of confidence as writers. Many noted that they had more ideas and information from their reading available to them for their writing because of their work with the pentad. Many commented as well that using this heuristic helped them to sort through and evaluate information and organize it in preparation for writing. The implications of these findings for theory, research, and pedagogy are discussed.
Issue Date:1989
Rights Information:Copyright 1989 Ross, Suzanne
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9011001
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9011001

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