Date of Award

Spring 1987

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Using analyses of speak aloud writing protocols, this study describes the cognitive processes of community college writers as they use a series of drafts to derive superordinating statements about their experiences.

During the 1985-1986 school year, ten students from Northern Essex Community College volunteered to give a protocol as they completed a writing task. Five of the writers were from a Basic Writing course, and five were from advanced writing courses. The task asked them to generate details for and then draft narratives of three related personal experiences. Then the writers combined the three narratives into one draft, which ideally should have superordinated the narratives. Throughout the extended process protocols were taken.

Four primary conclusions came out of the study: (1) We do not need two models of the superordinating process--one for Basic Writers and one for advanced writers. (2) More sophisticated superordinations require keeping track of more data, and more data fosters more sophisticated superordinations. (3) The momentum provided by syntax helps generate details and conceptual names. (4) Discovery of new meaning after drafting is an exceedingly complex skill, more advanced than previously thought.