National Library of Australia

Due to major building activity, some collections are unavailable. Please check your requests before visiting. Learn more.

You must be logged in to Tag Records
Effects of Topic Knowledge on the Quality and Coherence of Informational Writing [microform] / Judith A. Langer
Bib ID 5430149
Format BookBook, MicroformMicroform, OnlineOnline
Langer, Judith A
Online Versions
Description [Washington, D.C.] : Distributed by ERIC Clearinghouse, 1983 
39 p. 

A study examined the effect of topic-specific background knowledge on the general quality and local coherence of student writing. Ninety-seven tenth grade students were assigned two writing tasks on specific topics at two points during a semester. J. Langer's measure of topic-specific knowledge was administered prior to each writing task. Each student's writing sample was then scored on five separate measures: (1) overall quality, (2) coherence, (3) syntactic complexity, (4) audience, and (5) function. The data from the pretest and writing evaluations clearly suggested a strong and consistent relationship between topic-specific background knowledge and the quality of student writing. More interesting, however, was the evidence that different kinds of knowledge were predictive of success in different writing tasks. The analysis of interactions between background knowledge and audience and function categories suggested that when students had only fragmentary knowledge about a topic, they used tactics to avoid engaging in writing activities that required them to say more than they knew. The findings suggest that for many tasks, writers may need the same kinds of highly organized information that readers do, but for others they may also require an abundance of loosely related informational "bits" for use in their writing. This distinction may arise from differences inherent in each of the two activities: writers not only need to generate, present, and relate intricately linked ideas, but also need a large body of loosely associated information that can be used to elaborate, embellish, and enliven the presentation. (HTH)


ERIC Note: Best copy available.


May also be available online. Address as at 14/8/18:

Reproduction Microfiche. [Washington D.C.]: ERIC Clearinghouse microfiches : positive. 
Subjects Audience Analysis.  |  Coherence.  |  Evaluation Methods.  |  Grade 10.  |  High Schools.  |  Prior Learning.  |  Schemata (Cognition)  |  Writing Evaluation.  |  Writing Processes.  |  Writing Research.  |  Writing Skills.  |  Reading Writing Relationship
Form/genre Reports, Research.
Available From ERIC 


In the Library

Request this item to view in the Library's reading rooms using your library card. To learn more about how to request items watch this short online video Help Video.

Details Collect From
mc 2253 ED234418 Main Reading Room - Newspapers and Family History
This item may be online. Please search the ERIC website prior to requesting this microfiche item.

Order a copy

- Copyright or permission restrictions may apply. We will contact you if necessary.

Help Video To learn more about Copies Direct watch this short online video Help Video.
close Can I borrow items from the Library?

You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video embedded.

You can view this on the NLA website.

close What can I get online?

You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video embedded.

You can view this on the NLA website.

close Can I get copies of items from the Library?

You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video embedded.

You can view this on the NLA website.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flags
Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and other First Nations people are advised that this catalogue contains names, recordings and images of deceased people and other content that may be culturally sensitive. Please also be aware that you may see certain words or descriptions in this catalogue which reflect the author’s attitude or that of the period in which the item was created and may now be considered offensive.