Writing profiles: the effect of the writing mode on pausing and revision patterns of experienced writers

Luuk Van Waes, Peter Jan Schellens

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    96 Citations (Scopus)
    49 Downloads (Pure)


    We investigated how writing processes are affected by physical aspects of the task environment, specifically the use of a word processor, with respect to patterns of pausing and revision. Consistent with the tradition of cognitive writing research, the writing processes of experienced writers were examined (60 involving the use of a word processor, 20 involving pen&paper). In comparison with writers using pen&paper, those using a word processor (i) spent more time on a first draft and less on finalizing a text, (ii) pursued a more fragmentary writing process, (iii) tended to revise more extensively at the beginning of the writing process, (iv) attended more to lower linguistic levels (letter, word) and formal properties of the text, and (v) did not normally undertake any systematic revision of their work before finishing. By clustering the various processes with respect to twelve relevant parameters, we developed a new typology of writing processes which distinguishes five writing profiles: the initial planner, the fragmentary Stage I writer, the Stage II writer, the non-stop writer, and the average writer. Our quantitative approach to describing the cognitive behavior of the different writers revealed that the profiles they adopt depend greatly on the constraints of the writing environment.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)829-853
    Number of pages25
    JournalJournal of pragmatics
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


    • Cognitive Processes
    • Revision
    • Writing profiles
    • Word processor
    • Pause analysis
    • Writing process


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