Writing as discovery
Author: Galbraith, David
Source: BJEP Monograph Series II, Number 6 - Teaching and Learning Writing, Issue data not provided , pp. 5-26(22)
Publisher: British Psychological Society
Abstract:Background. Although writing is commonly characterized as a process of discovery, there are contrasting conceptions of what this implies about the writing process. Classical models of the cognitive processes in writing treat discovery as a side-effect of the processes required for effective communication, and associate it with the adaptation of thought to rhetorical goals.Aims. In this paper, I argue that these models overemphasize the role of explicit thinking processes in writing at the expense of more implicit text production processes.Arguments. Following a review of research investigating the conditions under which writers discover new ideas through writing, which I argue contradicts important features of the classical account of discovery, I outline an alternative dual-process model of writing which I claim provides a better account of the empirical data.Conclusions. The model identifies two conflicting processes in writing: an explicit planning process, incorporating many of the features assumed by classical models of writing, and an implicit text production process, which operates according to connectionist processing principles. The basic features of these processes are described, and the complementary role they play in writing is discussed.