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Scientific Program

Program 2.1. Improving writing in L1 and L2

The aim will be to identify the conditions for successful transfers between L1 and L2 writing strategies, provided learner and task characteristics, and to set up the course design parameters for effective L2 learning-to-write environments. It also aims at establishing a common set of course materials that can be used in various settings to L2-writing instruction.

Transfer between L1 and L2 writing strategies

Studies will be identified to analyse the relationship between L1 and L2 writing processes. Studies must have data on (i) processes (online writing behaviour measures via keystroke logging, probe reaction time, think aloud protocols, self-reports during writing), (ii) quality of resulting texts, (iii) learner characteristics and (iv) task characteristics. Studies may focus on L1 and/or L2.
Studies may purely descriptive, explanatory (factors that explain certain processes) or interventional (the effects of a certain intervention programme are studied on writing processes and text quality).
We will identify finished studies, current studies and research proposals. All relevant research materials will be collected


  1. Inventory of studies (short descriptions, available via repository with free access, with studies and research materials)
  2. Review L1 & L2 writing processes, Effects of L1-writing competency on L2-writing, and other exploratory factors for variation in L2-writing competency.
  3. Data: Research materials: Texts and Rating systems, Processes (inputlog, writing process protocols), Interventions.
  4. Data: Selection of writing processes (video and/or audio taped think aloud protocols, inputlog/scriptlog keylog data) for educational purposes (in repository). Selected are examples of key-processes like the use of sources, planning, goal setting, evaluation, revision.
  5. Set up of trial study: re-use (??) of writing processes in educational settings.

Analysis of effective interventions

All intervention studies identified will be analyzed (content: which strategies were trained; methodology: which learning activities were stimulated, in which order, etc.).

Study 1
In one or in two different L1-situations, a trial study will be set up where research materials from other studies are re-used in a different L1-context. A selection of the videotapes and think-aloud protocols will be used to help students learn to write effectively in L2, through observing and comparing other writers at work. Students will be able to see and hear ‘models’ undertaking reading, planning, formulation and revision phases. Possibly these course writing processes will be embedded in a strategy focuses training (like CSRI, for instance (Torrance, Fidalgo & Garcia, 2007). The text that is studied will be an expository text, i.e. an important genre for research and business communication. Performances will be recorded (keystroke logging using, for example, Inputlog Scriptlog), and analyzed via a standard analysis protocol. If possible, the results of the intervention will be compared with those of students receiving traditional instruction.

Study 2
Other re-uses will be tested, using course materials identified in the analysis of effective interventions. These learning situations will be tested on the same principles, but with other participants and in other contexts, notably “peer learning” in workplace settings (occupational training, continuing education (Björk, Bräuer, Rienecker & Jörgensen, 2003).


  1. A selection of effective course materials for strategy training (available online in repository, free access).
  2. Review paper identifying course design parameters
  3. Set up of a trial: re-use (??) of labour intensive course materials in interventions studies

Program 2.2. Comparative analysis of genres and genre teaching methods

The aim of this program will be to analyse the differences between prevailing academic genres in different European countries (e.g. variations in their function, structure, language, style, etc.) and consequent variations in teaching methods.
For instance, précis writing is practised in every country (school and workplace). However the wide range of functions attributed to it and the diversity of linguistic and cultural contexts in which it is practised mean that the term “précis” actually has many different definitions.

Our objectives will be as follows:

  1. to define the different genres in different educational, social and cultural contexts, in order to achieve standard definitions and allow international comparisons (see, for comparison, PISA: Programme for International Student Assessment)
  2. to characterize and map the tools used to teach these genres, and provide pointers to harmonising writing/ teaching practices throughout Europe, all the while respecting national diversity (Foster & Russell, 2003)
  3. to find out how learning and mastering a genre in L2 can feed back into written production in L1 (inter-language and intercultural permeability), and to generate a set of recommendations for the training of student writers, junior researchers, professional writers and translators at a European level.
  4. to design comparative research approaches allowing the collection of reliable data on genres and genre teaching in associated with writing / teaching practices in different European states.

The Barcelona workshop will focus on points 1 and 2.


Good to know

The Working Group met in Barcelona (Spain) 5-7 april 2009

Last update : 15 June 2009


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