Sommers and Saltz: Freshman Writing Study

Blog ยป Sommers and Saltz: Freshman Writing Study

Posted on 19 Apr 2013 01:59

Sommers and Saltz developed a study to discover how freshman students experience college. They followed a sample of 422 students and a sub sample of 65 students from Harvard's class of 2001. The authors chose a combination of a qualitative and quantitative method of study. It was qualitative in the sense that they were analyzing the students' writing. It was quantitative in the sense that they gave out surveys and interviewed students. They kept interviewing and taking samples of their writing each semester. 94% of the original sample stayed the entire four years.

They found that students who wrote about something that matters to them and expressed their thoughts and opinions in their writing were more likely to learn to become better writers no matter if they started as weak or strong writers. Most students said if they hadn't written papers for class they wouldn't have been able to "make the class their own" because taking tests only requires them to "regurgitate information".

For my writing studies research project, I would like to apply the quantitative method of surveying and interviewing students about their writing experiences. I think I would receive lots of original responses yet find a common trend on the view of writing in different courses.

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