Metacognition and Learning

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 233–273 | Cite as

Profiling writers: analysis of writing dynamics among college students

  • Dyanne Escorcia
  • Jean-Michel Passerault
  • Christine Ros
  • Jean Pylouster


We studied the processes involved in synthesis writing, focusing on planning, editing and self-regulation strategies. The aims of the study were a) to analyse the temporal distribution of cognitive strategies and self-regulation across the different phases of writing, b) to identify different writing approaches (i.e., profiles), and c) to establish the relationship between writing behavior and writing performance. Twenty-seven humanities students, who were 23 years of age on average, were asked to produce a synthesis. The methodology combined videotaped observations, a think aloud protocol, and an assessment of writing performance, and specific instruments were constructed to collect the data. Algorithms were also calculated to determine the transitions between different types of writing behavior. Results showed that the nature, frequency, and duration of planning, editing, and self-regulation strategies varied according to the phase (prewriting or writing), and the most remarkable changes occurred in the final period of writing. Moreover, although the college students’ functioning generally reflected a novice approach, there were significant differences between the three writer profiles we found, namely precise transcriber, active reviser, and spontaneous writer. Finally, writing performance was positively and significantly correlated with writing strategies such as taking notes and reading drafts.


Writer profile Synthesis Writing strategy Reading Editing Self-regulation strategy 



We thank the funders of this research: the National Research Agency (ANR) of the French Government, and the Centre for Human and Social Sciences (MSHS) of the University of Poitiers.

Compliance with ethical standards

This research was supported by the French Government through the National Research Agency (ANR), as part of the Investment for the Future programme, reference ANR-11-IDEFI-0028. This work was also funded by the Centre for Human and Social Sciences (MSHS) of the University of Poitiers, as part of its Language and Cognition programme on writing.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dyanne Escorcia
    • 1
  • Jean-Michel Passerault
    • 1
  • Christine Ros
    • 1
  • Jean Pylouster
    • 1
  1. 1.National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS)University of PoitiersPoitiersFrance

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