Three perspectives on writing

Bertram Bruce, Allan Collins, Ann D Rubin, Dedre Gentner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This article explores the process of writing from three perspectives. The first sees writing as a communicative act. The observation that to write is to communicate, though commonplace, has major, and sometimes surprising, implications for a theory of writing. It forces us to focus on the active role of the reader and leads us to an emphasis on the audience in choosing tasks for beginning writers. The second perspective sees writing in the context of a taxonomy of communicative acts. We explore the differences between writing and participating in a conversation, and discuss the theoretical and practical implications of these differences. The third perspective focuses on writing as a decomposable process whose product must still fulfill an overall communicative function. To this end, we consider various subprocesses of writing — discovering and manipulating ideas and generating text at different structural levels. The three perspectives suggest a number of questions for research on writing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-145
JournalEducational Psychologist
StatePublished - 1982

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