Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Education


Faculty of Education

First Advisor

Dr. David Prescott

Second Advisor

Professor Mike Breen


The focus of this study was on the effect of word processing on the quality of the composing process, product, and attitudes of adult academic ESL writers. Twenty adult ESL students, comprising an ‘intact’ EAP (English for Academic Purposes) group, completed a number of written assignments as part of their ESL unit, using either word processing or conventional ‘pen and paper’ composition methods. Their handwritten and word processed work was analysed and compared through the use of an holistic/analytic scale of writing quality. In addition to this analysis of the ‘finished product’, texts were analysed in terms of the frequency, nature and extent of revisions made within the composition process. Statistical analysis of the writing quality and revision data – as well as audio-taped verbal protocols from selected subjects, interviews, and observational notes, were used to determine the effect (s) of word processing on the composing process, product and attitudes of these subjects. The data indicate that word processing does improve writing quality – and that it also influences revising behaviours and subject attitudes towards writing. There does not appear, for these subjects, to have been any significant correlation between revision and writing quality.