The University of Sussex

Representing writing: an account of the writing process with regard to the writer's external representations

Mike Sharples, Lyn Pemberton

The aim of this paper is, first, to provide a synthesis and critique of contemporary explanations of writing as a cognitive process and, second, to extend these explanations by examining the means by which a writer creates a text through interaction with external resources and media, such as books, notes, pencil and paper, and the ways in which the representational properties of these resources affect the process of idea generation and written composition. The authors suggest that observed writing strategies can be described as a sequence of transitions between different representational spaces and that the choice of writing medium constrains the process of writing and influences the construction of these representations. The authors discuss the implications of this analysis for the teaching of writing and the design of computer-based writing support tools.

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