Materiality of writing

Mater­i­al­ity of writ­ing

Writ­ing research has typ­ic­ally focussed on the text pro­duc­tion ele­ments of writ­ing. Many every­day writ­ing tasks, how­ever, can­not be char­ac­ter­ized simply in terms of text pro­duc­tion since they often involve the use of source mater­i­als to sup­port the com­pos­i­tion pro­cess. As such, these tasks are bet­ter thought of as hybrid tasks. Such hybrid tasks have been giv­en rel­at­ively little atten­tion in the lit­er­at­ure and what little work has been done has taken a purely cog­nit­ive approach that down­plays the mater­i­al con­text with­in which the task takes place. Fol­low­ing Haas’ cri­tique of main­stream writ­ing research which advoc­ated the need to con­sider the mater­i­al tools and arte­facts in the­or­ies of writ­ing, this paper takes a sim­il­ar approach in rela­tion to the hybrid tasks of writ­ing while read­ing from mul­tiple sources. A study is presen­ted that explores a range of every­day writ­ing from mul­tiple sources in their real-world con­texts. The study high­lights a num­ber of import­ant char­ac­ter­ist­ics of the inter­ac­tion with the mater­i­al arte­facts used dur­ing these tasks and the impact that these have on the under­ly­ing cog­nit­ive pro­cesses. The hope is that these will begin to offer some ground­ing on which future the­or­et­ic­al under­stand­ing of these hybrid tasks can build, as well as provid­ing use­ful insights into the design of tech­no­lo­gies to sup­port these tasks.

Leave a comment