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As If Through Another's Eyes: A Study of Peer Tutoring and First-Year Students' Revision Behaviors

Stahr, Margaret L. (2008) As If Through Another's Eyes: A Study of Peer Tutoring and First-Year Students' Revision Behaviors. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation explores how first-year students use the feedback they receive from others as they revise their writing. Of particular interest is the feedback that students receive from writing center peer tutors. Through analysis of the feedback students received from various individuals (classroom peers, peer tutors, and teachers) in two sites (first year composition classrooms and the writing center), I clarify the effects responses from these individuals have on students' revision. To determine the role tutorials, specifically, play in students' development as revisers, I conducted a semester-long study of writing at a liberal arts university. I used two major research strategies: (1) a questionnaire about students' practices of revision and (2) case studies of nine first-year composition students. Data has been collected from interviews, writing center tutorials, first-year composition class meetings, and drafts and revisions of students' papers. This dissertation challenges several established claims within composition studies: that first-year students revise in limited ways; that they usually focus on word-level issues when they do revise; and that the most effective revisions are more reader- than writer-based. In fact, students I studied report that they do have strategies for dealing with their whole texts. Moreover, though many have argued that "experienced writers" revise in a reader-based way, this data suggests that students revise most substantially when readers find a way to help the writers control their words and convey their intentions. Finally, this dissertation challenges the assumption that because writing centers help make "better writers, not better writing," writing center scholarship should exclude student writing as an object of study. Sustained study of the drafts students bring with them to the writing center and the revised versions they produce after a tutorial offer writing center and composition studies scholars alike a fuller understanding of the role that collaboration generally and peer tutoring specifically play in students' development as writers and revisers.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Stahr, Margaret L.mls156@pitt.eduMLS156
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairCarr, Stephen Lscarr@pitt.eduSCARR
Committee MemberGodley, Amanda Jagodley@pitt.eduAGODLEY
Committee MemberSeitz, James Eseitz@pitt.eduSEITZ
Committee MemberCarr, Jean Fergusonjcarr@pitt.eduJCARR
Date: 3 November 2008
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 15 May 2008
Approval Date: 3 November 2008
Submission Date: 5 May 2008
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > English
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: case study; first-year composition; revision; writing center; liberal arts; peer tutor
Other ID:, etd-05052008-115314
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:43
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:43


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