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expertise in creative writing


For my short presentation today, I'm going to summarize the work I've done so far on my research project to explore expertise in creative writing. Essentially, I'll share with you the process I underwent to gather my interim findings. First of all, I should give a little relevant background information about myself before I started my current degree course in cognitive psychology, and studied English literature. And as you can imagine, this meant I spent a great deal of time thinking about the notion of creativity and what makes people develop into successful writers. However, the idea for this research project came from a very specific source. I became fascinated with the idea of what makes an expert creative writer when I read a well-known 20th-century writer's autobiography. I won't say which one at this stage because I think that might prejudice your interpretation. Anyway, this got me thinking about the different routes to expertise. Specifically, I wondered why some people become experts at things whilst others fail to do so, even though they may be equally gifted and work equally hard. I started to read about how other researchers had explored similar questions in other fields. I began to see a pattern that those studies which involved research in a lab were too controlled for my purposes, and I decided to avoid reading them. I was quite surprised to find that the clearest guidance for my topic came from investigations into what I call practical skills, such as hairdressing or waiting tables. Most of these studies tended to use a similar set of procedures, which I eventually adopted for my project. I'll now explain what these procedures were. I decided to compare what inexperienced writers do with what experienced writers do. To investigate this, I looked for four people whom I regarded as real novices in this field, which proved easy, perhaps unsurprisingly. It proved much harder to locate people with suitably extensive experience who were willing to take part in my study. I asked the first four to do a set writing task and as they wrote, to talk into a tape recorder, a technique known as think-aloud. This was to get experimental data. Whilst they were doing this, a research assistant recorded them using video. I thought it might be helpful for me in my transcriptions later on. I then asked four experienced writers to do the same task. After this, I made a comparison between the two sets of data, and this helped me to produce a framework for analysis. In particular, I identified five major stages which all creative writers seem to go through when generating this genre of text. I think it was fairly effective, but still needs some work. So I intend to tighten this up later for use with subsequent data sets. I then wanted to see whether experienced writers were producing better pieces of writing. So I asked an editor, an expert in reviewing creative writing, to decide which were the best pieces of writing. This person put the eight pieces of work in order of quality, in rank order. And using his evaluations, I was then able to to work out which sequence of the five stages seemed to lead to the best quality writing. If now my findings are by no means conclusive at this point, I still have a long way to go. But if any of you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them and go.

Fill in the Blanks Game

Question 1-10

Complete the notes below.

Write ONE WORD AND/OR A NUMBER  for each answer.

expertise in creative writing






What is the purpose of the research project?
Explore expertise

Where did the idea for the research project come from?
Writer's autobiography

What type of studies did the researcher decide to avoid?
Lab research

How many major stages did the researcher identify?
Five stages

What did the researcher compare between inexperienced and experienced writers?
Writing tasks

What technique did the researcher use during the writing task?

How many participants took part in the study?
Eight participants

Who determined the order of quality for the writing pieces?
Expert editor

Are the findings conclusive?

Does the speaker still have more work to do?

Interim (adjective): Temporary or provisional; in the meantime.
Example: The researcher shared their interim findings before completing the entire project.

Prejudice (verb): Influence or bias someone's opinion unfairly or negatively.
Example: The researcher didn't disclose the writer's name to avoid prejudicing the interpretation.

Extensive (adjective): Large in size, amount, or degree; comprehensive.
Example: It was challenging to find participants with suitably extensive experience in the field.

Transcriptions (noun): Written or printed versions of spoken words or recordings.
Example: The research assistant recorded the participants' think-aloud sessions for later transcriptions.

Framework (noun): A structure or system of concepts or ideas that serves as a basis for analysis.
Example: The comparison between the two sets of data helped establish a framework for analysis.

Conclusive (adjective): Serving to settle or determine an issue or question.
Example: The findings are inconclusive at this point and require further investigation.

Evaluations (noun): Assessments or judgments made about something based on specific criteria.
Example: The expert editor's evaluations determined the ranking of the writing pieces.

Sequence (noun): The order or arrangement in which things follow each other.
Example: The researcher analyzed the sequence of the five stages in generating quality writing.

Subsequent (adjective): Following in order or time; succeeding.
Example: The framework will be tightened up for use with subsequent data sets in future studies.

Conclusive (adjective): Serving to settle or determine an issue or question.
Example: The findings are inconclusive at this point and require further investigation.

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