Johnstone, Karla M., Hollis Ashbaugh, and Terry D. Warfield. “Effects of Repeated Practice and Contextual-Writing Experiences on College Students’ Writing Skills.” Journal of Educational Psychology 94.2 (2002): 305-315.
The authors report on a study they conducted at University of Wisconsin--Madison, in which in response to graduates’ employers’ complaints about writing skills, they implemented a writing initiative in the Accounting department. Using previous research on writing, they designed the initiative so that it would “test whether repeated writing practice in a specific task domain improves students’ writing skills” (306). Based on their rather extensive study, they found that “general, repeated-writing experience (e.g., writing in college English classes) was still important as late as the sophomore year of college. In addition, we found that after controlling for repeated writing experience, writing within a specific task domain incrementally improved students’ writing skills” (312). To sum up what we can learn from this study is that the more students write in general, the better they write overall, but by writing in a specific discipline and developing expertise in certain genres and at certain writing tasks, the writing ability improves even more, at least specifically in those areas. This article is available in our library.