Rewriting revision: A case study of first year composition students

Myshie Mcgavock Pagel, University of Texas at El Paso


This case study focuses on the revision practices of seven first year composition students at a U.S./Mexico border community college. The analysis of revision practices is framed by the negotiation of dissonance between gist and intention. Three types of data were collected: screen captured writing sessions, instructor comments, and participant interviews. The data was analyzed through a grid based on Faigley and Witte's taxonomy grid of revision changes. This included three major categories: surface level, meaning preserving, and text base level changes. As in past studies on revision, the participants in this case study followed a similar trend. A majority of the changes were surface level changes, and the second most common change was meaning preserving substitutions. Out of 889 changes, only one change was made at the text base macro level. The participant interviews showed that students had a tacit understanding of the negotiation of meaning and used the knowledge they had acquired to revise, but expressed a frustration in not knowing how to resolve the dissonance other than through surface level changes. This research shows that the negotiation of dissonance between gist and intention at various levels of revision can provide a meta-cognitive framework for novice writers to articulate and execute meaning preserving and text base changes.

Subject Area

Language arts|Rhetoric

Recommended Citation

Pagel, Myshie Mcgavock, "Rewriting revision: A case study of first year composition students" (2013). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3597241.