Writing as a Recursive Process 1

Course Learning Objective: Writing as a Recursive Process – 20%

Reading is part of the writing process, and writing is part of the reading process. The iterative, recursive nature of the writing process means that careful reading of both one’s sources and one’s own writing are regular practices for one who approaches mastery of this learning outcome.  A student who is making substantive (global) changes in both the content and organization of a writing project as it moves from an early to a final draft is moving in the direction of mastery. A student moving in the direction of mastery is also engaged in local revision in the final steps of the process through careful editing and proofreading.

Some markers of substantive change (global revision) across drafts include:

  • Changes to an introduction to better frame the project, establish the conversation and sources in play, and articulate how the student’s thesis contributes to that conversation
  • Reorganization of paragraphs to more effectively develop the written project
  • New body paragraphs that develop on ideas in an early draft or that introduce important new ideas
  • Improved source use (evidence) and explanations

Some markers of local revision include:

  • Improvement in signal phrases leading into and punctuation around quotations and paraphrases
  • Reduction in subject-verb agreement, plural/possessive, and punctuation errors that yield fragmented or run-on sentences
  • Attention to the overall readability of one’s prose


The Writing Process

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