An investigation into the efficacy of using direct explicit instruction of single-cue writing strategies
O'Brien Moran, Michael
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The purpose of this dissertation was to investigate the effectiveness of teaching students to write essays using a multi-cue decision-making strategy that asked students to Inscribe the writing space, Define the rhetorical problems locally, Discover the information necessary to solve the local rhetorical problems, and Link the individual units of the essay logically (IDDL). An explanatory mixed methods research design was employed to investigate the importance of using direct explicit instruction of single-cue writing strategies. The research questions were: what is the effect of teaching first-year university students single-cue heuristics as measured by their growth in essay writing between a pretest and posttest measure? and, what is the effect of teaching first-year university students single-cue heuristics as measured by their final essay grades at the end of term? A total of 99 students, divided into control (22 students) and experimental (77 students) groups, participated in the quantitative data collection by providing pretest and posttest writing samples. In the qualitative data collection phase, twenty students (ten from each group) were individually interviewed. While the results indicated that the control group outperformed the experimental group on all measures, except content, there were a number of confounding variables that require further investigation.