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Writing method and productivity of science and engineering faculty

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The present study aimed to describe the methods of writing used by university faculty and to explore relationships between method and productivity in writing. The survey reported here examined the cognitive strategies, tools, work scheduling, environment, and rituals used by 121 science and engineering faculty members in writing technical documents such as journal articles. The most commonly reported methods (e.g., the cognitive strategy of mentally planning large units of text structure and selecting a pen or pencil for a tool) were uncorrelated with reported productivity. Selecting a quiet work environment was the only typical habit that was associated with high productivity. Three other aspects of writing method were also related to high productivity, but they were not widely employed. These were using a dictation machine, preparing detailed written outlines before beginning a first draft, and the ritual of exercising vigorously before or during a writing session.

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Kellogg, R.T. Writing method and productivity of science and engineering faculty. Res High Educ 25, 147–163 (1986).

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