Writing for Learning in Science: A Secondary Analysis of Six Studies

  • Murat GunelEmail author
  • Brian Hand
  • Vaughan Prain


This study is a secondary analysis of six previous studies that formed part of an ongoing research program focused on examining the benefits of using writing-to-learn strategies within science classrooms. The study is an attempt to make broader generalizations than those based on individual studies, given limitations related to sample sizes, topics, and classroom contexts. The results indicated that using writing-to-learn strategies was advantageous for students compared to those students working with more traditional science writing approaches. Using diversified types of writing enabled students in treatment groups to score significantly better on conceptual questions and total test scores than those in comparison groups. Importantly, when the cognitive demand of the question is increased from an extended recall to a design type question, there are significant performance differences between comparison and treatment groups in favour of treatment. The authors argue that the use of writing-to-learn strategies requires students to re-represent their knowledge in different forms and, as such, greater learning opportunities exist. Traditional writing strategies tend to favour replication of knowledge rather than re-representation knowledge.

Key words

qualitative method secondary analysis science learning science literacy writing to learn 


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Copyright information

© National Science Council, Taiwan 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Science EducationAtaturk UniversityErzurumTurkey
  2. 2.Curriculum and InstructionUniversity of IowaIowa CityUSA
  3. 3.School of EducationLa Trobe UniversityBendigoAustralia

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