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Towards a quantitative model of understanding the dynamics of collaboration in collaborative writing

Published on Sep 1, 2019in Journal of Second Language Writing 3.32
· DOI :10.1016/j.jslw.2019.04.001
Meixiu Zhang (NAU: Northern Arizona University)
Abstract
Abstract Understanding the nature of collaboration is critical in collaborative writing (CW), as it impacts the amount of scaffolding that occurs and the amount of linguistic knowledge that can be retained (Storch, 2013). The most prevalent model to examine peer collaboration in CW is based on a global qualitative analysis of learners’ involvement in and control over a writing task (Storch, 2001a). However, this model does not account for the fluctuating nature of peer collaboration in CW. This paper aims to add to Storch’s model by proposing a model of dyadic interaction that considers learners’ contribution to different aspects of CW and identifies collaboration types in a bottom-up fashion. Drawing upon a quantitative analysis of learners’ comparative involvement in major aspects of a CW task, a cluster analysis was performed to allow different collaboration types to emerge from a dataset of 35 pair talks. As a result, five collaboration types were detected, including organization noncollaborative type, language use noncollaborative type, task management noncollaborative type, content noncollaborative type, and collaborative type. Each collaboration type represents a distinct interactional pattern in relation to pair members’ engagement in crucial aspects of CW. Additionally, the paper examines the link between the nature of collaboration and learners’ co-constructed texts in CW. The results indicate that collaboration type does not influence text quality and linguistic accuracy of learners’ collaborative texts. Methodological and pedagogical implications are discussed.
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