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Writer motivation, rhetorical purpose and classroom Web publication projects

, Bowling Green State University, United States

Bowling Green State University . Awarded


This dissertation defines and develops a theory of writer motivation which can help teachers develop captivating projects that can draw apathetic writers into the act of composing. In the process of doing this, it provides a working vocabulary with which to name and understand the many factors that contribute to motivating and demotivating students' desires to write. While general intrinsic motivations are certainly beneficial to writing processes, writing teachers can benefit from learning how to also nurture rhetrinsic motivations: rhetorically-based, intrinsic motivations. Even more, this study concludes that writing teachers can do much to cultivate in students the process of rhetrinsic introphy, a process whereby student-centered, arhetorical motivations (such as grades) become overshadowed by a writer's concerns for rhetorical matters of audience, purpose, arrangement and/or style.

World-Wide Web student publication projects are used not only as examples with which to explain this theory of writer motivation, but to posit Web publication projects as ideal catalysts and contexts in which to nurture rhetorically-based intrinsic motivations. Although this dissertation shows how the computer-mediated classroom can be an ideal context in which to cultivate such motivations, it also explores how writing teachers can foster rhetrinsic motivations in traditional classroom settings. This project also addresses writing teachers who know very little about the role of Internet technology in the classroom and would like to know more.

This dissertation is divided into five chapters. Chapter one explores psychological theories of motivation and rhetorical theories of purpose in order to construct a rhetorically-based theory of writer motivation. Chapter two examines the following three elements of hypertext Web documents in order to show how they can create for students a motivational structure of possibilities: intertextuality, multiple organizational possibilities and multimedia. Chapter three explores how audience expansions afforded by the Internet can be motivationally beneficial by helping to provide rhetorical contexts and purposes which extend beyond the walls of single classrooms. Chapter four examines the central relationships between the collaborative elements of Web projects, student agency and writer motivation. Chapter five examines political and administrative implications of using Web publication projects to motivate students in writing classrooms.


Barry, B.A. Writer motivation, rhetorical purpose and classroom Web publication projects. Ph.D. thesis, Bowling Green State University. Retrieved October 14, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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