Hacker writers: A study of the literacy practices of selected writers in a computer science research laboratory

Scott Joseph Baxter, Purdue University


This dissertation is a study of three second language writers who were all doctoral students in a computer science research laboratory. More specifically, the dissertation describes the writing experiences of each of the writers and, equally important, the attitudes each of those writers had toward their writing experiences. The first chapter reviews the available literature on the affective dimension of both first and second language writing as well as on the affective dimension of writing in computer science; it also outlines the research questions that guide the study. The second chapter provides a context for the study by describing the site and describing the methods of data collection and analysis. Chapters three through five focus on the three participants in the study: Hiroshi, Daniel, and Adam. Chapter three describes Hiroshi's experiences learning English, how he chose his field of study, how he learned to write, and his attitudes toward reading. Chapter four describes Daniel's experiences learning English, how he gained confidence as a writer and researcher, where his research interests came from, his experiences with reviewers, and his attitudes toward his first language. Chapter five describes how Adam found his field of study, his significant teacher and writing experiences, his internship experiences, his attitudes toward reading, and his attitudes toward writing. Each of these chapters ends with a series of reflections in order to articulate the relationship between the subjects and the research, to show the researcher's biases, and to suggest that the stories of Hiroshi, Daniel, and Adam are not unique to a small group of second language writers. The dissertation ends by returning to the research questions raised in the first chapter, outlining implications for theory, research, and teaching, and suggesting promising directions for future research.




Silva, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Language|Bilingual education|Multicultural education

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