Relationship between real-time writing processes and text quality in L2 Chinese: When and how

Xiaojun Lu

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Effective online management of writing activities (e.g., planning, translation, monitoring) is considered fundamental to the quality of writing outcomes. Yet, there are few L2 investigations on this issue. To address this gap, this study investigated how L2 writing processes are related to text quality. It also explored how the link may vary across different stages of the writing process (beginning, middle, end), given increasing evidence that writing is a dynamic process (Rijlaarsdam & Van Den Bergh, 1996). Another innovative aspect of this study is that it examined these relationships in L2 Chinese, an under-researched subject in L2 writing.
Thirty-two L2 writers of Chinese performed four writing tasks using the Pinyin input method. Their keystrokes and mouse movements during task performance were logged using Translog 2.0 (Carl, 2012). Writing processes were operationalised as online writing behaviours (i.e., fluency, pausing, and revision). To account for the potential influence of writing stages on process-product relations, all behaviour measures were calculated both for the whole and five phases of the writing process. Text quality was determined via holistic ratings. Baseline data were obtained from L1 Chinese writers.
Better L2 Chinese texts were found to be associated with greater fluency, fewer between-word pauses, and shorter pauses overall, between words, and between clauses. Turning to the five phases, more within-word pauses in phase 1 enhanced text quality, while more between-word pauses in phase 2 inhibited text quality. Longer between-Pinyin-and-character pauses were beneficial to text quality in phase 2 but became harmful in phase 3. In phase 5, between-clause pause duration negatively correlated with text quality. L1 Chinese text quality was only found to relate to between-sentence pause frequency, overall pause duration, and contextual revision frequency in certain phases. The findings will be discussed with reference to previous studies on alphabetic language writing.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2021
EventAssociation for American Applied Linguistics 2021 Virtual Conference - Virtual, United States
Duration: 20 Mar 202123 Mar 2021


ConferenceAssociation for American Applied Linguistics 2021 Virtual Conference
Abbreviated titleAAAL2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • real-time writing processes
  • text quality
  • L2 chinese


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