Search and Compose: Exploring Parallels in the Research and Writing Processes

UC Davis
matt conner
instruction and reference librarian
UC Davis


This project explores connections between the information search process and the writing process with the goal of maximizing student learning. One of the seminal works in Writing Studies published in the last four decades is Linda Flower and John Hayes' article "A Cognitive Process Theory of Writing" (College Composition and Communication, vol.32, no.4 (Dec 1981): 365-387). Flower and Hayes explain composing behavior as a fluid series of Planning, Translating and Reviewing activities that are continuously applied as writers develop and refine their goals. Could these same processes elucidate search behavior? The researchers review screen recordings and audio transcripts of student searches in Academic Search Complete to examine the search process through the lens of Flower and Hayes' model. Identifying parallels in research and writing has the potential to grow collaborative relationships and enhance communication between teaching librarians and writing instructors, and ultimately improve student search behavior and writing.


This poster will introduce relevant readings, present our research design and report preliminary data.

Presentation Materials


Date and time: 
Fri, 04/04/2014 - 5:00pm - 8:00pm