A Product-Process Analysis of Saudi Student Writers’ Essays

Ikram Rouissi


Writing as an interactive process of thoughts and words has been the focus of two different yet complementary approaches, namely the product approach and the process approach.  While the product approach focuses on the formal properties of texts, their macrostructure and grammar, the process approach attends primarily to students’ meaning-making processes. These two approaches can present a clearer picture of writing skills and lead to direct and immediate pedagogical implications. This paper is an attempt at reconciling process and product approaches to ESL/EFL writing. The paper investigates Saudi learners’ product deficiencies and attempts to infer Saudi learners’ writing processes through a retrospective composing process questionnaire and a product multi-levelled analysis. The analysis shows that the students fail to conceive writing as a lengthy, multistep, recursive, and creative process. Their product contains deficiencies at the levels of cohesion and coherence in addition to interlanguage errors at the morpho-syntactic level and at the vocabulary level. The deficiencies at the cohesion and coherence levels reflect the students’ lack of familiarity with the appropriate formal and content schemata. The paper recommends instating writing as a process that gives priority to cohesion and coherence and relating these to formal and content schemata.     


Product approach, process approach, interlanguage, cohesion, coherence, contrastive rhetoric, error analysis.

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