Summer 2019



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Trish Harvey

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Phillip Boyd

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Dana Haberman


The research question that was at the heart of the study was: How can fourth grade educators increase student motivation to write and strengthen students’ writing skills using the workshop model? Central topics addressed in the Review of the Literature included the Common Core State Standards for writing, concerns and issues facing today’s teachers of writing, and a variety of possible solutions to these issues. A group of 14 fourth grade students were the focus of the study in which a workshop-based writing unit from the Units of Study curriculum was taught, with particular attention paid to the growth of both student skill level and motivation level. A mixed methods approach was utilized in the course of this study. Both qualitative and quantitative tools were used to collect data, including student interest surveys, writing instruction surveys, observations and field notes, the inclusion of a four person focus group whose work was examined and who were individually interviewed three times throughout the study, the collection and analysis of the participants’ finished written work, and the use of CCSS-aligned rubrics to grade said work. The data revealed that student motivation and skill levels both increased throughout the course of this writing unit and research study. In the end, what was concluded was that workshop-based writing instruction is the ideal way to increase student writing competency (as well as the most effective way to meet the Common Core State Standards for writing) and to also increase student motivation and interest. This is possibly due to the real- world applications of this type of work, the authentic nature of what students are asked to do, as well as the teacher’s own enthusiasm for what was being taught and learned. There is also a discussion of possible next steps that could be taken in further research of this nature, as well as the limitations of the study itself.

Research Methodology

Action Research, Focus Group, Interview, Survey (attitude scale, opinion, questionnaire)


Achievement, Motivation, Writing, Writer’s Workshop








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