blogging about logging

10 03 2008

Writing research attempts to decompose human psychology by decomposing it into mental processes. The study of these modules came of age with Flower & Hayes‘ cognitive model of text production. Their think-aloud protocol analyses paved the way for a model of writing involving such (sub)processes as planning, generating ideas, composing, reviewing and revising. A second technique, pioneered by Ronald Kellogg, had writers undertake direct retrospection. This online (but intrusive) method asked writers to identify the writing process they were engaging in. A third, computer-assisted method employs employs keystroke logging software in an attempt to record writing processes online.

One such software application is Inputlog. I used this tool to ‘spy’ on the journalists I followed during my fieldwork. Once installed, the software runs in the background without interrupting computer performance. Inputlog also generates minute data files that allow for some hardcore numerical holycowery. The software is freely available to the research community but please consult a physician before using.

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