Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Gwen Gorzelsky


This dissertation examines and analyzes the work of two sections of basic writing over the course of one semester. I explore relevant research in Writing Studies, Cognitive Psychology, and Educational Psychology to build a framework within which to discuss pedagogical strategies implemented to support student’s self-directed learning behaviors and to positively affect their efficacy beliefs. Through an analysis of students’ written work, I determined whether and how this pedagogy facilitated students’ articulation of efficacy beliefs as evidence through the language of their reflective writing assignments. Analysis of the data suggests three major arguments: first, that while self-efficacy is a complex construct to identify and analyze qualitatively, the multi-causal construct of goal articulation serves as a helpful tool with which to measure it; second, that students’ development and discussion of personal learning objectives – in which students break down those objectives into component parts making the monitoring of their learning accessible and task-based – appears to facilitate students’ use of multi-causality in their writing; third, that identifying task-based learning throughout the course of a semester can lead teachers and researchers to see students’ own language as it relates to their perceptions of success in a writing classroom.