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Thread: Researchable Questions Market

  1. Join Date
    Nov 2003

    Researchable Questions Market

    At IGS2003 we introduced an RQM: http://www.igs2003.com/RQM.php

    o Would you propose to change or extend its goals?
    o What researchable questions would you propose at igs2005?

  2. Kate Gladstone is offline Handwriting Educator & Therapist
    Join Date
    Mar 2004

    some Researchable Questions on writing-styles

    For IGS 2005, I propose these researchable questions:

    Background: In the USA during the past 70 years, the vast majority of handwriting-curricula train each student in two (or occasionally more) distinctly different handwriting-styles (generally identified as "manuscript" and "cursive"), with different styles introduced at different points within the educational process and differing in prescribed letter-shapes as well as in presence/absence of letter-joining (typically a 100%-joined writing immediately follows a writing-style using absolutely no join, using a quite different set of letter-shapes from the joined style, and/or written at a different slant from the joined style:in most such curricula, the joined style has 20 to 30 degrees of rightward slant and immediately follows instruction in an unjoined style with no slant [vertical].)
    However, within the past three decades the USA has seen increasing publication/use of handwriting-curricula not meeting this description. This notably includes initial instruction/remedial curricula described as "Italic handwriting" programs. Salient features of Italic handwriting programs include continuity of letter-style throughout a child's education, with little or no letter-shape change, no slant-change, and with the change from "manuscript" ["printed"] to "cursive" involving non-total joining of letters (the student goes from an unjoined writing-style to an approximately 50% - 75% joined style - often with the percentage of joins increasing gradually during introduction of cursive, with some joins left optional for the individual student - rather than going from a completely unjoined style immediately into a completely joined style as with conventional USA curricula.
    Users/teachers/publishers of Italic curricula often claim that this merger of "manuscript" and "cursive" into a single style eases handwriting and leads to increased speed and legibility of writing as well as increased comfort with/willingness to engage in handwriting tasks. Though Italic proponents typically recommend using Italic from the start of a child's schooling (to avoid difficulties which they attribute to multiple styles), proponents of Italic also offer the style as a remedial system for poor handwriters previously trained in other styles (with the stated or implied claim that these will also make significant gains in handwriting, comparable with the writing of those who learned Italic as their sole style).
    Since Italic handwriting programs (for initial as well as remedial instruction) have existed within the USA for several decades (various USA schools/districts adopted Italic during the 1970s and 1980s), there now exist several thousand adults who learned Italic as children - along with a somewhat larger number of Italic writers who adopted the style in adulthood, adolescence, or (sometimes) pre-adolescence after (usually unsuccessful) elementary-school experiences with conventional multiple-styles handwriting training. (This group - people who grew up with multiple-styles training and later adopted the Italic writing-style - includes the present Researchable Questions author.)
    /a/ do adults who learned Italic as their only writing-style in fact write (as claimed by Italic proponents) more legibly/more rapidly/more comfortably/more willingly than adults who had a multiple-styles curriculum?
    /b/ do adults who adopted Italic handwriting in adulthood (after a childhood of multiple-styles handwriting training) in fact handwrite (as claimed by Italic proponents) more legibly/more rapidly/more comfortably/more willingly than adults who learned in childhood (and continue to follow) a conventional USA multiple-styles approach to handwriting?
    /c/ do adults who adopted Italic handwriting in adulthood handwrite comparably to adults who grew up with Italic? (evaluation of "comparably" to include legibility and speed, as well as comfort with handwriting/willingness to handwrite reported by the writer and/or evaluated by observers)
    /d/ do adults who learned and use a single (non-Italic) style of handwriting (a few non-Italic single-style handwriting curricula - manuscript-only or cursive-only - do exist in the USA) demonstrate handwriting speed/legibility/comfort with handwriting/willingness to write comparable with that observed/measured during this research for adults who learned and use Italic as their single style of writing? (Researching this would establish whether any advantages possibly found for Italic do or do not derive only from the fact that it comprises a single style of writing with little variation between its manuscript and cursive forms.)
    APPLICATIONS: curriculum design/curriculum selection for handwriting instruction and handwriting remediation programs.

    When controlling for variables such as age, educational level, and experience with the form of handwriting used, what effects does handwriting style (conventional USA manuscript, conventional USA cursive, or Italic manuscript or cursive) have on /a/ legibility, /b/writing-speed, and /c/ maintenance of legibility at increasing speeds of writing?
    APPLICATIONS: curriculum design/curriculum selection for handwriting instruction and handwriting remediation programs.

    What features of handwriting do or do not vary, for a given writer, when the writer changes his/her style of handwriting? Do there exist objectively measurable "style-invariant" features (features which do not significantly vary for the same writer using different styles) permitting valid and reliable determinations of whether writing-samples written in different styles of writing come from the same writer or from different writers?
    Of particular interest:
    /a/ do there exist sufficient objectively measurable and statistically significant "across-style" features that can establish whether or not a given manuscript ["printed"] sample, a given cursive sample, and a given Italic sample come from the same writer using multiple styles or from different writers?
    /b/ do "across-style" features [if they exist] increase, decrease, or remain the same as writers grow increasingly familiar and comfortable with a new style of writing (e.g., for children whose handwriting-curriculum includes a mandated change of style at some point - also for adults who intentionally change their handwriting-style for any reason.) Note: reasons for adult style-change include not only a wish to disguise writing, but also the wish to increase speed and/or legibility of writing. Programs of handwriting-style change currently exist for adults wishing to increase the speed and legibility of their writing - the author of this Researchable Question created and administers one of these programs.)
    APPLICATIONS: document identification, curriculum design/curriculum selection for handwriting instruction and handwriting remediation programs.

    Background: Many USA residents trained in a non-Italic style(s) of writing (conventional USA manuscript and/or cursive) spontaneously modify/simplify their writing away from this model(s) towards Italic handwriting (even though in most cases these writers have not seen or heard of Italic handwriting). USA residents making these spontaneous modifications typically self-report their writing-style as "mixing" certain elements of the multiple styles they have learned at school (conventional USA manuscript and cursive styles; some published research on schoolchildren/young adolescents making these spontaneous modifications (Berninger and Graham, 1998) suggests higher speed and/or legibility for these "mixed" writers than for schoolchildren/young adolescents who dutifully adhere to the conventional USA curricular expectation involving multiple styles (writing in one or the other of the styles during a given piece of work, but not "mixing" elements of the styles as these writers do). The author of this Researchable Question describes this subgroup of writers (identified but not named by Berninger/Graham) as "spontaneous writers of Italic" in contradistinction to the "trained writers of Italic" described in previous Researchable Questions (above).
    Question: Do older adolescents/adult members of this subgroup of writers (beyond the age-range studied by Berninger/Graham) share the speed/legibility advantages (over writers who adhere to conventional USA school writing-styles) that Berninger/Graham observed in younger members of this subgroup of writers?
    APPLICATIONS: curriculum design/curriculum selection for handwriting instruction and handwriting remediation programs.

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