Digital authoring support for argumentative writing: What does it change?


  • Kalliopi Benetos
  • Mireille Bétrancourt



argumentative writing, digital writing support, epistemic beliefs, technology-enhanced learning, writing-to-learn


C-SAW (Computer-Supported Argumentative Writer) is an online authoring software embodying design principles derived from theories on written argumentation, self-regulation and conceptual change as well as feedback from practitioners and users, in line with a design-based research approach. Designed to scaffold writing processes, C-SAW is intended as additional support in instructional designs using argumentative writing for learning. This article presents the results of a mixed-method study comparing undergraduate students writing with C-SAW or a text editor. Outcome measures included the number of arguments and the degree of their completion, knowledge of argument components, topic knowledge and changes in epistemic beliefs. Participants writing with C-SAW elaborated arguments to a greater degree, but there were otherwise no significant differences between conditions for other measured outcomes. Furthermore, results were influenced by informal reasoning skills that outweighed the effects of condition. These results are discussed with respect to the difficulties of studying the effects of digital tools on writing and learning in controlled first-use contexts and the importance of developing instructional designs with explicit learning outcomes that are aligned to the instructional principles embedded in digital tools.



How to Cite

Benetos, K., & Bétrancourt, M. (2020). Digital authoring support for argumentative writing: What does it change?. Journal of Writing Research, 12(1), 263–290.