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Writing to learn (WTL) is the act of making a subject or topic clear to oneself by reasoning through it in writing; it is a pedagogical approach that uses writing to facilitate learning (Zinsser 1988). Some researchers have reported favorable results associated with the approach (Balgopal and Wallace 2009; Bullock 2006; Hand, Hand, Gunel, and Ulu 2009). However, others have indicated that studies supporting WTL pedagogy tend to lack comparison groups, pre/posttest data, or the rich description that contributes to a rigorous qualitative study (Hübner, Nückles, and Renkl 2010; Kieft, Rijlaarsdam, and van den Bergh 2006; Klein 1999). Thus, existing research about WTL suggests that its effectiveness depends on context, leaving a need for further research to better understand the contexts in which WTL has a favorable impact on student achievement. In response to this need, we designed this mixed-method, quasi-experimental study to include pre/posttests and qualitative analysis of WTL journals.

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This is an electronic version of an article published in College Teaching, 60(4). College Teaching is available online at: DOI: 10.1080/87567555.2012.697081