School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Amanda J. Dunnagan


Online Writing Center, Writing Self-efficacy, Help-seeking Behavior, Correlational Analysis


Education | Rhetoric and Composition


A writing center performs the academic support function of developing independent writers as revealed by students’ writing self-efficacy—their perceptions of themselves as writers. Despite the apparent link between students’ desire to seek assistance from the writing center and their writing self-efficacy, no quantitative study to date has examined this association for online graduate students. This quantitative, correlational study investigated that potential relationship. Participants were online graduate students at a large, regionally accredited, faith-based, non-profit, private university in the southeastern United States with a substantial online student population who received assistance from the online writing center (OWC) multiple times. Writing self-efficacy data from a sample of 257 online graduate students was acquired using the Post-Secondary Writerly Self-Efficacy Scale (PSWSES). A bivariate correlation analysis was performed to evaluate the possible relationship between student help-seeking behavior, as measured by the number of completed OWC draft review requests, and writing self-efficacy. Results revealed no statistically significant linear relationship between the student help-seeking behavior and writing self-efficacy; the variables are statistically independent. The empirical implications of these results include the possible limited application of writing self-efficacy as a measure of writing center effectiveness, as well as the non-linear interaction of self-efficacy and help-seeking behavior. The results also lead to practical implications concerning students who use writing center services multiple times. Further research is needed in the area of student motivation for writing center usage, as well as help-seeking frequency on student writing self-efficacy.