Supporting the Neophyte Writer: The Importance of Scaffolding the Process


  • Mike Smith Coventry University
  • Mary Deane Oxford Brookes University



Academic writing, scaffolding, writing support, neophyte writer, Microsoft PowerPoint


Writing for publication can be a demanding and stressful experience, yet producing research outputs is a core part of academic life. This article aims to explore how 'neophyte' or novice academic writers can be supported in producing scholarly papers. It analyses a variety of causes for the difficulties faced by new writers, with a focus on the types of motivation that can be harnessed to improve success. The article acknowledges that promoting intrinsic motivation can enhance the writing experience, and investigates how this can be achieved using the familiar tool, Microsoft PowerPoint as a scaffold to develop an article. Although many academics exploit PowerPoint to teach, few of us turn this tool into a writing aid that can help to keep the writing process on track by providing a concise outline of the developing argument in an academic paper. The article concentrates on collaborative writing for publication, which is helpful for neophyte writers and busy academics because the burden of production can be shared. Possible reasons for high attrition rates in publication writing are considered,  including a lack of schema development, cognitive overload, and reduced motivation to write. The article demonstrates how PowerPoint can be employed as a catalyst to initiate research writing and foster productivity.

Author Biographies

Mike Smith, Coventry University

Associate Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology

Department of Biomolecular and Sport Sciences

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

Coventry University

Priory Street




Mary Deane, Oxford Brookes University




How to Cite

Smith, M., & Deane, M. (2014). Supporting the Neophyte Writer: The Importance of Scaffolding the Process. Journal of Academic Writing, 4(1), 40–51.