Short Bio

Fien De Smedt

I finished my PhD on cognitive and motivational challenges in writing in May 2019. Currently I am working as a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Educational Studies (Ghent University). My research mainly focuses on how to improve elementary/secondary students' writing skills. This work includes partnerships with local schools to test the effectiveness of instructional procedures for teaching students to write texts. Currently, I am involved in an FWO-project focused on the improvement of secondary school students’ argumentative writing. I am also involved as postdoctoral researcher in PIAAC in Flanders.

Research Interests

  • Writing instruction in elementary and secondary grades
  • Designing, implementing, and evaluating writing interventions in authentic class settings
  • Explicit strategy instruction
  • Collaborative writing
  • Assessing writing performance
  • Writing motivation
  • Cognitive writing processes
  • Writing motivation
  • Academic reading and writing in higher education


For a complete list of publications, please have a look at my biblio page

De Smedt, F., Landrieu, Y., De Wever, B., & Van Keer, H. (2022). Do cognitive processes and motives for argumentative writing converge in writer profiles? JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH, 115(4), 258–270.

The aim of this study is twofold: (1) to distinguish writer profiles on the basis of students' cognitive processes and motives for argumentative writing and (2) to study differences in the distribution of students' background characteristics and in students' writing outcomes across writer profiles. Participants were students who are enrolled in the academic track of upper-secondary education (aged 16-18). The current study uses questionnaire data from two independent samples (n (sample 1) = 386 students; n (sample 2) = 383 students) and writing test data from sample 1. A hierarchical and k-means cluster analysis was conducted on both samples revealing two clusters: (1) process-oriented writers with a high autonomous writing motivation and (2) writers who reported overall lower levels of cognitive writing processes and who simultaneously were less autonomously motivated to write. Furthermore, we found statistically significant differences between the writer profiles in terms of gender distribution and the results also showed that profile 1 students felt significantly more self-efficacious in argumentation and in regulating their writing behavior compared to students in profile 2. The present study contributes to the limited amount of person-centered profiling studies in writing research, especially since no studies to date have investigated writer profiles by combining cognitive and motivational cluster variables

Argumentative writing, cognitive writing processes, writer profiles, writing motives, writing performance, self-efficacy for writing


De Smedt, F., Bouwer, R., Limpo, T., & Graham, S. (Eds.). (2023). Conceptualizing, designing, implementing, and evaluating writing interventions. Brill.

This book takes a fresh look at the challenge of setting up educational writing intervention studies in authentic class contexts. In four sections, the book offers innovative approaches on how to conceptualize, design, implement, and evaluate writing interventions for research purposes. Hot topics in the field such as professional development for scaling up writing interventions, building research practice partnerships, implementation variation and fidelity, and response to intervention are addressed. To illustrate the proposed approaches for writing promotion, the book showcases a wide variety of writing interventions from around the world, ranging from single-participant designs to large-scale intervention studies in writing.

writing interventions