Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Jane Fife, Director, Dr. Lloyd Davies, Dr. Peggy Otto

Degree Program

Department of English

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Self-efficacy plays a major role in the way we perceive our abilities to complete challenging tasks and goals. With Albert Bandura’s theories of self-efficacy as its theoretical foundation, this thesis explores the ways Bandura’s theories apply to writing instruction and how specific cultural forces help shape the way students view their identities as writers. This study gives a focused and detailed explanation of the role writing self-efficacy occupies in education and composition theory, as well as the factors affecting a person’s perceived writing efficacy. Additionally, the relationship between self-efficacy and new literacy (Lankshear and Knobel), a term used for twenty-first century forms of digital composition that differ from traditional print literacy, is established and theoretical suggestions made regarding how teachers can incorporate new literacies into writing instruction to promote positive writing self-efficacy. The final chapter defines the image of the writer and the scene of writing (Brodkey), and the ways these beliefs and stereotypes affect the confidence and self-efficacy of student writers. With the image of the writer as inspiration, the study concludes by conducting a survey administered to 109 first-year composition students regarding their personal views on what attributes make a good writer and good writing. This study does not set out to establish concrete, overarching conclusions regarding self-efficacy, digital literacies, and the image of the writer; instead, it creates new points for further inquiry and encourages teachers to seek out different ways of fostering positive self-efficacy within writing instruction.


Creative Writing