Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

David England


The effects of the discussion of and the drawing of political cartoons as prewriting activities to increase fifth and sixth graders' ability to write persuasively were investigated. The subjects were 53 males and 49 females from two fifth grade and two sixth grade classes in a university laboratory school. The study was a randomized, pretest-posttest control group design with two treatment groups (discussion of political cartoons and drawing of political cartoons) and two control groups (discussion of a topic and drawing about a topic). Stratified random placement based on pretest scores enabled formation of four groups of approximately equal ability. Six treatment sessions were administered and data were collected in the form of three compositions which served as a pretest, a first posttest, and a second, delayed posttest. Compositions were assessed for quantity and quality, and a separate repeated-measures ANOVA was performed on each dependent measure. Descriptive statistics were also used for analysis. Results showed no significant effects between treatment groups and their respective control groups for both quantity and quality. However, for quantity of writing, the groups that discussed scored significantly better than the groups that drew, regardless of whether or not political cartoons were used. Further, for quality, the group that discussed the topic and the group that discussed the political cartoons scored significantly higher than the group that drew about the topic. The group that drew political cartoons was not significantly different from the other groups. Recommendations to allow students opportunities to discuss their writing topics and to encourage students to find prewriting activities which work best for them were included.