The goal of this study of entry level media writing students at a Midwestern university was to determine whether their attitudes toward writing changed during the interval from beginning to end of their first (100 level) college journalism class. A well conceived and tested empirical tool for measuring writing apprehension was adapted for use as a Q sort. An individual assessment of writing apprehension was obtained by using Q methodology to provide a personalized (subjective) measure of attitudes as opposed to analyzing group norms, thus confirming and extending previous research on the phenomenon conducted by Riffe and Stacks. The application of Q methodology provided a deeper understanding, that supported, but it some instances, altered, the interpretation of previous observations. Data from the Pre- and Post-Class Q sorts were compared to assess the impact of the class on student attitudes toward writing. This study demonstrates the realignment of student confidence and career goals that accompanies increasing acquaintance with the realities of the chosen profession provided by the initial professional class.
Operant Subjectivity

Mark Popovich, Nark Masse, & Beverley Pitts. (2003). Revisiting Student Writer Apprehension: A New Interpretation of the Riffe and Stacks's Writing Apprehension Measure. Operant Subjectivity, 26(3), 88–111. doi:10.15133/j.os.2003.005