Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


First Advisor

Eric S. Buhs

Date of this Version



A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Psychological Studies in Education, Under the Supervision of Professor Eric S. Buhs. Lincoln, Nebraska: April, 2019.

Copyright (c) 2019 Shuangshuang Cai


The focus of this study was the role of deliberate practice, writing self-efficacy and self-regulation in the lived experiences of Chinese internet literature novelists. This qualitative, phenomenological study presented the shared perceptions of this phenomenon drawn from interviews of Chinese internet novelists. The psychological aspects of these novelists were previously unexplored and this study helps to address the gap in the literature. The phenomenological method captured the experiences of the Chinese internet novelists and added this rich detail to the existing research literature.

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with fourteen Chinese internet novelists, and related documents from other Chinese internet novelists’ past interviews, autobiographies, and presentation were collected. From the interviews and documents, three core themes emerged. Interviews explored the role of deliberate practice (a special type of practice that is goal-directed and persistent, and it requires focused attention, motivation, feedback, reading and awareness of readership), writing self-efficacy (the belief in their ability to succeed in internet novel writing), and self-regulation (the process of observing, evaluating and reacting to their behavior, emotions, and thoughts in the pursuit of writing goals). Each internet novelist had his/her unique experience and stories, but they all used deliberate practice to develop their writing expertise and improve their writing performance. Some writer also described the increase in writing self-efficacy that motivated them to persist on their deliberate practice and explained how they applied self-regulation skills during their deliberate practice. These aspects of writing practice were key to the development of their writing expertise. Aspiring novelists may learn from this study about how to improve their writing performance. This study may also help educators and researchers build potential teaching models and strategies in writing.

Advisor: Eric S. Buhs