Composition and Rhetoric
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    Education Standards

    Writing in the Disciplines: Course Map & Recommended Resources


    How to Use This Guide

    This document is intended to highlight resources that can be used in a Writing in the Disciplines/Across the Curriculum themed Second-Year Writing Course. All resources are Open Access and can be downloaded or added to a Course Management System via hyperlink.

    Introduction & Learning Objectives


    This portion of the course is intended to recommend the best open educational resources for an advanced writing course with a disciplinary theme, whether taught within or outside of an English department. In such an advanced writing course, the disciplinary theme provides context and motivation for instruction in writing, rather than focusing on using writing to explore disciplinary content (which can be extremely useful but is outside the scope of this document).

    Furthermore, many of the sources from the following portions of this Second-Year Writing Quick Adoption Guide can be used to meet the objectives listed in this section: Media and Design (particularly the section on Reading and Analyzing Multimodal Texts), Reading in Academia, Writing in Academia, Writing as a Process, Critical Thinking, Conducting Research, and Understanding Rhetorical Situations.

    Learning Objectives

    This module is designed to address the following learning objectives:

    1. Identify typical disciplinary questions in a chosen field and employ or propose appropriate research strategies to address those questions
    2. Determine the appropriate scope and field-specific methods of inquiry for research questions
    3. Critically evaluate and synthesize information in ways that are appropriate to both the research questions and field expectations/conventions
    4. Employ strategies to generate ideas, to draft, to get feedback from readers, and to revise
    5. Investigate and use appropriate communication conventions for a range of genres, contexts, and media
    6. Use the work of others fairly and appropriately, including using citation practices according to the conventions of the field, genre, and medium

    Course Map

    The resources included here are intended to address the above listed learning objectives. Resources can be used as standalone chapters or in combination with other suggested resources from other chapters.

    Recommended Resources

    • The Informed Writer: Using Sources in the Disciplines by Charles Bazerman
      This is an open access edition of a book that was previously not open access. Copyrighted material, predominantly examples, have been removed, but it still has quite a few examples and useful information/activities. It focuses on reading and analyzing sources for the ultimate purpose of synthesizing and integrating sources into original research, and every chapter includes many informal and formal writing assignments. It has four chapters at the end, focusing on the ways that different disciplines use evidence to create new knowledge, with sample papers. This is an accessible and comprehensive text for students that could be easily supplemented with sample published texts from a particular discipline.

    • Methods of Discovery -- Chapter 6: Research Writing in the Academic Disciplines by Pavel Zemlianski
      This chapter has an accessible discussion of topic generation for research projects. It also covers applying critical thinking skills to gathering and using sources and provides an extended example. It also has a section of writing activities (see below section on Class Activities).

    • The Investigative Process by Charles Bazerman
      Chapter 10 of Involved: Writing for College, Writing for Yourself focuses on the three sites of investigation: library, field, and laboratory. It explains the kinds of questions that can be investigated in each site and describes issues associated with each type of research.

    • Writing to Learn Booklet, edited by the Writing Across the Curriculum team at The Ohio State University
      This booklet focuses on writing to learn, a strategy useful for any class, but one that is particularly useful for the invention stage of the writing process. This resource explains writing to learn and provides a variety of critical thinking activities that can be used either as informal writing exercises or to help scaffold a larger assignment.

    • Writing Spaces: Volume 1 and Volume 2, edited by Charles Lowe and Pavel Zemlianski
      These are excellent “meta texts” with lots of writing about writing (and reading), and each selection includes activities and questions for discussion. Volume 1 focuses more on the writing process and writing strategies, while Volume 2 focuses more on critical reading and the use of sources. Both volumes create a context for college writing and can be used alone or in combination with texts from other chapters of this Second-Year Writing Quick Adoption Guide to help scaffold students through the writing of any assignment. The chapters on technology and document design are not comprehensive; for more advanced document/multimedia composing strategies, see the Media and Design chapter of this Second-Year Writing Quick Adoption Guide.

    • Writing in the Disciplines from The Writing Center at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, Disciplinary Writing Guides from the Harvard Writing Project, and Writing in the STEM Disciplines from the WAC Clearinghouse
      These three web pages provide links to writing guides for various disciplines.

    Supplemental Content

    OhioLINK Help Guides

    ‘How-To’ Information provides students with links to some of the tasks they might use OhioLink for, such as searching for and locating various types of materials, deciding between a database and the Internet, and citing sources.

    How To Choose a Database provides students with guidance on choosing a database depending on what their needs are or where they are in the research process.

    Writing-to-Learn Activities 

    Writing-to-Learn Activities from the WAC Clearinghouse. This teaching resource provides suggestions for a variety of writing activities that support the learning process. Many of these activities can be used as in-class activities, and some can be developed into formal writing assignments.

    The Process of Research Writing by Steven D. Krause. This is a web-based textbook focused specifically on research writing. It covers much of the same ground as books in the previous section and has several chapters that present students with useful exercises to help them with the process of writing a research essay.

    ​​​​​​​The Information Literacy User’s Guide by Allison Hosier, et al. This text helps students develop critical thinking skills related to finding, sharing, and creating information (particularly on the internet). It focuses on rhetorical choices writers have available to them when writing and can supplement the above resources well. The visual literacy section is a bit underdeveloped; for more on assessing different types of media sources, see the Media and Design chapter of this Second-Year Writing Quick Adoption Guide.

    Business English for Success by Scott McLean. Chapters 9 to 14 address research and business communication, including organization of research documents, styles of documentation, netiquette, and plagiarism. This text also contains exercises, as well as examples, and can be used to discuss stylistic syntactical choices, along with how they might vary by discipline.

    Purdue Owl

    What is Primary Research and How do I Get Started defines and gives examples of different kinds of primary research. It also covers ethical considerations and strategies for analyzing data.

    Introduction to Archives defines archives and describes the process of archival research.

    Subject-Specific Resources provides links to resources for writers in different disciplines.

    Writing Academic Proposals: Conferences, Articles, and Books describes the process of writing in these academic genres.

    Research Strategies and Methods of Inquiry

    Research Strategies and Methods of Inquiry (Learning Objectives 1 and 2)

    This section provides links to specific chapters from the previously mentioned resources where instructors can find application activities in the categories of research strategies and methods of inquiry, critical reading and working with sources, as well as disciplinary conventions and the writing process. Each activity is tagged with at least one corresponding learning objective, noted in parentheses.

    • Methods of Discovery – Ch. 6 has a section of Writing Activities, the first of which focuses on exploring disciplinary discourse communities and can help students start thinking about inquiry as a social process within a field of study.
    • What Counts as a Fact? from the WAC Clearinghouse is an in-class activity that asks students to look at the types of evidence and arguments that are used in different fields and to consider the ways that knowledge is constructed in disciplinary texts.
    • The Problem Statement and Solving Real Problems from WAC Clearinghouse are writing-to-learn activities that could be used as in-class or pre-writing activities to help students understand the ways that knowledge is constructed and applied in a discipline.
    • Rebecca Jones’s Finding the Good Argument OR Why Bother With Logic? in Writing Spaces: Volume 1 explains several theoretical models of argument to counter either/or argumentation and provides activities for thinking outside of the binary constructs of popular and political texts (but could be applied to any text).
    • Janet Boyd’s Murder! (Rhetorically Speaking) presents students with some facts about a murder and asks them to attempt to solve the murder in different ways. This activity helps students approach a problem from different perspectives and reflect on the role of different types of evidence, approaches to finding information, and creating arguments from interpretations of data/evidence.
    • Randall McClure’s Googlepedia: Turning Information Behaviors into Research Skills teaches students to merge their internet searching behaviors with more academic information literacy strategies. It provides a method (CRAAP, p. 233) for analyzing information that could be developed into an in-class or homework writing/discussion activity.

    Critical Reading and Working with Sources

    Critical Reading and Working with Sources (Learning Objectives 3 and 4)

    This section provides links to specific chapters from the previously mentioned resources where instructors can find application activities in the categories of research strategies and methods of inquiry, critical reading and working with sources, as well as disciplinary conventions and the writing process. Each activity is tagged with at least one corresponding learning objective, noted in parentheses.

    • Chapter 7 from The Informed Writer focuses on analyzing an author’s purpose and technique, including several examples for analysis and exercises for homework and/or discussion.
    • Analysis of Events from the WAC Clearinghouse is a writing-to-learn activity that can help students analyze an event from different perspectives and think about implications.
    • The Working Thesis Exercise by Steven D. Krause provides several exercises to help students develop a working thesis. It differentiates ideas and topics from theses, provides sets of questions for analyzing theses, suggests a variety of brainstorming techniques and essay drafting techniques, and includes a sample student “working thesis essay.”
    • The Antithesis Exercise by Steven D. Krause pairs well with The Working Thesis Exercise. It walks students through finding counter-arguments to their thesis and suggests strategies for refutation.
    • In addition, several chapters from Writing Spaces: Volume 2 focus on critical reading strategies and working with sources.
      • Mike Bunn’s “How to Read Like a Writer” provides students with a procedure (set of questions) for reading a text from a writerly perspective, with an annotated example. At the end, the chapter provides reflective questions for students to consider how this reading strategy is different than their typical reading strategies and how it might help them.

      • Cynthia R. Haller’s “Walk, Talk, Cook, Eat: A Guide to Using Sources” provides four metaphors to help students think about and use sources rhetorically, rather than merely mechanically.

    • Kyle D. Stedman’s “Annoying Ways People Use Sources” and Janice R. Walker’s “Everything Changes, or Why MLA Isn’t (Always) Right” both address citation from a rhetorical perspective, which can help students think about the meaning and underlying purposes of citation practices in their disciplines.

    Disciplinary Conventions and The Writing Process

    Disciplinary Conventions and The Writing Process (Learning Objectives 5 and 6)

    This section provides links to specific chapters from the previously mentioned resources where instructors can find application activities in the categories of research strategies and methods of inquiry, critical reading and working with sources, as well as disciplinary conventions and the writing process. Each activity is tagged with at least one corresponding learning objective, noted in parentheses.

    • The second activity in Methods of Discovery – Ch. 6 Writing Activities can help students learn to analyze academic text rhetorically to find patterns and define discursive conventions.
    • The Writing to Learn Booklet has a variety of activities useful for invention, as well as activities useful for supporting various stages of the writing process and helping students learn to assess their own writing.
    • Corrine E. Hinton’s So You’ve Got a Writing Assignment. Now What? provides a “knowledge table” (p. 26) to help students map what they know, think they know, and don’t know about a subject, in the process of brainstorming ideas for an assignment. It also provides sample assignments from different disciplines, along with discussion questions to help students learn to more adeptly read writing assignments.
    • Steven Lessner and Collin Craig’s Finding Your Way In: Invention as Inquiry Based Learning in First Year Writing can help students transition from template-based writing to inquiry-based writing. Although it claims to be for first-year writers, second-year writers can benefit from this approach and the examples and practical exercises provided in this chapter, including reading rhetorically, entering conversations as a writer, and various strategies for developing text.

    Additional Teacher Resources

    • The WAC Clearinghouse offers vast Teaching Resources for teachers who assign writing in their classes, from books to teaching guides to tip sheets and links to other resources.
    • An Introduction to Writing Across the Curriculum from the WAC Clearinghouse is a guide for instructors new to teaching writing in disciplinary classes.
    • The WAC Resource Binder from the University of Richmond provides a wealth of WAC resources for teachers. Part V: Formal Writing Assignments includes sample writing assignments from a variety of disciplines.