WAC Disciplinary Research

Abrams, Nancy; Nadine Feiler. (2003). Greater than the sum of parts: A poetry/science collaboration. Language and Learning Across the Disciplines 6.2. [full text]

Discusses a collaboration between science and poetry.

Anson, Chris M. (1997). In our own voices: Using recorded commentary to respond to writing. In Sorcinelli, Mary Deane; Peter Elbow (Eds.), Writing to learn: Strategies for assigning and responding to writing across the disciplines (New directions for teaching and learning, No. 69); San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. [full text]

Discusses and illustrates methods for using recorded commentary on student writing.

Artemeva, Natasha; Susan Logie. (2003). Introducing engineering students to intellectual teamwork: The teaching and practice of peer feedback in the professional communication classroom. Language and Learning Across the Disciplines 6.1. [full text]

Discusses using peer feedback to encourage collaborative writing of projects with engineering students.

Bahls, P. (2009). Math and metaphor: Using poetry to teach college mathematics. The WAC Journal 20. [full text]

This article discusses a way to use poetry to teach math in college, and offers examples from math professor’s experiment with asking his students to write poetry in order to learn mathematical concepts.

Bayer, Trudy; Karen Curto; Charity Kriley. (2005). Acquiring expertise in discipline-specific discourse: An interdisciplinary exercise in learning to speak biology. Across the Disciplines 02. [full text]

Reports on a study that shows Biology students can learn discipline-specific discourse by studying both Biology and rhetoric.

Beason, Larry. (1993). Feedback and revision in writing across the curriculum classes. Research in the Teaching of English 27.4, 395-422. [full text]

Reports on a study of teacher and student comments on student writing in WAC courses, making conclusions about what kinds of comments are most frequently offered, and how students typically respond to those comments.

Carroll, Lee Ann. (2002). Rehearsing new roles: How college students develop as writers (Studies in Writing and Rhetoric). Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.

Reports on a four year study of 20 college students and their writing tasks and challenges. A. Patricia Burnes in her summary of this work describes Carroll’s conclusions in this way:

Carroll concludes by recommending that faculty “[t]ake seriously questions about ‘what the professor wants’ and provide clearly explained assignments, guidelines for performance, models, specific feedback, and opportunities for self-assessment and improvement” (134). Faculty and WPAs should also work to:

  • think of student work as literacy challenges and not writing tasks;
  • help students focus on writing differently, not better;
  • learn from other faculty what demands they will be making and help students
  • anticipate; provide more options in required literacy environments;
  • develop projects and assignments that will challenge all students—even if finished
  • projects are less than great;
  • provide scaffolding to support development by directly teaching discipline specific
  • research and writing skills, using grading strategically to reward improvement,
  • scheduling interim deadlines for longer projects, and requiring classroom workshops,
  • study groups, and teacher conferences.
  • reconsider with students, colleagues, and other professionals whether “what the
  • professor wants” is, in fact, what the discipline needs or should want. (A. Patricia Burnes, Supporting Undergraduate Writers Beyond the First Year, WPA-CompPile Research Bibliographies, No. 6)

Carter, Michael. (2007). Ways of knowing, doing, and writing in the disciplines. College Composition and Communication 58.3, 385-418.

Discusses the ways in which disciplines engage and define themselves in particular genres or intellectual actions central to their work. They are: Problem Solving, Empirical Inquiry, Research from Sources, Performance.

Connor-Greene, Patricia A.; Janice W. Murdoch. (2000). Does writing matter? Assessing the impact of daily essay quizzes in enhancing student learning. Language and Learning Across the Disciplines 4.1. [full text]

Discusses a study of the effectiveness of brief daily essay quizzes on learning, finding that indeed they help students learn beyond the material “tested” in daily quizzes. The authors explain that students who took daily essay quizzes showed “better retention of information, clarity of ideas, and critical thinking when asked to write about an unfamiliar article in their discipline” than did “students who did not engage in daily graded writing.”

Hall, Jonathan. (2005). Plagiarism across the curriculum: How academic communities can meet the challenge of the undocumented writer. Across the Disciplines 02. [full text]

Discusses plagiarism as a teacher and student phenomenon, and provides a series of activities to help students and teachers deal with plagiarism, as well as prevent it.

Haswell, Richard. (2006). The complexities of responding to student writing; or, looking for shortcuts via the road of excess. Across the Disciplines 03. [full text]

Reviews various popular response strategies (e.g., rubrics, worksheets, correction sheets, mnemonic devises, symbols, scales, peer-critique handouts, etc.), then offers ways to use such strategies that agree with Du Gay's "circuit of culture," that appears to explain the way response works on student writing.

Kiefer, Kate; Jamie Neufeld. (2002-2003). Making the most of response: Reconciling, coaching, and evaluating roles for teachers across the curriculum. Academic Writing 3. [full text]

Describes and illustrates with examples several ways to provide coaching comments to student writing.

Sorrell, Jeanne. (2001). Stories in the nursing classroom: Writing and learning through stories. Language and Learning Across the Disciplines 5.1. [full text]

Discusses the reasons for and ways to use stories in the classroom in order to teach course content.

Thomeczek, Melissa A.; Dave S. Knowlton; David C. Sharp. (2005). Practical advice for supporting learning through the use of summary/reaction journals. Across the Disciplines 02. [full text]

Discusses practically how to use summary/reaction journals to help students learn course content and reading comprehension.