Co-written by Kate Peterson
The Teaching with Writing Blog uses categories to describe the contents of previous entries to assist readers in finding timely and appropriate resources. In this March Blog Post, we’ll reissue some of the most popular and cited posts on working with sources.
While students in nearly every upper-division course will be asked to analyze and synthesize information, the meaning of these terms changes with instructional contexts. They may analyze scholarly arguments to make an assertion about the state of knowledge or create a new research question. Students may also analyze results from experimental tests to draw accurate conclusions from measurement, while in another course, they may be tasked with analyzing multiple policies or practices and then designing their own.
This semester, the Teaching With Writing program is placing a particular emphasis on the connections between reading and writing. Promoting effective reading practices can help students understand relationships between scholarly sources and how academic writing is produced, which, in turn, can assist their own writing processes and practices.
As we prepare for the beginning of the Spring Semester of 2022, the Teaching With Writing program is placing a particular emphasis on the connections between reading and writing and how assignments and assessments can invite students to use multiple modes for presenting information and persuading audiences. This tip will identify three valuable strategies for working with library resources to enhance students’ writing and research processes.
Students often receive specific guidelines on the number and type of materials they are expected to use in research writing or how they should offer attribution and citation. In many courses, these guidelines include explicit instruction on search strategies and information literacy, whether from instructors or librarians. Yet even when students know how to find good sources and can manage the details of citation practice, it can still be challenging to help students see how to synthesize information from multiple sources into a document that advances its own claim.
Teaching students to write with sources: Affirmative approaches to references, attribution, and citation
Undergraduate students face a challenging terrain when writing with sources. In their prior language arts courses, they often used the MLA style to incorporate ‘textual evidence’ in ‘research papers’. As they cross the university curriculum, they confront a host of different strategies for incorporating summary, paraphrase, and quotation, many new and unfamiliar ways of producing research writing, and a myriad of documentation styles.
While students are often quite proficient in summarizing texts, some students struggle to make the subsequent move to establish relationships between texts or build their own claims with textual evidence. In his book Rewriting: How to Do Things with Texts, Joseph Harris recommends the metaphor of forwarding as a way to help students to begin those conversations.
Last month’s TWW tip offered three suggestions for how to use explicit guidance with reading to support student writing. This month’s tip extends this discussion by considering the literature review, an assignment that requires students to perform a number of intricate and closely related reading and writing tasks.
The last two bog posts have stressed the benefits of making writing expectations and conventions explicit for students through syllabus statements and the use of metateaching strategies. This month’s tip begins a two-part series on how explicit guidance with reading tasks can also benefit student writing.