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Analyzing Writing Across the Disciplines

Assignment Summary



Writing in different disciplines requires writing in different genres, and with different goals in mind. How do we determine what sort of writing we should do when we approach a new assignment, and how can we use our knowledge of genre characteristics to make informed choices about our own writing? What are the things that we need to consider and make choices about when we approach a new paper assignment?

Lesson Activities

Determine as a class what kinds of things we should consider when approaching an assignment. Make a list. Audience, purpose, context, style, tone, use of evidence, language, etc.

1. Group activity:

Every group is assigned an example to analyze. Work together in groups to analyze a few real life examples of paper assignments. The examples come from real-life college courses, each from a different academic discipline. Each has a different purpose, will address a different audience, and will be graded on different criteria. Keeping the list we made of important things to consider in mind, examine the example and discuss the goals, style, characteristics, content, audience, and features of the paper as we understand them based on the teacher's assignment sheet. Answer a series of questions about the requirements of the assignment.

2. Discussion:

Each group should be prepared present a short summary of the assignment they've looked at and share the answers they've written about the example. Compare the determinations we've made about these examples. Have each group present the assignment they analyzed, and share their answers. Draw a chart on the overhead projector showing differences in context, purpose, audience, and characteristics, etc. How do the assignments differ in purpose, etc? What kinds of choices can you make in writing each of these papers in order to make them effective?

3. Writing:

Take a few minutes to reflect on the things you should consider when you approach a new writing assignment in one of your classes. What should you take into consideration when in the planning stages for an assignment? How can this relate to planning your survey paper?





Instructor's Comments

genre survey, textual analysis, argument, writing across the disciplines
course WRT 101 and up
activity type small group discussion, class discussion
skills analysis, close reading, essay planning, audience awareness
duration 1 class
see handouts, overhead projector
handouts: Group Worksheet (html, Word file), Papers for Presentation: Topics (html, Word file)
contributor: Emily Clasper