10-second review: Studied students’ integration of sources in producing text on a history problem.
Title: “The Role of Tasks in the Development of Academic Thinking Through reading and Writing in a College History Course.” Stuart Greene. Research in the Teaching of English (February 1993), 46 – 75. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).
Summary: 15 undergraduates. Compared using reports or problem essays. No difference in the ability to integrate the sources. “Underscores the important role that extended writing can play in students’ acquisition of knowledge.”
Comment: What’s important about this study is the usefulness of lengthy student writing assignments vs. the short essays that are featured in most college writing classes. Once the student has learned how to organize a short expository paper (brainstorm; thesis; draft, including middle paragraphs with topic sentence, final paragraph, introduction; revision and editing), students should spend the majority of time on writing assignments that require fully developed, lengthy text—instead of the genres of description, comparison/contrast, etc. That’s what I would do if I were back in the college classroom. I would have students complete at least three research papers. RayS.