Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Research: Types of Writing Assignments in College

Research: Types of Writing Assignments in College

Question: What is the most frequent type of writing assignment in all courses at the college level?

Source: Graves, R., Hyland, T., & Samuels, B. M. (2010). Undergraduate writing assignments: An analysis
of syllabi at one Canadian college. Written Communication, 27(3), 293–317.

Answer: “Analyzes 179 syllabi for all courses taught at a Canadian college according to the types/frequency of writing assignments. The term or research paper was the most commonly assigned. Finds that an average of 2.5 writing assignments were assigned for each course; half were four pages or less with no difference in length for upper- versus lower-level courses; paper length and grade value were significantly correlated. Finds wide variation in assignment types and frequency across different programs, suggesting the need for writing-across-the-curriculum support for assignment development.”

Comment: I’m not quite sure what to make of this finding. Of course, I’m not surprised by the frequency of research papers. Don’t know what “…paper length and grade values were significantly correlated” means. I would expect different types of writing, depending on the courses. Science reports would be different from analyses in psychology courses. I’m not sure the assignments should be homogenized. On the other hand, I would be interested in whether the research papers are similar in structure. RayS.

Title: “Annotated Bibliography of Research in the Teaching of English.” Richard Beach et al. Research in the Teaching of English (November 2010), Internet. Note: The editors of RTE said that so much research was available they did not want to burden the paper edition of the journal with it, so they relegated their annotated reports on research to the Internet.

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