Further Reading and Resources
Provides an introduction to writing across the curriculum and writing in the disciplines, a list of links to Writing Across the Curriculum/Writing in the Disciplines (WAC/WID) programs, and a selected bibliography for further reading.
Contributors: Jaclyn Wells
Last Edited: 2018-01-31 04:14:07
Selected Bibliography of WAC Books and Articles
Anson, Chris M., ed. The WAC Casebook: Scenes for Faculty Reflection and Program Development. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.
—, et al. Writing Across the Curriculum: An Annotated Bibliography. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1993.
Barnett, Robert W. and Jacob S. Blumner. Writing Centers and Writing Across the Curriculum Programs. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999.
Bazerman, Charles and David R. Russell, eds. Landmark Essays on Writing Across the Curriculum. Davis, CA: Hermagoras Press, 1994.
Bean, John. Engaging Ideas: The Professor's Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2001.
—, Drenk, Dean, and F.D. Lee. "Microtheme Strategies for Developing Cognitive Skills." Teaching Writing in all the Disciplines. 27 - 38.
In this chapter, the strategy of using micro-themes or short essays within either large or small classroom contexts is explored. The authors give examples of several different genres of micro-themes including: the summary, argumentation and thesis support, inductive reasoning from data, and quandary posing. The chapter concludes with an examination of the pedagogical validity of the use of micro-themes and suggestions for implementing their use.
Brenson, Sarah and Glenda S. Carter. "Changing Assessment Practices in Science and Mathematics." School Science and Mathematics. 95.4 (April 1995) 182 - 186.
This article examines a variety of different assessment methods within the math and natural science classrooms. The suggested methods include journal writing, open-ended problems and portfolios. Journals and open-ended problems are intended to give teachers insight into the conceptual understanding of their students. Portfolios give the students opportunity for self-evaluation and provide documentation of progress over a period of time. The article also includes the objectives each type of assessment can address, hints for their use, and samples.
Day, Robert, Scientific English: A Guide for Scientists and Other Professionals. 2nd ed. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx P, 1995.
Day has designed a guide to general scientific style, grammar, and usage. He also includes a list of the style manuals that are appropriate to the various disciplines and a chapter on sensitivity to certain language usage. The appendixes contain lists of words to avoid, and problem words and expressions.
—. How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper. 5th ed. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx P, 1998.
Robert Day designed this book primarily to assist graduate students and people wanting to publish in the sciences who needed advice about the conventions of scientific writing. The book includes a discussion on what separates scientific writing from other writing, formatting a section by section analysis of the elements of the scientific paper, a discussion on different genres of science writing, and a number of appendixes that cover technical terms, sample submissions, and a glossary of jargon and preferred usages.
Emig, Janet. "Writing as a Mode of Learning." The Writing Teacher's Source Book. 2nd ed. Ed. Gary Tate and Edward P.J. Corbett. New York: Oxford U P , 1988. 85-93
In this highly influential essay, Emig argues that writing is one of the best tools for learning as it involves the whole brain in all the processes: doing, depicting, and symbolizing (wording). This essay is the corner stone for many WAC and WID initiatives and the pedagogical theory they are based upon.
"Engineering Students Write Science Books for Children." The Bulletin of the Association for Business Communication. 55.4 (Dec 92) 49 - 50.
This article describes the success of a writing task set by a technical writing teacher for his class. Each student was to take a subject that they were both familiar and enthusiastic about and write a book whose target audience was elementary school children. To prepare for the task, the students read ten professionally written books and examine such things as content, format, and style. The article ends by citing the students' enthusiasm for the challenge.
English, Tom. "Writing to Learn and Journal Applications in the Introductory Astronomy Course." Language and Learning Across the Disciplines 2.2 (1997): 18 — 27.
In this introductory course, the traditional lab assignments were reworked into observation journals. English describes the journals as being of particular benefit both to the students in requiring them to write about what they have learned and for the instructor as a measure of student understanding and progress. Examples of student logs are included as evidence for the development of students' observation and writing skills. Additionally, the value of the questions and response type of journal entry is discussed.
Fulwiler, Toby and Art Young, eds. Programs That Work: Models and Methods for Writing Across the Curriculum. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 1990.
—, ed. The Journal Book. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 1987.
This book was pivotal in the movement to introduce journal writing to a variety of classroom settings. The introduction of the book provides guidelines for the use of journals in the classroom. The third section of the book focuses on the use of journals in the quantitative and qualitative classrooms. The articles are written by a variety of teachers who successfully used journals in their various disciplinary classrooms from elementary through the collegiate level.
Goodman, Daniel and John Bean. "Chemistry Laboratory Project to Develop Thinking and Writing Skills." Journal of Chemical Education 60.6 (June 1983): 483 - 485.
This article outlines the method used to produce professional level reports for an undergraduate organic chemistry course. The students are encouraged to use models from professional journals, are involved in the determination of the criteria to be used to judge the most effective reports, and are engaged in selecting the best reports for an in-house publication. After three years of use in the classroom, the authors conclude that the writing task was very effective in teaching students both the rhetorical strategies appropriate to writing reports and in improving their scientific thinking.
Gratz, Ronald K. "Improving Lab Report Quality by Model Anaylsis, Peer Review, and Revision." Journal of College Science Teaching 19.5 (Mar/Apr 1990): 292 - 295.
Gratz argues that the quality of biology lab reports can be improved by choosing models of scientific writing from professional journals for the students to analyze. He then allows students to peer review their classmates’ lab reports. Based upon this review, the students are encouraged to revise their reports before submitting them. Gratz provides guidelines for the peer review with the understanding that it is his responsibility as a teacher to instruct the students on the principles of good, well-organized scientific writing.
Hamilton, David. "Interdisciplinary Writing." College English 41.7 (Mar 1980): 780 — 796.
Hamilton uses his experiences in teaching a course on writing in the sciences to argue for an approach to using writing in the classroom that stresses writing for an audience and, by implication, the students’ coming to terms with their own comprehension of the material. He bases his argument in principles from classical rhetoric and illustrates it with examples from his students.
Herrington, Anne and Charles Moran, eds. Writing, Teaching, and Learning in the Disciplines. New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 1992.
Hillocks, George Jr. Teaching Writing as Reflective Practice. New York: Teachers College Press, 1995.
Klein, Bill and Besty M. Aller. "Writing Across the Curriculum in College Chemistry: A Practical Bibliography." Language and Learning Across the Disciplines 2.3 (1998): 25-35.
This article contains not only a comprehensive bibliography oriented specifically toward teaching chemistry at the collegiate level, but also makes recommendations on ways to implement WAC and writing in the chemistry classroom based upon a review of the bibliography’s literature.
Laszlo, Pierre. "Science as Writing, of Science as Reading?" Substance. 23.74 99-106.
Lazlo argues that science writing bears a closer resemblance to other forms of writing, in particular literary writing, than might be at first evident. He draws comparisons between the uses of observation, the requirements for an ordered sequence of the elements of the observation, and the reliance upon rhetorical strategies. He concludes that the accounts of the advancements of learning in science should be judged upon criteria drawn from more traditionally literary endeavors.
LeCourt, Donna. "WAC as Critical Pedagogy: The Third Stage?" JAC: Journal of Composition Theory 16.3 (1996): 389-405.
Locke, David. Science as Writing. New Haven: Yale UP, 1992.
The principle argument of the chemist David Lockeés book is that "every scientific text must be read, that it is writing, not some privileged verbal shorthand that conveys a pure and unvarnished scientific truth" (ix). Within this text, he looks at the history of science writing and its development and through this examination problematizes the use of language in scientific discourse. His argument implies a need for critical attention to the rhetorical uses of language in scientific literature and the ways in which this language creates accepted knowledge.
Lutzker, Marilyn. Research Projects for College Students: What to Write Across the Curriculum. NY: Greenwood P, 1988.
This book, written by a reference librarian, explores the creation of writing assignments for all the disciplines. The first section discusses the design of meaningful and pedagogically useful assignments that take into account the relationship between content and writing and research skills. The second section looks at the variety of ways that research findings are reported which can provide assignments that differ from the traditional term paper. The third section concerns advice on the imaginative use of library materials to construct assignments that are interesting to the students and still achieve the goals of the course.
Mahala, Daniel. "Writing Utopias: Writing Across the Curriculum and the Promise of Reform." College English 53.7 (Nov. 1991): 773-89.
Maimon, Elaine, et al. Writings in the Arts and Sciences. Boston: Little, Brown, and Co. 1981.
This book was one of the first of its kind: an introduction to writing for the academy for incoming college students. It includes sections on all the broader disciplines including a section on general principles for writing in the natural sciences. This work includes close text analysis of and commentary on student lab reports, field notebooks, reviews, and questions and exercises on these genres.
McLeod, Susan H. Strengthening Programs for Writing Across the Curriculum. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1988.
--- and Margot Iris Soven, eds. Composing a Community: A History of Writing Across the Curriculum. West Lafayette, IN: Parlor Press, 2006.
---, et al. WAC for the New Millennium: Strategies for Continuing Writing Across the Curriculum Programs. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English, 2001.
Miraglia, Eric and Susan H. McLeod. "Whither WAC? Interpreting the Stories/Histories of Enduring WAC Programs." WPA: The Writing Program Administrator 20.3 (1997): 46-64.
Monroe, Jonathon, ed. Writing and Revising the Disciplines. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2002.
Moore, Randy. "Does Writing About Science Improve Learning About Science?" Journal of College Science Teaching 12.4 (Feb 1993): 212-217.
Moore experimented with "writing to learn" in four sections of his biology class. Each section had a different amount of writing assigned and differing levels of feedback on assignments. Moore concludes that merely writing without guidance and instruction on the principles of writing in the discipline only reinforces poor writing skills. He makes a convincing argument that only the students provided with such guidance improved significantly in their writing and testing.
Pechenick, Jan. A. A Short Guide to Writing About Biology. 2nd ed. NY: HarperCollins, 1993.
Pechenick has written a handbook designed to be used by undergraduate students in the biological sciences. The book contains chapters on what biologists write about, an annotated list of key principles of science writing, advice on reading and note-taking, and writing lab reports, essays and term papers, research proposals, summaries, letters of application, and several chapters on revision strategies.
Porush, David. A Short Guide to Writing About Science. NY: HarperCollins, 1995.
This handbook is directed toward writing in for all the natural sciences rather than being discipline specific. The book is divided up into sections on science and the imagination, science and critical thinking, writing in the lab and field notebooks, moving from the notebook to the report, and chapters on writing, papers, titles, abstracts, introductions, hypotheses, materials and methods, and presentation of results, visual materials, and interpretations. It includes an essay on the relationship between science and writing, illustrations from professional journals, and appendixes on using numbers, formulas and symbols.
Russell, David. Writing in the Academic Disciplines: A Curricular History. 2nd ed. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 2002.
Steiner, Richard. "Chemistry and the Written Word." Journal of Chemical Education 59.12 (Dec 1982): 1044.
Steiner describes his experiment within his chemistry lecture to see if the ability of students to produce well-constructed written summaries of his work correlated with their test scores. He concluded that this was true; he also noted the additional benefit of his experiment: by reading the students’ writing he was able to identify what the students believed was important and, consequently, what he must reemphasize as an instructor.
Townsend, Martha A. "Writing Across the Curriculum." The Allyn & Bacon Sourcebook for Writing Program Administrators. Ed. Irene Ward and William J. Carpenter. New York: Longman, 2002. 264-274.
Walvoord, Barbara E., et al. In the Long Run: A Study of Faculty in Three Writing-Across-the-Curriculum Programs. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English, 1997.
Wilkinson, A.M. "A Freshman Writing Course in Parallel with a Science Course." College Composition and Communication 36.2 (May 1985): 160-165.
This article describes a biology course taught with a parallel freshman writing course. The intention was to allow students to write for their colleagues and draw upon the subject matter of the biology class while permitting both courses to focus on their core content as much as possible. The advantages and disadvantages of this approach are detailed and the conclusion reached is that the benefits of such a collaboration seem to outweigh the disadvantages.
Yancey, Kathleen Blake and Brian A. Huot, eds. Assessing Writing Across the Curriculum: Diverse Approaches and Practices. Greenwich, CT: Ablex Publishing Company, 1997.
Young, Art. "Writing Across and Against the Curriculum." CCC 54.3 (February 2003): 472-485.
Woodford, F. Peter, "Sounder Thinking through Clearer Writing." Readings in the Arts and Sciences. Ed. Maimon, Elaine, et al Boston: Little, Brown, and Co, 1984. 321 329.
Peter Woodford's article is reprinted in one of the first books dedicated toward teaching undergraduates to write in various disciplines. This article is a critique of the tendency of professional scientists to write in an inflated prose style which, thorough examples drawn from his teaching, he maintains leads to misunderstanding on the part of the reader. He calls for more attention to be paid to writing at all stages of the research process and paid to the ways in which graduate students are receive their indoctrination into the writing conventions of their discipline.
Zinsser, William. Writing To Learn. New York: Harper and Row, 1988.
Zinsser has put together an anthology of professional writings from a variety of disciplines including mathematics and the natural sciences. In this anthology, he does close-textural analysis of the styles used in the various disciplines and some of the chapters include discussions with teachers who use writing to learn in their classrooms (most notably the interview with Joan Countryman included in the mathematics chapter.
The following criteria were used to create the content of this bibliography: Handbooks were considered for:
- What the format included;
- Who the intended audience was;
- The inclusion of exercises;
- The sources for the examples; and
- Unique features
Exercises were chosen for either:
- Being unique; or
- Applicable across a wide-range of class types
The discussions of writing in the classroom were chosen based upon:
- A desire to include examples from several different disciplines within the natural sciences;
- An attempt to balance the representation of both positive and negative experiences.
The books and articles on science writing were chosen to represent a variety of perspectives on the relationship of science and writing from both scientist and rhetoric/composition scholars.
Online WAC Resources
For Teachers and Administrators
National Writing Project
The WAC Clearinghouse, Colorado State University
George Mason University Guides to Writing in the Disciplines
Oregon State University Writing Guides
University of Toronto's Health Sciences Writing Centre
A reflective essay is a type of writing in which you (the author) interact with an audience and describe some moment or experience from your life. This “experience’ explores personal ideas, feelings, and opinions about the event and how it affected you.
Reflective writing allows an author to:
- Analyze and draw conclusions about what they have read, heard, or seen;
- Make connections between the text and themselves, or other texts and the world;
- Think about what they have learned and how they can or will use the newly acquired information;
- Write subjectively (from their point of view); Identify areas for further reading.
Table Of Contents
Writing A Reflective Essay
Reflection essays are usually requested by professors or teachers, as they allow you to share your experience about an article, lesson, or lecture. Reflections are very personal and subjective, but they must maintain a formal tone and should be well organized.
If you are reflecting on a certain text, annotate your initial emotions and thoughts while reading it. If you are writing about yourself or an event in your life, brainstorm by making a chart with three columns: past experiences, description, and reflection. This table should help you brainstorm and structure the introduction and the body of your essay.
Example: You are writing about your experience at an animal shelter.
Personal Reflective Essay
Personal reflective essays are papers that reflect your personality, your experiences, and your influences. Ultimately, they help the reader of your paper get to know you. Unlike other types essays that you’ve written before, they do not rely on facts or research. Instead, they are focused on you. Application essays or job resumes are, in a way, reflective essays too. One thing that separates a good essay from a bad one is organization; thus, start by building an outline.
The format of a reflective essay greatly differs from normal argumentative or research essays. A reflective essay is more of a well-structured story or a diary entry. An essay in APA format or MLA format is only applicable when it comes with an external text that you are reflecting upon. The typical reflection essay length will vary between 300 and 700 words
- Ask your instructor about word length to make sure you follow the instructions.
Here, it is important to avoid the academic style of writing. Stick to your feelings and original ideas. This essay is about you, not about the text. If your instructor asks you to format your paper in APA or MLA style, here are a few shorthands:
To start organizing your reflective essay, take a look at your brainstorming table. The ‘past experience’ and ‘description’ should constitute less than 10% of your essay. Limit listing events and tell events as little as possible. Instead, show the events in your reflection.
Your introduction should consist of:
- The hook: grab the reader's attention in a short preview of what you’ll be writing about.
- The reflective essay thesis statement should include that ‘past experience’ information; a brief statement of what your essay is going to be about.
- The structure of body paragraphs is best discussed in chronological events. Answer the bold questions in the ‘reflection’ section of the table; this should naturally create a linear storyline. No matter what you’re writing your essay about.
The body paragraph outline should look something like this:
- Expectation about the shelter
- First impression
- Expectations: "Thought it was going to be boring and mundane"
- Working experience
- Finding and rescuing Buffy
- Other experiences with rescuing animals
- Newly found passion and feelings toward the work
- A newly developed mindset about animal treatment
Must wrap your ideas up and demonstrate development. Feelings newly found discoveries, and most importantly, plans for the future are important factors of the conclusion.
Example: Buffy’s case inspired me to pursue a career as a veterinarian, hopefully, one day working in an animal shelter.
Ideas And Topics
The reflective essay is probably the one essay you can’t borrow a topic for, because the essay should be about your own experiences. However, here are some prompts to help you begin:
- An experience you can’t forget.
- Time you overcame a fear.
- The most difficult choice you had to make.
- A time your beliefs were challenged.
- Have you ever discovered something life-changing?
- The happiest moment or the most frightening moment of your life that far.
- What can people do to improve the quality of the world?
- Name a time you felt lost.
- Are you always making the right choice? Can you think of time you made a wrong choice?
- A moment in your life you would like to relive.
You may find it convenient to create a chart or table to keep track of your ideas. Split your chart into 3 parts.
- In the first column, write key experiences or the main points. You can grade them from most to least important.
- In the second column, list your personal response to the points you have stated in the first column.
- In the third column, write how much of your response to share in the essay.
How You Write
Watch what you are writing
A reflective paper is a very personal type of writing because it includes your feelings and opinions about something. Before including something in your paper, ask yourself is this information appropriate to include or not?
- If you feel uncomfortable about something personal, avoid including it in your essay, or write about this issue in more general terms.
Even though a reflection paper is personal, you should keep your mind organized.
AVOID SLANG: Use only correct spelling and grammar. Abbreviations like “LOL”, “OMG” or “ROFL” should be avoided in professional custom writing.
This is your story, so there is no need to drag someone else into your custom essay. Even if this person made the experience you are going to talk about, you must maintain professionalism and describe the actions, not the person. Additionally, you should frame those actions within the context of your writing.
Do Not Be Lazy
Review your paper sentence by sentence to eliminate all mistakes.
- Keep your sentences to the point. Avoid squeezing two thoughts into one sentence.
- Don’t leave sentences unfinished; make sure that all your sentences have a purpose.
Put The Cherry On Top Of Your cake
Use transitional phrases to shift between arguments and introduce specific details. The usage of transitions will make your paper look like it was written by essay writing service writers.
- The reflection provides the ‘big picture’ of the person’s experiences.
- The student interweaves information regarding specific artifacts and how these artifacts were beneficial. The student’s experience paints details that are unique.
- The reflection shows that the student has learned from their experience. Reflection reveals insight into personal goals
- Demonstrates an ability to reflect on own work and an adequate number of examples are provided.
- Reflection demonstrates personal perspective.
- The essay has no grammatical and spelling errors, is an overall organized paper.
- The reflection provides the pieces of the student’s experience. The essay is not written in a linear manner.
- The students essay consists of generalizations and is not unique or memorable.
- The reflection does not adequately demonstrate that the student has received knowledge from experience. The student does not state personal goals.
- The essay insufficiently reflects on own work.
- Reflection demonstrates universal perspective.
- The essay has many grammatical and spelling errors, the paper is incoherent.
Reflective Essay Example
Essay Writing Advice From Our Professional Team
Awesome Tutor, from EssayPro
A reflective essay in middle school and earlier years of high school is typically not a serious type of essay. In your junior and senior years of high school, you will usually find that a more sophisticated format of the essay. The two most common places where you will be asked to write a reflective essay are college application papers and different kinds of reports (lab or otherwise) that require you to state your opinion, not just straight analysis. One thing that must be stressed is that an essay should demonstrate what the writer has learned. It also explains what things caused the author to change. A quick shortcut is to reflect on how you improved. In college application essays, you will want to know how to talk about what you learned from an event or experience.
A strong reflective writers will not only share the change but also give examples as supporting details. For example, if a writer discusses becoming more optimistic in life, then the writer would discuss how they took a positive approach and came out with a good outcome.