The Content, Contextualization, and Effectiveness of Writing-Assignment Instruction Documents

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St Jean, Craig




This study of writing-assignment instruction documents (WAIDs) uses concepts from Rhetorical Genre Studies to examine WAIDs as a rhetorical genre by exploring the information that WAIDs contain, their contextualization within the university classroom, and how they situate users within that context. Further, it compares instructor and student perceptions to infer how WAIDs can most effectively communicate instructors’ expectations for assignments and foster quality writing. My analysis of (a) WAIDs from 11 sophomore courses, (b) interviews with students and instructors from two sophomore courses, (c) WAIDs from those two courses, and (d) students’ assignments written with those WAIDs suggests the following: WAIDs contain up to twelve categories of information, reinforce classroom roles, and set boundaries for student action, and yet students may see WAIDs as supplementary to in-class discussion of instructors’ expectations for assignments. Also discussed are differences between the two sophomore classes in students’ recognition of expectations for writing assignments.


Rhetoric and Composition
Education - Tests and Measurements
Education - Higher




Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Arts: 

Thesis Degree Level: 


Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Applied Linguistics and Discourse Studies

Parent Collection: 

Theses and Dissertations

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