Writing for the Future
The purpose of this study is to address the question of whether graduate students who have finished their undergraduate study at Boise State University (BSU) feel they were adequately prepared by their undergraduate education to meet research writing challenges at the graduate level. Professors have also raised questions as to what level of preparedness incoming graduate students should have. With BSU set to implement a new approach to learning writing across the curriculum, this study may aid in defining at-risk areas in research writing, identified by both graduate students and faculty. Surveys were given to graduate students who have completed their undergraduate degree at Boise State University as well as to faculty teaching graduate courses. The purpose of the survey is to get students to self-assess their level of preparedness and identify specific areas of research deficiency. The survey given to the faculty was much the same but with an emphasis on evaluating the writing of incoming graduate students in general. Follow-up interviews enabled a more in-depth exploration of topics covered in the surveys. Data from the surveys were analyzed and correlated with the outcomes of the new Communication in the Discipline (CID) courses to identify possible areas of writing need and to determine whether the new CID courses will fill those needs. I hypothesize that there will be areas in which students and professors want improvement, and that the CID course outcomes will specifically address some of the identified areas of need. This research project has the potential to identify areas of current need, as well as provide a base from which follow-up research may evaluate the ongoing success of the Boise State CID courses from the student’s perspective.
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