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Suggestions for selecting assigned readings in Writing 300

While there are no required texts in WRIT 301/302/303/304, all Writing 300 sections should include four or five assigned class readings selected by the instructor that can serve as examples of research writing appropriate to the course and/or theme.

These assigned readings are particularly important in the first few weeks of the course when they can provide models of the kind of work students are expected to do. These readings can also be used to begin the exploration of a theme if the instructor chooses to focus their section around a particular topic. While not all instructors choose to work with a theme, many find it can help students maintain focus in their final research papers. Some themes used in previous semesters include environmental justice, technology in the workplace, socioeconomic equality, food and culture, gender in the health professions, parenting, language and power, bioethics, and so on.

In addition to these four or five assigned readings, some instructors also choose to assign sections from writing handbooks and/or the Purdue OWL. Please be mindful, however, that readings from handbooks alone will not provide adequate practice in reading scholarly and other research texts for students. Readings from handbooks should be accompanied by readings that incorporate research in ways that show students how papers can synthesize multiple sources/perspectives while sustaining control and focus.

In the second half of the course, as students fully engage in the research process, students will need to focus their reading on the sources they are finding and evaluating for their own research papers. Assigned texts in the second half of the course may therefore be more likely to include models of research papers rather than additional source readings. Requiring students to submit annotated bibliography entries in stages throughout this process can help reinforce the expectation that students are reading their sources as they go rather than waiting until the end of the process to tackle them.