Academic Writing


1st year American Studies Major, Fall 2016 

Class Description

The class offers an introduction to the theory and practice of academic writing with an emphasis on writing as a multi-stage process, critical thinking, and fundamental research strategies. 

 Major Topics:

  • Rhetorical Situations: Writer, Audience, Purpose, Genre, Media.
  • Rhetorical Situations: Logos, Ethos, Pathos.
  • Critical Thinking Skills I: Constructing Arguments.
  • Critical Thinking Skills II: Argumentative Fallacies and How to Avoid Them.
  • Analytical/ Argumentative Writing: Academic Essays.
  • The Structure of the Academic Essay I: Developing Thesis Statements.
  • The Structure of the Academic Essay II: Introductions and Conclusions.
  • The Structure of the Academic Essay III: Developing Paragraphs.
  • Evaluative Writing: Writing Reviews. Reviewing Fiction. Reviewing Academic Studies.
  • Research Skills. Research as a Multi-Stage Process.  
  • Using and Citing Sources I: MLA Style. Plagiarism and Academic Integrity.
  • Using Sources II: Summarizing and Paraphrasing.
  • Writing with Style I: Stylistic Variety, Syntax, Spelling, Punctuation, etc.
  • Writing with Style II: Clarity and Concision. Avoiding Redundancy. Formality and Informality.
  • Writing with Style III: Avoiding Biased Language.


Course Objectives:

By the end of this class, students should be able to:

Rhetorical Contexts

  • Respond to different rhetorical contexts, especially to different purposes for writing.
  • Adopt appropriate voice, tone, and level of formality.
  • Understand how different types of texts shape reading and writing.

Critical Thinking, Reading, and Writing

  • Understand research and writing as forms of exploration and communication
  • Understand a writing project as a series of steps: selecting a topic, deciding on a research question and hypothesis, finding and evaluating sources, drafting, revising, editing, proof-reading.
  • Learn to construct original arguments for various academic and non-academic purposes.
  • Analyze and synthesize primary and secondary sources.
  • Combine secondary sources with one’s original ideas
  • Learn to critically evaluate one’s work and the work of others

Knowledge of Conventions

  • Learn the conventions of different genres (evaluative & analytical writing)
  • Control such features as syntax, grammar, punctuation, and spelling
  • Understand the importance of clarity in writing

Requirements and Assessment


Due Date


1. Midterm exam

Nov. 17, 2016


2. Review

Jan. 19, 2017


3. Class participation and take-home assignments

throughout the semester









Pagină actualizată la 23 Octombrie 2016.