Scaling up graduate writing workshops: From needs assessment to teaching practices


  • Stephanie Link



accountability groups, dissertation writing workshop, genre-based instruction, needs assessment, self-assessment


Graduate students often encounter obstacles related to written science communication that can set them back in their path towards degree completion. Efforts to support these students should be informed by what they actually need or desire; yet oftentimes, programs are developed based on assumptions or intuitions. In other cases, proven models from literature are used to develop programs; however, due to a lack of justification for approaches and vague descriptions of daily teaching and learning activities, the intricacies of design are relatively unknown. Thus, in institutes looking to establish research writing resources or build on existing infrastructure, more research is needed to demonstrate how needs assessment can directly transfer to program development. In this paper, I describe how findings from a campus-wide needs assessment of graduate students (N = 310) and faculty (N = 111) informed the development of design principles for a week-long dissertation writing workshop. The complete description of the intervention, including how main elements and content align with socio-cognitive perspectives to writing, can facilitate replication; theory building; and communication about effective writing instruction. This work also offers a springboard for future research and program development and establishes a blueprint.



How to Cite

Link, S. (2018). Scaling up graduate writing workshops: From needs assessment to teaching practices. Journal of Writing Research, 10(2), 357–399.