STAT: Writing and Research Skills

Concerned about your students writing and research skills? How can you help your students build the skills they need for your discipline without turning your course into one focused on writing? There are a variety of short tasks that you can assign to help them develop skills while working through concepts presented in your course.

You can find out more about quick tools for teaching research and writing skills in this article and in this resource for Writing Across the Curriculum and in this discussion of Writing to Learn

Small, easily-graded assignments to teach basic skills

Assign short writing exercises in the semester to provide the student with formative assessment of writng and research mechanics, such as proper format for citations, article summarization, table and figure labeling, manuscript organization, etc. Grading of the final paper can thus focus mainly on research and argumentation.

Summarize and cite an assigned reading ('response papers') or a lecture 'reflection papers')

Simple to grade: have students write a summary for an existing reading and provide a citation. Reflection helps to integrate ideas. This also a quick way to assess student understanding of the material as well as an opportunity to practive research skills.

Collaboration using Google Docs

Everyone at Rutgers has access to a set of Google Apps. Sign up. Your students likely already have. Use Google Docs to facilitate out-of-classroom collaboration and peer review.


  1. Rutgers
  2. New Brunswick
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