The place of the research paper in first-year composition (FYC) courses is often debated in composition forums. Many argue that the a-disciplinary nature of FYC doesn't allow instructors to teach the research paper in a way that will be transferable to disciplinary writing tasks, while others say that it is possible, as long as we have a thorough understanding of the kinds of writing tasks students will face in the disciplines and specifically teach writing skills that will be transferable. To identify these more generalizable writing skills to be emphasized, I interviewed 14 professors at Brigham Young University from different disciplines about the research papers they teach within their upper-division disciplinary courses and the kinds of researching and writing skills they expect students to have mastered before enrolling in these courses. I collated the results of the interviews and categorized 22 skills into four categories: writing process knowledge, genre knowledge, rhetorical knowledge, and researching knowledge, finding correlation between the 22 skills I identified with skills identified by both John Bean and Carra Leah Hood, lending credence to the value of my identified skills as worthwhile to be focused on in FYC. I draw on Amy Devitt's idea that the school genres we teach in FYC are antecedent genres to assert that teaching a research paper in FYC outside of the constraints of any one discipline can provide a viable and valuable learning experience, provided that it is taught with an emphasis on these writing skills that are most valued across the disciplines, and provided it is taught as a step along the way to later mastery of disciplinary genres.



College and Department

Humanities; English



Date Submitted


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research paper, research writing, generalizable research writing skills, FYC, genre, antecedent genre, transfer, WAC/WID, composition pedagogy, Amy Devitt, Brigham Young University