The Disciplinary Writing Consultants' responsibilities include:

  • Consulting one-on-one on the conventions of research writing (e.g., journal articles, thesis/dissertations, conference abstracts, proceedings papers, etc.) in specific disciplines
  • Leading disciplinary peer review groups
  • Facilitating workshops on discipline-specific writing (topics may vary depending on graduate writers’ needs).

Currently, discipline-specific consultations are available for students in Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and Human Development and Family Studies.

*In the interest of all parties, our writing consultants sign confidentiality agreements that protect the privacy of students seeking writing assistance and guard against the disclosure of sensitive data or information shared by students during tutoring sessions. 

Disciplinary Writing Consultants operate within four dimensions, helping graduate students in the following ways:

Discipline-specific communication
  • Understand how scholars in their field develop content or subject matter in ways that meet the expectations of their disciplinary community,
  • Outline and organize their manuscripts or thesis/dissertation chapters,
  • Articulate the significance of research topics to the field,
  • Critically evaluate literature and integrate sources to appropriately situate research topics within the literature in the field,
  • Define and justify a guiding framework,
  • Describe research methods in a clear and credible way,
  • Report and interpret research results effectively, developing warranted take-home messages and creating effective, visualizations of statistically analyzed data,
  • Frame, position, and weigh propositions in a coherent discussion,
  • Articulate the value and contribution of their study to the field,
  • Critically evaluate and refine their research writing according to disciplinary writing expectations,
  • Understand the organization, communicative goals, and writing strategies of research genres (e.g., research articles, thesis/dissertations, conference abstracts, proceedings papers).
Scholarly communication and writing conventions
  • Differentiate between writing for journal publications, theses/dissertations, and grant proposal writing (e.g., research articles share very specific communicative goals and strategies for developing scientific arguments, some of which are similar to other research genres and some are different),
  • Understand the scope, aims, audience, and quality of journals and identify appropriate publication venues,
  • Understand ethical issues in scholarly writing and publishing,
  • Understand the expectations of co-authorship,
  • Understand manuscript submission requirements, peer-review process, and expectations of responding to reviewers.
Academic and professional development
  • Identify academic writing conventions using a bank of disciplinary and scholarly writing resources,
  • Locate literature relevant to students’ research focus using library search engines and resources,
  • Effectively use writing technologies for (e.g., RWT, electronic collections of texts, search engines for linguistic data).
Departmental and graduate program requirements
  • Communicate research and writing intentions more effectively to faculty to solicit feedback,
  • Plan for graduate program requirements (e.g., preparing for preliminary and/or comprehensive exams),
  • Understand and meet programmatic requirements (e.g., planning curriculum, identifying and communicating with prospective POS committee members, filing paperwork for defenses and graduation),
  • Prepare their documents for submission to the POS committee and thesis/dissertation to the Graduate College.