UBC Graduate Research

Academic writing at a crossroads : implications for teaching and writing Baxter, Danielle


With the advent of widely available electronic access to scholarly journals, scholarly academic writing has become a staple teaching resource in university courses across many disciplines. This has benefits for both students and faculty, but various characteristics of academic writing as a genre may make it poorly suited for intensive use as a teaching resource, ill serving students as readers and as learners of both their discipline and the craft of writing. A review of a range of literature, on academic writing as a genre, on adult learners, and on human cognition, helps to explain the genre’s weaknesses as educational material. Looking critically at the genre of academic writing, this paper explores how and why it often fails to meet students’ cognitive needs. Finally, it considers how scholarly writers and publishers might seize the moment to make some shifts in the form and priorities of their genre, in keeping with its evolving position and uses in the academy.

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