The College of Saint Rose Writing Center, 2012
American Academic Writing Conventions
This handout will describe some common writing practices and assignments in American colleges such as The College of Saint Rose. For more assistance, come see the tutors at the Writing Center! Go to www.strose.edu/writingcenter for more information.
TYPES OF WRITING ASSIGNMENTS
Always talk to your professor about his/her assignment guidelines and requirements. They may differ from some of the general guidelines we have listed below.
A note about audience: Each type of writing assignment you complete in college has its own specific audience. This audience may be only your professor, but it could also be classmates or someone in the outside community. Many writing assignments are also designed to give you the experience of writing in your field, so you may have to imagine that your audience is clients, colleagues, students, the general public, etc. Each type of audience will have a different level of understanding about your topic, so the amount and kind of information you include will depend on who your audience is. Reflection Essay: In this type of writing, your professor will request that you write about your thoughts on a specific idea, topic, situation, or experience. You generally use the pronoun “I” in this type of assignment. You may be asked to connect your reflection to concepts learned in class. Case Study: This assignment is common in the fields of education and the social sciences. It involves writing your observations and analysis of a specific interaction with a client, a person’s behavior, an event, or specific situation in regards to the theories and practices involved in your field of study. For example, a Communication Sciences and Disorders major would write a case study about a client he/she is working with in a clinic placement; a Social Work major might write a case study about the functioning of a charitable agency.
Case Study Analysis: This assignment involves studying a case study written by someone else. You will often evaluate the interactions and practices of the professionals with the clients, the functioning of the agency, a person’s behavior, the circumstances surrounding the event, etc. It is a way for you to relate the theoretical information learned in class to possible real life situations. Response Paper: For this assignment, you are required to write about a certain text. Your task in this assignment depends on the course and instructor. You might make connections between texts or between a text and the real world, evaluate the writer’s ideas, analyze the meaning of the writer’s ideas, discu...