Breaking into the Scholarly Conversation

The Writing Seminars give students iterative practice in writing to be read rather than writing to simply demonstrate comprehension. Making the shift from high-school to college-level writing involves recognizing and employing different strategies for entering into a scholarly conversation, first by marshaling specific evidence and claims, and then by situating that analysis in existing scholarship. Students begin by learning to identify different rhetorical strategies in their readings; borrowing from Mark Gaipa’s taxonomy, these include moves like “piggybacking,” “picking a fight,” “playing peacemaker,” and “crossbreeding the conversation with something new.” Students then practice making these moves and articulating their own variations, first by engaging with 1-3 scholars each in Essays #1 and #2, and then by identifying and organizing sources into a broader conversation for their final research papers. 

In the Spotlight: Mark Gaipa, “Breaking into the Conversation: How Students Can Acquire Authority for Their Writing” (2004)