Writing that works: investigating university students’ transfer of writing skills to authentic academic tasks
Research Project , 2017 – 2018

Writing is a crucial skill for university students’ academic and professional success. Which pedagogical methods work best? Which course-taught writing skills do university students actually use in authentic situations? This project addresses these questions, and specifically the notion of transfer: how students use and adapt knowledge and skills learned in academic writing courses. Although the approach of genre pedagogy seems beneficial to students, the problem is that we need to know more about what students actually learn from this approach - how it helps them become autonomous, competent, writers. Specifically, we need to investigate students’ ability to critically reflect—metacognition—on what they know about academic writing and their own strategies and choices. Based on our previous work, and building on a pilot study, interviews will be conducted with doctoral students from different disciplines who have taken academic writing courses at Chalmers, once they complete a research paper (ready-for-submission), to gain insights on which aspects of genre knowledge they retained and used in their own research writing; how they adapted this knowledge and why; which pedagogical tasks seem to have been most useful and why. The study will provide insights that are immediately applicable to writing pedagogy at Chalmers and in other Swedish higher-education institutions, and will make an important contribution to existing international research on academic writing pedagogy.


Raffaella Negretti (contact)

Docent vid Chalmers, Communication and Learning in Science, Language and Communication (Chalmers)


Magnus Bergvalls Stiftelse

Funding Chalmers participation during 2017–2018

Åke Wibergs Stiftelse

Funding Chalmers participation during 2017–2018

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