Writing across the Curriculum: An Annotated Bibliography

Writing across the Curriculum: An Annotated Bibliography

Writing across the Curriculum: An Annotated Bibliography

Writing across the Curriculum: An Annotated Bibliography


This annotated bibliography is the first to trace the history of the Writing Across the Curriculum Movement (WAC) and to assess the state of scholarship and pedagogy on the subject today. Professors Anson, Schwiebert, and Williamson carefully describe 1067 important sources taken from bibliographies, books, monographs, journals, textbooks, and other documents. Their research guide reviews the history and implementation of WAC, research and theoretical studies, and the teaching of writing across the curriculum in general and in diverse fields. Author and subject indexes provide easy access to the reference materials for the use of researchers in composition, education, arts and humanities, physical, social and behavioral sciences, and business.


Chris M. Anson

Wac and the Limits of Apparent Consensus

Language educators have long argued that writing is a key to intellectual development, fostering improved thinking abilities and enhancing both the quality and quantity of learning. Only recently, however, has the educational community considered ways to act on this assumption, particularly through the increased use of writing in the many academic disciplines that make up our school and university curricula.

In the past several years, the movement now widely known as "writing across the curriculum" (WAC) has burgeoned, and with it attention to writing in diverse subject areas has increased dramatically. Scores of testimonials from enlightened teachers--both within and beyond traditional contexts for teaching and learning writing--have appeared in the pages of academic journals. Dozens of new textbooks have been published under the rubric of "cross-disciplinary writing." National networks on writing across the curriculum have formed, creating special sessions at educational conferences and publishing newsletters to disseminate information. And, by some estimates, over 400 colleges and universities now have well-integrated programs in writing across the curriculum (Griffin, 1985; Haring-Smith & Stern, 1985; McLeod & Shirley, 1988).

Unlike many educational trends, however, wac has not been accompanied by much empirical research that might lend support to the movement and provide it with coherence (Anson, 1988). in the past, claims about the effectiveness of specific instructional methods--invention heuristics, sentence-combining, peer-revision conferences, and composing on computers, to name a few--have been generally supported or refuted by carefully designed research studies (see Hillocks, 1986). Even larger-scale and often controversial instructional trends such as the recent "back-to-basics" movement typically follow the lead of government-sponsored studies whose findings suggest a decline in basic skills, a loss of "cultural literacy," or a "crisis" in levels of educational attainment. in contrast, wac seems to have grown from a grass-roots consensus that writing is central to learning and should be a part of all aca-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.