Debby Ellis Writing Center

Student Resources for Writing

Writing for Different Disciplines

Sometimes it can be difficult to understand the expectations of writing in different disciplines, and the reasoning behind such explanations.  While your professor should always be your first resource when you have questions about an assignment, you may find it helpful to check out some of the links below (developed by professors at other universities) to learn more about writing in your field.  (Links are organized alphabetically by major).  

Accounting

University of Iowa’s Tippie School of Business

Macro Skills - Offers disciplinary guidelines on style and clarity.

Before You Turn In Your Paper - Has more useful style tips and addresses common errors.

Before You Begin Your Writing Project - Includes genre guidelines for memos, client letters, opinion papers, summary/analysis essays, and research papers, tips on thesis writing and how to use an outline.

Animal Behavior

Harvard University’s Disciplinary Writing Guides

A Student’s Guide to Writing in the Life Sciences - Chapter one includes a discussion of science writing and its links to expository writing. Chapter two includes genre guidelines for short answers, lab notebooks, research papers, research and grant proposals, reviews, critiques of scientific papers, and writing for the general public. Chapter three addresses disciplinary guidelines, including common mistakes in science writing. Chapter four includes guidance on how and when to cite in science writing. 

Anthropology

The Writing Center at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Anthropology - Includes a brief overview of approaches to Anthropology, citation guidelines, and tips for approaching Anthropology papers, as well as genre guides for critical essays, ethnographic projects, and analyses using fossil and material evidence.

Harvard University’s Disciplinary Writing Guides

A Student’s Guide to Reading and Writing in Social Anthropology - Includes tips for reading in Anthropology, as well as general guidelines for Anthropology writing and citation, and genre guides for response papers, mid-length papers, and term papers. It also includes a model student paper with annotations.

Architecture

University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Writing in the Design Disciplines - Includes genre guidelines for thesis proposals, research papers, model project descriptions, genre guidelines for and models of book reviews, and models of architectural criticism, architectural journalism, and specifications. 

Art (studio)

Columbia College Writing in the Disciplines

Guide to Writing In Visual Art - Offers a brief overview of writing in Art, as well as genre guidelines for art analysis and interpretation, annotated bibliographies, artist’s statements, comparative art analyses, comparative film analyses, journal writing, and oral histories.

Art History

Columbia College Writing in the Disciplines

Guide to Writing In Visual Art - Offers a brief overview of writing in Art, as well as genre guidelines for art analysis and interpretation, annotated bibliographies, artist’s statements, comparative art analyses, comparative film analyses, journal writing, and oral histories.

Harvard University’s Disciplinary Writing Guides

How to Do Things with Pictures: A Guide to Writing in Art History - Is divided into two sections. The first half discusses ways to approach a work of art. The second half includes disciplinary conventions for writing in Art History and a narrative of how one might write an Art History paper. The guide includes a helpful glossary of art terms and a list of references to helpful Art History texts.

Biochemistry

Harvard University’s Disciplinary Writing Guides

A Student’s Guide to Writing in the Life Sciences - Chapter one includes a discussion of science writing and its links to expository writing. Chapter two includes genre guidelines for short answers, lab notebooks, research papers, research and grant proposals, reviews, critiques of scientific papers, and writing for the general public. Chapter three addresses disciplinary guidelines, including common mistakes in science writing. Chapter four includes guidance on how and when to cite in science writing.

University of Maryland Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Departmental Writing and Research Guide - Includes an overview of scientific writing with good and bad examples of style, as well as genre guidelines for free response answers, lab notebooks, tables and graphs, lab reports, literature review, and research reports.

The Writing Center at Colorado State University

Writing the Scientific Paper - Includes disciplinary guidelines as well as style guidelines for “Achieving the Scientific Voice,” and models for each part of a lab report. 

Biology

Harvard University’s Disciplinary Writing Guides

A Student’s Guide to Writing in the Life Sciences - Chapter one includes a discussion of science writing and its links to expository writing. Chapter two includes genre guidelines for short answers, lab notebooks, research papers, research and grant proposals, reviews, critiques of scientific papers, and writing for the general public. Chapter three addresses disciplinary guidelines, including common mistakes in science writing. Chapter four includes guidance on how and when to cite in science writing.

The Writing Center at Colorado State University

Writing the Scientific Paper - Includes disciplinary guidelines as well as style guidelines for “Achieving the Scientific Voice,” and models for each part of a lab report.  

Business

University of Iowa’s Tippie School of Business

Macro Skills - Offers disciplinary guidelines on style and clarity.

Before You Turn In Your Paper - Has more useful style tips and addresses common errors.

Before You Begin Your Writing Project - Includes genre guidelines for memos, client letters, opinion papers, summary/analysis essays, and research papers, tips on thesis writing and how to use an outline.

Chemistry

Oregon State University

Writing Guide for Chemistry - Includes a style guide with examples and models of tables and data presentation. 

University of Maryland Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Departmental Writing and Research Guide - Includes an overview of scientific writing with good and bad examples of style, as well as genre guidelines for free response answers, lab notebooks, tables and graphs, lab reports, literature review, and research reports.

Chinese

Columbia College Writing in the Disciplines

Writing for Modern Languages - Offers general tips and common errors in foreign language writing, as well as genre guidelines for journaling, summaries, and letter writing. 

Classics

University of Richmond Writer’s Web

Writing in the Disciplines: Classics - Offers style guidelines and common errors for writing in Classics.

Communication Studies

The Writing Center at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Communication Studies - Offers an overview of communication studies and general tips for writing in the discipline. 

Columbia College Writing in the Disciplines

Writing for Communication and Theatre - Includes approaches to the discipline, a list of possible genres, and an engagement of the types of evidence generally engaged in communication studies.

University of Richmond Writer’s Web

Writing in the Disciplines: Journalism - Describes general disciplinary style conventions, offers tips for beginning and developing stories, guidelines for using quotations and avoiding common errors, and genre guidelines for news articles, editorials and features. 

Computational Math

Columbia College Writing in the Disciplines

Writing for Math and Computing - Includes student-learning goals for writing in math and genre guidelines for short answer questions, long answer questions, projects or programs, reaction papers, proofs, formal papers, and portfolios.

Computer Science

Columbia College Writing in the Disciplines

Writing for Math and Computing - Includes student-learning goals for writing in math and genre guidelines for short answer questions, long answer questions, projects or programs, reaction papers, proofs, formal papers, and portfolios.

Dance

University of Richmond Writer’s Web

Writing in the Disciplines: Theatre and DanceOffers disciplinary conventions for writing in Dance, a genre guide for research-based writing, and a worksheet for research. 

Harvard University’s Disciplinary Writing Guides

A Student’s Guide to Performance Studies - Includes (on pg. 12) a short essay on “Writing About Performance” and a useful glossary of terms.

Economics

Harvard University’s Disciplinary Writing Guides

Writing Economics - Offers disciplinary guide for “Writing Economically” as well as guides for economic models, hypothesis testing, and regression. Offers genre guides for writing term papers, including guidelines for literature reviews and citation. 

Education

Columbia College Writing in the Disciplines

Writing for Education - Includes a disciplinary guide for writing in Education, as well as a brief overview of common genres.

University of Richmond Writer’s Web

Writing in the Disciplines: Education - Offers formatting guidelines, common errors, and a genre guide to lesson plans.

English

Harvard University Brief Guides to Writing in the Disciplines

A Brief Guide to Writing the English Paper - Includes disciplinary style conventions, guides to close reading prose and poetry, and brief genre guides for close readings, response papers, and research papers.

University of Richmond Writer’s Web

Writing in the Disciplines: Film Studies - Includes brief genre guides for analytical papers, critiques, and screening reports, and model papers.

French

Columbia College Writing in the Disciplines

Writing for Modern Languages - Offers general tips and common errors in foreign language writing, as well as genre guidelines for journaling, summaries, and letter writing.

German

Columbia College Writing in the Disciplines

Writing for Modern Languages - Offers general tips and common errors in foreign language writing, as well as genre guidelines for journaling, summaries, and letter writing.

History

Harvard University Brief Guides to Writing in the Disciplines

A Brief Guide to Writing the History Paper - Provides disciplinary guidelines for style and use of evidence, as well as brief genre guidelines for review essays and research papers.

Kinesiology

Sacramento State University

Writing in Kinesiology - Lists learning goals for Kinesiology, provides brief genre guides for case studies, documentation, and lab reports, provides model lab report and case study.

Math

Columbia College Writing in the Disciplines

Writing for Math and Computing - Includes student-learning goals for writing in math and genre guidelines for short answer questions, long answer questions, projects or programs, reaction papers, proofs, formal papers, and portfolios.

Modern Languages & Literatures

Columbia College Writing in the Disciplines

Writing for Modern Languages - Offers general tips and common errors in foreign language writing, as well as genre guidelines for journaling, summaries, and letter writing.

Music

University of Richmond Writer’s Web

Writing in the Disciplines: Music - Includes a brief style guide for writing in Music, a list of common errors, tips for note taking during performances, a genre guide for critical responses, and a sample essay.

Philosophy

Harvard University Brief Guides to Writing in the Disciplines

A Brief Guide to Writing the Philosophy Paper - Offers a style guide for writing in Philosophy, with examples of good writing and use of evidence.

Physical Science

The Writing Center at Colorado State University

Writing in Engineering - Includes genre guides for technical reports, proposals, project notebooks, poster sessions, Electrical Engineering lab reports, and Civil Engineering lab reports.

Purdue Online Writing Lab

Writing in Engineering - Includes guidelines for writing Engineering reports, a handbook on report formats, and links to other resources.

Physics

State University of New York, Genesco

Physics Writing Guide: How to write a Physics Journal Article - Includes a style guide and genre guide for journal articles.

American Institute of Physics

AIP Style Manual - Includes style guides for formatting, citation, and use of language when writing in Physics.

Political Science

Oregon State Department of Political Science

A Student Writer’s Survival Guide - Provides a style guide for writing in Political Science, and genre guides for summaries, abstracts, book reports, reaction notes, think pieces, journals, image analyses, agency analyses, book reviews, essays, analytical case briefs, and research papers. 

Psychology

Harvard University Brief Guides to Writing in the Disciplines

A Brief Guide to Writing the Psychology Paper - Offers a style guide for writing in Psychology, as well as brief genre guides for research summaries/lit reviews, empirical papers and research proposals.

University of Richmond Writer’s Web

Writing in the Disciplines: Psychology - Includes style guidelines for writing in Psychology, as well as brief genre guides for lit reviews, lab reports, research proposals, and theses. Also includes a sample lab report with comments. 

Religion

Rhodes College Department of Religious Studies

Writing a Religious Studies Paper - Includes genre guides for essays, comparative analyses, book reviews, and citations.

Harvard University’s Disciplinary Writing Guides

A Guide to Writing in Religious Studies - Offers a style guide for writing in Religious studies and genre guides for writing a historical religious paper, a philosophical religious paper, and a comparative religious paper. 

Sociology

Oregon State University Department of Sociology

Writing Within Sociology: A Guide for Undergraduates - Includes a style guide for writing in Sociology, as well as genre guides for quantitative research papers, literature reviews, internship journals, case studies, and qualitative writing.  

The Writing Center at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Sociology - Includes an overview of writing in Sociology, as well as a discussion of uses of evidence, and brief genre guides to critical reviews, applications of theory, and research papers.

Spanish

Columbia College Writing in the Disciplines

Writing for Modern Languages - Offers general tips and common errors in foreign language writing, as well as genre guidelines for journaling, summaries, and letter writing.

Theatre

University of Richmond Writer’s Web

Writing in the Disciplines: Theatre and Dance - Offers disciplinary conventions for writing in Theatre, a genre guide for research-based writing, and a worksheet for research. 

Harvard University’s Disciplinary Writing Guides

A Student’s Guide to Performance Studies - Includes (on pg. 12) a short essay on “Writing About Performance” and a useful glossary of terms.