Beyond the Descriptive: Empirical Study of Methods in Writing Instruction

full name / name of organization: 
Kristen Nielsen/ New England Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
contact email: 

The teaching of writing is characterized by a wide array of practices, often cycling through popular phases or trends. When evaluating the potential effectiveness of instructional methods, many educators rely on descriptive and anecdotal publications, as the literature is replete with them. Although these publications have merit in their ability to disseminate ideas, how can faculty go beyond the descriptive and the anecdotal when determining the most effective means of teaching writing?

This panel invites papers and presentations describing original studies of practice in the teaching of writing using experimental design. Studies should contribute to the understanding of how class time might be used most effectively to improve student writing outcomes. Contributions from a wide range of topics in composition teaching practice and learning theory are welcome. We also welcome submissions from fields outside of composition/English where the teaching of writing is studied.

Submit questions to: Kristen Nielsen, or Terri Suico,

Please submit 250-word abstracts by email attachment to Kristen Nielsen at

Deadline: Proposals must be submitted by email no later than September 30, 2011. We will respond to applicants regarding acceptance no later than October 15.

Submissions Should Include:
Full name
Name of organization
Title of paper
250-word abstract
Contact email
Contact phone number