Writing Process: Overview

The work of a scholar includes reading, writing, and thinking—but not necessarily in that order. Like the writing process, scholarly work is recursive rather than linear. Critical readers are working readers. They evaluate sources, ask probing questions, and approach reading with a strategy. By demanding the best from their sources, they become better researchers and writers. Critical thinkers ask questions, examine assumptions, and don't accept ideas at face value. By questioning their own assumptions and ideas as well as those of others, they come to deeper understandings and learn new perspectives.

Scholarly writing is a result of critical reading and critical thinking, and scholarly writing generates critical readers and critical thinkers.

The term "scholarly writing" is somewhat misleading because writing as a scholar varies by disciplinary community and rhetorical situation. However, a few observations can be made about scholarly writing in general:

  • Scholars write with evidence, and particular types of evidence are more acceptable in particular communities and situations.
  • Scholarly writing tends to have a more transparent organizational structure and to be more explicit than other types of writing.
  • Scholarly writing tends to be formal.
  • Scholarly communities have conventions, which are more comparable to etiquette than law.
  • Scholars use reading and writing to think.

Scholarly writing is the product of thought and analysis, and the act of writing can often uncover unanticipated insights and analysis that make a writer's work unique and valuable.

This section illustrates the purpose of scholarly writing, compares and contrasts scholarly writing at the undergraduate and graduate levels, discusses scholarly voice, and provides guidance for strengthening critical reading and critical thinking skills.

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For more information on pre-writing, download the full-text PDF document and go to:

  • Scholarly Writing......page 3
  • Critical Thinking........page 7
  • Critical Reading........page 11

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