Writing in the Disciplines


HUMANITIES


Typical Documents:

  • Analysis & interpretation of texts
  • Critiques
  • Analyses
  • Responses
  • Creative works

Document Formats:

  • Single-focus text
  • May use illustrations

 

Documentation:

  • Modern Language Association (MLA) in some disciplines
  • Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) in others (e.g., history)


Organization:

  • Thesis-driven
  • Logical structure derived from thesis
  • Transitions

 

 

 


Evidence / Detail:

  • Examples
  • Facts
  • Expert opinion
  • Reasons
  • Numerical data
  • Sensory detail
  • Primary source = existing documents

Style and Language Focus:

  • Individual perspective of writer
  • Creative word choices, language
  • Active voice verbs
  • First person may be appropriate
  • Present tense verbs to discuss literature

 


NATURAL SCIENCES / HEALTH SCIENCES


Typical Documents:

  • Lab reports
  • Reviews
  • Articles
  • Proposals


Document Formats:

  • Headings used
  • Emphasis on replicability
  • Many graphics
  • IMRD format (scientific method; see below)

Documentation:

  • APA or discipline-specific documentation


Organization:

  • IMRD:
    • Abstract
    • Introduction
    • Lit. review
    • Methods/materials
    • Results
    • Discussion
    • Conclusions
    • References

Evidence / Detail:

  • Research data & studies, both primary and secondary
  • Precise facts
  • Graphics
  • Primary source = experiments

 

 

Style and Language Focus:

  • Observations of natural & human phenomena
  • Technical language, precise vocabulary
  • Passive voice verbs appropriate
  • Third person


SOCIAL SCIENCES


Typical Documents:

  • Case studies, interviews
  • Reports
  • Qualitative research
  • Quantitative research

Document Formats:

  • Headings used
  • Charts and graphs
  • Includes an abstract

Documentation:

  • American Psychological Association (APA) or;
  • CMS/Turabian

Organization:

  • Based on type of document
  • Typical structure:
    • Abstract
    • Problem
    • Study
    • Findings
    • Conclusion

Evidence / Detail:

  • Quantitative research data, results
  • Qualitative research data, results
  • Primary source = direct study, observations


Style and
language Focus:

  • Behavior of people as a group
  • Professional jargon
  • Accessible language for some audiences, purposes

 

Back to Why Writing Matters at SVSU


BUSINESS


Typical Documents:

  • Letters
  • Memos
  • Reports
  • Proposals

Document Formats:

  • Format specific to type of document (e.g., letter)
  • Visual appearance important

 
Documentation:

  • CMS/Turabian or instructor preference

 
Organization:

  • Specific to purpose, type of document
  • Short paragraphs, sentences
  • Structured to "sell"

 

 


Evidence / Detail:

  • Charts
  • Statistics, data
  • Graphics
  • Writer's persona

Style and Language Focus:

  • Based on audience & purpose
  • First & second person
  • Simple vocabulary
  • Active verbs
  • Direct language