Writing Assignments Across the Undergraduate Curriculum

Writing Assignments Across the Undergraduate Curriculum is a research project that, as the name suggests, focuses on creating a database of knowledge about the writing that undergraduates are asked to perform. The principal investigator for the research team is Roger Graves here at the University of Alberta. This research is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (410-201101845).

The project has two main activities. First, we collect and analyse groups of syllabi from departments, faculties (in the US the term would be colleges), or entire institutions. To date, we have collected and coded over 1700 writing assignments in 9 different academic units. Each syllabus has been analysed for 20 or more characteristics, and we have presented preliminary results from this work at local, national, and international conferences. Second, we are investigating beyond the syllabus and the descriptions of the assignments to identify the motives and concerns of faculty as they create their assignments, and the experiences of students as they attempt to write documents in response to the assignment prompts.

We are interested in collecting further groups of assignments and adding them to the database. To enquire about becoming a member of this project, email Roger Graves at

For a more detailed description of the research project, click here.

Research Team Members

University of Alberta
Heather Graves
Dan Harvey
Aly Koskela
Melissa Haynes
Catherine Lee

University of Calgary
Jo-Anne Andre

University of Lethbridge
David Slomp
Stefanie Tolman

University of Manitoba
Anne Parker
Kathryn Marcynuk

University of the Fraser Valley
Gloria Borrows
Graham Shaw

University of Toronto
Andrea Williams
Heather Coiner

University of Waterloo
Judi Jewinski
Jay Dolmage

University of Winnipeg
Jennifer Clary-Lemon

Huron University College
Theresa Hyland
Grace Howell
Allan MacDougall

Royal Military College
Marion McKeown

Wilfrid Laurier University
Boba Samuels