The paper by Bair and Mader describes an investigation into academic writing problems at the graduate level. The purpose of the study was to determine the root causes of graduate students’ difficulties with academic writing and identify possible solutions that could effectively address areas of weakness (Bair & Mader, 2013). This paper is relevant to the field of education because graduate study provides essential preparation for future academic studies and professional studies. (INSERT EXISTING CONTENT.) In almost every field, including the field of education itself, graduate students find academic writing stressful and have become increasingly reliant on university faculty to help them write high-quality, publication-ready papers.
The authors utilized a self-study methodology to further explore the issue of academic writing problems at the graduate level. Their approach can be described as an emergent research design because the data collection and analysis were conducted simultaneously (Bair & Mader, 2013). The authors brought together a group of ten faculty members from a college of education for the self-study, which involved collecting data and conducting analysis on a wide range of resources, including faculty and student surveys and course materials (Bair & Mader, 2013). The self-study revealed that students had difficulties synthesizing theories and research. It also showed that there was an imbalance between academic and professional writing, as well as a discrepancy between the curriculum planned by faculty members and the curriculum implemented in the classroom (Bair & Mader, 2013).

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Based on student suggestions, the researchers identified several potentially effective solutions. For instance, they suggested that students be required to take a research course on research activities and academic writing at the start of their education. Also, they suggested that more than one semester should be allocated to thesis-writing. These solutions may be implemented at the university where the research was conducted in order to improve graduate-level academic writing in the future (Bair & Mader, 2013).

Although the study itself ran smoothly and can be characterized as a success, it is important to note that there are certain limitations to interpreting the data. For instance, during the self-study, the faculty participants maybe have belt pressure to acknowledge and acceptance the existence of the problem and make drastic changes to the curriculum to address the problem. Also, because only internal materials from a single college of education were used, the findings may not be broadly applicable to other colleges and universities.

  • Bair, M.A. & Mader, C.E. (2013). Academic writing at the graduate level: improving the curriculum through faculty collaboration. Journal of University Teach and Learning Practice, 10(1), 1-13.