Date of Award

Spring 2021

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Christina Ortmeier-Hooper

Second Advisor

Cristy Beemer

Third Advisor

Alecia Magnifico


Building on the work of Eodice, Geller, and Lerner and other Composition and Higher Education scholars, my dissertation examines what factors create a meaningful research writing experience. Specifically, this study explores two research questions: 1) How do advanced-level student writers define themselves as writers who use research? 2) How do those identities influence how they understand and utilize research writing concepts? I pursued these questions through a year-long, IRB-approved, qualitative study of junior and senior university students across the disciplines, including English, Neuroscience, and Computer Engineering. Using surveys and interviews, I asked them about meaningful research writing they have done in college and what made those experiences meaningful for them. The study results suggested that an undergraduate’s relationship with their research mentor and their perception of seeing research writing as a one-dimensional practice tended to complicate their attempts to develop an identity as a research writer and how they might utilize information literacy practices in the future. I argue for writing instructors across the disciplines to reconsider how their writing curricula aid students in understanding the major practices of their discipline and the ways students could use those practices after college. Such considerations are vital for writing faculty across the disciplines so we can help our students to better understand what it means to be a professional in our fields and see the relevance of doing research writing across the disciplines.