Research Mentoring: Expanding the Role of Writing Tutors


Fall 1994: Carolyn, a writing center tutor in a New England college, is working with a first-year student to revise a rough draft of his research-based argument paper. She notices a fundamental problem. While the student has the sufficient number of references, the sources are inappropriate for the writing task. What began as a typical writing tutorial now morphs into a personalized library instruction session, requiring the tutor to reposition herself as a guide through the research stage of the writing process.

Fall 2012: Almost two decades later, Carolyn is a reference and instruction librarian at the University of New Hampshire at Manchester (UNHM). Students bring to her library instructional sessions only vague understandings of why or how to evaluate their sources, just as they did when she tutored. Carolyn knows that good writing depends upon good research. She believes that, unless they are educated, students run the risk of producing fundamentally flawed arguments based on erroneous, inaccurate, or biased information. Her intervention is even more critical than it was in the past because electronic availability has dropped students into a sea of information they are often ill-equipped to navigate.

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Writing Lab Newsletter


International Writing Centers Association

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