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Chapter5Discipline-Specific Writing

In the previous chapters, we have discussed general traits of all (or most?) academic writing and all academic writing processes. But, as you will no doubt notice, there are some significant differences between writing in different disciplines. It may sometimes seem like faculty members just want you to keep changing your writing to fit their individual preferences. While we all have our own preferences, faculty members also are trained specialists within their own disciplinary backgrounds, and part of their job is to teach you about those disciplinary backgrounds—including the writing conventions of those disciplines.

To help you navigate the discipline-specific writing conventions you encounter in your courses, we have consulted with faculty in departments at Puget Sound. Based on our conversations with them, we have compiled the following guidelines. Try using these guidelines when you write your next paper; you may find that that seemingly quirky assignment makes more sense than you initially thought!

Unless otherwise indicated, all quotes come from faculty members in the department interviews that inform the advice given here.