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Source-based Writing: A Community Approach at Rivier University

Strategies for Students

  • Consider why sources are valued in writing—what job do they perform for you?
  • Consider your honor and worth as a person capable of thinking on your own, in conversation with sources.
  • Budget your time to make learning citation a manageable task.
  • Read LB Brief, your style handbook purchased in ENG 115, and review sections on Documentation.
  • Bring questionable sources to your teacher for clarification.
  • Ask to draft/revise citation errors based on instructor feedback.
  • Develop a long-term, working relationship with a teacher in regard to your writing, and seek his/her help.
  • Develop a long-term, working relationship with a particular tutor; seek tutorial assistance at the Writing Center.
  • See http://www.rivier.edu/academics.aspx?menu=115&id=1251 , our Writing Center’s "Strategies for Responsible Writers."
  • Seek help from a competent Junior or Senior, or an exemplary writer in your current course.

 Strategies for Instructors

  • Adopt the writing handbook, LB Brief, purchased by students in ENG 115, and use it with students.
  • Conduct two 15-minute mini-lessons on integrating source quotations according to your discipline’s preferred citation system.
  • Make model essays available.
  • Give collaborative groups the opportunity to teach the rest of the class some dimension of source-based writing.
  • Discuss citation and source uses in light of your own professional identity and history—what have you learned?  Why do you value the use of sources (academic dialogue; establishment of authority; act of persuasion, etc.).
  • Design “closed” assignments that specify particular source uses, and gradually “open” the field.
  • Think about source-based writing as a growing competency, and offer some controlled opportunities for such prose early in the semester.
  • Identify weak performers early on and conference/refer to the Writing Center; inquire if they’ve transferred into Rivier University (they may not have had ENG 115).
  • Review with students what you know they’ve learned in ENG 115, courses intensely focused on writing in response to readings:  source-based assignments using MLA documentation.
  • Include a clear statement on plagiarism in your syllabus.

 Strategies for Departments/Divisions 

  • Decide the importance which source-based writing has in your program(s) and in what courses it should occur.  Scan lower level courses with the realization that they must incorporate some source-based writing in order to prepare for upper-level competence.
  • Discuss the level and degree of source uses in various courses, at various levels.  What are the standards for A work?  What concrete features differentiate levels?
  • Conduct sampling assessments in such courses as a department—evaluate student success with source-based writing, and make any necessary modifications to curriculum and instruction.


Want to learn more about the history of citation and rhetorical approaches to its instruction?


Connors, Robert J.  “The Rhetoric of Citation Systems-Part One: The Development of Annotation Structures from the Renaissance to1900.”  Rhetoric Review 17.1 (1998): 6-48.

---.  “The Rhetoric of Citation Systems-Part Two: Competing Epistemic Values in Citation.”  Rhetoric Review 17.2 (1999):  219-245.                                                                               

Rose, Shirley K.  "The Role of Scholarly Citations in Disciplinary Economies." Perspectives on Plagiarism and Intellectual Property in a Postmodern World. Ed. Alice Roy and Lise Buranen. Albany, NY: SUNY P, 1999. 241-252.

---.  "What's Love Got to do With It? Scholarly Citation Practices as Courtship Rituals." Language and Learning Across the Curriculum 1.3 (August 1996): 34-48.

Mcleod, Susan.  "Responding to Plagiarism: The Role of the WPA."  WPA: Writing Program Administration 16 (1992): 1-10.



Questions?  Additional ideas to share?  Please contact the program Director, Tim Doherty, at tdoherty@rivier.edu, or 603-897-8483.










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Rob Keplin ('09) & Tim Doherty