Angst About Academic Writing: Graduate Students At The Brink

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Barbara Holmes
Theresa Waterbury
Eric Baltrinic
Arielle Davis


Writing Anxiety; Graduate Student Writing; Writing Angst


This paper offers some insights into the anxieties graduate students bring into the classroom about academic or technical writing. In this qualitative study, a focus group of graduate students was utilized to describe the specific negative feelings, attitudes and experiences held about writing. Findings suggest that students were able to identify three main reasons or causes of writing anxiety: (1) lack of confidence in writing ability (2) lack of time to devote to writing activities and (3) lack of skills in utilizing scholarly resources. Participants also suggest that colleges and universities take more proactive steps in implementing strategies early in the matriculation process to support graduate students in acquiring writing competency. This exploration suggests that there is still much to be learned from graduate students about what colleges and universities can do to improve writing literacy, help graduate students acquire writing self-efficacy and create a culture of writing expectations.


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