Learning Objectives for Writers

By the end of four years at Bates, and after completing the W1-W2-W3 requirement, students should have mastery or working knowledge of most, if not all, of these writing-related skills:


1. Understand the kinds of questions scholars ask in pursuit of different kinds of discovery (analytic, creative, or scientific inquiry, for example)
2. Craft questions worthy of inquiry
3. Respond to texts critically and thoughtfully
4. Identify an audience for an assignment
5. Understand that purpose and audience will shape the way they present their ideas
6. Ultimately, recognize that writing, thinking, and research are ongoing processes and become accustomed to rethinking and deepening their ideas

1. Think about the ongoing conversation their work is entering and the way in which they enter that conversation
2. Recognize when argument is the appropriate mode for a particular project and what alternative options and genres exist
3. Understand alternative terms used for “argument” and “thesis” within certain disciplines and genres (such as “problem,” “hypothesis,” or  “creative concept”)
4. Develop a question or position, articulated as a thesis statement or guiding idea
5. Use evidence to test, support, and advance an argument

1. Read and evaluate sources critically to understand a text’s argument and to formulate their own position about that argument
2. Understand the different types of evidence recognized as authoritative by various disciplines
3. Integrate their own ideas and work (such as experiments or field research) with the ideas and words of others in the field
4. Choose appropriate sources to support their own arguments, both print sources and sources in other media
5. Understand the value of fairly presenting and acknowledging support for an opposing viewpoint
6. Acknowledge and articulate the limitations of evidence

Research Skills:
7. Use time efficiently while researching
8. Mine sources for further evidence
9. Have a command of larger research horizons (interlibrary loan or field research, for example)


1. Understand that thinking must be organized in order to communicate effectively with an audience
2. Be able to identify different organizational patterns, recognize the way in which their choice of organizational pattern is informed by purpose and audience, and draw upon these patterns as models for their writing
3. Understand the ways in which various components of organization (such as introductions, conclusions, paragraphs, transitions, and disciplinary-specific sections) guide the reader and strengthen an argument or main point

Style and Conventions
1. Appreciate the careful crafting of language, whether in traditional academic style or in creative expression
2. Understand that different disciplines have different stylistic conventions and understand the rationale behind the different conventions
3. Become more adept at presenting ideas in a variety of modes, such as academic papers, oral presentations, and online and other media, and understand the strengths and limitations of these modes
4. Be aware of their audience’s conventional expectations (vocabulary, diction, style, citations, etc.) for a particular project
5. Understand proper ways to reference and acknowledge others’ work
6. Become more facile with concision, fluency, and variety of sentence structure
7. Acquire self-editing skills that improve writing’s clarity
8. Understand common conventions of punctuation, grammar, and mechanics