Writing and Learning in View of the Lab: Why "They" Might be Right

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To interrogate the field’s current understanding of writing as central to learning in the sciences, this study offers results from a qualitative, emic study of college students and their scientist mentors at work in an NSF-sponsored Research Experience for Undergraduates. I observed that the work of this professional research laboratory mainly recruited and developed literacies, such as manual dexterity and visual acuity, other than language-based ones. Describing here the various laboratory activities that fostered higher-order thinking and knowledge transformation, I conclude that “writing to learn” research must consider how writing fits in with an ever-developing understanding of the complexity of learning.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-18
JournalLiteracy in Composition Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013


  • writing
  • learning
  • science
  • undergraduate education
  • laboratory research


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