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Composition Studies

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What is Composition Studies?
As a discipline, Composition Studies focuses on scholarly inquiry and teaching related to rhetoric, composition, professional and technical writing, writing center studies, writing across the curriculum, and writing assessment.
Browsing the Bookstacks
The Library of Congress Classification System arranges books by Subject, so browsing the shelves in Reference (3000 Level, Booth Library) or in the Bookstacks (1000 Level North, Booth Library) in these call number areas will introduce you to the collection in Composition Studies and Rhetoric.
  • PE 1481-PE 1497
Recommended websites

Bedford Bibliography for Teachers of Writing
essential, highly praised resource; updated to reflect current research and expanding specializations in composition and rhetoric--such as digital writing and visual rhetoric and business and technical communication; includes an annotated list of over 860 articles, periodicals, and online resources.  An introductory section also provides a brief historical overview of these fields.

an inventory of publications in writing studies, including post-secondary composition, rhetoric, technical writing, ESL, and discourse analysis.

Council of Editors of Learned Journals (CELJ)
Associated with the Modern Language Association, the Council discusses issues of concern to writers and editors: funding, peer reviewing, plagiarism, property rights, copy editing, etc.

Council of Writing Program Administrators
The Council of Writing Program Administrators is a national association of college and university faculty with professional responsibilities for (or interests in) directing writing programs. Members include directors of freshman composition, undergraduate writing, WAC/WID/CAC, and writing centers, as well as department chairs, division heads, deans, and so on.

EServer Technical Communication Library
The EServer Technical Communication Library is a free, open-access, categorized index of 22,247 works available online for professional, scientific and technical communicators (such as technical writers) designed individuals who share the same special interests or who have similar jobs, i.e., Assembly on Computers in English.

WAC Clearinghouse
The WAC Clearinghouse, in partnership with the International Network of Writing Across the Curriculum Programs, publishes open-access journals, books, and other resources for teachers who use writing in their courses
Finding Journal Articles
There are several indexes that will help you find articles on teaching writing, composition, rhetoric and related topics:
  • ERIC/EBSCO Includes Peer Reviewed Content
    Topics: Largest Education Database | Articles | Documents and Reports | Pre-K-12 Education | Postsecondary Education | Continuing Education | Special Education | ELL | Counseling
  • Professional Development Collection Includes Peer Reviewed Content
    Topics: Highly Specialized Collection | Pre-K-12 Education | Postsecondary Education | Continuing Education | Special Education | ELL | Counseling
  • Communication & Mass Media Complete Includes Peer Reviewed Content
    Indexing for journals in all areas related to communication studies and mass media. CMMC offers full text for 350 titles and contains citation coverage for additional 660 sources.
  • MLA International Bibliography Includes Peer Reviewed Content
    Topics: Criticism of Authors & Their Works | Fiction | Short Stories | Drama | Poetry | Rhetoric & Composition | Literary Theory | History, Theory and Practice of Teaching Language and Literature | Includes Indexing for Book Chapters and Dissertations in the Discipline
  • Project Muse Includes Peer Reviewed Content
    Topics: Literature and Criticism | History | Visual and Performing Arts | Theater | Cultural Studies | Education | Philosophy | Religion | Political Science | Gender Studies | Social Sciences
  • JSTOR Includes Peer Reviewed Content
    Topics: Broad Range of Disciplines in the Humanities, Social Sciences & Field Sciences
MLA International Bibliography
There are always journals that Booth Library does not subscribe to like Assessing Writing, Writing Center Journal, Writing on the Edge, WLN: A Journal of Writing Center Scholarship and WPA: Writing Program Administration, but, using the MLA International Bibliography, you can identify articles you need to read and request them through Interlibrary Loan.

Type in the journal name and choose SO Journal Title to see a list of articles in that journal.

Click on Get Fulltext to access an Interlibrary Loan Form

Fill out the required fields and click on submit
Finding Books
Search for books in the EIU Online Catalog by author, title, keyword or subject.

The sample search below is searching for the Library of Congress subject heading associated with books about the study and teaching of English language composition, sometimes referred to as Rhetoric.  After searching, look to the right of the screen to see Topics and Subject Area terms that may suggest ways to search for related materials.

Some Recent Titles

Creative writing pedagogies for the twenty-first century
Drawing primarily from the field of composition studies—a discipline rich with a wide range of established pedagogies—the contributors in this volume build on previous models to present fresh and inventive methods for the teaching of creative writing.
Available online

Securing a place for reading in composition : the importance of teaching for transfer
Securing a Place for Reading in Composition addresses the dissonance between the need to prepare students to read, not just write, complex texts and the lack of recent scholarship on reading-writing connections
LB1575.8 .C37 2015
Shelved At Book Stacks J-L 2000 Level

Teaching arguments : rhetorical comprehension, critique, and response
The author provides teachers with engaging classroom activities, writing prompts, graphic organizers, and student samples to help students at all levels read, write, listen, speak, and think rhetorically. With appropriate scaffolding and encouragement, all students can learn a rhetorical approach to argument and gain access to rigorous academic content.
P301.5.P47 F54 2015
Shelved At Book Stacks  P-Z 1000 Level

Assignments across the curriculum : a national study of college writing
Analyzes the rhetorical features and genres of writing assignments through the writing-to-learn and writing-in-the-disciplines perspectives.
PE1404 .M448 2014
Shelved At Book Stacks P-Z 1000 Level


Subject Specialist
   Karen Whisler
   Subject Bibliographer for English

Reference Desk 217-581-6072
Email the Reference Desk