ERIC Number: ED347547
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Jun-12
Reference Count: N/A
The Write Stuff: On the Relation between Composition Studies and Psychology.
Composition studies is a plausible choice for a "potentially liberating influence" for psychology, because it offers a useful place from which to think about and critique the writing practices of the psychology discipline. One area in which psychology can learn from composition is audience. Writing guides for psychologists tend to speak of mental constructs rather than real audiences. A second area in which psychology can learn from composition is genre. The empirical report seems to be the official genre of psychology but, in fact, the range of genres in psychology is much greater, and includes monographs; books of all kinds; book reviews; biographies; case studies; unpublished genres such as conference papers; and "feminized" genres such as letters, essays, and narratives. What psychologists can learn is that writers tend to use, mix, adapt, and invent genres according to their particular rhetorical situations. Another aspect of writing to consider is style. According to the American Psychological Association (APA) Manual, clarity is a very important feature, and this suggests that ideas and language are two completely different things. Actually, people in composition studies would say that thought and language are, at the very least, interdependent. These critiques of the writing practices of psychology have strong implications for the teaching of psychology, which include having students write to and for real readers, having them write in a wide range of genres, and teaching style as a set of rhetorical practices rather than rules. (PRA)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Composition Theory; Writing Contexts; Writing Style
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Psychological Association (Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, June 12, 1992).