METACOGNITION AND DISCIPLINES - (2/7)

While thinking may not always be expressed in writing, writing is always an expression of thinking. In fact, writing instruction specialists contend that writing is thinking. Therefore, when you write for a specific discipline- assuming you already know the basic rules of sentence structure, syntax, grammar - you are thinking critically in a specific discipline.

Toulmin, Reike, and Janik offer a particularly useful model of crossdisciplinary reasoning and writing.

  1. All scholarship states a claim of some kind: a hypothesis, a thesis, a solution or a resolution.
  2. Scholarship presents data related to that claim as factual evidence that may take the form of
  3. Scholarship makes a warrant - that is, as persauasive an argument as possible that the data justify the claim and/or make this claim superior to competing claims.
This claim-data-warrant model is simple enough to understand and should help us realize the need to include all three elements in every piece of formal writing we do.
It also gives us an easy-to-use framework for evaluating scholarly, rhetorical, and exposistory writing in general (Neel).
However, this crossdisciplinary common ground does not extend very far. The disciplines diverge on the language used, the placement of these elements in relation to each other, the forms of data considered respectable, the standards for an acceptable warrant (Walvoord and McCarthy).
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