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Articles on Writing Across the Curriculum—Economics

Listed below are articles on this topic from the Campus Writing Program library. Short summaries and citations are provided when available.


Abdalla, Adil E. A. "A Country Report Project for an International Economics Class." Journal of Economic Education 24.3 (1993): 231- 236.

Describes a semester-long, multi-part writing project used in an international economics class. At the beginning of the semester, each student in course is assigned a country. The student must research the economy of that country, using all sources available, and write a report of that country. Revision is required after receiving the professor's feedback; peer review is also included. Students use country reports and information about economic theories learned in class to write a term paper at end of semester. The goal is to enable students to use theories to understand real-world phenomena, to deal with inconsistent or incomplete data, and to research an ill-defined topic.

Cohen, Avi, and John Spencer. "Using Writing Across the Curriculum in Economics: Is Taking the Plunge Worth It?" Journal of Economic Education 24.3 (1993): 219-230.

After outlining some principles of WAC, Cohen and Spencer describe how a traditional economics course was revised to include writing assignments. Assignments varied in length and complexity. They argue that the revision of the course produced students that think more like economists, and that the imagined disadvantages were not as bad as originally expected.

Davidson, Lawrence S. and Elisabeth C. Gumnior. "Writing to Learn in a Business Economics Class." Journal of Economic Education 24.3 (Summer 1993): 237-243.

Describes a course in Indiana University's Business School that incorporated write-to-learn assignments. Each student was assigned a country, and had to research and write on a topic from the perspective of that country. Assignments were recursive, and included feedback and revision. They argue that writing assignments made students more interactive, forced them to spend more time on task, and gave them a more accurate sense of what economics is.

Goldfeld, Stephen M. "Scribblings on Writing in Economics." Writer's Craft, Teacher's Art: Teaching What We Know. Ed. Mimi Schwartz. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 1991. 161-169.

Discusses the importance of good technical writing among economists. States that writing, particularly writing that occurs early in the research process, can serve a discovery function. Describes advice he gives to graduate students writing dissertations in economics, and the experiences of undergraduates writing senior honors papers.

Hansen, W. Lee. "Teaching a Writing Intensive Course in Economics." Journal of Economic Education 24.3 (1993): 213-218.

Describes an upper-level writing-intensive course taught in Economics by an economist. Hansen describes the types and scope of assignments, the means of evaluation, and the responses of the students. He concludes that the students learned as much as they would in a traditional course, but learned it in a different way; and that writing intensive courses may meet majors' needs better than traditional courses.

Henry, Louis H. "Clustering: Writing (and Learning) about Economics." College Teaching, 34.3 (1986): 89-93.

Argues for the use of "expressive" writing--writing to learn, for oneself rather than for others--as a learning tool in economics classes. Describes a clustering technique that is used as a prewriting and memory-priming exercise. Argues that clustering is a right-brain exercise, which supplements understanding of left-brain concepts.

Petr, Jerry L. "Student Writing as a Guide to Student Thinking." No citation. 127-140.

Argues for the use of writing assignments as a mode of learning and evaluation in economics classes. Discusses the following types of writing and how they can be used in economics courses: journals, problem sets and data interpretation, editorial cartoon analysis, essay exams.

Thoma, George A. "The Perry Framework and Tactics for Teaching Critical Thinking in Economics." Journal of Economic Education 42 (1993): 128-136.

Offers strategies for nudging student development within the Perry scheme of intellectual development. The underlying principles for these strategies rest in Craig Nelson's work on transitioning between different modes of thinking.

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