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Writing About Writing (WAW) for WRI 1/10

Library resources and perspectives for Writing about Writing (WAW)


There are numerous genres in academic writing but perhaps the best-known is the scholarly journal article. A scholarly journal article has familiar elements. An awareness of these elements can help you read and understand these texts.

Scientific research articles include original studies and review articles that contribute to the current scholarship on a given topic. 

The table below describes the components of scholarly articles in the Social Sciences and Physical Sciences. The majority of articles in these disciplines will have the sections listed below.

Abstract Brief summary of the article, including research question, methodology and results.
Introduction Background information about the topic, leading up to why this study is being done, and may include a brief literature review.
Methods Description of how the study procedures, set-up and how data was collected.
Results/Findings Presentation of the data from the study. This section often includes tables, charts, or other visualizations of the data.
Discussion Analysis of the data and how the study relates to existing knowledge of the topic. The authors evaluate whether their results answer their research question. 
Conclusion The authors wrap up the article by discussion how their study contributes to the research on this topic and outline future  potential research questions or studies. 
References List of resources that the authors consulted when developing their research and subsequently cited in their article.

Scholarly articles in the Arts and Humanities are set up differently than in the Sciences. Articles may read more like essays, rather than reports on scientific experiments. 

In the Humanities, scholars are not conducting experiments on participants but rather are making logical arguments based on the evidence they have researched and analyzed.

In literature, for example, a scholar may be studying a particular novel of an author. In history, a scholar may look at the primary source documents from the time period they are studying.

The following sections are generally included in humanities scholarly articles, although they may not be clearly marked or labeled. 

Abstract A summary of the research provided at the beginning of the article, although sometimes articles do not have an abstract. 
Introduction Provides background information for the topic being studied. The article's thesis will be found in the introduction, and may also include a brief literature review.
Discussion/Conclusion The discussion likely runs through the entire article and is the main component of the article providing analysis, criticism, etc.The conclusion wraps up the article; both sections usually are not labeled. 
Works Cited List of sources cited in the article by the author(s).

"Peer Review in 3 Minutes" describes the process for scholarly article publication. (3:!5)


  1. What is the quality test called for scholarly articles?
  2. To whom do peer reviewers submit the article they reviewed?
  3. Who is most likely to subscribe to academic journals?

This video discusses how scholarly articles are constructed and provides a reading strategy. (3:12)


  1. What three areas does the narrator suggest you read first?
  2. Why are references useful to scan?
  3. What kind of credentials are often associated with authors of scholarly articles?
  4. What kinds of questions can you ask yourself as you read?


The QVCC Library video refers to NCSU Libraries Interactive Tutorial.


Public Service Announcements (PSAs)

To find resources about public service announcements, consider the following search strategies, search terms, and suggested databases.

Search Strategies

Join similar terms with OR. fitness OR "physical activity"

Join dissimilar terms with AND. "public service campaign" AND fitness

Use double quotes around two or more words to search for a specific phrase. e.g. "public service announcement"

Use a truncation symbol at the end of a word to bring up different forms of that word.  e.g. prevent* will bring up prevent, prevents, prevention

Search Terms

What might be other terms or phrases to use your searches that might be related to public service announcements?

"public service announcement" OR "public service advertising" OR "public service campaign"

Broader terms might be useful.

campaign OR "media campaign"

You may also be able to pair these phrases with a specific issue being addressed with the PSA.

"media campaign" AND prevent* AND vaping

campaign AND anti-bullying

campaign AND promot* AND exercise

"public service announcement*" AND "water use"

Remember that you may also be doing research on parents, children, and technology as part of this project.  Not all of your research may involve specifically looking for information on public service announcements.  You may find that you generate other keywords and searches than the ones suggested above.

View sample PSAs to determine elements of this genre.

Immunizations Public Service Announcement (00:47)

from Ohio State Medical Health Association

2020 Census PSA: Census Made Simple -- includes five Census PSAs rolled into one (2:17)

from U.S. Census Bureau

Cyberbullying (1:23)

from Australia

60 Seconds of Health PSA: Prescription Drug Abuse

from Purdue University/Health and Human Sciences

Literacy Narratives

Workplace Writing

Rhetorical Analysis

Intro to Rhetorical Analysis (Prof Wood Teaches English) 4:33

Defines analysis and rhetoric. Illustrates differences between summary, argument, and analysis.


How to Use Rhetoric to Get What You Want – TED-Ed (4:30)

Reviews available means of persuasion and Aristotle's three persuasive appeals (starting at 1:41) of ethos, logos, and pathos.