Ed Nagelhout

Writing and professional apprenticeship: Case studies of biology graduate students’ entry into the scientific community

Edwin R. Nagelhout

  • School: Purdue University (0183)
  • Degree: Ph.D.
  • Date: 1996 pp: 278
  • Advisor: Weiser, Irwin
  • Source: DAI-A 57/07, p. 3005, Jan 1997
  • Subjects: Language, Rhetoric And Composition (0681); Education, Language And Literature (0279); Education, Higher (0745)
  • ProQuest Document Number: 304265363
  • ISBN: 0-591-03980-X
  • UMI Number: AAT 9638209


    Studies of professional, disciplinary communication focus primarily on writing for disciplinary communities. How professionals acquire an understanding of community values, however, has not been fully addressed. To understand more clearly the roles writing plays in professional development, research must examine how writers come to know the standards for discursive access within a myriad of disciplinary sites. This multiple-case study of biology graduate students examines how writing affects their process of becoming biologists from three perspectives: initiation of document production, authorship, and gaining access to a scientific discourse community. The study focuses on how master/apprentice relationships, power, and discourse communities function in professional writing situations, using written documents, on-site observations, field notes, and open-ended, structured, and discourse-based interviews. Because discursive practices are at the heart of professional disciplinary communication, it is important to study the role writing plays in the creation of knowledge in all disciplines. This research sought to create in-depth stories about the writing processes of five biology graduate students; thus, the study further helps to characterize writing’s roles within and across professions.