Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in English Composition




This thesis aims to show ways in which research assignments vary, despite the oft-held assumption that these assignments are fundamentally the same, regardless of discipline. for this purpose, research assignments were collected from insructors at one community college. These assignments were analyzed in terms of the following six dimensions: assignment title; topic selection; purpose; approach; format; and source requirements. The assignments were then examined for patterns in their variations across the disciplines, and across instructors within the same discipline. The findings reveal variation along each of the six dimensions. Assignment titles were perhaps the most variable; in fact, in many cases the terms identifying the assigments as research-oriented were not used. Topic selection was often left to the student, with very little guidance from the instructor. Formatting and documentation instructions were consistent, often placing more emphasis on correctly formatting sources and less on the overall style of the paper.