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FYS Resources

The First-Year Seminar introduces students to essential elements of academic thought and culture: critical inquiry, rhetorical knowledge, writing and revision, and knowledge of conventions.

Teaching with The Craft of Research

All First-Year Seminars at Washington College use The Craft of Research as a common text. If you are teaching in the FYS program, the links and handouts below offer ideas about how to incorporate the text into your own class plan.

FYS Goals and Requirements

Teaching with The Craft of Research

Thinking Like a Researcher 

Craft of Research Teaching Activity 1: Engaging Sources

Craft of Research Teaching Activity 2: Thinking Like a Reader (Peer Review)


We also recommend the following online resources as you consider ways of helping students make effective rhetorical choices in their writing. 

Critical Inquiry: Research and Citation

  • Reading: The Craft of Research: Part I (Research, Researchers, and Readers) and Part II (Asking Questions, Finding Answers).
  • Miller Library Research Guide. A good resource to consult before and after your visit to the library at Washington College.
  • Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab). A trusted source for guidance on conducting research and using appropriate citation style (APA, MLA, CMS, AMA).

Rhetorical Knowledge: Argumentation

Writing Process: Composition, Revision

  • Reading: The Craft of Research: Part IV (Writing Your Argument)
  • The Writing Center: A great place to anticipate your readers’ responses with real readers. Make an appointment for any stage of the writing process, from initial ideas (and no writing) to rough draft to editing a final draft.
  •  Purdue OWL: See this section on the Writing Process, including outlining and developing thesis statements.

Conventions: Grammar, Style

  • Reading: The Craft of Research: Part IV (Writing Your Argument)
  • Purdue Owl's Guide to Grammar
  • The Academic Phrasebank: a general resource for academic writers that provides examples and templates of academic phrases and sentences to help you vary your language. 
  • Analyze My Writing: an online tool that lets you copy and paste segments of your text to receive a free analysis of your writing style, readability, and lexical density. It will also check for redundant words.

Publication: Emulation, Presentation

  • Washington College Review. Our own WCR, publishing student work from our Writing Program, includes the Critical Inquiry section that features writing from the FYS (W1 requirement). Take a look at strong writing from recent FYS courses and consider submitting to the WCR in the future.
  • For help with the oral presentation of your work, The Writing Center offers additional guidance developing, designing, and delivering presentations. To make an appointment, log in to the Writing Center’s online schedule.