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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).

Rhetortical 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)
  • Guide to Grammar and Writing. Lots of guidance and practice for improving your grammar and sentence style and becoming a better editor. Use the Index to look up particular problem areas—such as the use of Dashes, or Rules for Commas.
  • The Writer’s Diet Test: Digital tool that helps writers visualize their sentences. 

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 and select Presentation Consultant from the “Limit To” drop-down menu at the top of the page.