Unlike conventional North American “first-year composition” programs – which often adopt a generic and decontextualized approach to teaching academic writing, with limited transferability to other courses – ASRW courses have been designed to use an innovative pedagogical approach, which views academic writing as a highly situated response to specific contextual (e.g., cultural, epistemological, interpersonal) demands.
As such, ASRW students ideally learn to recognize (and increasingly understand) the diverse contexts in which they are called upon to write, and to recognize both the form and function of the various genres they need to produce in those contexts.
ASRW’s approach is based chiefly on genre theory but it also draws variously on scholarship from the fields of “writing in the disciplines,” “writing across the disciplines” and English for Academic Purposes.
ASRW courses place an emphasis on professional research genres, as exemplified in peer-reviewed scholarly publications – particularly the research article.
In 2014, External Reviewers praised ASRW’s pedagogical approach, noting: “Although the genre-based approach at the heart of ASRW work is slowly gaining ground in higher education globally, we know of no institution where it has been so thoughtfully and thoroughly implemented in curriculum and practice” (Paré, Johns, & Chapman, 2014).