What is the Meaningful Writing Project?

You can contribute to our ongoing project by telling us about your most meaningful writing experience as an undergraduate student. Take the IRB-approved survey here or go to the Participate page on this site.


Michele Eodice, Anne Ellen Geller, & Neal Lerner launched the project, “Seniors Reflect on Their Meaningful Writing Experiences: A Cross-Institutional Study,” in 2011 with support from the Conference on College Composition and Communication Research Initiative Grant. The project was one of only 3 recipients of the grant for 2010–2011.

We hoped that by asking seniors at three very different institutions — a private, urban Catholic university (undergraduate enrollment: 14,000); a private, urban university known for experiential learning (undergraduate enrollment: 15,600); and a public research extensive institution (undergraduate enrollment: 20,000) —  to self-report their meaningful writing experiences, we would be able to describe a range of assignments college students have actually been asked to complete, describe how students navigate the expectations of writing assignments across the disciplines, and explore the experiences, beliefs, and aspirations students bring to their writing and learning.

The first stage of this project conducted during spring 2012 focused only on seniors (N= 707) at these institutions and included a survey and interviews conducted by undergraduate research teams. Across the following year we surveyed faculty and undergraduate research teams interviewed faculty. In the third data collection stage of this project, we distributed a revised Meaningful Writing Project survey to seniors in the class of 2021 at the same three institutions.

See Researchers for everyone who has contributed to this project (including graduate and undergraduate researchers).

See Findings for what we have learned — and are continuing to learn — from our ongoing study of students’ meaningful writing experiences.

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