Engaging Graduate Students throughout the Research Writing Process


  • Regina Chanel Rodriguez West Texas A&M University
  • Bryant Griffith Texas A&M Corpus Christi
  • Lucinda M. Juarez University of Texas-San Antonio


Research Writing, Writing Process, Graduate Courses, Research, Education


The purpose of this article is to encourage graduate students and committee members to examine how they approach research writing, and whether or not their approach propels or hinders graduate candidates from moving forward in their research.   We reflect on our experiences as PhD candidates and a graduate research committee chair in order to spark a discussion about the value of the research writing process and how that process should incorporate best practices in order to allow graduate candidates to explore questions in their field without having to fear perfection or judgment along the way.  We explore themes that were created after collecting and analyzing data on a professional songwriter’s process and how those themes are applicable to the completion of graduate-level research.  After reflecting on the research and the process of writing up research, we created five pointers that can be applied to graduate research writing (A) low-stakes writing is an integral part of the process, (B) trust is vital, (C) co-writes/collaborative creativity and conversation drive the process forward, (D) take small risks, and (E) know the genre.   Writing is possibly the single most important skill a graduate candidate will have to develop and refine during his/her program.  Taking highly effective writing strategies and applying them to graduate level programs could prove to be beneficial to all parties involved.

Author Biographies

Regina Chanel Rodriguez, West Texas A&M University

Chanel is a 2014 graduate of the PhD program of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.  She is also a 2012 graduate of the Writing Project’s Summer Institute where she completed her National Writing Project Teacher Consultant training.  She is currently an assistant professor at a West Texas A&M University where she teaches K-8 Methods to pre-service teachers and graduate research courses.  In her dissertation titled A Professional Songwriter’s Approach to Writing, she observed and analyzed the process of one professional songwriter and discovered how the process of one creative writer could help her write her own dissertation.

Bryant Griffith, Texas A&M Corpus Christi

Bryant has a PhD in Educational Theory from The University of Toronto. He is a Regents Professor in The College of Education at Texas A&M  University-Corpus Christi, and teaches in the PhD program. He has written widely nationally and internationally on topics in curriculum and philosophy of education.

Lucinda M. Juarez, University of Texas-San Antonio

Lucinda is a 2014 graduate of the PhD program at a regional state university. She is also a graduate of the Writing Project’s Summer Institute where she completed her National Writing Project Teacher Consultant training.  She is currently a Research Associate/Grant Writer at a Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, and also serves as a Write for Texas Instructional Coach mentoring 6th-12th grade teachers by helping them improve their teaching of writing across the curriculum in the content areas.  In her dissertation titled Transforming Literacy Instruction:  Exploring Pre-Service Teachers Integration of Tablet Technology in Reading, Comprehension and Writing, she explored how pre-service teachers co-collaborated with their own students to research and write using electronic tablets (Juarez, 2014).