Literacy in the Discipline Comparison

Educators can use the table below to better understand literacy in their discipline. To make the table more accessible, we identified content areas commonly taught in middle and high school and categorized them under the different disciplines. Then, we compared what each discipline reads, what they write about, and what their research looks like. From this comparison, it is clear how different our work is.

We should use ideas from this table, our own knowledge of our disciplines, and the Common Core State Standards to guide the disciplinary literacy skills we teach. Disciplinary orientation is achieved when students enter a classroom understanding how to read, think, write, and speak based on the title of the course. They should be able to articulate what the discipline cares about, what it expects from its members, and what the academic work looks like.

Share
TA (Teacher Assistant)
Teach Common Core with confidence and get your students ready for the new national standards.
Disciplinary Categories
Humanities
Business and Technology
Behavioral and Social Science
Life and Physical Sciences
Visual and Performing Arts
Mathematics and Engineering
Content Area

A few content areas that can be categorized under the discipline

  • English
  • Gender Studies
  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Social Studies
  • World Languages
  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Multi-Media
  • Technology in the Workplace
  • Anthropology
  • Criminology
  • Geography
  • Government
  • Economics
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Astronomy
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Earth Science
  • Life Science
  • Physics
  • Art
  • Drama
  • Music
  • Algebra
  • Calculus
  • Engineering
  • Geometry
  • Statistics
  • Trigonometry
What the Discipline
Reads

Common primary and secondary texts read in the discipline.

  • Auto/Biographies
  • Historical fiction
  • Memoirs
  • Arguments
  • Fiction
  • Poetry
  • Historical documents
  • Speeches
  • Maps
  • Graphics (tables and charts)
  • Visuals (photographs and various works of art)
  • Film
  • Email
  • Blogs
  • Case studies
  • Newspapers
  • Websites
  • Instructional manuals
  • Business reports
  • Business plan
  • Autobiographies
  • Biographies
  • Arguments
  • Historical documents
  • Case studies
  • Newspapers
  • Documentaries
  • Law journals
  • Court documents
  • Scientific journals
  • Speeches
  • Graphics (tables and charts)
  • Visuals (photographs and works of art)
  • Political cartoons
  • Scientific journals
  • Labs
  • Arguments
  • Textbooks
  • Research studies
  • Diagrams
  • Grant proposals
  • Demonstrations and experiments
  • Modern science articles
  • Graphics (tables and charts)
  • Art theory
  • Sample works
  • Critical review or commentary
  • Art jounals
  • Visuals
  • Textbooks
  • Equations
  • Steps to solve a math problem
  • Test questions on exams
  • Graphics (charts, tables, and graphs)
  • Word problems
What the Discipline
Writes

Common writing types and assignments produced in the discipline.

  • Summarize main ideas and events
  • Investigate relationships like cause and effect and problem and solution
  • Literary Analysis
  • Write book reviews (different than reports) See Purdue OWL Lab
  • Response Papers (These focus on personal response)
  • Analyze arguments (Claims, evidence, structure, and author’s purpose)
  • Write original arguments
  • Email
  • Business reports/models with data
  • Business plans
  • Business proposals
  • Contracts and Agreements
  • Marketing materials and communications
  • Summarize main ideas and events
  • Investigate relationships like cause and effect and problem and solution
  • Analyze arguments (Claims, evidence, structure, and author’s purpose)
  • Write original arguments
  • Write abstracts
  • Conduct experiments and document findings and explain results
  • Draw conceptual models
  • Report on popular scientists, discoveries, and/or theories
  • Summarize processes and observations
  • Write abstracts
  • Summarize work in peer-reviewed journal articles (present primary research)
  • Write grant proposals
  • Investigate and evaluate ideas found in peer-reviewed journal articles
  • Write lab reports
  • Songs
  • Plays
  • Analyze works of art
  • Critiques
  • Reviews
  • Literary criticism
  • Explanations of paintings, sculptures, photographs and plays
  • Math process notes (Steps are given to solve a math problem)
  • Provide evidence to support solutions
  • Summarize steps to solve a math problem
  • Explain through application how math is used to solve real world problems
  • Proofs in geometry
What the Discipline Researches

Common research tasks in the discipline.

  • Research papers that express and evaluate the opinions and positions of others on various topics
  • Research and write about people, places,things, and ideas
  • Archival research projects
  • Research and write about what leaders in businesses are doing
  • Research best practices in the industry or engage in competitive analysis
  • Self-studies (examine business practices and explore ways to improve)
  • Research papers that express and evaluate the opinions and positions of others on various topics
  • Case studies (See CSU Writing @CSU)
  • Build theories and collect data to test hypotheses
  • Research in these disciplines can be either qualitative (case studies, observations) or quantitative (analyzing large data sets using statistics and technology)
  • Summarize and synthesize existing research and identify areas where more research is needed
  • Conduct original experiments (using the scientific method)
  • Research papers that explain art history and analyze the evolution of artistic expression over time
  • Research how historical, political, and social contexts influenced visual and performing arts during a specific time period
  • Prove and/or reprove why an equation or mathematical theory is correct or valid
  • Extend an existing concept
  • Apply an existing idea to a new area
  • Characterize or classify a mathematical object or concept
  • Research ideas come from Jeff Suzuki Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Director of Quantitative Support at Bard College
Language and Conventions

Syle Guidelines Resourses: University of Maryland and Purdue Online Writing Lab

  • At times writing is expressive and experiential. Writing can also be concise and objective.
  • Typically follows MLA format and style guidelines
  • Writing is concrete, expressed in simple terms, concise, and objective
  • Follows company format and industry best practices
  • Writing is concrete, expressed in simple terms, concise, and objective
  • Typically follows APA and ASA format and style guidelines
  • Writing is concrete, expressed in simple terms, concise, and objective (See UNC Writing Center)
  • Typically follows CBE, ACS and IAP format and style guidelines
  • At times writing is expressive and experiential. Writing can also be concise and objective.
  • The types of projects and style guidelines will vary
  • Writing is concrete, expressed in simple terms, concise, and objective
  • Typically follows AMS and IEEE format and style guidelines

Need A
Hand?

LiteracyTA
You have clicked on premium content only available through TA membership.

Sign up today for your FREE 7-day
TA membership.