Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Lisa Melonçon, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Norbert Elliot, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Carl Herndl, Ph.D.


academic writing, composition, known-new contract, pedagogy


This thesis examines how student uptake of academic genres in First Year Writing (FYW) are challenged by the concept of writing expectations. Previous research on uptake has focused on uptake between genres with little attention to the role of writing expectations on the event of uptake or how to translate these expectations to students pedagogically. Identifying pedagogical uptake strategies for students to use across academic genres provides instructors with insight into student challenges in FYW and strategies for students to understand their own writing on a metacognitive level by assessing writing expectations. My thesis investigates uptake of academic writing in FYW genres through assigning reflection assignments that apply a defined writing expectation model involving three variables: the known-new contract, audience, and context. I call this pedagogical strategy “metadiscoursal reflection” for its application of metacognitive writing processes and metadiscourse strategies. The goal of metadiscoursal reflection is to help students assess writing expectations through analysis and revision of sentence structure with the known-new contract. By doing so, students practice articulating their ideas to their perceived audience(s) with strategies that can be applied to future writing genres for increased uptake.My descriptive, exploratory study concentrates on first-year writing studies at the University of South Florida (USF). In a small sample from my own class, I invited students to complete low stakes assignments based on preparation for writing in two different academic genres (a literacy narrative and an expository overview), as well as a self review for each project paper. I used QDAMiner to code the assignments for student metadiscoural understanding of the three predictor variables using both close and distant reading to see if the outcome variable (generic uptake of FYW genres) is accomplished when using defined metadiscoursal reflection. Results reveal that introduction of the known-new contract affects student relationships between context and audience. Results also reveal that students use metadiscoursal reflection by applying the known-new contract to conceptualize their writing process, which involves taking into account audience expectations and important contexts needed to achieve these expectations. Directions for future pedagogical research include implementing the known-new contract within the FYW curriculum as a proposed improvement to teaching and learning. In terms of pedagogical uses of technology, the corpus techniques used in this study may have classroom viability to create new and unique learning opportunities for instructors and students.