Dear Colleagues:

Welcome to the Website of the Harvard Study of Undergraduate Writing.  In the fall of 1997, with the assistance of my research associates, I embarked on a four-year study of undergraduate writing.  Through a combination of surveys, in-depth interviews, and analyses of student essays, we tracked the undergraduate writing experiences of 400 students, a quarter of Harvard’s Class of 2001.  Our goal was to gain a clearer understanding of the role that writing plays in an undergraduate education and to observe college writing through the eyes of students.  In addition to providing us with 600 pounds of student writing, 520 hours of taped interviews, and countless megabytes of survey data, the students gave us papers written on a remarkable range and reach of topics, a portrait of a liberal arts education in the late twentieth century.  All the Study’s data—interviews, surveys, and students’ writing—now reside in the Harvard archives, available to current and future scholars.

Nancy Sommers

Nancy Sommers

Principal Investigator

Please excuse our appearance during site construction. Feel free to look around, and check back in the near future as we finish setting things up