Faculty Spotlight

"There is a significant difference between a course that involves learning and writing, and one that encourages learning through writing." 

— Professor Marc Brettler (Near Eastern and Judaic Studies)

faculty spotlight

"I learned to use three particularly valuable practices to teach writing.

"First, by talking about writing in every class session and discussing some pointers and at the same time stressing to students that we are all on a continual course to becoming better writers, I saw a change in the students in that they internalized this same attitude toward writing and began focusing on making continual progress. This became one of their goals as well.  

"Second, by using concrete examples, many provided by students, we worked through many aspects important to clear writing.  

"Third, by sticking with one large paper that students wrote in pieces and then continually revised through multiple drafts, they focused on the process of writing and working on continual improvement."

— Professor Malcolm Watson (Psychology)

Writing Assignments

When using these or modifications of these assignments, please give us credit by including the phrase "developed through the Davis Grant, Brandeis University."


  • Research paper guidelines (doc)


  • Assignment on citation: part one (pdf), part two (pdf)
  • Reading a research paper: part one (pdf), part two (pdf)
  • Assignment on the overview of a research paper (pdf)
  • Assignment on the introduction of a research paper (pdf)
  • Assignment on the material and methods of a research paper (pdf)
  • Tips on how to catch and correct common mistakes (pdf)
  • Tips on how to write about science for a general audience (pdf)
  • The parts of a research essay (pdf)
  • Tips on finding references (pdf)
  • Tips on revising and editing (pdf)
  • Encyclopedia entry assignment (doc)
  • News and Views assignment (doc)

Comparative Literature

  • Assignment for an early ungraded essay (doc)
  • Assignment for an essay that requires students to summarize a theoretical article (doc)
  • Assignment for applying theory to a comparison of works (doc)
  • Assignment for a research essay (doc)


  • Close-reading assignment on poetry, with pre-draft (doc)
  • Research assignment (doc)

Near Eastern and Judaic Studies

  • Pre-draft assignment: topic proposal outline (doc)
  • Pre-draft assignment: annotated bibliography (doc)
  • Assignment to develop summarizing and critiquing skills (doc)
  • Comparative paper assignment, 7 - 10 pages (doc)
  • Comparative essay assignment, 750 - 1000 words (doc)


  • Case study (doc
  • Short paper using narrative evidence (doc)
  • Sequenced term paper (doc)


  • Institutional Study (doc)
  • Institutional Study with Further Information (doc)