Being a graduate student involves embracing a new identity as a writer and as a reviewer. While some of the reading and writing tasks you are doing now look similar to what you did in your undergraduate program, in fact, a whole other level of engagement with text is expected.


You are no longer just a consumer of information; you are becoming a reviewer.


You are no longer just using writing to demonstrate learning to your teacher. Now you are sharing your work and your findings with a wider professional community; you’re more like a teacher, or salesperson. This means that like it or not, a large part of your workload is to write. You are becoming a professional writer.

Your Identity as a Reviewer

A reviewer reads critically. You are looking at the information presented in the article but also are judging the quality of the information. To judge the information you have to consider both what information is given and what is NOT given. You need to examine the methods; you need to consider how this information compares with other information current in your field.

If you are asked to present an article in a seminar, you do NOT just summarize it. You do a brief summary and then evaluate it.

When you are collecting information for a literature review, you should keep track of the information with an Annotated Bibliography which includes summary and evaluation.

Tools and Tips: Below are links to pages and activities to consider your identity as a reviewer:

How to Read an Article Efficiently

How to Evaluate an Article

How to Write an Annotated Bibliography

Your Identity as a Writer

Embracing your identify as a writer is more complicated. Writers write. You should write everyday. Join a writing group, You should work to improve your writing. Do that by 1) paying attention to the writing style of the articles you enjoy reading and 2) revising continuously. The real work of writing is not in getting your ideas down on paper, but in revising the sentences so that your reader can enjoy reading your work. Do you see the loop there between identifying what you enjoy reading yourself and writing in the same way for the benefit of your reader?

Tools and Tips: Here are links to other pages to give you some examples of how to develop your skills as a reviewer and as a writer.

How to Use Reading to Improve your Writing

How to Write an Introduction/Lit Review/Background

How to Write an Abstract

How to Present and Discuss your Results

How to Revise Content

How to Revise Sentences