The Confidence Gap in Academic Writing


December 19, 2014

“As a writing workshop instructor, I’ve become familiar with the garden-variety problems that graduate students face in writing a dissertation. Often those difficulties boil down to an avoidance of the daily grind of writing itself. Sometimes students lack any concrete feedback on their drafts or receive comments that are too general to be of much help in the revision process. Many students are unfamiliar with the tricks and tools of the writing trade itself – things like reverse outlines, free writing, or “storyboarding.”

My role is to help graduate students with the technical aspects of writing. But as I have counseled more and more of them, I have noticed a disturbing trend. While all of my students had trouble finding their voice or sticking to a writing schedule, some of my female students seemed to have an additional – and less technical – problem: a crippling lack of confidence. After a year of working intensely with Ph.D. and master’s candidates, I slowly realized that my female students were more likely than the men to feel as if something was fundamentally lacking about either their projects or their skills.” Continue reading at Chronicle Vitae.

One thought on “The Confidence Gap in Academic Writing

  1. I would never thought there was (or probably still is) such a problem. I’ve always believed nowadays women don’t lack confidence. The world has changed and it isn’t as it was a century or two ago. And I don’t think a person who doesn’t have confidence in their skills would study in grad school. It takes a lot of effort to enter a grad school and unless one is confident they won’t make it. Probably females students mentioned in the article are just exceptions but I don’t think they could possible lack confidence. Probably they just understood this wasn’t their cup of tea, or they lost interest in it, or they don’t see any prospects. These do influence motivation level of students which could influence as well their confidence in the choice the made when they decided to go to grad school.
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