Portfolio Guidelines

Your Midterm Portfolio will consist of several short but interrelated assignments designed to help you explore the kinds of writing you may encounter as you progress toward your academic specialization.

So far this semester we've been "naming what we know" about writing and working toward understanding the different "threshold concepts" the textbook presents. Some of the major threshold concepts relate to the idea that writing is more than a neutral set of skills. Your text presents the concept of writing as much more complex and integrated into an individual's social and professional development. The concept of writing as always "inter-textual" and social is also emphasized.

Now you are ready to take the next step and start applying these threshold concepts in practical ways to the academic writing you see in your future.

Think about the academic fields that interest you.

You may have already chosen your academic field and know exactly what you plan to be doing as a professional. Or you may have a good idea, but really not have thought about the practical, day-to-day activities that your professional life may entail. Others may still be considering multiple fields and not yet be settled on which would be the best fit.

Regardless of which status describes your current situation, the portfolio worksheet activities will help you develop a clearer vision of the kinds of writing which your potential future academic field will require.


Exploratory Worksheets

Audience: The actual audience for this section of your portfolio is you. Of course, I will also be part of your audience but the main beneficiary will be you.


  1. Choose at least two particular, specific academic fields to explore. They may be closely related but should be different fields. For example, you might choose to explore forensic psychology and criminal justice.
  2. Explore each field through academically credible research (We will be in the library Thursday to review the difference between academically credible and general resources to help you get a strong start with this)
  3. Complete at least 2 of the Midterm Portfolio worksheets attached below. They are electronic, so you can download and type them, then print and/or upload when complete. I've attached 3 worksheets for your convenience, although for this assignment, I'm only requiring 2.
  4. Works Cited: You'll need to create and attach a Works Cited page with MLA formatted citations for all your resources. Expect to use between 5 and 7 academically credible resources per worksheet. To receive full credit, you need to include at least 5. If you'd like to include supplemental, non-academic resources you may do so in addition to the minimum 5-7 academic resource requirement.
  5. Due: Midterm Portfolio Checkpoint #1 will be Thursday, September 29th. By that time, you should be done with these worksheets and have moved on to the next portfolio element.

Note: There is space at the bottom of the worksheets to allow for you to supplement the form with other categories or information as pertain to your field.

I've listed some questions below to help you get started:

  1. What kinds of writing do practitioners in this field do?
  2. Where are they published?
  3. Do they participate in academic conferences? Why? What do they do there?
  4. What are some of the current "hot topics" that professionals in your field of interest are researching?
  5. What kinds of questions do they ask? What kinds of data or information do they seek?
  6. Who are some of the "big names" in the field? Who are the theorists that you need to know in order to be taken seriously as a member of the field?

Portfolio Worksheet #1

Portfolio Worksheet #2

Portfolio Worksheet #3

For your Midterm Portfolio - Part 2 Genre Reviews

For Part 2 of your Portfolio, you'll need to find 5 academic articles from each of the 2 fields you have chosen to start with.

In this step, you'll be looking at the format of the articles instead of simply at their content.

  • Start making notes of the characteristics. How are they similar? How are they different?
  • How can you tell they are "nursing" or "chemistry" publications?

For example:

  • Do they use particular terms or special vocabulary?
  • Are there certain theorists or researcher names that recur in many articles?
  • How are the pages formatted?
  • What citation style is used? (footnotes, in-text citations, APA, MLA, Chicago style, etc)

These are just some ideas to get you started in looking at the articles in this way. Don't feel limited to answering these particular questions, adjust your response based on what you see when you start collecting your sample articles.


Write Two Short Genre Reviews

Nuts & Bolts:


Each of your reviews should include a clear introduction of the particular academic field you're exploring (Context, purpose, etc)

  • Summarize the characteristics of the field's professional writing
  • Include a thesis sentence that clearly states the point(s) that you will spend the remainder of the essay supporting & proving


  • Tell me about (analyze & explain) the characteristics of your sample articles that mark them as related to each other and as legitimately part of the particular discipline (academic field)?
  • Use your assembled sample articles as evidence to support your statements and conclusions about the discipline's writing characteristics.


Each review should have a clearly defined conclusion


Each review should be between 2-3 full pages in length

Due Date:

These reviews will be part of your portfolio, so I will review them with you when we schedule your Checkpoint 1 session. However, if you are confused about this assignment or have any questions, let me know so we can work together to keep your efforts on track.