Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dougherty, Jane

Second Advisor

Weaver, Margaret


This study employed a mixed-methods strategy to assess how narrative writing is perceived and utilized in first-year composition (FYC) courses at American 4-year institutions. The history of narrative writing instruction is reviewed in an examination of the literature of rhetoric and composition scholars, as well as those who study narrative theory. The survey tool was created for instructors and course/program designers to provide an overview of their FYC curricula, methodologies, and perceptions related to narrative writing. Findings indicate that FYC instructors and course designers perceive narrative writing as an introductory writing tool, much like the progymnasmata of antiquity, wherein narrative writing is used as scaffolding for more academic writing tasks. Though rarely assigned beyond the first project of the semester, when narrative is assigned, the learning objectives are difficult to meaningfully articulate beyond the general goals of the FYC course. The implications for future research are plentiful, as this study was necessarily limited in scope by its exploratory goals, so there are many opportunities to expand and build upon the work of this study.




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