Using Writing as Thinking

QHQ: Question - Hypothesis -Question

Assumptions:
Good (critical) thinking and good (clear) writing involves

  • a process of making finer and finer distinctions
  • a process of posing and answering more refined questions
  • a process of questioning and hypothesizing

Procedure:

1. Question
Ask students to generate-write down--a question they have about a text, a lecture or lab, a class discussion, an experiment-any kind of problematic situation.
2. Hypothesize
Ask them to continue writing (for x number of minutes/x amount of space) working to answer the question they have posed. The idea is to try out as many answers as possible and to come to some sense of a best possible answer, explaining why this hypothesis makes sense.
3. Question
Ask students to read through what they have written and then write down a new question that emerges out of what they have already written.

Repeat laps of QHQ as often as possible/appropriate.

Variations:

  • Can use with a group, one writer doing the QH parts and then passing on to another writer to write the last Q. Can continue circulating around group.
  • Can make a regular part of every class session.
  • Can take as little as 2-5 minutes.
  • Can be used to record attendance.
  • Can be used for instructor response to whole class orally.
  • Can be done all quarter and entries kept as a record of learning.
  • Can be tied to a formal writing assignment/project, as a way of practicing pieces of thinking along the way to writing a formal piece.
  • Can be used without any formal writing assignment-as a way of assisting students to THINK about the ideas of a course and of giving instructors information on their teaching

    Carmen Werder, Western Washington University

Consultation Times

Carmen Werder, WIS Director, is available for individual, small group or departmental consultations on any topic related to writing instruction and assessment as well as to consult on expectations for Writing Proficiency courses. 

To set up an appointment contact Carmen at (360) 650-7329 or at Carmen.Werder@wwu.edu.