Weaving Personal Experience into Academic Writing
“Warp and Weft” uses the metaphor of weaving to demonstrate one way of using personal and narrative writing within academic essays. Rather than debate whether narrative is appropriate for academic writing, it addresses the question of when is it appropriate and how it can be done effectively, focusing on helping writers decide when the use of personal experience is appropriate for their purpose, how to make personal experience and narra- tive pull its weight in the essay, and how the ability to incorporate personal experience can translate into the ability to incorporate research.
The essay is structured as an example of the use of personal experi- ence as well as a how-to guide. “Warp and Weft” contains a discussion of three students who incorporated narrative in their essays in three ways: as a structural frame, as an example when the research topic and personal ex- perience overlap, and as a tool for discovery. Students will benefit from the peer-written examples as well as the use of the personal in the essay itself.