Terms of Reference for Awards

Terms of Reference for CASDW Research and Dissertation Awards (revised June 10, 2016)

The Joan Pavelich CASDW Annual Award for the Best Dissertation in Writing and Discourse Studies

The CASDW Annual Award for the Best Article or Chapter in Writing and Discourse Studies

Constitution of the committees:

Two committees of three members each will be struck. Volunteers will be solicited before each AGM, and the committees will be ratified at the AGM. The committees will be standing committees of CASDW. Normally, each committee will include at least one member able to read French. [The three-member committees may appoint additional members as needed to share the work.]

Award nominations:

To be eligible for consideration for the best article or chapter award, the author must have been a CASDW member for the year in which the work was published and for the year in which the award is given. To be eligible for consideration for the best dissertation award, the author need not be a member of CASDW. For the best article or chapter award, nominations will be solicited from the entire CASDW membership beginning in January of each year. Self-nominations will also be accepted. Committee members will also conduct a database search to identify articles by members published in the preceding calendar year, and the committee may nominate these articles as well. Multi-authored articles or book chapters will be eligible as long as one of the authors was a CASDW member in the year the work was published.

For the dissertation award, nominations will be solicited from the membership for dissertations published in the preceding calendar year. The committee will also solicit nominations from faculty members in Canadian programs that offer a doctorate in rhetoric, writing studies, or discourse studies. Nominees may be students of any nationality studying in a Canadian program or be Canadian students studying elsewhere.


The criteria for both awards will be similar to the criteria for acceptance of a journal submission:

  • General quality of writing and comprehensibility
  • Potential significance to the field, including significance of the problem studied and the degree to which important new information is revealed
  • Originality
  • Depth of research

For the article award, the reputation of the journal in which it is published will be a minor factor; the major determinant will be the committee’s evaluation of the merit of the article itself. [The award committees should provide a short written description of the winning article or dissertation to be used in the award announcements and in publication of news of the awards.]


The suggested deadline for nominations is February 28, although late submissions may be considered if the committee deems it appropriate to do so. The committee should try to reach a decision as soon as it is reasonable to do so, in order to notify winners and give them time to attend the conference to accept the award in person if they desire. The award will be presented at the CASDW conference banquet, with the winners also noted in the President’s report at the AGM. [The president will write a letter to the award winners to enclose with the cheque and will announce the award winners via the CASDW website and listserve.]