top of page

Writing for Results

Letters of complaint are an excellent medium through which to help students become stronger writers. First, everyone--including students from middle school through doctoral programs--have been wronged in some way by a retail establishment, a flawed product, and bad restaurant experience, a civil injustice, etc. This means that writing a letter of complaint can be personalized and culturally relevant. Such letters also speak to students' desire for justice; almost all of us have felt wronged by some experience, again making the response to that injustice culturally relevant. Second, when well done, letters of complaint can result in reactions and even resolution--they highlight that well-crafted prose can bring about real results. By showing students how our own experiences writing professionally and diplomatically have paid off helps them see that academic writing is valuable beyond the school door.  Third, the components of a well-crafted letter of complaint correspond to myriad aspects of other forms of academic, political, and business writing. What one puts into a letter of complaint is generally akin to what one would include in a letter to the editor or a letter to a member of congress. The writer must make their case using verifiable evidence, appropriate language (syntax, grammar, tone, style, etc.), argumentation, reasonable conclusions, proofreading, etc. The letter of complaint is arguably better than almost any other genre of writing for teaching students about RAFT (role, audience, form and topic). Finally, the letter of complaint can be cathartic; even when nothing comes from the completion of the letter and having sent it to its intended audience, there is often a sense of relief--of having at least tried to find a solution to something that is bothering the writer.

RESOLUTION:  The president of this company directed one of his subordinates to reach out to me to resolve the issue. That representative apologized for the problem and, to make things better, offered me my choice of two sets of replacement sandals.
Screenshot 2024-03-27 at 2.52.55 PM.png
bottom of page