English 600
Fall, 1998
John C. Schafer
213 Founders' Hall
Office Hrs.:
Mon.: 1:30-3:00
TH: 11:00-12:00
And by appointment

Fundamentals of Research in Composition

Table of Contents

Goals

Reading

Requirements

Grading

As Prof. Creadon explains in her syllabus, English 600 is a skills course and your grade will be based on our sense of how you're progressing in mastering the skills we present. In evaluating your progress in my half of the course, I'll weight the different requirements in roughly the following way: (I'm assuming no attendance problems. Missing classes will lower your grade.)

Three short reports: 25%
Group project: 25%
Final report on research project: 40%
Class participation: 10%

List of Topics and Schedule

Tues., Oct. 20: Introduction to Research in Composition; Delineating the Field of Composition Research;
Explanation of Group Project and Final Report

Short meeting of internet groups
Thurs., Oct. 22: Periodicals in Composition Studies

Report on periodical due

Chris M. Anson and Bruce Maylath, " Searching for Journals: A Brief Guide and 100 Sample Species," packet
Richard C. Gebhardt, "Scholarship and Teaching: Motives and Strategies for Writing Articles in Composition Studies," packet
Tues., Oct. 27: Searching ERIC (Educational Resources Information Center)

Class meets in library.

Excerpt from Thesaurus of ERIC Descriptors, 13th ed., packet

Before class, look at Module 3, "Searching an Electronic Database," available from the HSU Library homepage
under "Information Literacy: Achieving Basic Competency."
Thurs., Oct. 29: Non-Electronic Sources

Class meets in library.

Report on ERIC due

Tues., Nov. 3: Uncover and Lexis-Nexis

Class meets in library.

Thurs., Nov. 5: Research Designs: Overview

Report on Lexis-Nexis due

Janice M. Lauer and J. William Asher, "Introduction." to Composition Research: Empirical Designs, packet
Lillian Bridwell-Bowles, "Research in Composition: Issues and Methods," packet

Tues., Nov. 10: Rhetorical and Ethnographic Designs

James Moffett, "I, You, It," packet
Stephen Doheny-Farina and Lee Odell, "Ethnographic Research on Writing: Assumptions and Methodology," packet
Atkinson, Dwight and Vai Ramanathan, "Cultures of Writing: An Ethnographic Comparison of L1 and L2 University Writing/Language Programs," packet

Thurs., Nov. 12: Case Studies, Legal Requirements Related to Use of Human Subjects in Research

Internet groups meet this week outside of class to discuss assignments they wish to give their classmates.

Janice M. Lauer and J. William Asher, " Case Studies," packet
Glenda L. Bissex and Richard H. Bullock, "Why Case Studies?" packet
Ruth Ray, "Language and Literacy from the Student Perspective: What We Can Learn from the Long-term Case Study," packet

Forms used in getting permission to do research on human subjects (in packet)
Tues., Nov. 17: Survey Methodology

Paul Anderson, "Survey Methodology," packet
Charlene Eblen, "Writing Across the Curriculum: A Survey of a University Faculty's Views and Classroom Practices," packet.
Thurs., Nov. 19: Experimental Designs

Each internet group should send an e-mail message to all students (and me) that explains the assignment to be done by all students before class on Tues., Dec. 1.

Evelyn Hatch and Hossein Farhady, "Constructing Research Designs," packet
Max Morenberg, Donald Daiker, and Andrew Kerek, "Sentence Combining at the College Level: An Experimental Study," packet
Tues., Nov. 24: Thanksgiving Recess
Thurs., Nov. 26: Thanksgiving Recess
Tues., Dec. 1: Group Reports on Internet Sources

Before class look at Module 5, "Using Internet Sources," available from the HSU Library homepage under "Information Literacy: Achieving Basic Competency." Also consult Librarian Corryn Crosby-Muilenburg's very useful homepage. Click on her Internet Search Tools for a very good overview of the different search engines.

Todd Taylor, "The Politics of Electronic Scholarship in Rhetoric and Composition," packet
Thurs., Dec. 3: Group Reports on Internet Sources (Cont.)
Tues., Dec. 8: Individual Reports on Your Projects
Thurs., Dec. 10: Individual Reports on Your Projects (Cont.)

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Thurs., Dec. 17, 3:00-4:50: Final Exam

Note: There will be no final exam, but we will use this period to complete individual reports on your projects if we do not complete these during the last two class sessions.

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Report on Periodical

Prepare your report containing the information listed below and make copies for your classmates and me. In class I'll call on some of you to speak briefly about the journal you are reporting on. In your oral remarks, you shouldn't feel the need to repeat what you have written. Instead, give your general impressions of the quality and usefulness of the journal. Indicate who, in your view, would find it most useful. (This might involve elaborating on your written comments under the headings "Coverage" and "Audience.") You might also explain why you chose to annotate the particular article you chose.

Due: Thurs., Oct. 22

Title (of periodical you're reporting on):

Coverage: What is the announced coverage of the periodical? What types of articles do the editors solicit? (Hint: Check inside of front cover or on the first or second page.)

Format: In addition to articles, are there reviews, bibliographies, research updates,

regular columns, editorials, etc.?

Selection Process: Refereed (articles sent out to several manuscript readers) or editor

decides? (Hint: check first few pages; sometimes this information is included under heading of "editorial policy.")

Self-indexed: Is the periodical self-indexed? This question refers to whether the journal contains indexes in the journal itself. Hint: Check the last issue in the volume--often the December issue. Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory also indicates whether a periodical is self-indexed.

Audience: What audience is the periodical designed for?

Annotated bibliography of a representative article. Choose an article on a topic that interests you. How would you find articles that interest you and that appeared in the same journal? You could go to the shelf and browse through the issues there, looking at the table of contents or (if the journal is self-indexed) checking the internal (self-) indexes (These are usually in the last issue of the year--often the Dec. issue). You can also use the electronic databases ERIC and Uncover to browse the table of contents of different issues of your journal. You can get to these via the HSU Library's homepage. (We'll be looking at both of these electronic databases in more detail on Nov. 3.)

Note: In preparing the citation for the article that you will annotate, follow the citation form in the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 4th Ed.


Group Projects Related to Internet Sources

Different groups will explore the different kinds of information on composition and rhetoric that are available over the internet.

What Each Group Report Should Include

1. An assignment, which should be e-mailed by Wed., Nov. 18 to all students (and me), which prepares the class for the group's report. This should be a simple assignment that involves visiting one or two web sites that illustrate the resource(s) your group is exploring. You can ask students to observe certain things about the sites, follow a sequence of certain links, for example. The assignment, which students will complete before the day of your oral report, should be designed to take only 5 or 10 minutes. Its purpose is to give your classmates some idea of what you're talking about before you report in more depth about it. If all works right, you can use a computer hooked up to the internet to give your presentation. Our classroom has an ethernet connection allowing this. A Light Pro will enable projection onto a larger screen. But presentation time is limited. If your audience knows something about the resource your group is talking about before class, they will be more engaged in your presentation.

2. Your group oral report (due Dec. 1) should have the following features. Remember that each group will have 30 minutes to give its report. (Not every member of the group needs to speak, but all should be involved in preparing the presentation.)

-General overview of the resource, including a demonstration of key web pages. A warning here: Plan out ahead of time where you will go, the web pages and links you'll move to. Nothing is more frustrating than watching a presenter aimlessly surfing the net. You should have an alternative site planned in case your first site is not reachable for some reason.

-Specification of how the resource(s) might be useful to a composition student or teacher

-If appropriate, an account of a member or member's experience with the resource(s) (A description of participation in an on-line discussion, for example, or of being "cybertutored" in a writing project)

-A one-page paper handout that contains key URL's and summarizes key points the group wants to make about its internet resource

-A one-page paper handout of the homepage of the site-with the URL clearly readable--which, in the group's opinion, is the best example of the type of resource(s) the group is investigating (best on-line journal, best OWL, best cybertutoring site, etc.)

-A clear-sighted evaluation of the worth of the resource(s)

-At least five minutes at the end for questions and answers

Evaluation of Group Internet Project

Each group will receive an overall grade which will become the individual grade as well. Evaluation will be based on the following:

-clarity and usefulness of the presentation

-completeness (Does it contain all the elements specified in the assignment?)

-time management (Did the presentation fit the 30-minute time period-including time for Q & A?)

-response of your audience (I'll ask class members to fill out a short evaluation form at the end of the presentation)

Group Assignments

Group I: Online Journals and Bibliographies

Investigate several online journals related to composition. Here are some that I suggest you look at but you may find others:

RhetNet

CWRL: The Electronic Journal for Computers, Writing, Rhetoric, and Literature

Kairos: A Journal for Teaching Writing in Webbed Environments

p.r.e.t.e.x.t electra

One member of the group can investigate on-line bibliographies, particularly one promising bibliographic data base compiled by Lee Honeycutt at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. It's called

"Composition and Rhetoric Bibliographic Database." To view this database you need to download a free version of EndNote Plus. You can't view it with a word processor or text editor.

Group II: Listservs and MOOS

Subscribe to a listserv (online discussion group) or MOO related to composition and participate in the on-going discussion. According to Crump and Carbone, MOOs and MUDS are

Internet software that allow users to meet online to converse, play games, hold classes and academic conferences, or-if a person registers as a member of a particular MOO or MUD-create a virtual room of one's own. MUD stands for Multi-User Dimension (or Dungeon since MUDs are often used for playing Dungeons and Dragons). MOO stands for MUD, Object-Oriented. Object oriented refers to a kind of programming language that lets programmers share bits of programs they write so that others can incorporate those bits into their own programs. (English Online: A Student's Guide to the Internet and the World Wide Web, pp. 108-109)

Each member could join a different list or MOO and then share experiences and opinions. Many listservs have archives of previous exchanges on various topics. In your report you should mention whether the listserv you're describing has archives; you might also mention some archived discussions that you've looked at and found valuable. The CCCC Bibliography of Composition and Rhetoric 1994 has a list--somewhat outdated--of Listservs related to composition and rhetoric (See pp. 224-229). Here are some suggestions:

Listservs

Alliance for Computers and Writing

Focuses on issues related to computers and writing.

Purtopoi

General focus on composition studies, i.e. not only computer-related issues.

TECHWR-L

Issues related to teaching technical writing.

CREWRT-L

Discussions cover issues related to the teaching of creative writing.

TESL-L

Focuses on all kinds of issues related to teaching English as a second and foreign language.

MOOS

Moo Netoric Cafe

MediaMOO

Group III: OWLS (Online Writing Labs) and Cybertutoring

OWLS

Explore some OWLs and report on what you find. What services do they provide? How useful do you think they are or could be? What are some good OWLS? For lists of OWLs consult the following:

Purdue University's List of OWLS

National Writing Centers Association (An NCTE Assembly) List of OWLS

Cybertutoring

Some members of the group can investigate and experience online tutoring. Send in a paper to an online service and evaluate the kind of response you receive. Some recent graduates of HSU's MATW program have formed a company that provides tutoring over the internet. They're still in this area. Interview them. Or e-mail tutors at some sites and ask them questions to learn more. Here are two sites that provide cybertutoring, but there are many more. Check the OWLS listed above and you'll find that quite a few OWLs provide cybertutoring.

University of Michigan

University of Minnesota

Group IV: Computer-based Courses

Some instructors have elected to teach writing in an almost completely computer-based context. Adam Bauchner, who graduated last May, taught English 100 here at HSU in a computer-based format and constructed an elaborate web page to assist his students.(His page must have a new address; I can't locate it, but will soon.) For information on other computer-based courses, see a listing of DeVry Online Writing Support Center. Look over the web pages that explain the setup of these (or other) courses. Share your impressions with the class.You might wish to look at an article by Charles Moran that compares computer-based and more traditional composition teaching.


Final Report on a Research Project

Due: Dec. 1, 1998

Approximate length: Written report: two to three pages, double-spaced

Oral report: Speaking time: ten minutes

Accompanying handout: one page (could be single-spaced)

Purposes of Assignment

What Is Included in This Final Assignment

1. Description of the project that you intend to pursue

What question or problem in composition studies do you wish to answer or solve? What thesis related to composition studies do you wish to argue and defend? What curricular materials do you wish to develop? (What problem will these materials be designed to solve?)

2. Bibliography

This should include ten items. Half (5) should be works found in the ERIC database; half should be works found in other sources (CCCC Bibliography of Composition and Rhetoric, one of the bibliographies published in the journal Research in the Teaching of English, Gary Tate's Twelve Bibliographic Essays, Patricia Bizzell and Bruce Herzberg's Bedford Bibliography for Teachers of Writing, 4th ed., etc.) Your list should include at least one book. Your ERIC sources could be selected from those you found when you did the exercise due Oct. 29. You don't need to include annotations for your sources, but for your own future use you may wish to. Using cut and paste, you can easily print the ERIC annotations into your document. Though annotations aren't required, if the item doesn't relate in any obvious way to your topic, you need to explain why you've included it.

3. Research Design

What design are you going to use to obtain information to help you argue your thesis, solve your problem, or answer your question? Will your exploration be "rhetorical inquiry" or will you use an empirical design? If empirical, will it be descriptive (case study, ethnography, survey, etc.) or experimental (true experiment, quasi-experiment, etc.)? Don't let this taxonomy limit your thinking. Your design may not fit neatly into any of these categories. It might be a combination of several designs. Explain why you chose the design you did.

4. Comments on the Process

Conclude with some comments about the process you've gone through in discovering the topic for your research project, in finding sources to learn more about it, and in choosing your research design. How did you find useful things to read related to your topic? How did you come up with a research design? What obstacles did you have to surmount? What strategies and sources worked best for you? What his this experience taught you about research in composition studies?

Oral Presentation

With the aid of a one-page handout, explain your research project. Your handout (only one page please) should be an abbreviated version of the written paper that you will hand in to me. Bring enough copies for your classmates and me. No need to list all ten sources called for in #3 above; list only your three most promising works. In your oral remarks, you can elaborate on the information covered in 1 through 4 above, focusing on whatever you think would interest the class the most, or that you would most like help on. Most of you will probably want to devote most of your time to #4.


Course Packet for English 600: Fundamentals of Research in Composition

Note: Articles are listed in order they appear on course syllabus. Topics from the syllabus are written in bold type.

Periodicals in Composition Studies

Anson, Chris M. and Bruce Maylath. " Searching for Journals: A Brief Guide and 100 Sample Species." Teacher as Writer: Entering the Professional Conversation. Ed. Karin L. Dahl. Urbana: NCTE, 1992. 150-87.

Gebhardt, Richard C. "Scholarship and Teaching: Motives and Strategies for Writing Articles in Composition Studies." Publishing in Rhetoric and Composition. Ed. Gary A. Olson and Todd W. Taylor. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1997. 197-209.

Searching ERIC (Educational Resources Information Center)

Barnett, Lynn and Anita Colby. "ERIC's Indexing and Retrieval: 1995 Update." Thesaurus of ERIC Descriptors. 13th ed. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press, 1995. xiv-xxxii.

Note: I've also included some pages of additional introductory material, specifically pages i-xiii and xxxiii-xxxvi.

Research Designs: Overview

Lauer, Janice M. and J. William Asher. "Introduction." Composition Research: Empirical Designs. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988. 3-22.

Bridwell-Bowles, Lillian. "Research in Composition: Issues and Methods." An Introduction to Composition Studies. Ed. Erika Lindemann and Gary Tate. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991. 94-117.

Rhetorical and Ethnographic Designs

Moffett, James. "I, You, and It." Active Voice: A Writing Program across the Curriculum. Montclair, NJ: Boynton/Cook, 1981. 140-48. Orig. published in College Composition and Communication 16 (1965): 243-48.

Doheny-Farina, Stephen and Lee Odell, "Ethnographic Research on Writing: Assumptions and Methodology." Writing in Non-Academic Settings. Ed. Lee Odell and Dixie Goswami. New York: Guilford Press, 1985. 505-535.

Atkinson, Dwight and Vai Ramanathan, "Cultures of Writing: An Ethnographic Comparison of L1 and L2 University Writing/Language Programs." TESOL Quarterly 29 (1995): 539-568.

Case Study Designs, Legal Requirements Related to Use of Human Subjects in Research

Lauer, Janice M. and J. William Asher. "Case Studies." Composition Research: Empirical Designs. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988. 23-38.

Bissex, Glenda L. and Richard H. Bullock. "Why Case Studies?" Seeing for Ourselves: Case-Study Research by Teachers of Writing. Portsmouith, NH: Heinemann, 1987. 7-19.

Ray, Ruth. "Language and Literacy from the Student Perspective: What We Can Learn from the Long-term Case Study." The Writing Teacher as Researcher: Essays in the Theory and Practice of Class-Based Research. Ed. Donald A. Daiker and Max Morenberg. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1990. 321-335.

Forms used in getting permission to do research on human subjects

Survey Methodology

Anderson, Paul. "Survey Methodology." In Writing in Non-Academic Settings. Eds. Lee Odell and Dixie Goswami. New York: Guilford Press, 1985. 454-501.

Eblen, Charlene. "Writing Across the Curriculum: A Survey of a University Faculty's Views and Classroom Practices." Research in the Teaching of English 17 (1983): 343-48.

Experimental Designs

Hatch, Evelyn and Hossein Farhady. "What Is Research?" "What Is a Variable?" "Constructing Research Designs." Research Design and Statistics. Rowley, MA: Newbury House, 1982. 1-32.

Morenburg, Max, Donald Daiker, and Andrew Kerek. "Sentence Combining at the College Level: An Experimental Study." Research in the Teaching of English 12 (1978): 245-56.

Group Reports on Internet Sources

Taylor, Todd. "The Politics of Electronic Scholarship in Rhetoric and Composition." Publishing in Rhetoric and Composition. Ed. Gary A. Olson and Todd W. Taylor. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1997. 197-209.


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