Research in the Research of Teaching English

[Has it really been so long? Too much of my research writing has been haphazard and unbloggable, and has probably suffered because of it. Nevertheless, I am dissertating, and am going to begin using this space to report on things. As things have now begun to become reportable, this should be easier. This began as a status update on Facebook. After it got to 130 words, I realized it should be a blog post. So here I am.]

Over the last handful of weeks, I’ve been studying the Research in Teaching English annotated bibliographies. This is one small piece of my dissertation, which is (roughly) investigating how composition studies (composition/rhetoric, rhetoric and composition, call it what you wish) treats technology. Part of this is empirical–an examination of the RTE AnnBib, some main journal contents, the last few years’ worth of CCCCs programs, with numbers of what sorts of things comp is doing with tech, what “tech” is in comp, and that sort of thing.  My full research questions can be found in my final dissertation proposal, even though they continue to morph in bits and pieces. Actually, this hasn’t been posted here, so (oh, you stream-of-conscious self-referential blog writer that the world loves to hate) I should probably do that soon. At least in part.

Anyhow, the largest part of my dissertation will look at the WPA-L as a site for construction of technology and digital writing in composition. But right now, as a way of refining some early coding schemes and getting to know my software (ATLAS.ti), I’m working through a fairly straightforward content analysis of the last ten years of RTE Annotated Bibs. (Of course, as I’m sure anyone who’s done a content analysis could say, “fairly straightforward” is a deeply loaded term…)

As it has been in similar analyses, specifically Durst (1990) and Juzwik et al (2006), Writing is the biggest category. Interestingly, Technology/Digital categories (as it’s transformed over the last ten yrs) is the second-biggest category. This is impressive, because most of that growth is in the last four years. (If you count back just two years more, Tech/Digital won’t overtake the Reading category because Reading has long had numbers comparable to Writing. Longevity matters. It does, however, beat up the generic Literacy category either way.)

Some early n= for the empirically-minded:

Number of annotated entries in major categories from 2001-2011

discourse/cultural analysis; discourse processes n= 114
literacy n= 124
literary response/lit/narr n= 125
prof dev/teacher ed n= 118
reading n= 144
media literacy/use n= 85
second language literacy n= 82
technology (compiled) n= 155
writing n= 225
total n= 1178

(Categories not entered here include assessment, research methodology (n = 1 in the last twelve years), classroom discourse. Media Literacy/Use is only a three-year old category.)


However, (a tentative however–research is, of course, still in progress; I have more corpus left to finesse)

The overlap between Writing and Technology/Digital (according to my still-developing coding scheme)? Paltry thus far. (And to be blogged of in the future, when numbers emerge.)


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