Research Design in Rhetoric and Writing

The purpose of this bibliography is to list resources relevant to the study of research methods and methodologies in rhetoric and composition/writing studies. In addition to this collecting and sharing function, the list is presented here to emphasize our ENGL6364 study as--at best--a modest, selective, and admittedly thin slice. Because ENGL6364 is a core course in the RW PhD program, all assigned readings carry over onto the common reading list for preliminary exams. However, if you develop a continuing interest in research design, method, and methodology--or if your interests compel you in the direction of research consultancy and mentorship, or becoming a research designer or methodologist, the extended list may be worthy exploring in more detail. Granted, specific research projects frequently gain first roothold through survey-like studies of methods and methodologies, but as substantial, year(s)-long research projects bloom, so too do their methods and methodologies take on layers, volume, depth, and dimension. Let this collection serve as a start. -DM

Abrams, Lynn. (2016). Oral History Theory (2 edition). London; New York: Routledge.
Banks, Will; Cox, Matthew; & Dadas, Caroline. (2019). Re/Orienting Writing Studies: Queer Methods, Queer Projects. Logan: Utah State UP.
Blakeslee, Ann, & Fleischer, Cathy. (2019). Becoming a Writing Researcher (2 edition). Routledge.
Charney, Davida. (1996). Empiricism Is Not a Four-Letter Word. College Composition and Communication, 47(4), 567–593.
Chilisa, Bagele. (2011). Indigenous Research Methodologies (First edition). Thousand Oaks, Calif: SAGE Publications, Inc.
Clary-Lemon, Jennifer. (2014). Archival Research Processes: A Case for Material Methods. Rhetoric Review, 33(4), 381–402.
Clary-Lemon, Jennifer, Mueller, Derek, & Pantelides, Kate. (2022). Try This: Research Methods for Writers. The WAC Clearinghouse; University Press of Colorado.
Creswell, John W., & Poth, Cheryl N. (2017). Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches (Fourth edition). Los Angeles: SAGE Publications, Inc.
Emerson, Robert M., Fretz, Rachel I., & Shaw, Linda L. (2011). Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes, Second Edition (Second edition). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Feak, Christine B., & Swales, John M. (2009). Telling a Research Story: Writing a Literature Review. Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan Press ELT.
Goodall, H. L., Jr. (2010). Counter-Narrative: How Progressive Academics Can Challenge Extremism and Promote Social Justice. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.
Haswell, Richard H. (2005). NCTE/CCCC’s Recent War on Scholarship. Written Communication, 22(2), 198–223.
Huckin, Thomas, Andrus, Jennifer, & Clary-Lemon, Jennifer. (2012). Critical Discourse Analysis and Rhetoric and Composition. College Composition and Communication, 64(1), 107–129.
Johanek, Cindy. (2000). Composing Research: A Contextualist Paradigm for Rhetoric and Composition. Logan: Utah State UP.
Kinkead, Joyce. (2016). Researching Writing: An Introduction to Research Methods. Logan: Utah State UP.
Kirsch, Gesa, and Patricia A. Sullivan. (1992). Methods and Methodology in Composition Research. Carobondale: Southern Illinois UP.
Nickoson, Lee, & Sheridan, Mary P., Eds. (2012). Writing Studies Research in Practice: Methods and Methodologies. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP.
Kovach, Margaret. (2010). Indigenous Methodologies: Characteristics, Conversations, and Contexts. Toronto: U of Toronto P.
Lauer, Janice M., & Asher, J. William. (1988). Composition Research: Empirical Designs (1 edition). New York: Oxford UP.
LaFrance, Michelle, Elizabeth Caravella, Thomas Polk, Sarah Johnson, Lacey Wootton, Robyn Russo, and David Corwin. (2021). Fingerprinting Feminist Methodologies/Methods: An Analysis of Empirical Research Trends in Four Composition Journals between 2007 and 2016*. College Composition and Communication, 72(4), 570-600.
Law, John. (2004). After Method: Mess in Social Science Research (1 edition). New York: Routledge.
Leavy, Patricia. (2017). Research Design: Quantitative, Qualitative, Mixed Methods, Arts-Based, and Community-Based Participatory Research Approaches. New York: Guilford Press.
Lockett, Alexandria L., Iris D. Ruiz, James Chase Sanchez, & Christopher Carter. (2021). Race, Rhetoric, and Research Methods. The WAC Clearinghouse; University Press of Colorado.
Marcus, Sharon, Love, Heather, & Best, Stephen. (2016). Building a Better Description. Representations, 135(1), 1–21.
Martinez, Aja. (2020). Counterstory: The Rhetoric and Writing of Critical Race Theory. Champaign, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.
McKee, Heidi A., & DeVoss, Danielle N. (Eds.). (2007). Digital Writing Research: Technologies, Methodologies, and Ethical Issues. Cresskill, N.J: Hampton.
McKee, Heidi A., & Porter, James E. (2012). The Ethics of Archival Research. College Composition and Communication, 64(1), 59–81.
Milgram, Stanley. (2009). Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View. Harper Perennial Modern Classics.
Miller, Benjamin. (2014). Mapping the Methods of Composition/Rhetoric Dissertations: A "Landscape Plotted and Pieced." College Composition and Communication, 66(1), 145-176.
Mueller, Derek. (2012). Grasping Rhetoric and Composition by Its Long Tail: What Graphs Can Tell Us about the Field’s Changing Shape. College Composition and Communication, 64(1), 195-223.
Odell, Lee, Goswami, Dixie, & Herrington, Anne. (1983). The discourse-based interview: A procedure for exploring the tacit knowledge of writers in nonacademic settings. In P. Mosenthal, L. Tamor, & S. A. Walmsley (Eds.), Research on writing (pp. 221–236). New York: Longman.
Powell, Katrina, & Takayoshi, Pamela. (2012). Practicing Research in Writing Studies: Reflexive and Ethically Responsible Research. New York: Hampton Press.
Rai, Candace & Druschke, Caroline. (2018). Field Rhetoric: Ethnography, Ecology, and Engagement in the Places of Persuasion. Tuscaloosa: U Alabama P.
Ramsey, Alexis E., Sharer, Wendy B., L’Eplattenier, Barbara, & Mastrangelo, Lisa (Eds.). (2009). Working in the Archives: Practical Research Methods for Rhetoric and Composition. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP.
Rose, Gillian. (2016). Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to Researching with Visual Materials (Fourth edition). London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
Saldana, Johnny. (2015). The Coding Manual for Qualitative Researchers (3rd edition). Los Angeles: SAGE Publications Ltd.
Schell, Eileen. E., & Rawson, K. J. (Eds.). (2010). Rhetorica in Motion: Feminist Rhetorical Methods and Methodologies (1 edition). Pittsburgh, Pa: U of Pittsburgh P.
Smagorinsky, Peter. (2008). The Method Section as Conceptual Epicenter in Constructing Social Science Research Reports. Written Communication, 25(3), 389–411.
Smith, Linda T. (2012). Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples (2 edition). London: Zed Books.
Springgay, Stephanie, & Truman, Sarah. (2019). Walking Methodologies in a More-than-human World (1 edition). Routledge.
Springgay, Stephanie, & Truman, Sarah E. (2018). On the Need for Methods Beyond Proceduralism: Speculative Middles, (In)Tensions, and Response-Ability in Research. Qualitative Inquiry, 24(3), 203–214.
Stewart, Kathleen. (2008). Weak Theory in an Unfinished World. Journal of Folklore Research, 45(1), 71–82.
Sullivan, Patricia, & Porter, James. (1997). Opening Spaces: Writing Technologies and Critical Research Practices. Greenwich, Conn: Praeger.
VanKooten, Crystal. (2016). Methodologies and Methods for Research in Digital Rhetoric. Enculturation. Retrieved November 29, 2019, from
Walter, Maggie, & Andersen, Chris. (2013). Indigenous Statistics: A Quantitative Research Methodology (1 edition). Walnut Creek, CA: Routledge.
Williams, Joseph. (2004). Problems into PROBLEMS: A Rhetoric of Motivation. Retrieved October 14, 2019, from
Wilson, Shawn. (2009). Research Is Ceremony: Indigenous Research Methods. Black Point, N.S: Fernwood Publishing Co., Ltd.

Contact Information

Derek N. Mueller, PhD
Professor of Rhetoric and Writing
Director of the University Writing Program
Department of English
Virginia Tech
Office: 315 Shanks Hall
Spring 2022 Office Hours: T, 1-3
Phone: +1-734-985-0485