Research Design in Rhetoric and Writing


We.19 Cold Open: Were I a List
Researcherly keywording and blurbs
Syllabus, projects, and schedule
Dylan Dryer, "Writing Studies 2016: A Table of Research Methods" (handout, in class)
Derek Mueller, "Methods in Rhetoric and Composition, Technical and Professional Writing – A Tentative List with Groupings" (handout, in class)
We.26 Wide Scope: Mapping Research Designs I
Read: Benjamin Miller, "Mapping the Methods of Composition/Rhetoric Dissertations: A 'Landscape Plotted and Pieced.'" (PDF, Canvas) [60]
Generative Questions for Research Projects (handout, in class), adapted from Louise Phelps’ “Outcomes Questions for CCR Students,” May 2002


We.2 Wide Scope: Mapping Research Designs 2
Read: Michelle LaFrance, Elizabeth Caravella, Thomas Polk, Sarah Johnson, Lacey Wootton, Robyn Russo, and David Corwin, "Fingerprinting Feminist Methodologies/Methods: An Analysis of Empirical Research Trends in Four Composition Journals between 2007 and 2016*," (PDF, Canvas) [60]
Read: Derek Mueller, "Grasping Rhetoric and Composition by Its Long Tail: What Graphs Can Tell Us about the Field’s Changing Shape," (PDF, Canvas) [60]
Notes annotation #1 snapshot in Google Folder
We.9 Narrowed Scope: Mapping Research Designs 3
Read: Sharon Marcus, Heather Love & Stephen Best, "Building a Better Description" (PDF, Canvas) [45]
Read: Peter Smagorinsky, "The Method Section as Conceptual Epicenter in Constructing Social Science Research Reports,"" (PDF, Canvas) [60]
Optional: Joseph Williams, "Introduction" and "Part I. The Structure of Problems and PROBLEMS," 1-38, in Problems into PROBLEMS: A Rhetoric of Motivation (Canvas, PDF and WAC Clearinghouse, [75])
We.16 Contextualism
Read: Cindy Johanek, Introduction and Chapter 1 from Composing Research: A Contextualist Paradigm for Rhetoric and Composition (Canvas, PDF*, [60])
Read, Kathleen Stewart, "Weak Theory in an Unfinished World" (PDF, Canvas) [60]
DUE: Research Design 1/3 in Google Folder, 4 p.m.
We.23 Procedural Fidelity and Mess
Read: Rebecca Rickly, "After Words: Postmethodological Musings," 261-268 in WSRIP [30]
Read: John Law, "After Method: An Introduction," and "Scientific practices," 1-44 in After Method: Mess in Social Science Research (Canvas, PDF, [75])
Read: Stephanie Springgay and Sarah E. Truman, "On the Need for Methods Beyond Proceduralism: Speculative Middles, (In)Tensions, and Response-Ability in Research" (Canvas, PDF, [45])
Check-in re: conference/meeting (held already or scheduled)


We.2 Wars and Other Four-Letter Words
Read: Richard Haswell, "NCTE/CCCC's Recent War on Scholarship," 198-223 in Written Communication (2005) (Canvas, PDF, [60])
Read: Davida Charney, "Empiricism Is Not a Four-Letter Word," from CCC (Canvas, PDF, [50])
Software focus: Scrivener
We.9 No classes - Virginia Tech Spring Break
We.16 Range: Narrative, Interview, Inquiry, Ethnography, Teacher Research, Antiracist Methodologies
Read selections from Writing Studies Research in Practice [120]
Gesa Kirsch, "Foreword," xi-xvi
Mary P. Sheridan and Lee Nickoson, "Introduction," 1-9
Debra Journet, "1. Narrative Turns in Writing Studies Research," 13-24
Cynthia Selfe and Gail Hawisher, "3. Exceeding the Bounds of the Interview," 36-50
Christina Haas, Pamela Takayoshi, and Brandon Carr, "4. Analytic Strategies, Competent Inquiries," 51-62
Mary P. Sheridan, "6. Making Ethnography Our Own," 73-85
Lee Nickoson, "8. Revisiting Teacher Research," 101-112
Asao Inoue, "10. Racial Methodologies," 125-139
We.23 Range: Quantitative, Dynamic Criteria, Community, International, Activity Theory, Ethics
Read selections from Writing Studies Research in Practice [120]
Part Three. Reconceptualizing Methodologies and Sites of Inquiry
Richard Haswell, "14. Quantitative Methods," 185-196
Bob Broad, "15. Strategies and Passions," 197-209
Jeffery Grabill," 16. Community-Based Research," 210-219
Karen Lunsford, "17. Conducting Writing Research Internationally," 220-230
Mike Palmquist, Joan Mullin, and Glenn Blalock, "18. The Role of Activity Analysis," 231-244
Heidi McKee and James Porter, "The Ethics of Research on the Internet," 245-260
DUE: Research Design 2/3 in Google Folder, 4 p.m.
We.30 Story and Restorying
Read: Shawn Wilson, Research Is Ceremony, 1-79 [75]
Read: Rachel Gramer, Selections from Stories at Work: Restorying Narratives of New Teachers' Identity Learning in Writing Studies 2017 dissertation from U of Louisville, (Canvas, PDF, [120])
Abstract, p. vii (10 in PDF)
Chapter Map, p. 33 (47 in PDF)
Chapter Two, pp. 38-79 (52-93 in PDF)
Notes annotation #2 snapshot in Google Folder


We.6 Relational Accountability
Read: Shawn Wilson, Research Is Ceremony, 80-139 [75]
We.13 Research Writing Pedagogies
Read: Kate Pantelides, Jen Clary-Lemon, and Derek Mueller, Try This: Research Methods for Writers [120]
We.20 IRB Certification
Preview IRB resources online at
Begin training (CITI) certification course at [60]
DUE: Research Design 3/3 in Google Folder, 4 p.m.
We.27 Discourse Analysis
Read: Thomas Huckin, Jennifer Andrus, and Jen Clary-Lemon, "Critical Discourse Analysis and Rhetoric and Composition" (Canvas, PDF, [45])
Software focus: NVivo


We.4 TBD
We.11 Due: Reflection

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