Case Study of Student Writers

Research Questions

  • What is the experience of Resistant Writers in writing courses?
  • What role conflicts influence the student experience in first-year writing and beyond?
  • What do students remember from writing instruction (in first year writing and beyond) and then transfer to later writing tasks while in college?
  • How can we apply the classical canons of rhetoric regarding memory as well as contemporary understandings of the variability and constructed nature of memory to the question of knowledge transfer for writing courses?

Funding Sources

  • Dean’s Research Initiative Grant, 2011-12.
  • CSU System Faculty Research Grant, 2010-11; 2011-12; 2012-13.

Data sources

Spring 2011 Fall 2011 Spring 2012 Fall 2012*
Entrance Surveys 170 101 114 57
Follow up Surveys 14 34 20
Exit Surveys 36 18 30
Previous Participant Surveys 5 10 7
Interviews 34 6 11 23
Reflective Log Entries 36

*As of December 12, 2012.

Preliminary findings:

Initial analysis points to a tension between the expectations of writer-based actions and perspectives around which writing courses and tasks are built, which tend to value recursivity and discovery, and the realities and perceptions of the student role, which tend to value efficiency and clarity. In addition, those in later writing courses have varied perspectives on how much their previous instruction could “transfer” to current expectations. My study has identified a complex intersection of an activity-systems approach to knowledge transfer, pedagogical memory, and identity theory in terms of the performance of roles in the writing classroom and after. Tentatively, the data suggest that the Student-Writer role conflict strongly influences the likelihood students will develop a robust pedagogical memory that will help them succeed at the writing tasks they encounter throughout their college careers.


One comment on “Case Study of Student Writers

  1. […] known existed, and which I haven’t left ever since: Composition and Rhetoric. All of my current composition work and the basis for Science Fiction Reboot can be traced to that single impulsive decision and I’m […]

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