Composing Research: A Contextualist Research Paradigm for Rhetoric and Composition
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Cindy Johanek offers a new perspective on the ideological conflict between qualitative and quantitative research approaches, and the theories of knowledge that inform them. With a paradigm that is sensitive to the context of one's research questions, she argues, scholars can develop less dichotomous forms that invoke the strengths of both research traditions. Context-oriented approaches can lift the narrative from beneath the numbers in an experimental study, for example, or bring the useful clarity of numbers to an ethnographic study.
A pragmatic scholar, Johanek moves easily across the boundaries that divide the field, and argues for contextualist theory as a lens through which to view composition research. This approach brings with it a new focus, she writes. "This new focus will call us to attend to the contexts in which rhetorical issues and research issues converge, producing varied forms, many voices, and new knowledge, indeed reconstructing a discipline that will be simultaneously focused on its tasks, its knowledge-makers, and its students."
Composing Research is a work full of personal voice and professional commitment and will be a welcome addition to the research methods classroom and to the composition researcher's own bookshelf.
2000 Outstanding Scholarship Award from the International Writing Centers Association.
essential breakfast might be to my moods. Testimony from a friend might add that she, too, experiences bad moods after skipping breakfast. Calculations of chance allow me to speculate on the probability that I will be in a bad mood the next time I skip breakfast. For Campbell, that calculation is mathematically possible if, for example, we’re in a coin toss or rolling a pair of dice (a calculation that can be done prior to any trials), but speculation of chance can also be based on experience. If
purple=8.0). By eyeballing these means, remember, we could guess that the purple ball is actually “luckiest,” but we also remember that individual scores within each color group varied, too. Chance, then, could be operating in two places: between colors (each color achieved a different mean), and within colors (the 6 scores within each group were not consistent). To determine the extent to which the color differences are not due to chance, we can determine the ratio of the two places where
so much information. Teachers at this level remarked that though their students had had “lots of writing experience,” they were not used to writing in a testing situation such as this one. In fact, some of the teachers said that questions arose from some students regarding their task. I speculate that these questions came from those who were given the more extensive topic assignments. Although assignments with more specific information about purpose were scored significantly higher, Figure 1
has existed. Problem-solving brings about school pride. Here at ___________ High School everyone has pride in their school. S U M M A RY Oliver’s answers to all of these questions articulate the processes and decisions made in the context of both rhetorical and research issues. Further, Dr. Oliver pointed to the usefulness of numerical data in our teaching and how naturally such data grows from questions related to our experience, instinct, and curiosity. 162 COMPOSING RESEARCH While such
come from, and whom or what they are for. As teachers frequently grapple with how to comment on student papers, the avoidance of red ink should not provide a superficial kind of relief. Just as we ask ourselves hard questions about how to word those comments or how much to comment (and where), we should examine more fully the effects of what those comments look like—not assuming, uncritically, that one color is “off limits” and the others are all somehow (equally) acceptable. Further, research