Representing Educational Research in Written Reports
Education 208 CRN - 70766.
Hours: T: 2-5
Room: 2377 Academic Surge
Instructor: Jon Wagner
Overview: This course focuses on the rhetorical and substantive challenges of writing about educational research. Some of these challenges are faced by social researchers in general, but others are distinctive to educational research and are shaped by the abiding policy, practice and pedagogic contexts in which the implications of educational research are debated and deliberated.
Some of the topics well examine include: rhetoric and genres of research reporting; the social organization of writing and publishing educational research; the relationship of writing challenges to research methods, theory and audience; and the different styles of discourse that characterize educational policy-making, practice and research. In addition to reading and talking, well try out several text analysis strategies for examining published educational research and for analyzing and improving our own writing.
Format for class sessions: The course meets every week as a 3 hour seminar. Each session will involve some combination of lectures, presentations, discussion of assigned readings and exemplary reports of educational research that students find through their own reading; and a close look at student writing projects. Students are expected to attend all class sessions, to share their writing with other students, and to comment on the writing that other students bring to class.
Manuscript in process: If you are enrolled in this course, you are required to work on a "manuscript in process" for the duration of the course and to make progress in it. The manuscript you are working on will serve as the basis for a variety of directed reading and writing assignments. It can be any length and addressed to any specific audience. It can be a newly written draft or a draft based on one or more papers written for other courses.
Assignments: Apart from working on your own manuscript, youre expected to complete one term writing assignment and several short writing exercises.
Term writing assignment: Research report rhetoric analysis: you write a paper that examines the rhetoric of two or more lead articles/books from a research area in which you are interested (well read several articles that could serve as models for this assignment).
Short writing assignments: (1) A student writing critique (i.e. you review the written work of other students in the class as if that work had been submitted for publication to two different journals with which you are familiar) and (2) several Writing exercises that provide guided practice in writing educational research for different audiences. At the end of the class, all students also make an Oral presentation abaout their work for the course.
Grading: Students will be graded on timely completion of assignments, the quality of their written work, and their contributions to class discussions and presentations.
Becker, Howard.S. (1986). Writing for social scientists. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Gusfield, Joseph. (1990). Two genres of sociology: A literary analysis of The American occupational structure and Tallys corner, in Albert Hunter (Ed.). The rhetoric of social research: Understood and believed. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers, pp 62-96
Hunter, Albert. (1990). "Setting the scene, sampling and synecdoche," in Albert Hunter (Ed.), The rhetoric of social research, pp 111 - 128
Hunter, Albert. (1990). From: Introduction: Rhetoric in research, networks of knowledge, in Albert Hunter, (Ed.), The rhetoric of social research, pp 11-20.
Marshall, M. J. and Barritt, L. S. (1990). Choices made, worlds crated: The rhetoric of AERJ. American Educational Research Journal, 27 (4): 589-609.
McGill, Lawrence T. (1990). Doing science by the numbers: The role of table and other representational conventions in scientific journal articles. In Albert Hunter (Ed.), The rhetoric of social research, pp 129-141.
Miles, Matthew and Huberman, Michael. (1994). Producing reports, in Qualitative data analysis. Beverly Hills, CA: SAGE, pp, 298-306
Nespor, Jan and Barbar, Liz. (1991). The rhetorical construction of "the Teacher." Harvard Educational Review, 61, 4: 417-433.
Reid, William A. (1987). Institutions and practices: professional education reports and the language of reform. Educational Researcher, 16, 10-15.
Richardson, Laurel. (1990). Writing strategies: Reaching diverse audiences. Newbury Park, CA: SAGE.
Shulman, Lee S. Knowledge and Teaching: Foundations of the New Reform. Harvard Educational Review, 57 (1): 1-22.
Wainer, Howard. (1992). Prologue--How the following article came to be (pp 12-13); and Understanding graphs and tables (p 14-23). Educational Researcher, 21: 12-23.
Wolcott, Harry F. (1990). Writing up qualitative research. Newbury Park, CA: SAGE.
Note: Students will also review books and articles identified by other students as exemplars of particular formats and models of research reporting; and they will read and comment on manuscripts that students are currently writing themselves.
Representing Educational Research in Written Reports
A working list of tasks and choices
Designing the writing task:
Identifying and specifying the audience
Clarifying what you know
Clarifying what you want to say
Clarifying what you can say with confidence (and what you cant, and what you need to do if you want to say more than you can now say and say it with confidence)
Scheduling your work
Designing feedback and support
Rhetorical and theoretical choices
Engaging the reader
Clarifying unfamiliar terms
Outlining the path you will take
Positioning your account
Linking particulars to generalizations (e.g., "casing")
narratives and other forms of description
"chunks" and "streams"
concepts, examples, illustrations, asides, notes, and metaphors
your thoughts and other peoples thoughts
levels and kinds of confidence: observations, arguments, extrapolations, speculations, proposals, admonitions, cautions
Writing analyses of empirical data: represented social phenomena
attitudes, beliefs, perceptions, etc.
patterns of behavior
patterns of social organization
relationships between the above
Writing analyses of empirical data: representational forms
links and networks (e.g., lists, indices, labels, collections, collages, matrices, etc.)
recorded sensory data: sights, sounds, touch, smell, taste
other material artifacts (objects, arrangements, fabrications)
Designing the written package
Introducing the reader to your work
Rhetorical form: arguments, observations, proposals, reviews
Transitions between sections
Clarifying the "news" of your work