Erin Krampetz's Master's Thesis
Erin Krampetz's "Writing across Cultures and Contexts: International students in the Stanford Study of Writing" examines eight international students' use of linguistic and cultural codes in language usage, writing style, cultural expectations. Drawing on social/cognitive theories of writing, this essay demonstrates the significant role of environmental and social influences on the students' writing. Within this context, international students' perceptions of audience expectations help to explain differences in their use of language, their attitudes toward writing, and their concepts of the culture of writing at Stanford.
Findings from this study can enhance undergraduate writing support for international students and encourage greater awareness within the university of alternative and hybrid forms of written communication. For more information about this essay, contact Erin Krampetz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paul Rogers' dissertation
Paul Rogers' dissertation seeks to identify key variables related to Stanford students' writing development across their four years of college and into their first year post-graduation. Especially interested in testing the hypothesis that two particular variables, audience awareness and rhetorical understanding of sources, are significant in students' writing development, Paul developed an original, 10 point rubric to score a sample of academic writing from 40 study participants. Twenty writing instructors participated in the scoring of a sample of academic writing from 40 study participants, achieving 86.6% inter-rater reliability. Paul also coded the nearly 150 interviews conducted during the five years of the study to gather further understanding of participants' beliefs about what most contributed to their writing development. Preliminary findings indicate:
- Participants who scored high in rhetorical awareness of audience in their freshman year showed their greatest amount of growth in subsequent years, indicating this variable as statistically significant (p>.0001).
- Writing development is non-linear; students develop at different paces, sometimes regressing across years, particularly as they are learning the nuances of genre-specific writing within disciplines.
- Participants reported that conversations about writing with teachers, professors, teaching assistants, and post-doctoral fellows had the greatest impact on their writing development.
- While positive feedback appears to increase student-writers' confidence, descriptive constructive criticism may be most salient to helping students move their writing forward.
- Students valued feedback at all stages of the writing process, but especially early on in the process when feedback clarified teacher expectations, and clearly connected to writing and revision processes.
Embodied Literacies Project
The Stanford Study of Writing raises questions about literacy that Jenn Fishman set out to explore with her colleagues at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Together with co-principal investigators Stacey Pigg and Mary Jo Reiff, as well as a team of graduate co-researchers, Jenn embarked on the Embodied Literacies Project, a two-year inquiry into whether and how college writers benefit as rhetors when they have opportunities to embody academic discourse through oral performance and digital media. The group's work was supported by a 2006 WPA Research Grant, and preliminary findings are available online.
Principal Investigator Jenn Fishman reinvented the SSW methodology to study where and how writing education takes place at Kenyon College, one of many small liberal arts colleges that has none of the apparatus commonly associated with college writing (i.e., writing programs, writing curricula, learning outcomes). Read an early report on Kenyon Writes findings >>