Words Change Worlds Collaboratory

W2C2: Words Change Worlds Collaboratory

Writing is an intervention in the world, a reaching out into the every day, an intercession in the particular. From this perspective, written texts do not contain meaning so much as attain meaning through use and reuse, mixing and remixing, distribution and seemingly boundless circulation. The Words Change Worlds Collaboratory is a collection of faculty-led, collaborative studies of writing at work in the world—from academic worlds to professional, public, and personal. Research studies affiliated with W2C2 are

  • collaborative, open to students, faculty, and community members,
  • long-term, evolving over multiple years and possibly igniting spin-off studies,
  • impactful, bearing outcomes relevant to our institutional and disciplinary communities,
  • learning-oriented, opportunities for those keen to practice setting up studies, collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data, and presenting findings in various ways.

Participation varies depending on the needs of each research project, and project leaders welcome—actively invite!—inquiries, as indicated in the project descriptions below. Together, let’s study how people write their worlds!

Ongoing W2C2 Projects

How Writing Is Taught in Undergraduate Courses Beyond the University Writing Program. This mixed methods study seeks to learn how writing is taught in undergraduate courses outside the University Writing Program. Data will help us better understand how writing is taught in the major and help develop professional development for faculty teaching writing in the disciplines and contribute to the formation of an upper-division writing requirement. Team members will help distribute a survey, conduct follow up interview with faculty, and collaborate in sharing findings with a group of undergraduate students conducting focus groups of students.

  • Current project status: We received IRB approval, and circulated the survey to 820 faculty, receiving 76 responses. We have great representation from humanities and social sciences, so we are targeting the natural sciences for additional survey distribution. We have also done some archival work on WAC programs at BGSU. The team is moving toward analysis of survey results and designing follow-up interviews. Contact Dr. Neil Baird at neilb@bgsu.edu or 309-255-7103 for more information.

The Evolution of the Discourse-Based Interview. In collaboration with Bradley Dilger at Purdue University, this interview study seeks to learn how the discourse-based interview (DBI), a research method that scholars in our field have used to study tacit writing knowledge, has evolved since 1983. Data will help us learn how the method is being adapted and better understand its future in writing studies. Team members will help participate in a meta-analysis of the field to build a list of scholars employing the DBI in their work. Team members will also participate in three different kinds of interviews: 1) interviews with Lee Odell, Dixie Goswami, and Anne Herrington, who introduced our field to the methods in 1983; 2) interviews with senior scholars in the field to learn not only how they have adapted the method over time but also how they are mentoring junior scholars to use it in their research; and 3) interviews with junior scholars to learn how they adopted the method and how they are adapting it to their specific research areas.

  • Current project status: We received IRB approval from BGSU and Purdue, with Purdue’s IRB deferring to BGSU. As we await final signatures, we have been analyzing a random selection of 80 dissertations from 1983 to today, coding for adaptation and identifying scholars to interview. Contact Dr. Neil Baird at neilb@bgsu.edu or 309-255-7103 by 5:00 on Oct. 2 for more information.

Streamwriters: A Study of Writers’ Use of Livestream Platforms. This interview-based study investigates the use of livestreaming platforms such as Twitch to display the writing process publicly. Exploratory in nature, this project asks: What kinds of writing do streamwriters produce? What motivations drive streamwriters to perform in view of a live, public audience? What forms of interaction do streamwriters have with viewers? What tools do writers use, and what makes for a successful stream? What implications exist for online writing education? The study is projected to take about a year, with spin-off studies likely, and aims toward developing possible conference presentations and publication.

  • Current project status: The team completed the IRB process in Spring 2020 and is currently collecting data. Contact Dr. Dan Bommarito at dbommar@bgsu.edu for more information.

The Invention of Access: Rhetorical Invention and Emergent Methodologies of Transcription. Dr. Chad Iwertz Duffy is studying caption and transcript users’ reading experiences. This work is part of a larger study on how disabled and nondisabled people collaboratively write, read, and use captions/transcripts to rhetorically invent communication access across various educational, social, and professional contexts. This study is grounded in disability studies approaches to writing research and involves human subjects research, specifically interview methods for qualitative research. Interested collaborators will work toward publication of findings across various contexts: conference presentations, articles, summer workshops, organization consulting, etc. and can be adaptable based on individual collaborator interests or needs. This project may be especially of interest for those who would like to learn more about the IRB process at BGSU, gain certification and practice in conducting human subjects research, building qualitative research instruments, or conducting disability studies writing research.

  • Current project status: Interested graduate students will have the opportunity to engage and apply learning from this research through internships with local nonprofit organizations in Spring 2021. Interns will work with community partners to audit digital resources and offer suggestions for improvement in the spirit of forthcoming federal amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to “include consumer facing websites and mobile applications” (H.R. 8478). Interested students should enroll in ENG 7800 (class number 17468) for the Spring 2021 semester. Additional questions or to express interest in collaborating once other research activity resume, contact Dr. Duffy directly at ciwiertz@bgsu.edu.

Impact of Discussion Platforms on Community Formation in Online Writing Instruction

Online writing instructors and students are collaborating on research to better understand how various discussion tools influence the formation of community among writers in online writing courses. Current tools under investigation include LMS discussion forums, collaborative documents, blogs, and social networking platforms.

  • Current project status: Team members are drafting an article analyzing their experiences using various discussion platforms in ENG 6800: Teaching Writing Online (Fall 2019). The article will be revised and submitted for peer review in Spring 2021. Those interested in this research may contact Dr. Chad Iwertz Duffy (ciwertz@bgsu.edu) for more information.

Toward a Pedagogy from Crisis: Adaptive Teaching and Learning at BGSU During COVID-19

Toward a Pedagogy from Crisis includes a number of research and teaching projects across programs in English; history; philosophy; writing; popular culture; women’s, gender, and sexuality studies; ethnic studies; theatre and film; graphic design; and art education at BGSU. This ongoing work is funded through a National Endowment for the Humanities CARES Act Grant (award AH-275583-20).

The grant’s research arm includes studies on the effects of remote and online learning at BGSU throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Researchers in the Departments of English and History are contributing knowledge to the field of online writing instruction (or OWI) and the interdisciplinary scholarship of teaching and learning to navigating remote undergraduate mentorship; equivalence in teaching across in-person, hybrid, and online environments; remote peer observation and student evaluation of instruction; and mixed-methods research analyzing and archiving narratives of teaching and learning from BGSU students, teachers, staff, and administrators throughout the pandemic.

  • Current project status: Research is ongoing and varies by project. More information available through BG Independent News and forthcoming episodes of the Institute for the Study of Culture and Society BG Ideas podcast. Inquiries and additional information available by contacting Dr. Chad Iwertz Duffy (ciwertz@bgsu.edu).

The Alumni Writing Transfer Project. This multi-year, mixed methods study, part of the 2019-2020 Elon Research Seminar on Writing Beyond the University, seeks to learn how alumni engage prior writing knowledge when learning to write at work. Data will help us better understand writing transfer and help develop a writing across the curriculum program at BGSU. Team members will help interview, transcribe, and code data.

  • Current project status: We circulated the survey to 13,000 alumni and have 117 responses, with most interested to be interviewed. We have identified interview participants and have interviews scheduled with alumni working at a zoo in North Carolina, a police officer, and crane operator. Initial interviews will be transcribed and used to train team members how to interview. We submitted proposals to the Lifespan Writing Conference in Athens, OH this July. We are also drafting a BGSU “Building Strength” grant. Contact Dr. Neil Baird at neilb@bgsu.edu or 309-255-7103 for more information.

Student Attitudes Toward Writing. This multi-year survey study seeks to learn about the attitudes (also known as habits of mind or dispositions) different populations of BGSU students—College Credit Plus, undergraduates, graduates, first-generation students, military service members—have toward writing. Data will help us learn more about the kinds of dispositions students have, how they impact writing transfer, and how they change over time. Team members will help develop and distribute a survey instrument and analyze survey data.

  • Current project status: We received IRB approval, and circulated the survey to 2000 BGSU students, garnering 255 responses. We are working on circulating to College Credit Plus students. The team is moving toward analysis of survey results and designing follow-up interviews. Contact Dr. Neil Baird at neilb@bgsu.edu or 309-255-7103 for more information.
W2C2: Write Your World