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Research in the Teaching of English, Vol. 44, No. 4, May 2010

Cover Art for Research in the Teaching of English, Vol. 44, No. 4, May 2010

Table of Contents

  • Editors’ Introduction: Researching across the Current

    Mark Dressman, Sarah McCarthey, and Paul Prior

  • Bullshit in Academic Writing: A Protocol Analysis of a High School Senior’s Process of Interpreting Much Ado about Nothing

    Peter Smagorinsky, Elizabeth Anne Daigle, Cindy O’Donnell-Allen, and Susan Bynum

    Abstract: This article reports a study of one high school senior’s process of academic bullshitting as she wrote an analytic essay interpreting Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing. The construct of bullshit has received little scholarly attention; although it is known as a common phenomenon in academic speech and writing, it has rarely been the subject of empirical research. This study is comprised of a protocol analysis of one writer as she attempted to produce an academic essay on a topic in which her understanding of the play’s content was insufficient for the task of producing the essay. The coding system identified subcodes within the major categories of content, genre, and process that enabled the researchers to infer what is involved in academic bullshitting. The analysis found that, in the absence of sufficient content knowledge, a writer familiar in discourse conventions may employ knowledge of the genre of academic writing and processes for producing generic features to create the impression that her content knowledge is adequate. The study concludes with a discussion of the phenomenon of academic bullshitting and its implications for teaching and learning academic writing.

  • Drafting and Revision Using Word Processing by Undergraduate Student Writers: Changing Conceptions and Practices

    Anish M. Dave and David R. Russell

    Abstract: The concepts of drafting and revision were developed out of process theory and research done in the early 1980s, an era when word processing was not as pervasive or standardized as it is now. This paper reexamines those concepts, drawing on an analysis of two decades of previous college-level studies of writing processes in relation to word processing and an exploratory survey of 112 upper-level undergraduate students who use computers extensively to write and revise. The results support earlier studies that found students’ revision is predominantly focused on local issues. However, the analysis suggests that the common classroom practice of assigning multiple drafts to encourage global revision needs to be rethought, as more drafts are not necessarily associated with global revision. The survey also suggests that printing out to revise may be on the decline. Finally, the analysis suggests the very concept of a draft is becoming more fluid under the influence of word processing. The study calls for further research on students’ drafting and revision practices using more representative surveys and focused qualitative studies.

  • Availability and Use of Informational Texts in Second-, Third-, and Fourth-Grade Classrooms

    Jongseong Jeong, Janet S. Gaffney, and Jin-Oh Choi

    Abstract: A sharp increase in the proportion of informational text with the corresponding expansion of cognitive demands and conceptual structures is a widely held explanation for the decline inreading achievement at the fourth-grade level. In this study, differences in the proportion of informational text across the second, third, and fourth grades were examined in order to determine if this perennial explanation for the fourth-grade slump was supported. Available print materials in 15 classrooms (5 per grade) and time spent with texts in written language activities were coded and analyzed by text type following Duke’s (2000) data-collection procedures. The proportion of informational text in classrooms was slightly higher in grade 2; in classroom environmental print it was highest in grade 3, followed by grade 4 and then grade 2; in classroom written language activities it showed a marked increase from grades 2 to 3, with that increase sustained in grade 4. Total instructional time with informational text was an average of 1 minute in grade 2 and 16 minutes in grades 3 and 4. The most common instructional activities with informational text were reading to complete a worksheet and round-robin reading.

  • Guest Reviewers

  • Indexes

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