Thinking and Writing in College: A Naturalistic Study of Students in Four Disciplines

Authors: Barbara E. Walvoord, Lucille Parkinson McCarthy
Publisher: Natl Council of Teacher
Keywords: students, four, disciplines, study, naturalistic, writing, college, thinking
Number of Pages: 269
Published: 1991-05-01
ISBN-10: 0814154247
ISBN-13: 9780814154243

Book Description:

By Barbara E. Walvoord and Lucille Parkinson McCarthy

In collaboration with Virginia Johnson Anderson, John R. Breihan, Susan Miller Robison, and A. Kimbrough Sherman

Digitized by the Colorado State University Libraries

 

This groundbreaking book reports the results of a seven-year study in which six teacher-researchers worked together to inquire into the thinking and writing of college students. The study offers a model of collaborative, naturalistic classroom research that not only allowed the investigators to investigate how students thought and wrote, but also to reflect on teacher growth and change over the course of the study.

 

Publication Information: Walvoord, Barbara, and McCarthy, Lucille Parkinson. (2008). Thinking and Writing in College: A Naturalistic Study of Students in Four Disciplines. WAC Clearinghouse Landmark Publications in Writing Studies: http://wac.colostate.edu/books/thinkingwriting/ Originally Published in Print, 1990, by National Council of Teachers of English, Urbana, Illinois.

 

Contents 

Acknowledgments xi 

Preview of the Book 1 

Barbara E. Walvoord 

Lucille Parkinson McCarthy 

Purposes of the Book 2 

The Need for Our Study 3 

The Team’s Research Questions 3 

Similarities among The Four Classrooms 6 

Organization of the Four Classroom Chapters 15 

2. Research Theory and Methods 17 

Lucille Parkinson McCarthy 

Barbara E. Walvoord 

The Researchers and the Students 17 

Our Inquiry Paradigm and Research Assumptions 19 

Data Collection Methods 2 2 

Data Analysis Procedures 3 3 

Our Team’s Shared Assumptions and Ways of Working 44 

Ensuring the Trustworthiness of Our Team’s Findings 

and Interpretations 48 

3. Managerial Decision Making: Sherman’s Business Course 50 

Barbara E. Walvoord 

A. Kimbrough Sherman 

Sherman’s Expectations 5 1 

Difficulties with Gathering Sufficient Specific Information 55 

vii ... 

vlll Contents 

Difficulties with Constructing the Audience and the Self 

Difficulties with Stating a Position 

Two Interrelated Difficulties: Using Discipline-Based 

Methods to Arrive at (and Support) a Position; 

Managing Complexity 

Difficulties with Organizing the Papers 

Pre-Draft Writing 

Sherman’s Response to Drafts 

Sherman’s and Walvoord’s Conclusions 

4. Arguing and Debating: Breihan’s History Course 

Barbara E. Walvoord 

John R. Breihan 

Breihan’s Expectations 

Difficulties with Stating a Position 

Difficulties with Managing Complexity: Counterargument 

Difficulties with Using Discipline-Based Methods to 

Arrive at (and Support) a Position 

Breihan’s and Walvoord’s Conclusions 

5. Using Social Science to Help Oneself and Others: 

Robison’s Human Sexuality Course 

Barbara E. Walvoord 

Susan Miller Robison 

Roles in Robison’s Course 

Robison’s Expectations 

Difficulties with Constructing the Audience and the Self 

Three Interrelated Difficulties: Stating a Position; Using 

Discipline-Based Methods to Arrive (and Support) 

a Position; Managing Complexity 

Pre-Draft Writing 

Responses to Drafts 

Robison’s and Walvoord’s Conclusions Contents ix 

6. Conducting and Reporting Original Scientific Research: 

Anderson’s Biology Class 177 

Virginia Johnson Anderson 

Barbara E. Walvoord 

Anderson’s Expectations 178 

Anderson’s 1983 Teaching Methods 189 

Our Methods of Data Collection and Analysis 191 

Difficulties with Constructing the Audience and the Self 193 

Four Interrelated Difficulties: Stating a Position; Using 

Discipline-Based Methods to Arrive at (and Support) 

a Position; Managing Complexity; Gathering 

Sufficient Specific Information 200 

Difficulties with Organizing the Papers 219 

Anderson’s and Walvoord’s Conclusions 225 

7. Conclusion 

Barbara E. Walvoord 

Lucille Parkinson McCarthy 

Teachers’ Expectations 228 

Areas of Difficulty 23 1 

How Students’ Strategies and Teachers’ Methods 

Appeared to Affect the Difficulties 232 

What Classroom Research Meant to Us 242 

Appendix A: Primary Trait Analysis for Anderson’s 

Biology Class 243 

Appendix B: Characteristics of Entire Classes and Focus 

Groups 248 

Works Cited 250 

The Research Team 268


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