EWP Sample Teaching Materials: Outcome 2

OUTCOME 2: WORKING WITH RESEARCH

key words: annotation, analysis & evaluation, intertextuality, and field research
pp. 129-296

READING FOR UNDERSTANDING

In order to successfully demonstrate an understanding of course texts, students must develop reading strategies that allow them to use aspects of a text for a particular writing purpose. When focusing on comprehension, instructors can present a variety of strategies for students to try out in order to develop their own approach to reading for understanding. Some of these strategies may include: close reading, active annotating, in-class note-taking practices and outside-of-class reflections/journaling.

Suggested skills/activities/exercises: note-taking styles, annotation exercises, close-reading practices

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READING RHETORICALLY

As a reading strategy within the composition classroom, reading rhetorically combines argument analysis, rhetorical situation awareness, close reading, and visual analysis. This is because, at its broadest, reading rhetorically asks students to account for anything and everything that might be rhetorical. In a scope more manageable for a composition class, in order to read rhetorically, students are asked to let go of what a text (or artifact) says as tantamount and pay attention to how a text says what it says, that is, how a text works to achieve its meaning. There are centuries' worth of rhetorical rubrics by which to analyze how a rhetorical event works, but, for the purposes of a short course on composition, cultivating a vocabulary for analysis that students and instructor might share is important to making the task feasible and productive for students. Asking students to perform rhetorical analyses during the reading process can help students delay their default reactions to a text by considering why and how it was written, why they might be reacting to it in certain ways and not others, and how its use of various rhetorical strategies affects its meaning.

Suggested skills/activities/exercises: rhetoric analysis (paragraph/essay), identifying claims, making concessions, identifying counterarguments, visual rhetorical analysis

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READING INTERTEXTUALLY

When we ask students to read intertextually, we are asking students to understand the ways in which texts talk with one another. In short, we want students to understand the connections between multiple texts and how that strengthens (or even weakens!) a line of inquiry that they are investigating. Often, intertextuality is implicitly taught; however, explicit instruction in reading intertextually will not only foster habits of reflective writing that constantly bring into focus connections and disconnects, but also create useful vocabulary for all outcomes.

Suggested skills/activities/exercises: group writing, multimedia assignments, in-class roleplays, mapping activities, paraphrasing, summary, and synthesis skill builders

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FINDING, EVALUATING, AND DOCUMENTING SOURCES

When conducting research, our students come into contact with a variety of sources--newspaper articles, scholarly journals, books, and more. What becomes important is distinguishing between a source that is useful and a source that is not so useful. Instructors may choose to start with a discussion on how students evaluate information sources they interact with on a daily basis, while others may take a more academic approach right off the bat. Whatever you may choose, developing a strong approach to finding, evaluating, and documenting sources plays an significant part in completing research tasks and projects in your composition course and beyond.

Suggested skills/activities/exercises: summary, paraphrasing and quoting practices, library research orientation, plagiarism, MLA/APA systems

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COLLECTING FIELD RESEARCH

Research within the composition classroom can be an opportunity for students to explore and evaluate multiple perspectives from both scholarly and nonacademic persons and texts; furthermore, it can be a way to gather evidence in support of a complex claim. You, as the instructor, might design projects that ask students to conduct observations of public spaces, write up field notes, or to conduct interviews with community members to gather "on the ground" perspectives. Such field research can be combined with other scholarly research to help students make connections between issues they read about and how those issues matter to people beyond the context of the university. Field research has the potential to make Outcomes 1, 2, and 3 more tangible and immediate.

Suggested skills/activities/exercises: mock interviews, interviews with community members and public stakeholders, transcription exercises, field research etiquette, observation/field note-taking practices

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