Taking the Pulse

While I have been doing some reading around, today has been the first day of my dissertation research. After a preliminary meeting last week, I’ve set out to take the pulse of Writing Programs across the US. In particular, I’m looking around to see what has (or hasn’t!) changed in the relationship between First Year Composition courses and technology use. Much of the scholarly work I found on this dates back about 15-20 years, when Web 2.0 was finding its way into the writing classroom. For now, I’m taking a very “surface” look at writing program curricula, seeing what materials are readily available online. Eventually, I’d like to conduct more focused interviews and surveys with a select number of programs. I can’t say quite yet what my argument will be, but that’s what is so exciting about this!

For keeping track of my data and thoughts, I’ve decided to give Dedoose a try. It’s reasonably priced, and from what I can see in reviews and my own first go, it’s really versatile for qualitative and mixed-method research. (I’ll write more on Dedoose at a later date, once I’ve used it for more than a few hours!)

This Friday will bring another dissertation proposal meeting with another faculty member. My hope is to get a second confirmation, and a bit of a clearer vision of advisors and timeline. This whole dissertation process is a bit confusing, but so very exciting. More to come later on follow-up meetings, a clearer project focus, and using Dedoose!

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