Thinking about Research in the Disciplines

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I have come to believe that quite often students don’t know how to connect the work we’re doing in the classroom to the work they will come to do in their disciplines and majors. So this semester, I’ve crafted a disciplinary research report assignment to address just that disconnect. The assignment is fairly low stakes writing in the context of our course, but it does give students a chance to see how research and researched writing happens in their chosen field. They discover that MLA isn’t the only citation system in the world. They realize that sometimes three, five, or even seven authors will work together on an article. They find out that some fields use a lot of jargon. But they also see that across all the disciplines, ideas matter. What matters is the ability to apply, connect, assess, test, extend, modify, or refute those ideas. I tell students that the whole purpose of any theory is to predict or explain reality. And when they read in their disciplines, I think they really start to understand what I mean.
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About the Author
Barclay Barrios is an Associate Professor of English and Director of Writing Programs at Florida Atlantic University, where he teaches freshman composition and graduate courses in composition methodology and theory, rhetorics of the world wide web, and composing digital identities. He was Director of Instructional Technology at Rutgers University and currently serves on the board of Pedagogy. Barrios is a frequent presenter at professional conferences, and the author of Emerging.