UWP Director Carl Whithaus co-authors first chapter of Collaborative Approaches to the Digital in English Studies
Collaborative Approaches to the Digital in English Studies (Utah State University Press, 2012) begins with a chapter co-authored by Professor Carl Whithaus, Director of the University Writing Program. Editor Laura MGrath notes in the introduction how digital texts and tools have become a ubiquitous part of both literary and writing studies, and proposes that “forming collaborative partnerships is often the most productive way—if not the only way—to address research, professionalization, teaching, program development, and other challenges that arise as the field responds to digitality.” The collection of essays she has gathered counter the image of the “lone humanities scholar” with newer paradigms, some adapted from other disciplines and professions, “that are influencing the truly collaborative ways that humanists are working together to build knowledge about digital tools, texts, and user practices.” The aim of the collection is to present readers with examples of collaborative approaches taken by English studies professionals and with models readers can adapt for their own purposes.
In this context, Whithaus’s chapter, co-authored with Joyce Neff and Liza Potts, “Collaborative Methodologies for New Media Research: Using Grounded Theory and Contextual Inquiry,” presents two methods developed within sociology and technical communications: grounded theory and contextual inquiry. Both encourage multiple types of data collection and analysis; support cross-disciplinary and collaborative perspectives; and produce empirical, theoretical, and applied outcomes. The potentials of these methods for work in literature and writing studies are demonstrated by their application to three significantly different samples: (1) a study of the impact of information technology in elementary school language arts classes, (2) an examination of a management writing course delivered via interactive video technology, and (3) an investigation of how information technologies and practices shape communication at a hospital. Drawing on these models, the chapter offers eight features that the grounded theory and contextual inquiry offer team-based, cross-disciplinary projects.
For the full chapter text, go to http://ccdigitalpress.org/cad/index2.html