CFP – Methods and Methodologies for Research in Digital Writing and Rhetoric – Eds. VanKooten and Del Hierro

Call for Proposals: Methods and Methodologies for Research in Digital Writing and Rhetoric
A collection edited by Crystal VanKooten and Victor Del Hierro

The field of writing and rhetoric and its sub-field of computers and writing have historically been interested in developing digital methods and methodologies for conducting research. Foundational texts such as Heidi A. McKee and Dànielle Nicole DeVoss’s 2007 Digital Writing Research: Technologies, Methodologies, and Ethical Issues provide an overview of digital methods used in the past, including conducting online research within virtual, global communities; using technologies such as mobile devices and video screen capture for researching the activity of writing; and studying, coding, and citing visual and digital texts. More recently, collections such as Cruz Medina and Octavio Pimentel’s 2018 Racial Shorthand: Coded Discrimination Contested in Social Media interrogate the implications of digital research methods and methodologies for historically marginalized communities, citing the impact of social media movements such as #BlackLivesMatter, culturally-situated practices like Latinx storytelling and translation, and the role of visual rhetoric within participatory cultures. This work is part of a growing body of scholarship that enacts digital writing research through images and video (VanKooten; Shivers-McNair; Halbritter & Lindquist), sound (Wargo; Craig) social media (Gruwell; Potts), and mobile technologies (Greene & Jones; Crider & Anderson).

Even as these scholars are using different kinds of digital method/ologies in their research, there are still few publications that provide in-depth and detailed methodological description, reflection, or guidance for Rhet/Comp researchers who use and examine digital technologies. But our methodology–how research is approached and conceptualized–and our methods–the individual research practices we use–are vital considerations, as they can foreground or obscure phenomena, emphasize or mask ways of knowing, and highlight or deemphasize ethics, inclusion, and justice. Both beginning and experienced digital writing researchers would benefit, then, from more robust, timely, and specific conversations about methodology and methods as we seek to enact valid, reliable, and ethical research with and through digital technologies. 

To this end, we seek chapter proposals for an edited collection, titled Methods and Methodologies for Research in Digital Writing and Rhetoric. The purpose of the collection is to provide current examples of how researchers theorize, design, enact, reflect on, and revise different kinds of digital writing research. We are especially interested in chapters that discuss how particular digital writing research projects were conducted: the successes, failures, affordances, constraints, and lessons that researchers experienced and developed through their work. Questions that may be answered or discussed in the chapters include:

  • How and why do writing and rhetoric scholars work with digital technologies in their research? What theories undergird and support digital writing research? 
  • What have we learned through the evolution of digital writing and rhetoric research in Rhet/Comp over the last several decades? What do we still need to learn about and improve upon?
  • What affordances do digital research methodologies and methods offer to writing and rhetoric researchers?
  • What challenges do digital writing and rhetoric researchers experience as they set up and conduct projects? How have researchers worked around these challenges that research data or technologies raise?
  • What ethical considerations should digital writing and rhetoric researchers consider, particularly when doing work with/in marginalized communities?
  • How does work with digital methods and methodologies open space for valuing diversity and difference in Rhet/Comp research? 
  • How do digital writing and rhetoric researchers seek and gain training to work with specific digital technologies (for example, software, hardware, coding programs) and modes of expression (audio, video, images, and the multimodal)?
  • Where and how are digital writing and rhetoric researchers publishing digital research? What kinds of “behind-the-scenes” learning goes into such publication?
  • How can the field of Rhet/Comp better support research in digital writing and rhetoric? 

As the field of rhetoric and composition continues to encourage and emphasize the importance of digital research, we hope this collection will provide much-needed evidence and illustrations of the intricacies that contemporary digital writing research entails. 

If you are interested in contributing to this collection, please send a 500 word proposal to collection editors Victor Del Hierro (victorjdelhierro@gmail.com) and Crystal VanKooten (vankooten@oakland.edu) on or before March 1, 2020. In your proposal, please clearly explain the specific project(s) that you will detail in your chapter, the digital method/ologies that you will discuss, and the implications, lessons, or takeaways that you hope other researchers will gain by reading your work. Please also describe any digital data or audio-visual elements that you might include in your chapter if it is possible to publish in a digital format or to include a digital element with each chapter.

Our publication timeline is as follows:

March 1, 2020: Proposals for chapters due to book editors
April 2020: Proposals accepted
July 15, 2020: Full chapter manuscripts due to book editors
August-September 2020: Feedback given to chapter authors
January 2021: Chapter revisions due
February 2021: Full manuscript completed and ready for submission to press


Works Cited

Craig, Todd. “‘Makin’Somethin’Outta Little-to-Nufin’’: Racism, Revision and Rotating Records–The Hip-Hop DJ in Composition Praxis.” Changing English vol. 22, no. 4,  Dec. 2015, pp. 349-364.

Crider, Jason and Kenny Anderson. “Disney Death Tour: Monumentality, Augmented Reality, and Digital Rhetoric.” Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy vol. 23, no. 2, 2019, http:/​/​kairos.technorhetoric.net/​23.2/​topoi/​crider-anderson/​index.html

Gruwell, Leigh. “Constructing Research, Constructing the Platform: Algorithms and the Rhetoricity of Social Media Research.” Present Tense vol. 6, no. 3, 2018.

Halbritter, Bump, and Julie Lindquist. “Time, Lives, and Videotape: Operationalizing Discovery in Scenes of Literacy Sponsorship.” College English, vol. 75, no. 2, Nov. 2012, pp. 171–98.

Jones, Madison and Jacob Greene. “Augmented Vélorutionaries: Digital Rhetoric, Memorials, and Public Discourse.” Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, vol. 22, no. 1, 2017, http:/​/​kairos.technorhetoric.net/​22.1/​topoi/​jones-greene/​index.html

McKee, Heidi A., and Dànielle Nicole DeVoss, editors. Digital Writing Research: Technologies, Methodologies, and Ethical Issues. Hampton Press, 2007.

Medina, Cruz, and Octavio Pimentel, editors. Racial Shorthand: Coded Discrimination Contested in Social Media. Logan: Computers and Composition Digital P/Utah State UP, 2018, http://ccdigitalpress.org/shorthand

Potts, Liza. Social Media in Disaster Response: How Experience Architects can Build for Participation. Routledge, 2013.

Shivers-McNair, Ann. “3D Interviewing with Researcher POV Video: Bodies and Knowledge in the Making.” Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, vol. 21, no. 2, spring 2017, http://praxis.technorhetoric.net/tiki-index.php?page=PraxisWiki:_:3D%20Interviewing

VanKooten, Crystal. “A Research Methodology of Interdependence through Video as Method.” Computers and Composition, vol. 54, Dec. 2019, pp. 1-17. 

Wargo, Jon M. “Sounding the Garden, Voicing a Problem: Mobilizing Critical Literacy through Personal Digital Inquiry with Young Children.” Language Arts vol 96, no. 5,  May 2019, pp. 275-285.

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