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Disruptive Design: An Empirical Study of Reading Aloud in the Writing Center

Rebecca Block
The Writing Center Journal
Vol. 35, No. 2 (Spring/Summer 2016), pp. 33-59
Published by: Writing Center Journal
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43824056
Page Count: 27
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Disruptive Design: An Empirical Study of Reading Aloud in the Writing Center
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Abstract

A quasi-experimental study of three different reading methods across multiple writing center sessions indicates that our field's concerns with who reads writers' papers may be overstated, and that the bigger factor influencing the types of writing issues initiated by writers and tutors is the reading method itself. Specifically, having tutors read using a method dubbed "point-predict," adapted from a study of peer review methods by Barbara Sitko, appears to cause both writers and tutors to initiate far more discussions of global issues like content and organization than when either writers or tutors read papers without directions as to a reading structure. This finding indicates that our lore about who reads, how, and to what effect merits significant investigation. More broadly, this article also suggests that we can design our studies to disrupt our lore-influenced expectations by incorporating disruptive elements from the beginning, and concludes by advocating the replication of existing studies in new or larger contexts if we want to begin to build real knowledge about how our practices work, and why.

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