Review of “An Analysis of Academic Library” (dissertation)

Virgil, Candance L. “An Analysis of the Academic Library and the Changing Role of the Academic Librarian in Higher Education: 1975-2012.” ProQuest LLC (2013). ERIC. Web. 20 Mar. 2016.


The role of librarians has greatly changed since Arcimboldo’s 16th century depiction. Candance Virgil’s research covers at least some of the changes since 1975. Source: WikiCommons

Virgil’s dissertation affords readers a historical look at academic libraries and their changes from 1975-2012.  The crux of her historical exploration centers on the work of librarian-scholar, Evan Ira Farber.  As her baseline, Virgil uses Farber’s 1999 cornerstone article, “College Libraries and the Teaching/Learning Process: A 25-Year Reflection.”  Based on Farber’s work, Virgil makes her primary research question the following: “What are the similarities and differences between the academic issues discussed by Farber in each decade of his review of the years 1975 to 1999 and those same identified issues from 2000 to 2012” (24)?

As her approach, Virgil uses document analysis to compare Farber’s observations up to 1999 to her own research on the first decade and the first couple years of the second decade of the 21st century.  Not fully aware of document analysis’ place in research, I sought clarification, which lead to an article that states,“[D]ocument analysis is particularly applicable to qualitative case studies—intensive studies producing rich descriptions of a single phenomenon, event, organization, or program” (Bowen 29).  Based on this clarification, Virgil’s deployment of this method seems reasonable, as she takes on academic libraries as a phenomenon.  Interestingly, however, Bowen says that document analysis is often used in a mixed-methods approach to carry out triangulation (28), but this is not Virgil’s approach.

Justification for her methods aside, Virgil carries out her document analysis by reviewing Farber’s article, in chapter three, laying out his top five issues for libraries from 1975-1999, including access to knowledge, bibliographic instruction, electronic information and technological development, computers in libraries, and faculty culture and attitudes.  Then, in chapter four, Virgil reviews library literature in the twenty-first century for similar issues to Farber’s and includes additional concerns or trends, mostly with access and technology.  Finally, in chapter five, Virgil compares the current state of libraries to those indicated in Farber’s article. Virgil discusses activities, philosophies, and issues “that have almost totally disappeared” and “issues present today which have changed immensely since Farber’s time” (123).

Collectively, Virgil’s dissertation takes a broader view, but I felt that my research needed to go beyond library-related collaborations to find justification for librarians’ greater work — or at least greater labeling of their work — with writing instruction in the librarians’ changing roles over the years. While not explicit, documentation of the change in faculty reception to instruction, starting in the 1990s (117), provides some support to my claim; that is, the push for strong instructional services has been part of libraries for twenty years, and, likewise, those services overlap, at least through information literacy and related heuristics, with writing instruction.  In addition, the recent trend of libraries’ linking to improved student retention, graduation rates, and student achievement (127) plays to the need for librarians to be more relevant and flexible than ever, including expansion of services.  Overall, the dissertation would have benefited my case more if it had greater focus on instruction, but it does give example of a new method heretofore unexplored in my research.

Works Cited

Bowen, Glenn A. “Document Analysis as a Qualitative Research Method.” Qualitative Research Journal 9.2 (209): 27-40. Emerald Insight. Web. 21 Mar. 2016.

Mackey on Partnerships (dissertation)


Tonja Mackey: Photo courtesy of Texarkana College 

Mackey, Tonja R. Academic Libraries and Writing Programs: Partnering for Student Success, Diss. Texas A&M University. Ann Arbor: UMI, 2013. Web. 28 February 2016.

Using her unique blend of credentials, Tonja Mackey approaches her dissertation as both a librarian and composition instructor at a medium-sized community college in Texas (13), and she argues that writing departments and academic libraries, working in collaboration (she cites theories of Dewey, Bruffee, and Vygotsky, among others, here) could serve as “the portal through which students achieve twenty-first century communication and lifelong learning skills” (4).  To that end, she posits that first-year composition should focus on information literacy as content and provide “seamless integration of research methods into the composition course, not unlike a graduate research methods course, albeit on a lower level” (8).  With that in mind, Mackey carries out her mixed-methods study to garner evidence about information literacy practices and challenges within a population that has been relatively ignored on this subject: community college students, which “pose unique situations because of [their] widespread differences” (58).

Mackey’s methods include the deployment and analysis of student pre-and-post-course surveys and three-to-four-page information literacy narrative essays from Composition I students.  Her study also establishes and analyzes comparison groups of Composition I students, where the experimental group received six separate mini-lessons in information literacy instruction in twenty-to-thirty-minute intervals at predetermined times during the semester, while those in the control group received one, fifty-minute session. To measure the two groups’ successes, Mackey performed a content analysis of sixty-one citation pages, requiring five sources, as part of the research project for which the information literacy instruction aimed to benefit.

To speak directly to the measurement of these tests and tools, interestingly Mackey initially reports measurement on the surveys of only four questions, although the instrument totals thirteen in number.  These four questions, geared toward attitudinal shifts from before instruction to afterwards, are either multiple choice or polar in nature, making them more quantifiable, and she provides statistics to show the calculations.  On the contrary, Mackey does not attempt to code and quantify the remaining nine, short-answer questions, but she weaves some responses throughout her qualitative descriptions. In addition to the survey, Mackey formed a rubric for the information literacy narratives, which can be viewed here.  The rubric for the narratives consists of three levels: beginning, developing, or achieving.  The criteria are fivefold and based on the guidelines of ACRL’s Information Literacy Competency Standards.   Finally with regards to measurement, she measures the citation pages based on type and quality of source.

Collectively, Mackey’s work compares to Shields’ (reviewed earlier this term) with regards to the integration of information literacy instruction modules at High Point University.  The difference, of course, is the population: one being mostly traditional students while Mackey’s population varies from digital natives, to laid-off fifty-year-olds looking to update their skills.  Coming from the community college model myself, Mackey’s study resonates with me; however, while it encourages librarians to move away from tool-based, one-shot instructional sessions and toward iterative and collaborative pedagogy, it does not re-invent the role as much as it could toward writing partner, rather than solely research partner.

Centers for Learning (Book Review)

Elmborg, James K, and Sheril Hook. Centers for Learning: Writing Centers and Libraries in Collaboration. Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries, 2005. Print.

Distributed over twelve chapters, Elmborg and Hook weave together a collection that essentially argues, as Elmborg point out in his first chapter, that “both writing centers and information literacy instruction have grown to a point where formal collaborative partnerships might be the best way to open new lines of development [leading to] . . . more powerful, more dynamic, and more effective instructional practice” (1).  At the get-go, two separate chapters outline the theoretical principles behind the demand for collaboration between librarians and compositionists (i.e., writing center personnel by extension). The first chapter by Elmborg delves into theory regarding the changes in education, summoning the work of J.F. Lyotard who realizes the requirements for students to understand new languages and technologies. Elmborg also describes the age as more collaborative, borrowing from Bruffee, and he avers that the approaches of librarians and compositionists are more pragmatic, meaning they help students solve real-world problems.  Hook follows up in the second chapter, connecting rhetorical theory—in particularly the rhetorical canons of invention and memory—to the work of compositionists and librarians, concluding with what seems a natural collaboration between the two.

The remaining ten chapters present multiple case studies, written by administrators and practitioners in libraries and writing centers across the US, about collaboration between librarians and compositionists.  The chapters cover space planning and design, faculty collaboration and course design, peer tutoring and training, programming and campus partnerships, archival collections, and student empowerment. The majority of the studies use narrative inquiry to deliver their research. None provides a greater historical narrative than Chapter Six, “Library and Learning Center Collaborations: Within and Outside Walls” by Judy Arzt, which details the long history of the writing-across-the-curriculum tutorial center at Saint Joseph College, established in 1988. Arzt thrusts the reader into the many partnerships, both formal and casual, created by the center being in the library; in fact, the story is almost heart-breaking when Arzt describes the loss of the writing center to another building because of enrollment growth in the mid-1990s, yet she offers hope, as they continue to collaborate through online tutorials, workshops, and referrals.

Not all case studies in the book follow a narrative approach, however.  For instance, Chapter Nine—titled “More Connected Student Learning: Research and Writing Project Clinics at Bowling Green State University” by Colleen Boff and Barbara Toth—present the results of an evaluation of a pilot survey regarding writing and research clinics.  Interestingly, these researchers performed surveys of those involved in the clinics, asking students and the writing consultants involved about their satisfaction with the clinic. While numbers related to the study are provided, the outcomes are merely descriptive, not inferential. Still, they demonstrate how to examine a local exigency.

Overall, this text mostly brings to light the power of narrative/historical research. Likewise, although thin, it doesn’t fully negate survey data and interviews.  While this monograph’s content doesn’t explicitly deepen the idea of librarians engaging in writing instruction, its methods are helpful to consider in extrapolation.

Article Review of “Librarians as Writing Instructors”

Bronshteyn, Karen, and Rita Baladad. “Librarians as Writing Instructors: Using Paraphrasing Exercises To Teach Beginning Information Literacy Students.” Journal of Academic Librarianship 32.5 (2006): 533-536. Academic Search Complete. Web. 26 Jan. 2016.

Based on classroom assessments of graduating students within English composition and their low level of information literacy skills specific to source integration and citation at Rasmussen College (before its significant expansion), Bronshteyn and Baladad report their pedagogical and programmatic changes that lead to better results in students’ use of sources in their writing, mainly the development of a fifteen-minute paraphrasing workshop, performed by a librarian, that teaches students “summarizing and synthesizing the ideas of subject experts in their own voice, and with the convention of parenthetical citation” (533).

According to the authors, teaching citation within the realm of information literacy (i.e., by librarians) and in writing across the curriculum (WAC) efforts have historically been mostly about teaching anti-plagiarism strategies and not focused on “developing composition or critical thinking skills” (534).  The authors argue, however, that with the overlapping skills between librarians’ information literacy instruction and English faculty’s writing instruction, “it becomes necessary for librarians to either work in cooperation with composition instructors, or tailor their workshops to include some degree of composition instruction” (534).   While they provide other examples for teaching paraphrasing in and outside the English composition classroom, the authors rely on the fifteen-minute, five-part, interactive workshop, taught by librarians, because it can be applied across the curriculum with readings specific to the disciplines.  As an aid to future purveyors of such a strategy, the article provides the five-step paraphrasing exercise as well as assessment of the sources used.  It also offers results of student perceptions of their own ability to cite before and after the information literacy paraphrasing workshop.

To critique, this article describes assessment techniques and provides their results, but it does not spell out all of its methods. Its real strength is in its approach that pushes the argument that librarians’ work overlaps with that of the English instructor, and because of that notion, the article coincides with my own research question about the expansion of writing instruction outside the realm of the composition classroom.  That said, the nature of teaching paraphrasing, especially as described here, seems more like a technical act, similar to demonstrating search techniques or citation generation often taught by librarians. Therefore, I have to ask if a type of dichotomy forms here in the delivery of writing instruction: are English faculty more deft at teaching cohesion and coherence and librarians more skilled at teaching source discovery and integration? Does a relegation exist here, or does the article’s undertone just move English faculty and librarians toward a particular specialty? Either way, this article, in my review, is one of the only that moves into the territory of librarians stepping further into the aspects of teaching composition, and for that reason, it is worth the read, but it could benefit from less implication of its methods.

Article Review of “Research Partners, Teaching Partners”


Librarian Kathy Shields is this article’s author and head of reference and instruction at High Point University.

Shields, Kathy. “Research Partners, Teaching Partners: A Collaboration Between FYC Faculty And Librarians To Study Students’ Research And Writing Habits.” Internet Reference Services Quarterly 19.3/4 (2014): 207-218. Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts with Full Text. Web. 31 Jan. 2016.

Shields presents here a small study performed at High Point University, a liberal arts institution in North Carolina, on collaborative efforts between faculty teaching first-year-composition (FYC) and instruction librarians.  The goal of the study is to explore and analyze the effect of integrating research modules, along with deeper instruction from librarians, into the FYC courses at the university. Shields notes that this study is motivated by the concept of “writing information literacy,” averred by Norgaard,  as a skill “shaped by writing” and not a “neutral, technological skill” applied to writing.  As such, the approach behind the study aims to counter the pedagogically light one-shot library instruction often utilized in FYC courses, and instead, it seeks to make research a part of the writing process.

The study itself follows the effect of five newly created research-related modules, designed with WPA Standards and ACRL standards in mind, featuring auto-graded assessments in Blackboard.  These modules were implemented in thirteen sections of FYC, creating an experiment group. The other sections of FYC did not receive the modules, creating the control group.  In addition to the modules, all students in FYC (both control and experiment groups) were required to complete a pre-and-post-course information literacy process narrative, asking them to explain how they would go about developing a 1500-word social issues paper requiring three outside sources.  Based on a random sample of thirty from the control group and thirty from the experiment group, the researchers coded the narratives on two levels: Level 1 described research-related actions, such as organizing and gathering sources and finding a topic and Level 2 described higher-level thinking, especially two core concepts of “writing information literacy”: inquiry and invention. Shields concludes that the findings were statistically insignificant because of too many variables in the study; however, she notes shifts in an increase in the use of terminology related to research from pre-to-post narrative, such as keywords, databases, credibility, scholarly, and citations.  One term that did not appear in the narratives as often, but had been given deep emphasis is relevance. 

To offer a critique of this article, I do not necessarily see it as groundbreaking, so I am relatively noncommittal about recommending it to fellow peers and scholars.  Contextually, however, it works for me.  This article proves useful, not necessarily so much for its study, but for the goal of librarians and FYC faculty attempting to unite research and writing processes into one. Norgaard’s concept on “writing information literacy” proves interesting and hopeful for encouraging writing faculty to take a more serious look at the deep connections between the writing and the research process and acting on them.  Moreover, the librarians’ work indicated in the article demonstrates a stronger level of attempting to situate their roles in the writing process, as not just information gatekeepers but as active participants in the writing process.  The fact that the study looked for rhetorical activities, such as inquiry and invention, proves hopeful toward greater discussion of librarians being more intentional about bolstering rhetorical strategies, which is usually not their bailiwick.  Overall, the article offers some solid theories and concepts. The unremarkable results, however, stemming from the implementation of those ideas may make others hesitant to spend much time with this article.

Introduction to ENGL840 Micro-Study

Academic librarians hold a unique position; they, at once, help students become better researchers and serve as an integral part in the writing process. To flesh out that latter claim, I would argue that most of the research librarians perform, or teach students to perform, is applied directly to writing assignments. Despite such benefit in the writing process, librarians’ work is often treated as an add-on function.  Faculty frequently request a library instruction only at one “magical” point in a course, and students oftentimes select their topics and even write their essays before consulting with a librarian.  In addition, Todorinova (2010) reports that 26% of libraries collaborate with writing centers, and 74% express a willingness to do so in the future, meaning librarians are gaining greater opportunities to participate in the writing process.  For instance, at my current institution, a Florida community college, librarians and writing tutors share a public work space, providing writing and research assistance across the disciplines.


Librarians and writing tutors share a public work space together called Writing Studio.

Couple this new way of collaboration with their traditional teaching methods, and librarians are positioned at the center of the writing process, but questions loom about librarians’ self-perceptions of their roles as (pre)writing instructors of sorts: How much do they know about or feel part of the process? How much do they knowingly work with rhetorical strategies? And in what aspects of writing do librarians feel comfortable in assisting students? These questions, among others, I wish to explore in my micro-study for ENGL840.


Paper #6: What It Means to Be A Scholar


Although over 175 years old, Emerson’s “American Scholar” still has nuggets of wisdom relevant to scholarship today. Source: Public Domain

Although perhaps an odd piece to consider when we’ve moved into scholarship on materiality, embodiment, chaos theory, complexity, and post-humanism, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s 1837 speech to the Phi Beta Kappa Society in Cambridge, MA, titled “The American Scholar” seems to still offer some nuggets of wisdom  on what it means to be a scholar today. To sum up his lengthy speech, Emerson essentially praises the observation of both human and physical nature, the study of history through books, and the value of labor and action.  Before regarding this as transcendental triteness, I ask my readers for a little latitude to articulate meaning here behind Emerson’s words because as a scholar wannabe of rhetoric and composition standing at the intersection of program administration, I think he helps me clarify my place in the field of English Studies.


While Emerson may romanticize the sun and its setting, the night and its stars, or the grass and its breeze.  He turns an interesting phrase when he mentions his observation of the everyday spectacle of “men and women, conversing, beholding and beholden.”  From that description, I can’t help but think about what’s at the root of scholarship or at least the scholarship that I’m interested in:  it is the nature of humans, the behaviors of students — their conversing about how they juggle work, caring for their kids, and somehow going to college. It is their beholding of new knowledge, at least some times, and of the nature of others around them, their culture, and their purpose. This importance of human nature upon scholarship is what drew me to make transfer of learning within first-year composition students my point of inquiry throughout the semester, for as the main objects of study across most all of the literature I explored, it is students — their behaviors, actions, reactions, memories, and losses — that problematize and promote my scholarship.

As an example of the study of human nature within writing studies, Howard Tinberg, in his article, “Reconsidering Transfer Knowledge at the Community Colleges,” asks: “What exactly is it that students [my emphasis] take from their required writing course that could enable success in those other domains? (8)” By comparison, Tinberg does not make course content his object of study, as Yancey and her colleagues do; rather, he focuses on human nature –- both beautiful and messy –- dabbling in psychological work of sorts concerning writing and its carryover to other subjects and situations.


Studying transfer requires one to think psychologically. Source:

Speaking of psychology, that area of study may be a good metaphor here, for like a therapist, Tinberg only has a select number of individuals — I will not call them patients, but certainly I can envision a comfy chair and a great deal of “so, tell me about your writing” — who he works with and interviews as case studies: five to be exact.  The narrow population and case study approach is interesting.  It speaks to a qualitative factor that I find missing in so much of the institutional data to which I’ve grown accustomed within community colleges, where the race to completion has us focusing on large student populations and scaled-up initiatives.  Instead of attempting to respond to student issues through conjecture based on big data, case studies can help us truly know our students.  These types of one-on-one, give-and-take sessions are powerful; however, I am also aware of their limitations, including perhaps their inability to offer generalizations or external validity, which is why a mixed-methods approach (e.g., surveys and reviews), such as Tinberg performs, are important, but for me, case studies as a methodology seem more manageable and meaningful.

Now, as may be surmised, I have been deeply involved in gathering and reporting institutional data in my current administrative capacity. In fact, I spent six months as departmental representative, reporting, each week, directly to senior leadership and over 100 staff and faculty regarding our support initiatives.  It was a nerve-wracking affair, to say the least!


Institutional data should be considered when a scholar has administrative responsibilities. Source: KPBC

With that in mind, I return to Emerson’s notion of observing nature.  He says, “[T]he ancient precept, ‘Know thyself,’ and the modern precept, ‘Study nature,’ become at last one maxim.”  While in its nineteenth century context, this thought plays to Emerson’s transcendental mindset, which I don’t care too much to make a digression or deconstruction of here, it brings to light, in my current context, the connections between institution and scholar; that is, because of my administrative responsibilities, students are not all that inform my scholarship; they are not all of the “nature” to which I am connected.  Rather, the institution and their discussions and requirements for  retention, persistence, and completion make up a collective nature –- a calculating, assessing, and legitimizing one –- that I feel obligated to listen to and observe, and likewise, this nature serves as an ulterior motive to scholarship on items such as transfer.

Tinberg recognizes a similar institutional responsibility in studying transfer when he writes, “Within the community college context, the ability of students to take what they’ve learned in a key gateway course—first-year composition—and to use that knowledge in a self-conscious way to achieve success in courses to come and, indeed, in a career becomes especially urgent. Retention of community college students remains a concern nationally, with a 58 percent retention rate from fall to fall” (10).


When Emerson speaks of years past he finds his muse in the most prominent text of the time: books.  He writes, “Books are the best of things, well used; abused, among the worst. What is the right use? What is the one end, which all means go to effect? They are for nothing but to inspire.”  Similarly, books, texts – the literature in general — on rhetoric and composition offer a history, perhaps even a lore, as Phelps reminds us of in her “Practical Wisdom and the Geography of Knowledge in Composition,” that pushes me toward my own scholarship. Texts help me find seminal works and, most importantly, those gaps that offer potential for future study.  This semester, one of those gaps –- at least I think I found –- is the study of how digital learning objects improve or don’t improve transfer.


Learning Toolkits provide point-of-need instruction and offer a unique object of study for transfer. Source: SPC

I grew interested in this topic because currently at my institution I have been integrally involved in the planning and building of a digital repository that holds active learning toolkits, which are a collection of digital learning objects geared toward independent mediation or remediation.  So, I started thinking: What if a composition course promoted these digital learning objects, such as ones on paragraph development or finding sentence-level errors, and these learning toolkits were available to students throughout their time at the college?  Would they return to them?  Would they help improve transfer?  Is there any history of research here? How would I measure it anyway? Well, in looking at theory I found the ideas of boundary crossing and boundary objects within transfer of learning, and this discovery inspired me, perhaps similar to how Emerson was so inspired by books he discovered.

To elaborate, boundary crossing, according to Akkerman & Bakker (2011), is defined as the ability to “face the challenge of negotiating and combining ingredients from different contexts to achieve hybrid situations” (qtd. in Middleton and Baartman 134) and boundary objects, as Star and Griesemer’s 1989 work points out, are “both plastic enough to adapt to local needs and the constraints of the several parties employing them, yet robust enough to maintain a common identity across sites” (qtd. in Akkerman and Bakker 134).   Doing more research, two FemTech scholars, Alexandra Juhasz and Anne Balsamo, take boundary objects one step further and call them “Boundary Objects That Learn.” While originally I was not confident in my thought in attaching digital learning objects to boundary objects, this textual find, in the words of Emerson, became “the page . . . luminous with manifold allusion.”

To go along with this discovery, the intersections of administration and scholarship help out my case here, for I actually have the opportunity to put study into practice.  To explain further, I’ve been actively involved in creating a new standards-based Composition 1 course and serving as a course coordinator for it, and in this course, we have placed these toolkits (i.e., digital learning objects), so if I wish to pursue this study regarding transfer, I can look to the analytics and formulate some methodologies, such as case studies, to further investigate the point of inquiry.


Finally, to return to Emerson’s definition of scholarship, he praises action in his ultimate point.  He says, “A great soul will be strong to live, as well as strong to think.”  Emerson’s words here remind me of a couple of items I read this semester.  First of all, they are reminiscent of Phelps’ community of reflective practitioners (867);  that is, those who are working in the world and learning from it.  Likewise, it reminds me of a quote I recounted from Sid Dobrin when we were writing about theory and methods.  He says, [M]ost often theory is organic, receptive to new observations, additional facts, further speculation.  Theory accounts for experience and allows new experience to alter or contribute to the evolution of that theory” (Dobrin 8-9).

Overall, Emerson’s notion of action — and quotations such as those mentioned above — make me realize that where I stand in the major debates is in the middle of thinking and theorizing, acting and administering. It makes me remember that practice informs theory, and theory informs practice.  It also makes me think about the idea of the teacher-scholar, and it begs me to take it one step further as the administrator-scholar.

While mixing administration and scholarship may not be the most common way of applying the PhD, the argument for it has grown over the years, and it interests me as an administrator managing a writing center and as a faculty member teaching writing.  As a brief review of this administrator-scholar identity, I begin with Bullock, who perhaps was prescient when he wrote this in 1987:


Intellectual work in writing administration advances knowledge just like the design and construction of a building. Source: GoBloomberg

“Increasingly, faculty members are hired to use their expertise to design and run writing programs; the administration of those programs is an integral part of their jobs. Faculty in these positions are not caretakers of a slice of bureaucracy; they are experts and scholars testing and refining their knowledge in the practical arena of application. The administration of writing programs under these circumstances advances our knowledge of the teaching of writing. No less than an architect’s erection of a building or a playwright’s successful directing of his or her own play, it is scholarship (15).”

Then, in 1998, the Council of Writing Program Administration took a stand on the intellectual and scholarly work of writing program administrators, saying “it is worthy of tenure and promotion when it advances and enacts disciplinary knowledge within the field of Rhetoric and Composition” (Schuster, et al.)

Even more recently, Debra Dew (2009) argues that rhetorical work, when applied to writing program administration, should be considered intellectual work. She writes, “Rhetorical advocacy is an area of inquiry that is epistemologically integral to our field’s methods of generating, integrating, and applying knowledge. Our standards of excellence in writing administration include evaluative criteria and outcomes that depend upon advocacy. . . [thus,] advocacy as the WPA’s applied rhetorical work is essential” (42).

Such groundwork with regards to the scholar-administrator gives me hope for the future, and it helps me create a framework to identify the world of scholarship and my place in it. To paraphrase Emerson, this discovery becomes me, as the scholar, “to feel all confidence in myself,” and it reminds me to pay attention to nature, texts, and action, for “[s]uccess treads on every right step.”

Works Cited

Akkerman, Sanne F., and Arthur Bakker. “Boundary Crossing and Boundary Objects”. Review of Educational Research 81.2 (2011): 132–169. JSTOR.  Web.  29 Oct. 2015.

Bullock, Richard. “When Administration Becomes Scholarship: The Future of – Writing Program Administration.” Writing Program Administration 11.1-2 (1987): 13-18. Web. 9 Dec. 2015.

Dew, Debra Frank. “WPA as Rhetor: Scholarly Production and the Difference a Discipline Makes.” CCC 61:2 (2009): 40-62. Web. 9 Dec. 2015.

Dobrin, Sidney I. Constructing Knowledges: The Politics of Theory-Building and Pedagogy in Composition. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1997. Print.

Emerson, Ralph W. “The American Scholar.” Phi Beta Kappa Society. Cambridge, MA. 31 Aug. 1837. Web. 9 Dec. 2015.

Juhasz, Alexandra, and Anne Balsamo. “An Idea Whose Time is Here: FemTechNet – A Distributed Online Collaborative Course (DOCC).” da: a Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology, 1 (2012). Web. 29 Oct. 2015.

Middleton, Howard, and L K. J. Baartman. “Transfer, Transitions, and Transformation?” Transfer, Transitions and Transformations of Learning, 2013. 1-11. Print.

Phelps, Louise Wetherbee. “Practical Wisdom and the Geography of Knowledge in Composition”. College English 53.8 (1991): 863–885. Web. 7 Dec. 2015.

Schuster, Charles, et al. “Evaluating the Intellectual Work of Writing Administration.” WPA. Council of Writing Program Administrators, 1998. Web. 9 Dec. 2015.

Tinberg, Howard. “Reconsidering Transfer Knowledge at the Community College: Challenges and Opportunities.” Teaching English in the Two Year College 43.1 (2015): 7-31. Web. 5 Oct. 2015.

Paper #5: Epistemological Stance: Fragmented in the Disciplines


A fragmented academic life offers opportunity for interdependence. Credit: Joz Jimenez

In my early twenties, which feels like a lifetime ago, my then significant other told me that I was “fragmented.”  Still full of young angst, I felt insulted by her words.  I asked her to clarify, and in typical fashion, she never fully explained her declaration.  That said, I assume what she meant was that I had seeming inconsistencies in my interests: I read nineteenth-century literature but professionally worked as a word-slinging copywriter, creating ads for everything from auto parts to visual arts; listened to the Smiths, Pixies, and Cure but held down the rhythm section for a couple of praise-and-worship bands; and found comfort with conservative-leaning friends but explored liberal ideas. These supposed disparities, while mostly related to leisure and thought, set a trajectory for what was to come, not in my avocational interests but in my career within academics.

If said significant other thought I was “fragmented” twenty years ago, then she should see my career now: a full-time library and learning center administrator who teaches courses, part-time, in research, writing, and technology studies; a writing center administrator by nature but a STEM-center administrator by nurture; and an online course developer dubious of the efficacy of online instruction.  Of course, fragmentation is not only, to use Peter Elbow’s phrase, “embracing contraries,” but it is the separateness of a whole, the parts of a sum, so if I were to look at my academic life in those regards, I could add data analyst, FYC course coordinator, success coach, and lead or chair on numerous projects, from the quality enhancement plan to the common reading program. I will stop there, however, in order to spare my readers from what might be perceived as narcissism.

Readers should know, though, that I divulge a lengthy list of seemingly fragmented streams here not as a matter of conceit, but to demonstrate my full life as an academic, and while some may call this brokenness, I call it separateness, uniqueness, holiness*; and I don’t mean these labels to sound haughty or self-righteous; rather, the more separate I become, somehow the more part of something else or someone else I come to be.  This paradox is seemingly like the quote attributed to Jacques Cousteau:  “However fragmented the world [. . . ] it is an inexorable fact that we become more interdependent every day.”  Likewise, this interdependence is deeply needed within academics, especially English Studies with all of its ruptures and discord, and for me, interdependence translates into valuing interdisciplinarity, collaboration, and inclusiveness within the academy.

Primary texts in the field, like Isocrates'

Primary texts in the field, like Isocrates’ “Panegyricus” remind us of the importance of unity. Credit: Creative Commons

Julie Klein Thompson writes, “Nowhere […] is the genealogical reach of interdisciplinarity longer than it is in humanities. The underlying ideas of synthesis, holism, connectedness, and general knowledge developed in ancient Greek philosophy were transmitted throughout the history of liberal education “(3).  As part of the humanities, and with a strong foothold in tradition, through rhetorical communication and literary creativity, English Studies works best in its intersections, its common ground among the many disciplines it incorporates.  On the rhetorical side, I think of Isocrates and his call for Pan-Hellenism — political harmony among the Greek states — through the use of rhetoric, like his Panegyricus, where he writes the following: “Our duty, on the contrary, is to put aside these plottings and apply ourselves to those undertakings which will enable us both [. . . ] to feel greater confidence in one another” (Isocrates § 173).   Likewise, on the literary side, I consider Shakespeare’s peacemaking prince Escalus in Romeo and Juliet who says, “Seal up the mouth of outrage for a while / Till we can clear these ambiguities” (5.3.3190-91).  Certainly, before the research or even the presentation, the primary texts — the very subject matter of which many have grown so fond — has reminded us of the need to connect and unify, not vilify and disown. Accordingly, I have listened and will continue to comply, knowing we are better together than we are apart.

But with all that in mind, I still must ask: how can I sustain such a spirit of interdisciplinarity? Well, if my readers will allow me to indulge in some open pondering for a moment, then I would be most grateful.

First, it appears that, through collaborative projects, I could achieve greater solidarity with other faculty in the field. In fact, my object of study for this course seems like a good example of a project offering opportunity for inquiry-based research and interdisciplinary interaction. No matter if the faculty member is a literary and cultural studies guru or rhetoric and writing studies authority, if he or she is interested in helping students carry what they learned from one class to the next, then the idea of digital learning objects standing in the gap to aid in transfer is more than likely a point of inquiry that the faculty member can buy into.  The invitation only need to be made.

Through curriculum building exercises, I could also achieve interdisciplinarity.  This year I have been deeply involved in a course revitalization project for FYC, and my partner on the project only occasionally teaches FYC, but she offers significant expertise in ESL, so while developing the course was a great deal of work and sometimes full of frustration due to a short span of time to complete the project, working with this faculty member proved to be rewarding and a learning experience for me about how to approach FYC with the second-language learner in mind. This partnership may have been pre-arranged by the dean, but our open minds, and focus on common goals, like student learning and success, despite our different backgrounds, created a bond and stands as a testament to interdisciplinarity’s strengths.


Collaborating at a distance offers good opportunities for research and innovation across geographical boundaries. Credit: Kids-in-Tow

Looking at interdisciplining another way, I cannot ignore the possibilities of collaborating with others outside my home institution.  Perhaps it could be fellow students in the PhD program at ODU or a special interest group.  I can certainly see the value in this type of action, and as The Horizon Report on Higher Education says, this collaboration at a distance “is allowing universities to unite across international borders and work toward common goals concerning technology, research, or shared values” (10), creating desirable implications for new practices and greater leadership in the field, or as Andrea Lundsford and Lisa Ede remind concerning collaborative projects, they give us pause to reevaluate “not only what we are but also what we do” (qtd. in Pifer 191).

Speaking of identity and action vis-à-vis Lundsford and Ede, I have here given a roundabout address of how I would dare to define myself and my values within the field, and I essentially used my own vocabulary in the beginning, discussing how I am situated in my fragmented world of academics, but as I conclude here, I’d like to use the language found in the literature to expand my epistemological stance, for this type of fragmentation — this many parts to make a single whole — as found in community colleges and small universities is referred to as a generalist or teacher-scholar, and as Pifer points out, the generalist “turns teaching into epistemology, a way of knowing that reveals how the various subjects of research ultimately impact, transform, mutate, and rupture the illusions of its audience (our students)” (193).  Here, Pifer reminds me of something so obvious that I practically overlooked it when thinking about my beliefs and theories regarding education: students and their learning are central to my world, even as fragmented as it is, and I’m glad for that.  After all, interdisciplinarity and collaboration, as discussed here, not only offer me deep meaning, but they also, through thoughtful demonstration or declaration, are important qualities, practically in any field, for students to learn.

Works Cited

Isocrates. “Panegyricus.” Perseus Digital Library. Ed. George Norlin. Tufts University, 1980. Web. 12 Nov. 2015.

Johnson, Larry, et al. “Horizon Report – 2015 Higher Education Edition.” New Media Consortium, 2015. Web. 12 Nov. 2015.

Klein, Julie Thompson. Humanities, Culture, And Interdisciplinarity : The Changing American Academy. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2005.eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 12 Nov. 2015.

Pifer, Matthew. “On The Border.” Transforming English Studies. Ed. Lori Ostergaard, Jeff Ludwig, Jim Nugent. West Lafayette: Parlor Press, 2009. 179-194. Print.

Shakespeare, William.  “The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet.” OpenSource Shakespeare. Ed. Eric M. Johnson. George Mason University, 2015. Web. 12 Nov. 2015.


*The Old English Dictionary defines holy as “kept or regarded as inviolate from ordinary use, and appropriated or set apart for religious use or observance; consecrated, dedicated, sacred.” Here, I am playing off the “set apart” portion of the definition.

Paper #4: Theories and Methods: Crossing Boundaries, Finding Focus

The Problem with Theory?

Without going into deep explanation, as many thinkers and writers far greater than I already have, I will suffice it to say at the beginning of this post on theory and methodology, that thinking and writing on the former has been replete with controversy (and probably the latter has been too, but I am not as schooled in that area).  From my days, many moons ago, when working on my master’s degree and sitting in Composition Theory, I recall the first chapter of Sid Dobrin’s book Constructing Knowledges from the huge course pack—are those still around?—about the postmodern debate surrounding theory with a capital T vs theory with a small t.

Somehow, a simple case shift would symbolize complex concern around theory becoming less than localized, a universal truth that would create a master narrative and, to be metaphorical, enslave us all, but Dobrin’s piece offers one of many memorable nuggets worth repeating that helps balance this theorizing about theory (quite ironic, right?).


Theory helps weave together multiple threads, in an organic way, like this design by totusmel

He writes, [M]ost often theory is organic, receptive to new observations, additional facts, further speculation.  Theory accounts for experience and allows new experience to alter or contribute to the evolution of that theory” (8-9).

Transfer Theories: Boundary Crossing and Boundary Objects

With that type of evolution in mind, I enter this post knowing and being comfortable with the fact that my experience—praxis if you will—will probably re-inform my theories in the future, for even since writing my PABs last week, my thoughts have started to shift, to some degree, on writing transfer. For instance, in my post about many of the current theories on transfer, I mentioned that I was not fully invested in any one of the theories on transfer, but as even the most aloof readers could easily detect by the length I gave to Perkins and Salomon in my reflection, I was leaning toward their work on motivation and transfer, and I still hold on to their theories, for they appear to be some of the most prominent theoreticians with regards to transfer.  That tidbit aside, in my reflection, I completely ignored Akkerrman & Bakker’s (2011) theories on boundary crossing, which, in hindsight, is strange, since Tinberg in his study uses boundary crossing as a coding category.  Maybe this disregard of their work was an oversight, or perhaps my theorizing has evolved.

Well, not to bask too long on the metacognitive, but Akkerman and Bakker, especially after reading their article, offer theories that seemingly align well with my idea of digital learning objects (DLOs) helping with transfer.


Transfer over boundaries may be difficult. What boundary object can help us cross? Source: WikiMedia

Citing Engestrom et al. (1995), Akkerman and Bakker define boundary crossing as ability to “face the challenge of negotiating and combining ingredients from different contexts to achieve hybrid situations” (134).  An example of boundary crossing might be using genre knowledge on analysis writing learned in a first-year composition course to then analyze the mental state of a public figure in a future psychology course. Seemingly, however, boundary crossing is not always without a compliment.  It can have an object attached to it. As Star and Griesemer’s 1989 work points out, boundary crossing can incorporate boundary objects, which are “both plastic enough to adapt to local needs and the constraints of the several parties employing them, yet robust enough to maintain a common identity across sites” (qtd. in Akkerman and Bakker 134). To elaborate, Star and Griesemer expand on the work of sociological scholars, Bruno Latour and Michael Callon, and their Actor-Network Theory, more specifically interessement, which indicates “the translation of the concerns of the non-scientist into those of the scientists” (389). While Latour and Callon’s version of interessement has a more top-down approach, Star and Griesemer attempt to make translation—a moving from one passage to the next—more pluralistic through cooperation in the workplace. Particularly, Star and Griesemer discuss the establishing of a natural history museum in the first half of the twentieth century, the creating of a system that allowed for communication and translation, and ultimately the pulling together of divergent perspectives from each person involved in the process of categorizing disparate elements of natural history. Boundary objects are what aided in the translation and communication. In this case, Star and Griesemer consider the following as boundary objects: “specimens, field notes, museums and maps of particular territories,” and they remark that “their boundary nature is reflected by the fact that they are simultaneously concrete and abstract, specific and general, conventionalized and customized” (408). While this scenario speaks more directly to workplace or socio-cultural transfer, the boundary crossing and boundary object could be adopted as part of an academic situation, and couldn’t my DLOs take the place of the zoological specimens and maps?

Expanding Theory

To be honest, I was not fully convinced, at first, that turning DLOs into boundary objects kept with the letter of Star and Greiesmer’s work, but after completing more research, I fell upon the work of Alexandra Juhasz and Anne Balsamo, two “femtech” scholars, who take boundary objects one step further, directly arguing for learning objects (e.g., articles, video, images) as boundary objects with a slightly altered moniker (discussed below) as a way of communication, translation, and understanding (certainly keeping with the spirit of Star and Greisemer’s work). Juhasz and Balasmo write, “In FemTechNet we refer to the educational materials [. . . ] as ‘boundary objects that learn’ (BOTLs). The pedagogical objects or collections of objects that will be submitted by members of the network will be considered through these theoretical perspectives.”  Since I have not documented my struggle previously in seeking theory on how I might argue that DLOs would aid in transfer, it may not be completely apparent, here, that this theoretical discovery feels like a large “win” for me. My behind-the-scenes research has run the gamut, looking at studies outside of English Studies on transfer with DLOs or the like, and while some may exist, none have completely spoken to me as this discovery does here.

Lessons Learned About Theory Building 

So one lesson so far is that theory can propel and stall further practice and research on an object of study.  As Newton pointed out centuries ago, we stand on the shoulders of giants and can see further.  Likewise, the theory that precedes any of our research certainly informs how we might move  with more certainty (or not) into our work. Still, with all good scholarship comes the problemetizing of the object of study and that also includes the theories behind it, so sometimes we must also leap off the shoulders for a while to the ground below. After all, terra firma often offers more solid grounding that trying to balance on sinew and bone.


Now, I do not mean to short-shrift methods here, but theory is where I’ve placed most of my recent thoughts. That said, I have written extensively elsewhere on methods surrounding the study of writing transfer (see: Paper 3PAB #4.1; PAB #4.2).  To sum, methods from Wardle, Tinberg, and Yancey, et al include case studies of small populations (usually under ten students mentioned in the study), based on interviews and assessment of writing samples.  An additional number of students may be surveyed or assessed, but the deeper level of study falls on smaller populations.  Both Wardle and Tinberg engage in a naturalistic study, observing the environment in which they teach “as-is.”  Yancey, et al., however, creates a more controlled environment by narrowing the study to three courses, each with different content, to see if curriculum aids in positive transfer.

One takeaway I’ve had in examining the methods used to study transfer is that, in following Yancey, et al. and the narrowing of their study, I was thinking that what I haven’t seen so far in investigating transfer is study on specific skills that transfer within writing. Perhaps an approach that narrows the scope of study to specific items of concern, such as quality of research, process, or genre, might be more conducive. Performing a number of smaller focused studies may bear out different and missing results than what current scholarship now offers.

Works Cited

Akkerman, Sanne F., and Arthur Bakker. “Boundary Crossing and Boundary Objects”. Review of Educational Research 81.2 (2011): 132–169. JSTOR.  Web.  29 Oct. 2015.

Dobrin, Sidney I. Constructing Knowledges: The Politics of Theory-Building and Pedagogy in Composition. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1997. Print.

Juhasz, Alexandra, and Anne Balsamo. “An Idea Whose Time is Here: FemTechNet – A Distributed Online Collaborative Course (DOCC).” da: a Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology, 1 (2012). Web. 29 Oct. 2015.

Perkins, D.N., and Gavriel Salomon. “Teaching For Transfer.” Educational Leadership 46.1 (1988): 22. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 29 Oct. 2015.

Star, Susan Leigh, and James R. Griesemer. “Institutional Ecology, ‘translations’ and Boundary Objects: Amateurs and Professionals in Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, 1907-39”. Social Studies of Science 19.3 (1989): 387–420. JSTOR.  Web.  29 Oct. 2015

PAB #4.2: “Transfer, Transitions, and Transformation?”

Middleton, Howard, and L K. J. Baartman. “Transfer, Transitions, and Transformation?” Transfer, Transitions and Transformations of Learning, 2013. 1-11. Print.

Book Cover: Transfer, Transition and Transformation of LearningThe first chapter of this text, in outlining what to expect in the following chapters, provides a good overview of the theories behind transfer, which up until now, I have only discussed from a compositionist angle and not from a more psychological or social scientific one, so this chapter proves useful, as I examine some of the basic theories in transfer. This article cites the seminal studies of Thorndike and Woodworth in 1901 on how learning of one concept carries over to learning in another context.  By 1913, Thorndike concluded that transfer does not occur, that the mind learns “things separately and apparently in isolation” (1).  Of course, counterarguments exist concerning this theory.  Bransford and Schwartz in their 1999 study argue that Thorndike and partner were looking at transfer the wrong way: they were looking at in a sequestered problem solving (SPS) manner, which promoted that “subjects in transfer tests are kept isolated and have no access to texts, or the ability to try things out, receive feedback, or revise” (2).  As Bransford and Schwartz argue, this type of separation is not conducive to, what they call, preparation for future learning (PFL).  The difference between the two is that while SPS looks for direct application from one context to the next, Bransford and Schwartz offer “an alternative approach to understanding transfer,” where it is more appropriate to measure the degree to which particular learning prepares people for future learning (2).

In addition to Bransford and Schwartz, the article discusses Perkins and Salomon (2012), who argue that “motivation is a key factor in any explanation of transfer, both in terms of successful and unsuccessful instances of transfer” (3). This view actually plays off some of the work of Bransford and Schwartz who argue similarly but not in a deep way.  Rather, Perkins and Salomon put forward a “‘detect-elect-connect’ model where the three aspects of the model are described as ‘bridges’ [. . . .] to identify if the process of transfer is occurring” (3).  Detect is the moment where individuals become aware that they are in a situation where previously understood communication would apply to the current exigency.  Elect, then, in the model, is the actual decision to act on it, which Perkins and Salomon say is not as easy as it sounds due to the intellectual disturbances that “old learned practices and habits” pose (3).  The final step in the model, connect, makes a way for individuals, after detecting a possible relationship and electing to explore it [. . . ]go on to make the connection between the prior knowledge and the current situation” (3).

The chapter also discusses Marton’s (2006) work that says transfer needs to focus on differences and not similarities.  In Marton’s view, “transfer is regarded as a function of the perception of differences between learning and other situations, or put another way, between one context and another context” (4).  One of Marton’s examples, here, explains that if students learn addition by rote, then teachers do not know if they actually learned addition until they give them different tasks on addition.  The authors compare Bransford and Schwartz’s (1999) work to Marton’s, as the former also discuss “how experience with contrasting cases can affect what a learner notices about subsequent events and how the learner interprets them” (4), but the students would need to analyze the differences and similarities after the fact.

What’s more, the chapter authors discuss Overzealous Transfer (OZT) so labeled by Schwartz et al. (2012), which argues that transfer strategies can be overdone and “learning is overgeneralised and transferred into situations where it is inappropriate” (5). As example, Schwartz et al. says that 75% of the work on transfer in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) uses what are called tell or teach and practice routines, which, as pointed out, only allow for near transfer.  Schwartz et al (2011), says OZT “could be reduced by having students use a technique called inventing with contrasting cases, where they had to, in essence, invent a way to understand the learning material” (5). Another helpful way to work toward a more efficient level of transfer is to have students engage in learning material in different contexts.

Following OZT, this chapter turns to a section on Consequential Transitions Involving Transformation.  This area primarily follows the work of Beach (1999), which argues for a different approach to transfer, one that is based on consequential transitions through a sociocultural approach. The idea, then, is that “people generate knowledge across social activities rather than transfer it from one situation to another” (5).  Beach “argues that while transfer happens
in general life situations, intentional transfer, or facilitated transfer, as is assumed to occur as a result of formal learning, does not occur or occurs rarely” (6).

To bridge the gap, Beach argues for a different name for transfer.  He proposes transitions.  As such, the chapter turns to explain the different levels of transition discussed in Beach’s work, including lateral, collateral, encompassing, and mediational transitions.  Lateral transition is unidirectional, and as an example, the authors cite the transition of moving from school to work. Collateral transition is multidirectonal and provides less of a clear pathway since it deals with multiple ways of transfer, such as from one course to multiple courses in a curriculum.  Encompassing transition is when individuals engage in a social activity and the change happens within the actual activity.  Mediational transition happens in educational activities where students are uninitiated in the activity but have prior experiences to stimulate them “to move beyond their current point, to the developmental position they are working towards” (7).  Beach’s work also makes the point that transitions come with a struggle but lead to transformation.

The final area in the chapter is on Boundary Crossing and presents the work of Akkerrman & Bakker (2011).  Boundary crossing theory focuses “on the values of differences between learning settings and how to create possibilities for learning at the boundaries of diverse practices” (1).   Transfer in boundary crossing theory requires “‘letting go’ of previously held ideas and behaviours” (7), and, instead, individuals must affect a new attitude and “look critically at their
current knowledge and beliefs” (8).  Studies show that many establish boundaries between different situations, such as professions, because of “feelings of uncertainty or threat” (8).

Overall, this chapter helps compare and contrast theories on transfer as well as summarize the working body of theoretical knowledge in the area.  Additionally, the chapter leads to numerous studies on transfer and serves as a jumping off point for future research, if not reading of the entire book on the subject.

Reflections on PABs 4.1 & 4.2

So, as I look at both the chapter from Yancey et al. (2014) and the chapter from Middleton and Baartman (2013), I am presented with a number of methodologies and theories surrounding transfer.  Yancey et al. does not offer any different methodologies, per se, than Wardle (2007) or Tinberg (2015); rather, all focus on surveys, interviews, and case studies. This way to carry out research seems to be the norm in studying transfer. However, the one main difference–and what appears to be the most interesting about Yancey and her colleagues’ study–is their object of study.  Instead of studying just people and performance (like Wardle and Tinberg), they study content. What’s more, they set up this study with a type of experimental group  (i.e., TFT-designed course) vs. a control group (the expressivist-and-media-studies-designed courses). Interestingly, Yancey, Robertson, and Taczak make it a point to say that parity exists among all courses, but the reader can easily realize that the authors hope that the experimental group will demonstrate some new results. If I were to set up a research project on transfer, this chapter adds one more way to seek an object of study in investigating transfer. Also, it complexifies the way that one might setup a study in a more controlled way, rather than a naturalistic setting, such as those by Wardle and Tinberg.

Regarding Middleton and Baartman, I have yet to fully invest myself in any one theory on transfer that the authors reveal in their chapter.  My initial thoughts on transfer sided with Perkins and Salomon that motivation needs to be present for transfer to happen. I have yet to fully look at their work, but I was thinking about the object of study that I’ve played with for a while regarding aiding transfer with digital learning objects (DLOs) that trigger a buried memory after a first-year-composition (FYC) course, a digital (re)mediation of sorts; and I came upon the idea that motivation does not necessarily need to be intrinsic; rather, extrinsic motivation may be the most instructors/researchers can get (e.g., better writing transfer = better grades) , especially when talking about the dreaded process of writing, as it is often perceived. With all that in mind, this type of extrinsic motivation may be what leads students to a DLO in the first place, or perhaps, if the DLO offers some sense of motivation itself–I am thinking of some sort message that inspires or demystifies (and I know I’m talking vaguely here but actually more theoretically)–then perhaps Perkins and Salomon’s view is a largely viable option to consider.  

On other hand, I do like Beach’s idea of changing transfer to transition and transformation, but sometimes I feel those shifts are merely semantics. Wardle (2007) also wanted to make semantic shifts in discussing writing transfer, using the term generalization instead.  I do not know that Beach’s theories offer anything that makes for an eye-opening event for transfer within writing because he offers a more sociocultural approach.  Maybe if I were to look at the differences in writing transfer demographically, then perhaps so.  Certainly, I could go on to discuss other theories mentioned in Middleton and Baartman, but this post is getting overly long at this time, and to be honest, Marton (2006) and Bransford and Schwartz’s (1999) works are not as stand out (to me anyway) in my scenario of writing transfer as Perkins and Salomon; however, as Yancey et al. does, they attach theory to their study after discussing its outcomes, which means that the other theories I decline to discuss in detail here may have more meaning after a research study is carried out.  Conclusively, though, theory informs methodologies and vice versa.