Last month, my faculty mentor Professor Brewer and I received our approval from the IRB to conduct activities with people for the purpose of this research project. In order to do so, we had to provide final drafts of a consent form for participants as well as the questions that we would be asking them. After fulfilling this step, I completed the literature review section of my research as well as outlined my methodology in preparation for my research activities. Together, these sections have totaled roughly 10 pages. I have also developed a complete bibliography of the sources that I used to build my research question. My problem-solving process has been heavily reliant on drafting. I start by writing what I know and including any quotes or references that I know will be useful. From there, I work through any questions by reading and reviewing with my advisor to make improvements. Communicating with Professor Brewer is a crucial component of my research and we have been able to successfully discuss the study and have meetings when necessary which has helped me overcome obstacles that I come across while writing. Additionally, Professor Brewer helped me secure a time where I could sit in on one of her classes and a Pace University English faculty meeting in order to conduct my research activities for this study. The idea for this research project came from a paper that I wrote in Brewer’s class myself last year, so she has been able to give me honest feedback and help me see the progress I have made. As I learn more about writing and the ways it is perceived in schools, I have more initiative to understand how these perceptions came to be so that I can change the binary way some people think about writing.
My largest challenge and concern with this study so far is that my scheduled research activities were recently delayed. Originally, I had planned to visit a session of Professor Brewer’s ENG 201 class on Monday, March 4 in order to conduct a portion of my study. However, campus was closed on that day due to poor weather conditions, so I was unable to go through with it. We rescheduled for March 11, but I was hoping to have more time to review the results from that activity so that I would be better prepared to ask questions and take notes at the English faculty meeting I am attending on March 27. However, I am confident that these steps will get done and provide me with a lot of great information that I can use to build research findings and a conclusion for this study. I have already learned a lot from this project so far such as how different definitions of genres can change a student’s attitude toward writing by providing different guidelines to follow. Additionally, I have been reading research on the writing binary from the 1980s which taught me that scholars have been debating these writing trends for decades, and with each study there is a new perspective introduced. One thing that stood out to me most in going through my sources for this project was how many students are reluctant to take risks in their writing. The strict rubrics and policies in place for college writing assignments have caused many students to limit themselves in their writing due to the belief that certain assignments can only be done one way or only have one purpose. In my research, I hope to explore this further and encourage less rigid ways of thinking in college writing classrooms.