A Few Broad Research Questions (in No Particular Order)

IMPORTANT: These questions are designed to help you identify a general area of inquiry for your research project. Your research question (and the project that grows out of your question) will be much more focused than these questions. Finally, don’t forget that each of these questions comes with an obligation to answer the “so what?/”where do we go from here?” question in your project.

  1. What happens in the brain when we write and revise?
  2. What makes an expert writer?
  3. What are best ways to teach students how to work sources into their writing?
  4. What are the best ways to teach argumentation in writing courses?
  5. Does revision really improve writing proficiency?
  6. Should writing courses teach critical thinking? If so, how?
  7. How should students be taught about documenting sources?
  8. What are the best ways for teachers to respond to student writing?
  9. Are online writing courses effective?
  10. What are the best ways to teach writing to student athletes?
  11. How should English writing courses be taught to non-native speakers?
  12. How is/should writing be taught in science/other discipline courses?
  13. How well do first year college writing courses prepare students for later college writing courses?
  14. Does service learning enhance a college writing course’s goals and purposes?
  15. How well do college writing courses prepare students for workplace writing?
  16. How does writing mediate activity in ___________professional field?
  17. Should writing instructors teach reading? If so, how?
  18. How should college freshmen be placed into basic (remedial), first-in-sequence, or second-in-sequence general education writing courses?
  19. What should the content of a “first-year composition” course be?
  20. To what extent, if at all, should collaborative writing be taught in college writing courses?
  21. How should a first-in-sequence and second-in-sequence college composition course fit together?
  22. How can you/should you determine whether a writing course (or program) meets its outcomes and goals?
  23. Are portfolio-based writing classes better?
  24. What do we know about transfer of skills and competencies from writing course to another and from one writing situation to another?
  25. What does it mean to be “prepared to do college-level writing”?
  26. What is the value of the writing portions of standardized tests?
  27. To what extent, if at all, should college-level writing courses include “new media” and/or “multimodal composition”?
  28. How should teachers assess multimodal or non-traditional writing assignments?
  29. Should oral presentations be part of a writing course?
  30. To what extent does/should intellectual property law shape the teaching of writing?
  31. How do grades affect the teaching and learning of writing?
  32. What do employers perceive as the most significant errors and shortcomings in employees’ writing?
  33. Does direct teaching of grammar improve student writing?
  34. Should literature be used in the composition classroom?
  35. Does writing by hand build cognitive capacities better than writing by keyboard?
  36. How should students be taught about research in writing courses?
  37. What types and sequences of assignments should be done in first-year writing courses? Other courses?
  38. Do writers lose control of previously mastered skills when they encounter new and different uses of writing or contexts for writing?
  39. Is there such a thing as “writer’s block”?
  40. How and why do students procrastinate college writing assignments?
  41. How might plagiarism be reduced in college writing classes?
  42. What are the ethical challenges of writing centers, for teachers and students?
  43. How effective is peer critique?
  44. What makes a writing center effective?
  45. What is the relationship between class size and teaching effectiveness in composition courses?
  46. What are the educational benefits and drawbacks of “dual enrollment/dual-credit” writing courses?
  47. What are student attitudes and perceptions about the worth and purpose of writing courses?