Wednesday, April 28, 2010

CFP: Research on Research


An ESL/EFL perspective on this would be interesting, I think.
3.6 zettabytes. 34 gigabytes. 100,500 words a day. 11.8 hours a day. 350% increase over three decades.

As these numbers from a recent study suggest, students' research processes and information literacy skills are being challenged by the nature and volume of information in the digital age. In the 2008 report published by University College London, Information Behaviour of the Researcher of the Future, several common computer uses and information behaviors of young people are identified, behaviors the researchers find quite concerning: lack of understanding of their information needs; preference for basic search engines like Google rather than article databases; use of natural language terms instead of subject terms or keywords; quick scanning and skimming of information sites; little or no evaluation of the quality of the information used; and cutting and pasting information into papers without providing the correct citations.

Head and Eisenberg (2009) report from their discussions with groups of college students from six different US campuses that students believe the challenges of conducting research for both school assignments and personal uses are exacerbated by digital information. Head and Eisenberg note that students “reported having particular difficulty traversing a vast and ever-changing information landscape.” Bauerlein (2008) takes this idea a step further, as he believes students’ frustration has caused them disconnect from their education. Of this, Bauerlein writes, “With so much intellectual matter circulating in the media and on the Internet, teachers, writers, journalists and other ‘knowledge workers’ don’t realize how thoroughly young adults and teens tune it out.”

Despite the amount of discussions and research occurring outside of composition studies, conversations in the field on students as digital researchers remain limited, with most attention still being paid to the product of students' research--the research paper--and specifically to the popular topic of plagiarism and how students’ research skills and research writing skills are inadequate. Compositionists have long considered and studied in depth the impact of computer use, multimedia, and the Web on students as writers, yet little work has been published on students as researchers in the digital age.

Therefore, we are seeking essays to complete an edited collection on research in the digital age that provide answers to the following questions:

• What strategies are students using to conduct research in the digital information age? In what ways can composition teachers help students build on, adapt, and revise these strategies in productive ways?
• What methodologies are available to composition teacher-scholars to better understand students’ research-based writing in the digital information age?
• How might composition teachers help students apply their non-academic research strategies to academic work?
• In what ways might composition teacher-scholars frame discussion of digital research to move beyond anxiety, fear, and blame? That is, how can we help students and teachers most effectively navigate digital research-writing spaces rather than just avoid them?

We seek essays addressing these and other questions, including projects that may take advantage of digital affordances (audio, video, etc.). We encourage potential contributors to consider both the process and product of student research writing in the digital age.

If you are interested in contributing to this collection, please send a 500 word abstract of your proposed essay to Dr. Randall McClure at randallmcclure [at] by July 1, 2010. Queries are welcome.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

CFP: Rhetoric and Writing across Language Boundaries

Call for Proposals — Due February 15, 2011
Scholars in rhetoric and composition have increasingly recognized that communication today involves an engagement with multiple languages and literacies. This realization has been motivated by developments in globalization, new media technology, and postcolonial perspectives, all trends in the field that have called attention to the transnational flow of people and texts and to the hybridity of language itself. Practitioners now acknowledge that developing proficiency solely in Standardized Written English is inadequate for contemporary communicative needs. Further, practitioners also realize that judging the competencies of second language writers and rhetors according to native English speaker norms fails to do justice to the rich resources multilinguals bring to communication.

The ability to address these emergent needs is hampered by the monolingual assumptions informing our disciplinary discourses and pedagogical practices. Such assumptions have included the following: that writers acquire rhetorical competence one language at a time; that rhetorical proficiency is made up of separate competencies for separate languages; that texts are informed by rhetorical values unique to the different languages in which they are constructed; and that only one rhetorical tradition provides coherence for a text at a given time. In light of such trends, scholars in rhetoric and composition now call for the study of the cross-language relations of writers and writing in order to reconfigure the discourses and practices of our discipline.

To pursue this mission, conference participants are invited to address the following questions:

What are the unique strategies multilingual speakers bring to rhetoric and writing?

How can text be conceptualized differently in order to accommodate hybrid codes and conventions?

How do we conceive of rhetorical and written competence if contact between languages is the norm in today’s society?

What rhetorical resources help one communicate across language boundaries?

What are the new genres evolving in the linguistic contact zones?

What pedagogical strategies facilitate productive engagement with multilingual texts?

How should our assessment rubrics, rhetorical norms, and writing standards be revised to accommodate language diversity?

What curriculum and policy changes may help schools and universities make spaces for the rhetorical resources multilingual students bring to classrooms?

The program committee invites proposals for papers focusing on the questions above and on any subject that provides fresh perspectives on multilingualism in rhetoric and composition. As was the case in previous conferences, the papers presented in the conference will be considered for inclusion in a book to be published on this subject.

Submit carefully written abstracts (250 words) that include your name, paper title, professional affiliation, institution name, mailing address, phone number, and e-mail address via e-mail attachment to

Call for proposals are due February 15, 2011.

During April 2011 you will receive e-mail notification regarding abstract acceptance.

Important note: Persons whose abstracts are accepted should register for the conference by June 1, 2011.

Questions regarding proposals should be sent to:
Suresh Canagarajah
Kirby Professor in English and Applied Linguistics
303 Sparks Building
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park PA 16802