Researching the writing development of doctoral students and faculty
Keywords:writing development, higher education, faculty writers, graduate student writers, lifespan, longitudinal research methods
This article investigates the learning trajectories of graduate students and early career faculty - a group we refer to as emerging scholars. Taking a developmental perspective, our mixed-methods study employs surveys and interviews to understand emerging scholars' writing needs and experiences. This research is significant because although literature suggests emerging scholars struggle with new writing practices, perceptions, and identities, researchers rarely take a developmental perspective on the learning needs of emerging scholars, which ultimately limits access to the educational enterprise and perpetuates a gatekeeping culture in higher education. Further, no studies that we know of consider graduate student and faculty writers' needs in relation to one another. In this article, we present an innovative method for cross-analyzing data from these two groups in ways that reveal recurring/diverging features of lifelong writing development. Our preliminary findings reveal connections and variations in the needs and experiences of these two groups that could inform pedagogy, programming, and institutional policy geared toward graduate student and faculty writers. Finally, we discuss methodological implications for studying groups of writers with proximate developmental relationships and explain how future applications of our method will contribute to research on writing development across the lifespan.
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