Grounded Theory & Me!

Response to Migilaccio, Todd & Melzer, Dan. Using Grounded Theory in Writing Assessment. The WAC Journal Volume 22 (2011): 78-88

Grounded Theory in a general understanding involves the collection and analysis of data. The theory is considered “grounded” in the data collected, which in short translates the analysis and development of theories happens after collecting the data. This theory is considered towards qualitative theory, but can be used in different areas of research. 

To simplify it even more, the best way I can put it is the following: “Think of Grounded Theory that is “grounded” from raw data/information to create a new theory all your own! You gather the data and code it. Meaning you categorize it based on the levels of importance… (Dennis & Mentor 2020).”

I found the reading Using Grounded Theory in Writing Assessment very interesting because it made me look at my own research question and ponder on the idea of using Grounded Theory to approach my question. Delving into the article, Grounded Theory is used to approach writing assessment, which most students across all disciplines have struggling doing. The idea of writing itself can be daunting for both students and instructors; in the case for this article it is the sociology department faculty and students. 

Another aspect of the article that I found interesting was the way that Grounded Theory would benefit not just one discipline such as composition but for writing in all disciplines. “As a research methodology that emphasizes dialogue, context, and a relationship between analysis and theory building, grounded theory aligns… , constructivist trends in writing assessment, and it can be presented to departments across disciplines as an alternative to the more traditional, positivist approach of formulating a rubric, scoring essays, and writing up a report to gather dust in an administrator’s file cabinet (Migliaccio & Melzer, pgs 79-80 ).”  Quite honestly, I think many students who struggle to meet the criteria of writing assessment rubrics would benefit from the research and results from this theory. We are growing in age of writing becoming humanistic, instead of facts on facts.Grounded Theory all in sense, to my understanding is backtracking your steps in the data that you gather with something new and profound to aid to information to solve an issue.

The more I read and began to understand the “groundedness” of Grounded Theory, the more I began to evaluate how I have been already obtaining my own raw data with my past and current 2nd Grade students. From annotating their writing over the course of the school year, tracking their reading log amount/content, 1-on-1 conferences, and other supplement material I create to help them with their writing assessments/assignments.  

This reading helped me feel more confident in my own research question and what research methodology I would use to research my question, which is the following: What is the effectiveness of implementing a Digital Literacy designed learning tool (by me) into a control group within a 3rd ELA class?  To elaborate on that question, I was then asked by Dr. Nelson my purpose, data, and intentions on how I would answer my question: 

The question I proposed is important to me because working as a Reading Coach in an urban school, I see the issue a lot of my students face when it comes to writing. They need that extra in class support to understand the concept of the writing process and how to approach it. Unfortunately, it is not common to have in class support in all classrooms. I want to design eLearning content that focuses on the issues of writing that our students face today.

The data I would need to collect in order to answer this question is observing the students and how they process writing, some of their writing throughout the course of the year, and working with the students in a classroom setting. Working as a Reading Coach for 2nd Grade students, I already have and continue to gather this type of data as I work with the age group. My plan is to follow this same class to the next grade to use the e Learning content that I am designing based on the information I have and currently gaining while working with them. My next steps are to do more research on the usage of digital literacies tools within an ELA classroom setting and to also get started on the IRB process in order for me to come back next school year to work with them. 

Work Cited

.Stephanie. “Grounded Theory: Simple Definition and Examples.” Statistics How To, 22 Feb. 2019, http://www.statisticshowto.datasciencecentral.com/grounded-theory/.

Migilaccio, Todd & Melzer, Dan. Using Grounded Theory in Writing Assessment. The WAC Journal Volume 22 (2011): 78-88

The following is a link to my presentation!

Hypertext Writing v. Linear-Writing

Summary of the Article

The basic understanding that I took away from this article is the idea of Linear Writing versus Hypertext Writing and what population of students most benefits from each technique. Hypertext is defined as being a non-linear way of presenting information. Students usually use this method to follow their own path when trying to give meaning to material assigned, rather than the order an author wants them to follow. As for Linear-Writing, then can be defined as  starts at the beginning and plows through to the end without going back to change or fix things. Using charts and analysis gathered from the case study of two male teachers and their groups of students, we are able to see the effective and productiveness of using each method.

My thoughts and rebuttals to the article

Fun video breaking down Hypertext!

To be quite honest, I was (and still am) confused on the exact methodology that was used and how to understand the charts, grafts, and statistics behind this research. What I did really take away from this reading is the terms Hypertext, Linear, Non-Linear, and Hierarchy; which were outlined by Emily in her presentation. The way I attempt to cope with my understanding and new material being learned is putting it into practical use. When I think of Hypertext, I think of my blogs! When I am writing out my blogs, I tend to hypertext certain words, phrases, or sentences that I feel are of importance. I use this method for several reasons: 

  1. I think as a UX (user experience) designer. If something I am trying to say is not simplistic enough, I will hyperlink the text to send them to my source of information.
  2. I try to be as accurate with my information as much as possible, so I like to send people to the source of where I receive my information from.
  3. I just think it’s fun to give more information! I just hope that people are just as excited to learn about information as much as I am. 

As I touched upon in our class discussion for Emily’s presentation, being of the millennium generation, I understand both versions of education before and after shaving advanced technology. The old day of turnitin, we had a computer base the determined if information we used in our writing were of our original work or plagiarized. If Hypertext was introduced around that time of my undergraduate academic career, I would have had less drafts of my essays that needed to be. In my eyes, I see hypertext is almost like a form of works cited without physically making the page (but I am not knocking work cited pages because they are definitely needed!). But the point I am trying to make is Hypertext is a new tool that I believe is an essential part of the writing process. I see Hypertext to be another essential to students who just can not get it right the “traditional way”. I also found the statement Dr. Nelson madea saying that we have been using Hypertext all the while without even realising it. The notes on the footer of the articles and essay most college students would be reading contain more expanded knowledge on the content at hand. SO in reality the tool has always been there, just in a different setting. I also liked what Emily stated in her reaction paper, “Looking past the flaws throughout this experimental article, I agree with Braaksma, Rijlaarsdam, and van Bergh when it comes to teaching adolescents writers the advantages of hypertext writing. In the long run, this will help them succeed in their future writing assessments and expand their creative minds.” 

Information to back up my thoughts and rebuttals!

Once I was able to put into terms exactly Hypertext, I did my own bit of research. I found this article that talks about the benefits of teaching hypertext to our students.

“Computer-aided learning is deemed to support interest and learning success because of a learner’s (inter-)activity (e.g., [12]). Dale (2008) reported “the relative newness and coolness” of computers [7]. Since the iPod assignments in his study did not feel like work to the students, it was easier to motivate students and draw them into the instructional process.”

The article goes on to talk about the history of hypertext and purposes of creating it. Due to my straining from so much reading, I was only able to bring myself to reading this article in hope of more clarification.

Wrapping it up: Coming back full circle 

So in short, this article was both confusing and informative. My learning outcome were the following:

  • Define Hypertext and its uses
  • The usefulness of teaching it to young writers
  • The experimental study of Hypertext v. Linear-text in a classroom setting
  • Putting findings into practical use

Sidenote: I hope I did pretty descent for this first article!