Monday, February 21, 2011

In 2005, Richard Haswell wrote an article, published in Written Communication, that challenged NCTE and CCCC for not publishing and supporting more RAD scholarship.  ("RAD" stands for replicable, aggregable, and data supported.)  Haswell is quick to disallow binaries before they can be established; RAD scholarship is not in opposition to qualitative research, nor is it to be contrasted with "theory."  Haswell is more concerned with the conditions of the research being established and described so meticulously that "other people at other institutions could conduct similar surveys and be able to compare the data meaningfully" (201).

Lee Ann Carroll's description of Pepperdine's research in Rehearsing New Roles strikes me as qualifying as RAD scholarship.  Given that the book is not the only scholarship to result from this study, I believe there would be enough description of the parameters of the study to replicate it at another school.  The data is available on a website, and Carroll includes some of the questions in her Appendix.  As Haswell points out, other outlets are publishing this type of research (this particular book is in the Studies in Writing & Rhetoric series published by Southern Illinois University). 

Van Maanen's description of "impressionistic tales," on the other hand, would not qualify as RAD scholarship.  I have significant questions about Van Maanen's categorizations overall, but they culminate in his description in this chapter.  The research cannot be replicated because Van Maanen describes its aim as "braid[ing] the knower with the known" (102).  Therefore, if the knower is different (i.e. a different researcher), the research findings would also be different.  Rather than being concerned with replicability, aggregability, and data, Van Maanen tells the research to adhere to standards of interest, coherence, and fidelity.  The uniqueness of the situation, not its replicability, is what makes the situation valuable for research.

Though Haswell cautioned against binaries, impressionistic research as Van Maanen describes it is very different than RAD scholarship-- but the scholarly world would be poorer without it.

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