Case Studies in Writing Studies

Jacob Craig

As a final project in a section of Craig’s ENGL 225: Intro to Writing Studies, students produced case studies on a writer or writing-related phenomena. In developing their case studies, students needed to extend research conducted in one of the research articles read earlier in the semester.

Mac Nienstedt

Examining both how writing is used by doctors to convey information to patients and how non-expert readers make sense of medical information, Mac looked at an ecology of documents created around an 18-month-old child’s misdiagnosis of cancer.

Through her case, Mac found that:

In looking at the insurance claims and the treatment forms, there were clear inconsistencies on the hospitals part that caused their insurance to deny crucial parts of Belle’s treatment. The insurance providers hold, in this case, the most power. Since St. Jude is completely funded by insurance companies paying their portion and private donations, they are ultimately subjected to the decision making process of the patient’s insurance providers. This puts them at the top of a pyramid of medical power. Following that is the power that doctors and medical professionals hold. Patients typically take what doctors tell them as the predominant truth and expect their explanations about their health to be factual. When a medical professional, or several in Belle’s case, fail at this, it’s then difficult to gain back the trust of a patient…

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Danielle Silvestri

Extending our study of the legal and ethical realities that underpin the publication and circulation of texts, Danielle examined how Quizlet’s policies contradict how people use the platform. In doing so, Danielle found:

Although there are observable ethical implications emerging from such policy violation, students see the digitality of platforms as means for negotiating their integrity as students and users. When asked if she considered particular practices as violations of Quizlet’s policy, Grace agreed that such habits abused the platform’s intended use. However, when later asked if she would continue to use such practices, now knowing that they are direct infractions of policy, Grace admitted that she would. This highlights the prescience of ethical bargaining that platform users face when interacting with policies and possible practices […] the motivations prompting students to rely on a platform such as Quizlet for cutting corners on schoolwork are themed as autonomous justifications. That being said, a student’s willingness to cheat depends if it will further benefit them personally, and to what extent it would. As interpreted by Grace, students tend to value receiving a passing grade by cheating over their integrity to not do so. 

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Liz Hipes

Drawing on our study of multimodality and rhetorical repurposing, Liz examined the writing processes of her father, a minister. In doing so, she found:

Mike’s communicating practices include multimodal and repurposed writings influenced by speaking in sacred spaces and the continual knotworking between personal and professional life that all come together to create a complex yet highly effective writer and contributor to the writing of the sacred 

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