ENG 1302: Written Argument and Research
Instructor: Amanda McCain
Office Location: HL 215
Office Hours: M 12pm-1pm, W 4:30pm-6pm, R 10:30am-12pm and by appointment.
Office Phone: (903) 886.5908
Office Fax: (903) 886.5980
University Email Address: amanda.mccain@tamuc.edu; amccaineng@gmail.com
Course Description:
This course is all about conducting research. In the writing program at Texas A&M
University-Commerce, we believe that students learn to do research best by conducting
research products of their own design but with some focus and help of their instructors.
Therefore, in this class you will conduct ethnographic research projects in which you will
“go out into the field” in efforts to learn something about reading and writing in contexts or
in its “natural habitat.” You will then become more informed about these findings by
comparing what you’ve learned with scholarship conducted by professional researchers and
conducting further “library research” to help you create a more informative research report.
You’ll finish the semester by presenting your findings in a public forum called The
Celebration of Student Writing.
Student Learning Outcomes
Students will be able to identify features of ethical research practices.
Students will be able to evaluate subject position and how it can affect research findings.
Students will be able to identify conventions of research and citation in academic texts.
Students will be able to articulate features of academic research writing.
Materials – Textbooks, Readings, Supplementary Readings:
Textbooks and Materials Required:
Adkins, Tabetha. Ethnographic Inquires in Writing. Southlake, Texas: Fountainhead
Press, 2010. 978-59871-435-7
Sunstein, Bonnie Stone and Elizabeth Chiseri-Strater. FieldWorking: Reading and Writing
Research. Bedford/St. Martin's, 2006. 978-0-312-43841-8
Three-ring binder that will serve as your Research Portfolio (see below)
Thumb drive or other means (dropbox.com account, for example) of storing digital
versions of the essays and other written material you generate (always, always keep a
backup of everything you turn in!)
A valid, working email address that you check everyday
Optional Texts:
Resources for Ethnographic Research (asking good interview questions, professional
associations’ codes of ethics, etc.)
The Celebration of Student Writing at Eastern Michigan University
Some of our past Celebrations:
Instructional / Methods / Activities Assessments
You will be assigned a grade on the initial due date for each discrete piece of writing, but you
will have the opportunity to revise to make your writing stronger. The first revision is due one
week after the assignment has been returned to you. A final revision can and is encouraged to be
included in your Research Portfolio. With a complex assignment like the ethnography, you will
be free to add information and observations gained over time instead of feeling that earlier
assumptions and conclusions are set in stone.
You can spend a lot of time developing and revising, working on certain aspects of your writing,
and all of this effort and expertise will be reflected in your final project and your grade. That
means that your attention to revision and your awareness of your own work habits, strengths and
weaknesses will become a very important element of your writing process.
If an assignment is due at the beginning of class, it is due at the beginning of class. If you must
be absent the day an assignment is due, you must get the assignment to me BEFORE class
Always turn in something; something is better than nothing—with something, you can revise. If
you submit nothing, you cannot revise and receive a passing grade on the assignment.
How Course Grade is Determined:
This class will be graded under a point system. All of you begin with 0 points and as the class
progresses and objectives/assignments are completed, points will be earned. At the end of the
course, your total number of points will determine your final grade.
You will be required to complete 9 major course objectives: 8 major writing assignments and
participation. You will be given points (grades) with each completed assignment.
Bonus points may be earned through extra assignments and “class credit”; these objectives will
be announced in class as they become available.
Assignment Descriptions
Writing Assignment 1- Research Framework and Methodology (10%): Using Chapter
One from EIIW, explain your theory of the concept of “literacy.” What is literacy? How do you
know a “literacy event” when you see it? How will you go about looking for literacy in its
“natural habitat” or in context? Think of this essay as the framework you are creating for your
study. ( 3-5 pages)
Writing Assignment 2- Research Proposal (5%): In this short essay, you should explain
to your instructor where you’re going to do your research, what you will be looking for and at in
that research site, and why this site is appropriate for your research. In interest of conducting
ethical research, explain your connection to this site (i.e. you eat lunch there often, you know
someone who works there, etc.). You should also explain what you anticipate you will learn
about literacy in this site. (2-3 pages)
Writing Assignment 3- Informed Consent and Code of Ethics (10%): Using The
Belmont Report as a frame work and the Codes of Ethics developed by professional
organizations like The Modern Language Association, The American Anthropological
Association, The Association of Internet Researchers, or The American Folklore Society, create
a Code of Ethics you will follow in your own research. You may also find information in EIIW
and FW to assist you with this project. Once you have created your Code of Ethics, you will also
need to create an Informed Consent form that your research participants will read and sign.
Remember that your research participants are the audience for this text, so you’ll want to create
an informed consent sheet that makes sense to them but also follows the guidelines and
expectations of your instructor. (5-7 pages, including informed consent).
Writing Assignment 4- Ethnographic Setting Essay (10%): In this essay, you will show
off your ability to use descriptive language to “paint a picture with words.” Your goal is to
describe your research site so thoroughly and completely that readers feel they have been there
themselves. This essay will eventually become part of your final ethnographic essay. (4-6
Annotated Bibliography (10%): Since good ethnographic research involves both
fieldwork and traditional library research, you will need to gather sources that inform what you
learn in your fieldwork. These sources should be books, peer reviewed journal articles, and other
relevant sources approved by your instructor. Since the research you’re doing is scholarly, you
will only use scholarly sources to support your claims. (That means no Wikipedia or Dictionary
entries, for example.) You must annotate fifteen items.
Informal Writing Assignments and Participation (10%): This category includes in-class
writing assignments, informal writing assignments, homework writing assignments, etc.
Celebration of Student Writing (10%): Friday, December 7 from 10AM to noon in the
Sam Rayburn Student Center (SRSC) Conferences rooms A, B, & C (upstairs). The Celebration
of Student Writing is an event held every semester where students enrolled in ENG 1302
demonstrate and show-off what they learned in their research projects. You should create some
kind of display with artifacts, visual elements, and information about what you learned in your
research. The “celebration” will look like a science fair with rows of tables and projects
displayed. Your participation in this event is mandatory. Plan to arrive approximately 20
minutes early to set up.
Final Ethnographic Essay (20%): A final essay detailing the results of your study, what
your findings mean in relation to the field of literacy studies, etc. Look to chapters four and five
in EIIW for what this project should look like. Keep in mind that other essays you’ve composed
this semester including WA1, WA3, WA4, and the annotated bibliography will all be part of this
essay. (15-20 pages)
Research Portfolio (15%): In your research portfolio you’ll include your drafts from the
semester, informed consent forms, informal writing assignments, double sided observation notes,
reflexive writing, research artifacts, and anything else that help create an accurate portrayal of
the research you conducted this semester.
Grading Scale
590 and below
•Flash drive or other means (dropbox.com account, for example) of storing digital
versions of the essays and other written material you generate (always, always keep a
backup of everything you turn in!)
•A valid, working email address that you check often (everyday)
• Regular internet access (additional readings available online)
•Access to a computer with a word processing program and a printer (assignments must
be typed and printed)
Some supplementary texts for this course exist exclusively online, so you must have Internet
access to read and/or view these texts.
Interaction with Instructor Statement:
Please contact you instructor with any questions you may have. Your instructor’s
communication preference is e-mail, and her address is: amanda.mccain@tamuc.edu.
Also, each instructor in the department of literature and languages is required to keep at
least four office hours per course per week.
Grievance Procedure:
If you have concerns about the class or about me as an instructor, please speak to me about
those concerns. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of our conversation, the next
person in the chain of command is the Director of the Writing Program, Dr. Tabetha
Adkins. Her e-mail address is tabetha.adkins@tamuc.edu. See grievance procedures here:
Course Specific Procedures:
Writing Center
The Writing Center offers writers free, one-on-one assistance. We welcome all writers,
majors, and disciplines—undergraduate and graduate students alike. In fact, we work from
the premise that all writers, no matter their ability level, benefit from the feedback of
knowledgeable readers. The Writing Center staff is trained to provide writers with just this
service. In short, we are here to help you help yourself. In order to ensure the most
effective session possible, we offer visitors the following suggestions: (1) Get started on
your writing project early, and visit the Writing Center at least one day before your final
draft is due. You will need time to work with the ideas and suggestions generated in your
tutorial sessions. (2) Bring a written copy of your assignment, any relevant readings, and
one or two specific questions or concerns you would like to discuss with us.
The Writing Center is located in the Hall of Languages, Room 103 (903-886-5280) and
online at http://web.tamu-
Attendance Policy
The university has no policy for “excused absences” except for university sanctioned
events, so please save your absences for illness, court appearances, child care
arrangements, and other situations when you must miss class.
This class meets three times a week (MWF). You may miss up to six (6) times without
penalty. On and after the seventh (7) absence, your final grade will drop by one letter.
After the ninth (9) absence, you cannot pass the course.
Excessive tardiness can be penalized as an absence.
There is no such thing as “partial attendance”—students are either present for the entire
course or they are absent. If you are asked to leave the class for disruptive or
disrespectful behavior, the day will be counted as an absence regardless of how much
class time is left.
Academic Honesty
The official departmental policy: “Instructors in the Department of Literature and
Languages do not tolerate plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonestly. Instructors
uphold and support the highest academic standards, and students are expected to do
likewise. Penalties for students guilty of academic dishonesty include disciplinary
probation, suspension, and expulsion. (Texas A&M University-Commerce Code of Student
Conduct 5.b [1,2,3])
If you ever have any questions about a particular use of a source, always ask your instructor.
They want you to avoid plagiarism, too, so they will help you do so whenever and
wherever they can. Do what you can to take advantage of this support—to look innocent in
addition to being innocent when it comes to charges of plagiarism.
Students guilty of academic dishonesty of plagiarism can expect to fail the assignment in
question or the entire course depending on the nature of the incident.
On University-Sanctioned Activities
To accommodate students who participate in university-sanctioned activities, the FirstYear Composition Program offers sections of this course at various times of the day and
week. If you think that this course may conflict with a university-sanctioned activity
in which you are involved--athletics, etc.--please see me after class on the first day.
University Specific Procedures:
ADA Statement
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that
provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other
things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning
environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you
have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact:
Office of Student Disability Resources and Services
Texas A&M University-Commerce
Gee Library 132
Phone (903) 886-5150 or (903) 886-5835
Fax (903) 468-8148
Student Disability Resources & Services
Student Conduct
All students enrolled at the University shall follow the tenets of common decency and
acceptable behavior conducive to a positive learning environment. (See Code of Student
Conduct from Student Guide Handbook).
In addition, you are requested to turn off your cell phone and/or your iPod and remove your
headphones/earbuds before entering the classroom. Common courtesy says you do
not receive or answer calls or listen to music via iPods or headphones, etc., during
If there is an emergency that requires you to leave your phone on, switch your phone to
vibrate and talk to me about it before class so you don’t surprise me when you leave
class to take a call, and you don’t interrupt class when the call comes in. Also,
Instant/Text Messaging is off limits as well.
Violations of these expectations can result in you being asked to leave the class
whereon you will be counted absent regardless of how much time is left in the
class period.
*tentative and subject to change
Ethnographic Inquires in Writing = EIIW
FieldWorking = FW
Week 1: EIIW chapter one
Week 2: “Literacy Practices” by Barton & Hamilton
FW 1-24
Week 3: “Literacy in Three Metaphors” by Sylvia Scribner in EIIW
“Literacy, Opportunity, and Economic Change” by Deborah Brandt in EIIW
Week 4: FW 25-64
Introduction to Chapter three in EIIW
WA1 due
Week 5: FW Chapter 68-109
“The Belmont Report” in EIIW
WA 2 due
Week 6: “Seduction and Betrayal” by Thomas Newkirk in EIIW
“Ethnographic Research Ethics and Amish Values” by Tabetha Adkins in EIIW
Week 7: WA 3 due
Introduction to Chapter four of EIIW
“Reading Rites and Sports” by Jabari Mahiri in EIIW
FW 176-217
Week 8: Midterm Conferences
Week 9: “Blinded By the Letter” by Wysocki & Johnson-Eiola in EIIW
WA4 due
Week 10: “Introduction” by Bronwyn T. Williams
FW 127-154 ***FYI—Fall 2012, he’ll be on campus during this week: October 30-31!
3 annotations for bibliography due
Week 11: FW Chapter 8
Annotated Bibliography due
Week 12: One-on-one conferences Week 13: draft of final Ethnographic Essay due
Read over students examples, Chapter 5 in EIIW
Week 13: Thanksgiving- University closes at noon on Wednesday
Week 14: “Becoming Literate” by Andrea R. Fishman in EIIW
Week 15: Prepare Research Portfolio for Presentation (Celebration of Student Writing); Peer
review final papers
Celebration of Student Writing: Friday, December 7, 10 AM to NOON in Sam Rayburn
Student Center Conference A, B, and C (2nd floor)
Ethnographic Essay Due November 30th
Research Portfolio due December 7th from 2-4 in HL 215 (my office). Portfolios will be
available for return during finals week.
Confirmation of Syllabus
Fall 2012
ENGL 1302
Contact Information
Name (printed):_____________________________________________________
Email Address (checked at least daily): __________________________________
Phone Number: _____________________________________________________
Major: ____________________________________________________________
The above information is to be only used for this course and only when the instructor needs to
contact me for reasons dealing with this class.
I have read and understand the syllabus for this spring session of ENG 1302. I understand that I
am responsible for keeping up with the class demands: class assignments, exercises, as well
as field visits, field notes and portfolio upkeep.
I understand that Mrs. McCain does not accept late work and assignments are due at the
beginning of class. I also understand that there is an attendance policy where my grade will
be dropped by a letter after 7 absences and then I will fail the course after 9 absences.
If I have any questions concerning the class, I understand that I am to contact my instructor, Mrs.
Amanda McCain, through the means listed on the syllabus (office visit, office phone, or
email). I also understand that if I have any problems with the class I must contact Mrs.
McCain first to try and resolve the situation. If the situation cannot be resolved with Mrs.
McCain, she will then direct me to her supervisor, Dr. Tabetha Adkins.
I have received, read and understand a copy of the syllabus for ENG 1302 Fall 2012.
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