Analysis of Neff, Pritchard, & Honeycutt– Welcome to Grounded Theory!

Chapter 9 of Farris and Anson's Under Construction“Grounded Theory: A Critical Research Analogy” by Joyce Magnotto Neff
“The Process Approach to Writing instruction: Examining its Effectiveness” by Ruie J. Pritchard and Ronald L. Honeycutt

In her article, “Grounded Theory: A Critical Research Analogy,” Joyce Magnotto Neff introduces the reader to the methodology of grounded theory, and makes a case for it as being a crucial practice that should be adopted by those contributing to the field of composition research. Neff outlines her goals for the article as first of all, to focus on the need within the research community to publish “not only our research conclusions but also our justifications for the methodologies we select to reach those conclusions (124). Second of all, she seeks to start a “conversation about how we work as well as about what we find [which] can help us engage others in a dialogue about composition research” (124).

Grounded theory was developed by Barney Glaser and Anselm Strauss for “qualitative research and for the ‘discovery of theory from data’” (qtd. in Neff 125). This theory is referred to as “grounded” because it is crucial that the results of the research are “always traceable to the data that gave rise to them” (125). Grounded theory involves the use of coding procedures, which are defined as “numerous intellectual maneuvers for grouping data and for naming the relationships among the groups or categories thus derived” (128). There are three defined coding procedures: open coding, axial coding, and selective coding.

At first, I was not sure how I felt about the grounded theory methodology. It seemed highly demanding, and the acknowledged limitations were daunting. It isn’t very inspiring to know that “one project can require months and even years to complete…and intellectually manipulating [the data] is difficult even with software programs for assistance” (125). Neither is it inspiring to know that “those applying the methodology must learn to live without closure” (126). However, as I continued to read I found that Neff made a compelling case for it as a practice, especially in application to the student who claimed not to be good at writing (This case study will be further discussed in my presentation, but the case is found on pages 129-130 of Neff’s article). Once I saw a smaller scale application of theory, I was able to appreciate the possibility of larger scale effects.

I found that I agreed with the details of Neff’s two claims at the end of the article, which answer the question, “Why grounded theory?” It is indeed an inclusive, interpretive, dialogic and proactive process, and I can see how it would allow for collaboration across disciplines, which is a concern that has been raised in past class discussions regarding the opportunity (or lack thereof) for collaboration between academics, teachers, and students. If grounded theory does prove to “help compositionists work the borderlands between scholarship and teaching” (132), I think it is worth looking in to.

The most interesting thing that Neff expresses, in my opinion, is the use of grounded theory in treating composition research more like scientific method than anything close to the literary field. We have discussed this issue in class before and there are no two ways about it, the writers we have been reading are pulling the fields of writing and literature apart, and for good reason. This article alone was enough to show me that there can be a scientific, logical process to writing, and this process may be the way of the future.

The second article I chose was “The Process Approach to Writing instruction: Examining its Effectiveness” by Ruie J. Pritchard and Ronald L. Honeycutt. The purpose of this article is, as the title suggests, to examine the process approach to writing instruction, and it does so by tracing the process of teaching writing through the years. I found that this article was very complementary to the first article, because the research presented justified, in my opinion, a need and explicit purpose for grounded theory analysis. A reason for utilizing grounded theory and other methodologies is because sometimes writing instruction approaches will fail, and researchers and teachers alike seek to know why. Going back to Neff’s article and the case study I mentioned earlier, which exemplified the practical application of grounded theory, the student expresses, “’I can’t write’, ‘I’m not good at writing’ and ‘I hate writing’” (Neff 129). It’s likely that this student had been exposed to the writing process, and something, somewhere went wrong. Studying how she was introduced to the writing process can serve as data for the coding procedures of grounded theory.

In reviewing the research that they gathered, Pritchard and Honeycutt note that researchers have “surprisingly different views of what the process approach entails…Some see it as a loosely monitored series of steps, a ‘natural process’ in the context of authentic tasks, without explicit instruction in planning, revising, and other strategies…Others regard direct strategy instruction and guided practice integrated into the writing practice as crucial to the definition of the process approach” (279). Citing several different studies, Pritchard and Honeycutt found that “all of these studies show to varying degrees positive results on writing products by using the writing process” (280). However, they also mention a key criticism of some of the most important studies—the need for more reliable data. This is where grounded theory makes a powerful case for itself, and Honeycutt utilized it in his own work.

I found that this article offered an interesting comparison to what we have discussed in class regarding the necessity of process in writing instruction. Based on the research cited in this article, it appears that students do better when exposed to a set process, although I believe that the variable in this situation is how the students respond to the approach their teacher takes. In Honeycutt’s research, he examined both writing process strategies as well as strategies toward dealing with negative emotions that may arise during the writing process (such as “I hate writing”), and found that “overall quality of students’ texts improved when students (1) internalized specific strategies for prewriting, writing, and revising; (2) employed self-regulation strategies to monitor the development of a text; and (3) activated strategies for dealing with negative emotions that arise during the writing process” (281).

The most important points I gathered from this article are that the writing process is crucial, instruction is key, and how a teacher instructs is paramount. Further, results are fantastic, but reliability (feeling able to trust the data) is key. The old step-by-step approaches are out, in favor of a more recursive model, which is more understanding of both the process and the students. I believe the work that the National Writing Project is doing will serve both teachers and students well, and perhaps it will aid in getting to the core of complaints such as “I hate writing,” by “not only improving writing products but also developing positive dispositions, social behaviors, problem solving, and other skills that have value in and of themselves” (285).

























Discussion Questions

1. What do we think of this scientific/mathematical process toward writing? (e.g. treating writing as one might approach the scientific method)

2. What is the likelihood of practical application of grounded theory? Do the limitations outweigh the benefits? Does it succeed at being inclusive?



3. Having discussed the writing process, as well as the research put toward improving it, have the “art and soul of writing” been lost? Or is attention to the process freeing?

Analysis of Neff, Pritchard, & Honeycutt– Welcome to Grounded Theory!

Chapter 9 of Farris and Anson's Under Construction“Grounded Theory: A Critical Research Analogy” by Joyce Magnotto Neff
“The Process Approach to Writing instruction: Examining its Effectiveness” by Ruie J. Pritchard and Ronald L. Honeycutt

In her article, “Grounded Theory: A Critical Research Analogy,” Joyce Magnotto Neff introduces the reader to the methodology of grounded theory, and makes a case for it as being a crucial practice that should be adopted by those contributing to the field of composition research. Neff outlines her goals for the article as first of all, to focus on the need within the research community to publish “not only our research conclusions but also our justifications for the methodologies we select to reach those conclusions (124). Second of all, she seeks to start a “conversation about how we work as well as about what we find [which] can help us engage others in a dialogue about composition research” (124).

Grounded theory was developed by Barney Glaser and Anselm Strauss for “qualitative research and for the ‘discovery of theory from data’” (qtd. in Neff 125). This theory is referred to as “grounded” because it is crucial that the results of the research are “always traceable to the data that gave rise to them” (125). Grounded theory involves the use of coding procedures, which are defined as “numerous intellectual maneuvers for grouping data and for naming the relationships among the groups or categories thus derived” (128). There are three defined coding procedures: open coding, axial coding, and selective coding.

At first, I was not sure how I felt about the grounded theory methodology. It seemed highly demanding, and the acknowledged limitations were daunting. It isn’t very inspiring to know that “one project can require months and even years to complete…and intellectually manipulating [the data] is difficult even with software programs for assistance” (125). Neither is it inspiring to know that “those applying the methodology must learn to live without closure” (126). However, as I continued to read I found that Neff made a compelling case for it as a practice, especially in application to the student who claimed not to be good at writing (This case study will be further discussed in my presentation, but the case is found on pages 129-130 of Neff’s article). Once I saw a smaller scale application of theory, I was able to appreciate the possibility of larger scale effects.

I found that I agreed with the details of Neff’s two claims at the end of the article, which answer the question, “Why grounded theory?” It is indeed an inclusive, interpretive, dialogic and proactive process, and I can see how it would allow for collaboration across disciplines, which is a concern that has been raised in past class discussions regarding the opportunity (or lack thereof) for collaboration between academics, teachers, and students. If grounded theory does prove to “help compositionists work the borderlands between scholarship and teaching” (132), I think it is worth looking in to.

The most interesting thing that Neff expresses, in my opinion, is the use of grounded theory in treating composition research more like scientific method than anything close to the literary field. We have discussed this issue in class before and there are no two ways about it, the writers we have been reading are pulling the fields of writing and literature apart, and for good reason. This article alone was enough to show me that there can be a scientific, logical process to writing, and this process may be the way of the future.

The second article I chose was “The Process Approach to Writing instruction: Examining its Effectiveness” by Ruie J. Pritchard and Ronald L. Honeycutt. The purpose of this article is, as the title suggests, to examine the process approach to writing instruction, and it does so by tracing the process of teaching writing through the years. I found that this article was very complementary to the first article, because the research presented justified, in my opinion, a need and explicit purpose for grounded theory analysis. A reason for utilizing grounded theory and other methodologies is because sometimes writing instruction approaches will fail, and researchers and teachers alike seek to know why. Going back to Neff’s article and the case study I mentioned earlier, which exemplified the practical application of grounded theory, the student expresses, “’I can’t write’, ‘I’m not good at writing’ and ‘I hate writing’” (Neff 129). It’s likely that this student had been exposed to the writing process, and something, somewhere went wrong. Studying how she was introduced to the writing process can serve as data for the coding procedures of grounded theory.

In reviewing the research that they gathered, Pritchard and Honeycutt note that researchers have “surprisingly different views of what the process approach entails…Some see it as a loosely monitored series of steps, a ‘natural process’ in the context of authentic tasks, without explicit instruction in planning, revising, and other strategies…Others regard direct strategy instruction and guided practice integrated into the writing practice as crucial to the definition of the process approach” (279). Citing several different studies, Pritchard and Honeycutt found that “all of these studies show to varying degrees positive results on writing products by using the writing process” (280). However, they also mention a key criticism of some of the most important studies—the need for more reliable data. This is where grounded theory makes a powerful case for itself, and Honeycutt utilized it in his own work.

I found that this article offered an interesting comparison to what we have discussed in class regarding the necessity of process in writing instruction. Based on the research cited in this article, it appears that students do better when exposed to a set process, although I believe that the variable in this situation is how the students respond to the approach their teacher takes. In Honeycutt’s research, he examined both writing process strategies as well as strategies toward dealing with negative emotions that may arise during the writing process (such as “I hate writing”), and found that “overall quality of students’ texts improved when students (1) internalized specific strategies for prewriting, writing, and revising; (2) employed self-regulation strategies to monitor the development of a text; and (3) activated strategies for dealing with negative emotions that arise during the writing process” (281).

The most important points I gathered from this article are that the writing process is crucial, instruction is key, and how a teacher instructs is paramount. Further, results are fantastic, but reliability (feeling able to trust the data) is key. The old step-by-step approaches are out, in favor of a more recursive model, which is more understanding of both the process and the students. I believe the work that the National Writing Project is doing will serve both teachers and students well, and perhaps it will aid in getting to the core of complaints such as “I hate writing,” by “not only improving writing products but also developing positive dispositions, social behaviors, problem solving, and other skills that have value in and of themselves” (285).

























Discussion Questions

1. What do we think of this scientific/mathematical process toward writing? (e.g. treating writing as one might approach the scientific method)

2. What is the likelihood of practical application of grounded theory? Do the limitations outweigh the benefits? Does it succeed at being inclusive?



3. Having discussed the writing process, as well as the research put toward improving it, have the “art and soul of writing” been lost? Or is attention to the process freeing?

blog 3


Thoughts on "The Process Approach to Writing Instruction":


On Emig's study of 12th graders' composition habits, I found the "reflexive"/"extensive" result interesting. I would not have guessed that the distinction in process would lie between logic and emotions (logos and pathos, if you will). What's more is I can't imagine a paper in which a student would be writing to convey/explore an emotion as opposed to a message. I guess this comes from my own (extensive) writing habits where I believe what I bring to the paper is not as important as how I present what I am saying (very message-centric). 

Although I don't agree that writing is as black and white as Elbow's view, I do agree that there is a good amount of problem solving involved in the writing process. Honestly, it is a really good (neater) way to look at revision. And I think this view can make revision more manageable for some. 

Luckily the definition of "professional writers" has extended greatly. Although in my own mind, I still  privately assess a writer's success by how many books they have or have not written; I still see "literary author" as the ultimate professional writer.

It is not surprising that the studies conducted show that focusing on the process improves the product. We talked about this many times last semester.

I am surprised to see that creativity did not increase. I know a technically good paper doesn’t always have to be colorful, but I would think that learning new ways to write and (if we use Elbow’s POV) problem solve, I would think creativity would increase simultaneously. Or at the very least subconsciously?

Good distinction between “editing” and “revising”

The research regarding the NWP wasn’t very surprising to me at all. Although the idea that the absence of one learning component can improve writing better than its presence is interesting to me. Here I am (for some reason) thinking specifically about the absence of vocabulary lessons. Naturally, it makes sense that the less things students need to learn about, the easier it will be to focus on other what they doneed to learn. However, it strikes me as interesting to think that vocabulary lessons could be one of the things intruding on the developing writing process.


Overall impression of this article/chapter: it was alright; it was interesting enough, however, I do not feel that I learned very much. This, to me, seemed to discuss many things we have already covered together in other classes/discussions. Furthermore, the information seemed kind of obvious/ not excessively groundbreaking. However, it was a nice read and it was reassuring to know that there are tests being done to support what we as teachers (and aspiring teachers) already believe: namely, that the process matters.

blog 3


Thoughts on "The Process Approach to Writing Instruction":


On Emig's study of 12th graders' composition habits, I found the "reflexive"/"extensive" result interesting. I would not have guessed that the distinction in process would lie between logic and emotions (logos and pathos, if you will). What's more is I can't imagine a paper in which a student would be writing to convey/explore an emotion as opposed to a message. I guess this comes from my own (extensive) writing habits where I believe what I bring to the paper is not as important as how I present what I am saying (very message-centric). 

Although I don't agree that writing is as black and white as Elbow's view, I do agree that there is a good amount of problem solving involved in the writing process. Honestly, it is a really good (neater) way to look at revision. And I think this view can make revision more manageable for some. 

Luckily the definition of "professional writers" has extended greatly. Although in my own mind, I still  privately assess a writer's success by how many books they have or have not written; I still see "literary author" as the ultimate professional writer.

It is not surprising that the studies conducted show that focusing on the process improves the product. We talked about this many times last semester.

I am surprised to see that creativity did not increase. I know a technically good paper doesn’t always have to be colorful, but I would think that learning new ways to write and (if we use Elbow’s POV) problem solve, I would think creativity would increase simultaneously. Or at the very least subconsciously?

Good distinction between “editing” and “revising”

The research regarding the NWP wasn’t very surprising to me at all. Although the idea that the absence of one learning component can improve writing better than its presence is interesting to me. Here I am (for some reason) thinking specifically about the absence of vocabulary lessons. Naturally, it makes sense that the less things students need to learn about, the easier it will be to focus on other what they doneed to learn. However, it strikes me as interesting to think that vocabulary lessons could be one of the things intruding on the developing writing process.


Overall impression of this article/chapter: it was alright; it was interesting enough, however, I do not feel that I learned very much. This, to me, seemed to discuss many things we have already covered together in other classes/discussions. Furthermore, the information seemed kind of obvious/ not excessively groundbreaking. However, it was a nice read and it was reassuring to know that there are tests being done to support what we as teachers (and aspiring teachers) already believe: namely, that the process matters.

Comp Studies Research & Methods 2016-03-14 19:09:00

The first reading Grounded Theory a Critical Research Methodology by Joyce Magnotto Neff was okay. What I did like about it is the fact it bought up the idea of integration again and it also made me think about Predictor Variables the Future of Composition Research right from the beginning. The statement “What we have not done as prolifically or as well is to account for the methods we use to generate our predictions and reach our conclusions” made me think about the word process (Neff 124). Johanek talks about process in Predictor Variables. Furthermore, I also liked the idea of “conferring with others about the ‘fit’ of my emerging findings” (Neff 130). Sometimes, we learn more from collaboration, and a researcher will feel more confident about his/her results. Lastly, the most important point I think this article highlighted and what I am beginning to realize is you “must learn to live without closure” (Neff 126). Dr. Zamora mentioned this in one of our classroom discussions when she said things are not black and white, and I just shared a statement recently on Facebook that is very similar.
The next article The Process Approach to Writing Instruction Examining Its Effectivenessby Ruie J. Pritchard and Ronald L. Honeycutt was just another discussion we had in class. Based off of our discussion, I think a lot of us will agree with Brozick
the writing process is much more dynamic and is contingent upon numerous variables and influences such as purpose, audience, type of writing, and the writer’s personality type. (qtd. in Pritchard and Honeycutt 277)
I can mention several experiences in which this statement has proven itself to be true. In addition, I also liked Peter Elbow’s contribution because it took me back to my senior year of college and reminded me of a comment a teacher made to me.




Comp Studies Research & Methods 2016-03-14 19:09:00

The first reading Grounded Theory a Critical Research Methodology by Joyce Magnotto Neff was okay. What I did like about it is the fact it bought up the idea of integration again and it also made me think about Predictor Variables the Future of Composition Research right from the beginning. The statement “What we have not done as prolifically or as well is to account for the methods we use to generate our predictions and reach our conclusions” made me think about the word process (Neff 124). Johanek talks about process in Predictor Variables. Furthermore, I also liked the idea of “conferring with others about the ‘fit’ of my emerging findings” (Neff 130). Sometimes, we learn more from collaboration, and a researcher will feel more confident about his/her results. Lastly, the most important point I think this article highlighted and what I am beginning to realize is you “must learn to live without closure” (Neff 126). Dr. Zamora mentioned this in one of our classroom discussions when she said things are not black and white, and I just shared a statement recently on Facebook that is very similar.
The next article The Process Approach to Writing Instruction Examining Its Effectivenessby Ruie J. Pritchard and Ronald L. Honeycutt was just another discussion we had in class. Based off of our discussion, I think a lot of us will agree with Brozick
the writing process is much more dynamic and is contingent upon numerous variables and influences such as purpose, audience, type of writing, and the writer’s personality type. (qtd. in Pritchard and Honeycutt 277)
I can mention several experiences in which this statement has proven itself to be true. In addition, I also liked Peter Elbow’s contribution because it took me back to my senior year of college and reminded me of a comment a teacher made to me.