Unfulfilled Promise: A Study of a Basic Writer at the University of Hawaii at Manoa

McLean, Celine
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
In an ethnographic study of a student writer, Conversations authors McCarthy and Fishman introduce the two questions which Geertz says are central to ethnographic research. "What's going on here?" and "What the devil do these people think they're doing?" (1990, p. 423) . I became interested in how these questions apply to student writers in an Honors class I took from Professor Joy Marsella during the Spring semester of 1992. The topic was Academic Literacies and in the class we discussed how students learn to write and develop as writers. We read many case studies and other types of research about student writers. We studied how students learn to write and the various problems they may encounter while doing so. After reading these many examples, we were required to use the methods we had read about in our own case studies. I completed two case studies, one of myself and one of another student in one of my classes. I tracked the writing process for one writing assignment and tried to make some conclusions about how I qnd my subject completed writing assignments and how we developed as writers.
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