Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Ashley J. Holmes

Second Advisor

Lynee Lewis Gaillet

Third Advisor

Elizabeth Lopez


This dissertation aims to address and validate obstacles hindering the integration of primary research methods specifically in the first-year writing classroom. My study seeks to meaningfully contribute to the many teacher-scholars already pushing for more primary research in undergraduate and first-year classrooms by building on those conversations to specifically assess instructor attitudes about and knowledge on the integration of primary research in first-year composition. A mixed methods, comparative study, this research project includes interview and survey responses from writing instructors and administrators, as well as an overview of curricula, and current first-year writing and pedagogical textbooks. Data was collected from 20 writing program administrators at R1 universities from across the country, and 14 faculty members from Georgia State University and the University of South Carolina participated in a comparative analysis, to provide a snapshot of what research methods first-year writing instructors use in their classrooms, why they use them, and what they feel is the primary purpose of first-year composition.

This dissertation argues and makes a call for the necessity of a reconsideration of pedagogical training and professional development endeavors to include a broader overview of primary research methods. This research helps provide a continued discourse on the purposes of first-year composition and the advancement of professional development and training in writing programs across the country. This dissertation concludes by providing suggestions on how writing programs and English departments could include primary research initiatives during pedagogical coursework and professional development sessions.


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