Date of Award

Summer 7-7-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

George L. Pullman

Second Advisor

Lynee Gaillet

Third Advisor

Renee Schatteman


Many high school and college composition students have misused formulaic organizational structures, most conspicuously the five-paragraph theme, as invention tools. This misappropriation comes from teacher and student tendencies to oversimplify both the processes of writing instruction and its practice into countable and inflexible forms. In order to help students move towards improved invention models that respond to the overall rhetorical situation, this dissertation offers two new models of invention, the x, y thesis and the argument guide models. Beginning at the invention stage and extending recursively to all stages of the writing process, these two heuristics help guide students towards informed and analytical choices that respectively build relationships between parts and encourage asymmetrical, content-driven extensions of ideas. These models, individually and collectively, assist students in their efforts to restore a balance between content and form because the models set the students’ invented content at the core of a nonlinear rhetorical action – the composition of an essay that involves all phases of process writing.