A description of methodologies for Composition Research taken from Stephen North's The Making of Knowledge in Composition (with some modern additions).

"modes of inquiry--the whole series of steps an inquirer follows in making a contribution to a field of knowledge--as they operate within methodological communities: groups of inquirers more or less united by their allegiance to noe such mode, to an agreed-upon set of rules for gathering, testing, validating, accumulating and distributing what they regard as knowledge" (1)

Eight Modes of Inquiry

"An inquiry produces knowledge to the extent to which it is sanctioned by some community of inquirers."
(North 276)

  1. Practice
  2. Historical
  3. Philosophical
  4. Critical
  5. Experimental
  6. Clinical
  7. Formalist
  8. Ethnographic

  9. Contextual (Johanek)



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This site contains direct excerpts from The Making of Knowledge in Composition by Stephen North. Portsmouth: Heineman, 1987.
Lirvin Researching | Site created by Lennie Irvin, San Antonio College (2007) | Last updated August 22, 2007