National Writing Project

Resource Topics

Teacher Research/Inquiry

Additional Resources

Imagining the Possibilities: Improving the Teaching of Writing Through Teacher-Led Inquiry

English Leadership Quarterly, April 2014
Jessica Early
Teachers in Phoenix, AZ improved their practice by participating in a teacher-led inquiry group of Writing Project fellows, collaborating on a curriculum framework for college- and career-ready writing. More ›

Preaching What We Practice: A Study of Revision

Journal of Curriculum and Instruction, April 2013
Shelbie Witte
In this article, a three-tiered nationwide study of the pedagogical implications of teachers' revision practices in digital writing environments is discussed. The study investigates the use of revision in the personal and professional writing of teachers and the teaching of revision in their own classrooms. During a three year period, data were collected from a sampling frame of 150 National Writing Project summer institutes, resulting in 181 study participants, and included a longitudinal pre- and post-survey (including Likert survey items and open-ended questions), focus group and follow-up questions, and an analysis of writing/revision samples. More ›

The Disruptive/Transformative Potential of the Common Core State Standards

April 2013
Meg Petersen, Megan Birch
Authors Petersen and Birch argue that the Common Core State Standards, with its emphasis on thinking, argument, and the construction of knowledge, challenge us to go beyond facilitation to become authentic thinking partners with our students. More ›

Automated Writing Instruction: Computer-Assisted or Computer-Driven Pedagogies?

Machine Scoring of Student Essays: Truth and Consequences, August 2012
In this essay, author Beth Ann Rothermel describes the heavy marketing of machine-writing programs to K–12 administrators and teachers. Rothermel argues that these programs narrow and constrict the work of both the writer and teacher, and teachers of preservice teachers need to consider these implications. More ›

Informal and Shared: Writing to Create Community

English Journal, July 2012
Deborah Dean, a professor of English education at Brigham Young University, and Adrienne Warren, a teacher-consultant with the Central Utah Writing Project, describe informal writing assignments that have helped their students develop communal bonds with their classmates and learn more about writing well. More ›

The Effect of Scoring Order on the Independence of Holistic and Analytic Scores

The Journal of Writing Assessment, July 2012
Nancy Robb Singer, Paul LeMahieu
This research explores the matter of independence of scores and the effects of scoring order upon those judgments, affirming that when readers will be asked to score both ways, holistic scoring should precede analytic scoring. It also suggests interesting insights into the cognitive processes engaged by scorers as they score holistically and analytically. More ›

Bridging the Disconnect: A Layered Approach to Jump-Starting Engagement

Voices from the Middle, June 2012
Nanci Werner-Burke, director of the Endless Mountain Writing Project (Pennsylvania), along with co-authors and teacher-consultants Jane Spohn, Jessica Spencer, Bobbi Button, and Missie Morral, discuss how teachers can truly engage students in the classroom to "jump-start" learning, which include experimenting with various digital tools and alternate texts. More ›

Developing a Definition of Teacher Research

January 2012
Marian M. Mohr, Betsy Sanford, Marion S. MacLean, Courtney Rogers, Sheila Clawson
This resource highlights Chapter 3 from Teacher Research for Better Schools, by Marian M. Mohr, et al. A group of experienced K-12 teachers and teacher-consultants from the Northern Virginia Writing Project worked together for several years to improve their own teaching. Their research into their practice reverberated throughout their school system and influenced how their schools were run. More ›

Mini-Inquiries: Changing Classroom Instruction One Lesson at a Time

September 2011
Cindy O'Donnell-Allen
When a small group of language arts teachers from the Tar River Writing Project in North Carolina noticed that some students seemed less engaged in their classes, they decided to study their own practices, question their assumptions, and work systematically to change their teaching. More ›

Building the Capacity of Writing Project Site Leadership

May 2011
Karen Smith, Lucy Ware, Lynn Jacobs, Paul Epstein
These stories of teacher leadership from NWP's Vignette Study provide examples of structures and processes that sites can examine as they seek to expand leadership and create their own opportunities for teachers to lead. More ›

NWP Radio—The Pressures of Teaching: How Teachers Cope With Classroom Stress

January 2011
Visit with Maureen Picard Robins and several teacher-authors of a new essay collection titled The Pressures of Teaching: How Teachers Cope With Classroom Stress. Hear about the genesis of this collection and listen to the stories of three chapter authors: Bryan Ripley Crandall, Fred Haas, and Bruce Green. More ›

Book Review: On Discourse Analysis in Classrooms: Approaches to Language and Literacy Research

December 2010
Lona Jack-Vilmar
On Discourse Analysis in Classrooms offers an alternative method to rethink traditionally accepted theories and processes related to how language and literacy events that occur in classrooms are analyzed. More ›

Inside Inquiry: A Second Look

May 2010
The Teacher Inquiry Communities Network offers a four-day summer institute to support Writing Project sites that are new to the process of supporting inquiry communities or that want to revitalize their inquiry communities by taking a fresh look at how to work with them. More ›

Iowa Teachers Focus on the 'How' of Teaching

February 2010
Art Peterson
Iowa Writing Project leader Barbara Turnwall has spent almost a decade—through her Pedagogy Project—helping faculty at Northwestern College explore and reflect on how their students learn rather than on their own performance in the classroom. More ›

NWP in Person: Writing Project Authors Discuss Their Books

November 2010
NWP authors share thoughts about the research and philosophies behind their latest books—which cover a wide variety of subjects, ranging from student writing and social justice, to technology in the classroom, to practitioner research. More ›

Article Exploring Process, Inquiry, and the Benefits of Site Research Wins Award

December 2009
Art Peterson
Researchers from the South Coast Writing Project compared the classroom practice of teachers who had experienced their site's inquiry-based professional development with the practice of those who hadn't—and reaped unexpected benefits. More ›

Group Conversations Around Images, Documents, and Videos

December 2009
Jason Shiroff
Denver Writing Project technology liaison Jason Shiroff discusses the deliberate inquiry process he uses with his students when introducing new technology tools—in this case, a wiki—in his classroom. Listen, watch, and even comment on this VoiceThread presentation. More ›

“Mizzou Men” Explore Their Roles as Men in the Elementary School Classroom

June 2009
Funded by a Teacher Inquiry Communities Network Minigrant, the Missouri Writing Project hosts an inquiry community for men who teach elementary school. They meet and inquire together into that shared experience. More ›

What Data-Driven Instruction Should Really Look Like

June 2009
Kathie Marshall
Kathie Marshall argues that data-driven instruction should come from groups of teachers working together on research and using data to improve instruction—rather than having data monitored as a way of checking NCLB "compliance." More ›

Book Review: Teachers’ Writing Groups: Collaborative Inquiry and Reflection for Professional Growth

March 2009
Caroline Griswold
Caroline Griswold reviews Teachers’ Writing Groups: Collaborative Inquiry and Reflection for Professional Growth, finding that it is, like the best writing project work, both practical and personal, and is full of useful ideas for teachers interested in exploring writing groups. More ›

Student-Driven Research

Educational Leadership, January 2009
Susan Yonezawa, Makeba Jones
Two researchers with the San Diego Writing Project report on a student-led research project in which a group of students design, conduct, and present research about their school with the object of initiating and supporting educational reform. More ›

Developing Site Capacities Through Program Evaluation and Research

December 2008
Paul M. Rogers
Carrying out an LSRI study not only increased the South Coast Writing Project's capacity for doing research; it yielded other unexpected benefits for the site, including connections with more teachers in the area. More ›

Getting “Inside Inquiry”: Teachers’ Questions Transform Their Practice

December 2008
Inside Inquiry, sponsored by the Teacher Inquiry Communities Network, brought together teachers from across the country to consider the practice of teacher research and plan teacher inquiry groups at their home writing project sites. More ›

Teachers Writing for Publication: Tips from a Teacher, Author, and Editor

April 2008
Louann Reid
The former editor of NCTE's English Journal provides tips for writing professional articles, a list of appropriate journals accepting professional writing, examples of "calls for manuscripts," and an inside look at the manuscript review process. More ›

The Challenge of Change: Growth Through Inquiry at the Western Massachusetts Writing Project

National Writing Project at Work, 2008
Susan Connell Biggs, Kevin Hodgson, Bruce Penniman
Authors Susan Connell Biggs, Kevin Hodgson, and Bruce Penniman describe the inquiry approach their site took in responding to both planned and unplanned change at their writing project site. Their account chronicles the creation of a site structure that places the work of the site at the center, providing stability for the site in the midst of changing circumstances. Processes detailed in the monograph will be useful to any local site. More ›

Beyond Strategies: Teacher Practice, Writing Process, and the Influence of Inquiry

English Education, April 2008
These case studies of two teachers, one who worked with the South Coast Writing Project in an inquiry-oriented inservice program and one who did not, explore how they each interpret and implement a process-centered theory of writing in different ways. More ›

Sonia Nieto Explores What Sustains Teachers

April 2008
Sonia Nieto, a leading authority in bilingual and multicultural education, delivered the keynote address at NWP's 2008 Spring Meeting. She explored the question of what sustains teachers in challenging situations and discussed the implications for professional development. More ›

Practitioner Inquiry and the Practice of Teaching: Some Thoughts on Better

February 2008
Susan Lytle
Susan Lytle, founding director of the Philadelphia Writing Project, observes that teacher-researchers aim primarily to teach better, a theme she finds illuminated in a physician-written book about the practice of medicine. More ›

Exploring Resources from Teacher-Researcher Marian Mohr

January 2008
Marian Mohr, a dynamic leader in teacher research, published a wealth of resources. This article summarizes her contributions and gives an annotated list of her publications. More ›

Teacher Inquiry Publishing and Research Resources

July 2008
The following publishing and research resources provide support for teachers at various stages of the inquiry and dissemination process. More ›

Integrating Writing Project Practices into a Mandated Program

March 2008
Bob Fecho
Required to implement a mandated program in their schools, San Diego teacher-consultants launched an inquiry group that developed ways to use the mandated materials as a venue for creative approaches based on writing project principles. More ›

Teacher Inquiry Communities Network Resources Bibliography

July 2007
Ann Dobie
This annotated bibliography about teacher research provides information for teachers at various stages of the inquiry process. The work was updated in 2007 by the Teacher Inquiry Communities Network Leadership Team led by Pam Brown. More ›

Teacher Inquiry Study Group Focuses on Racism and Homophobia

July 2007
Gavin Tachibana
An NWP inquiry group focuses on race and sexual orientation, providing a safe place for teachers to explore these areas, develop curricula, discover methods for handling controversy, and honor the backgrounds of all their students. More ›

Toward a Scholarship of Teaching Practice: Contributions from NWP Teacher Inquiry Workshops

March 2007
Patricia Lambert Stock
In her keynote speech at NWP’s 2007 Spring Meeting, Patricia Lambert Stock reports on her study of an overlooked genre of educational research: the teacher workshop. Describing in detail a presentation on mock trials, she shows that such workshops not only have the customary elements of research published in professional journals but have four additional characteristics that make them a uniquely valuable genre of research in education. More ›

Keep the Spirit Going: Teacher Inquiry Communities Focus on Student Work

The Voice, 2005
Shirley Brown
Brown shares insights gained through work with the Teacher Inquiry Communities Network as to how teachers can create space during the school year for the kind of collaborative work that happens at the summer institutes. More ›

Southside Elementary Writing Focus: Site-Based Leadership Reforms the Writing Curriculum

National Writing Project At Work, March 2005
Nancy Remington, Robert McGinty
The story of an inquiry-centered approach to professional development, designed and led by teachers, that could be a model for any school. More ›

The Saginaw Teacher Study Group Movement: From Pilot to Districtwide Study Groups in Four Years

National Writing Project At Work, March 2005
Mary Weaver, Mary Calliari, Janet Rentsch
The authors describe a districtwide approach to teacher-led study groups that resulted in significant changes in teacher practice and student learning as well as leadership development among teacher facilitators. More ›

Digging Deeper: Teacher Inquiry in the Summer Institute Demonstration

The Voice, 2004
Art Peterson
Peterson explores writing project summer institute teacher demonstrations as a form of teacher inquiry at the Northern California Writing and the Red Cedar Writing Project. More ›

Out of Our Experience: Useful Theory

The Quarterly, 2003
Sheila Clawson, Marion S. MacLean, Marian M. Mohr, Mary Ann Nocerino, Courtney Rogers, Betsy Sanford
In this excerpt from Teacher Research for Better Schools, the writers describe and annotate their emergence as researchers, detailing the influences that shaped their ideas about how teachers and students learn, and how schools change. More ›

How Can Teacher Inquiry Help Achieve Equitable Outcomes for Students?

The Voice, January-February 2003
Linda Friedrich
The core work of the Teacher Research Collaborative is to investigate how teacher inquiry can address the challenges encountered in the effort to ensure that all children achieve at high levels. More ›

Jeff Wilhelm: You Gotta BE a Teacher-Researcher

The Voice, January-February 2003
Ruth Devlin
Wilhelm finds that teachers can do their jobs "better and more efficiently and faster by becoming reflective practitioners who do teacher research." More ›

Write from the Start: A Teacher Research Project

The Quarterly, Winter 2002
Mary Racicot
With her kindergarteners, Racicot make use of a home journal plan and the "Visiting Writers' Club" to lead all involved through unfamiliar territory. More ›

Lessons from Tony: Betrayal and Trust in Teacher Research

The Quarterly, Spring 2001
Sharon K. Miller
When Miller's student ultimately refuses to give up ownership of his work, the experience shapes her thinking regarding the relationship between the teacher-researcher, her students, and the data that are the work of those students. More ›

A Personal Bibliographic Essay

The Quarterly, Fall 1999
Marion S. MacLean, Marian M. Mohr
In this excerpt from Teacher-Researchers at Work, the authors share an annotated introduction to the many works that have informed their many years of work in the field of teacher research. More ›

Drawing: Another Path to Understanding

The Quarterly, Fall 1999
Theresa Manchey
Manchey examines her strategy of asking students to draw in response to literature and concludes that this helps students understand large concepts, serves as a memory aid, and prompts students to learn from each other. More ›

Teacher Research Crucial to Success of Profession

The Voice, November-December 1999
Richard Sterling
NWP Executive Director Sterling stresses the need for NWP teachers to continue their work as teacher-researchers, "taking charge of difficult educational question, investigating complex problems, and sharing finding with our colleagues." More ›

The Perils and Pleasures of Teacher Research: Excerpts from a Journal I Never Kept

The Quarterly, Summer 1996
Martha Dudley
As Dudley looks back on this journal, created after the fact, documenting her student Matthew's growth, she vows to study one student a year until "I am so old and eccentric that the district makes me a roving sub to get me to resign." More ›

A Picaresque Tale from the Land of Kidwatching: Teacher Research and Ethical Dilemmas

The Quarterly, Winter 1996
Jane Zeni
Drawing on series of hypothetical episodes, Zeni explores a variety of ethical problems and dilemmas encountered by teacher-researchers. More ›

Teacher Researchers Together: Delving into the Teacher Research Process

The Quarterly, Fall 1994
Sarah Warshauer Freedman, Elizabeth Radin Simons, Karen Alford, Reginald Galley, Sarah Herring, Doris Williams Smith, Elena Valenti, Patricia Ward
A group of teacher-researchers describe a year of the M-CLASS, a collaboration between university-based researchers and teachers of multicultural urban English and social studies classes. More ›

Book Review: Inside/Outside: Teacher Research and Knowledge, by Cochran-Smith and Lytle

The Quarterly, Summer 1993
Joe Check, Roberta Logan
Check and Logan conduct a dialogue around aspects of this text, concluding that the book will appeal to multiple audiences as it offers theory, practice, critique, description, and analysis of the challenges facing teacher research. More ›

Risky Business

The Quarterly, Winter 1993
Susan Lytle
The author advocates the formation of collegial teacher research groups to collaborate in investigating "risky" questions that open up their classroom to closer scrutiny and the possibility of critique. More ›

TR 64. Ideological Divergences in a Teacher Research Group

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, 1992
Shawn Parkhurst, Sandra R. Schecter
The authors focus on differing ideologies of research, teaching/learning, and writing held by members of a teacher research group, providing evidence that divisions exist within the teacher research movement that are intellectually and socially important. More ›

TR 50. A Teacher-Research Group in Action

National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy Technical Report, 1991
Rafael Ramirez, Sandra R. Schecter
Based on a two-year study of a university-affiliated teacher-research group, this article addresses the support teachers need in order to conduct classroom research, the effects of becoming researchers, and the knowledge teacher research can provide. More ›

Spinning Talk into Writing: Behind the Scenes of a Research Project

The Quarterly, Fall 1991
Smokey Wilson
In this long-term study, Wilson explores the transition that occurs as writers convert spoken speech into written prose. She also gives extensive attention to the research methods she employs. More ›

Teachers as Researchers: Writing to Learn about Ourselves - and Others

The Quarterly, Fall 1990
Sandra Hollingsworth
Focusing on the work of one teacher-researcher, Hollingsworth documents the perils that a researcher may encounter, such as taking on an overly ambitious project or adopting a method of analysis that does not fit the problem. More ›

Teacher Research: Toward Clarifying the Concept

The Quarterly, April 1989
Susan Lytle, Marilyn Cochran-Smith
The authors discuss such issues as generalizability, documentation, and analysis in the context of teacher-research, then consider forms teacher research might take, including teacher journals, essays, accounts of oral inquiry processes, and classroom studies. More ›

Teacher-Researchers: Their Voices, Their Continued Stories

The Quarterly, April 1989
Judy Grumbacher, Carin Hauser, Gretchen Mathews, Marian M. Mohr, Karen Willoughby
This piece presents the stories of several teacher-researchers, concluding by emphasizing the common benefits of their work. They question, doubt, see understanding as a move toward change, and use their analysis to inform their teaching. More ›

Research, Recalibration, and Conversation: A Response to Cazden, Diamondstone, and Naso

The Quarterly, Fall 1989
Susan Florio-Ruane
The author considers the multiple uses of teacher research, concluding that contemplation is an integral part of practice and that conversation about practice is preferable to argument, as it allows room for tentative knowledge. More ›

Teachers and Researchers: Roles and Relationships

The Quarterly, Fall 1989
Courtney Cazden, Judy Diamondstone, Paul Naso
The authors consider differences in the focus, topic, findings, and reporting styles of teacher research. More ›

Institutionalizing Inquiry

The Quarterly, July 1987
Miles Myers
Myers urges teacher-researchers to recognize that their long-term goal must be fundamental change in the way schools are organized, and this change can best be accomplished by institutionalizing teacher research in the schools. More ›

University and Classroom Teacher: Research Partners

The Quarterly, January 1983
Sarah Warshauer Freedman
Freedman, a university professor of language and literacy, describes her work with eight classroom teachers learning together the "research game," and concludes with lessons she brought from this yearlong encounter. More ›

Window Sill: Teacher-Researchers and the Study of Writing Process

The Quarterly, June 1982
Marian M. Mohr
More ›

The Teacher as Researcher

The Quarterly, November 1980
Marian M. Mohr
Mohr describes her early forays into teacher research, when she began "asking why things happened the way they did in my classes . . . encouraging [my students] to teach me about the way they learned." More ›

What Happens when Teacher/Consultants Become Curiouser and Curiouser?

The Quarterly, November 1980
Don Gallehr
More ›

Book Review: Inquiry as Stance: Practitioner Research for the Next Generation

March 2010
Elizabeth Radin Simons
Liz Simons, a teacher-consultant with the Bay Area Writing Project, reviews Marilyn Cochran-Smith and Susan Lytle's extensive work on practitioner inquiry, which contains their revised theory, context for the movement, and eight chapters by practitioners illustrating their theory. More ›

© 2022 National Writing Project