Current Research

Statements on My Current Research
Damian C. Koshnick, Ph.D.

Northern Arizona University


In the short paragraphs that follow, I describe my current work to publish research across four distinct areas. 

I. Research on Writing Transfer

I work on issues related to writing transfer, particularly through “threshold concepts” (Meyer and Land, 2006). This includes recently co-authored research published in the Composition Forum, see: It also includes a presentation at the St. Louis (March, 2012) College Composition and Communication Conference.

Although we use many sources of information to study what literacy practices transfer across contexts, I believe that one of the most significant challenges in this line of research involves getting at students’ tacit, or practical knowledge in our interviews with them. At present, I am revising an article for submission that introduces a recursive set of “experience modeling” (Gordon and Dawes, 2005) interview methods that, if employed in writing transfer interviews, has real potential to help us get at more of the typically tacit knowledge that informs students’ literacy practices.

In the longer term, I will also publish research that extends the existing literature on writing transfer by focusing on issues related to graduate students that are earning degrees in professional and technical writing while simultaneously employed as professionals in related fields. 

II. Edited Collection: The Selected Essays of James P. Moffett

Over the last decade or so, I have been deeply connected to many in the field who knew and worked with James Moffett. In recent years, I have formalized a degree of expertise on Moffett which has involved investigating (and securing more material for) the “James Moffett Papers” archive during my doctoral studies at the University of California Santa Barbara. As part of that ongoing work, I founded the James Moffett Consortium ( which, with 100 members, includes NCTE clearance for an online library of Moffett’s essays. In 2012, I co-authored James Moffett’s legacy in The English Journal which was published in the centennial edition of the The English Journal (

At present, I am taking the lead on producing and publishing The Selected Essays of James P. Moffett with Tom Gage (professor emeritus, Humboldt State University) and James Davis (professor, Northern Iowa University). Using Ede and Lunsfords’ recent collection on Robert Connors’ as a model for this collection, we are currently drafting and securing a publisher in an effort to re-introduce Moffett as an important historical figure for composition-rhetoric, English Education, the language arts, and on school reform initiatives. 

III. On the Sociology of Knowledge Production Through Citations

This summer, I was asked to be a journal peer reviewer for the Social Studies of Science. My dissertation research addressed citations as the, “sites” at which collective memory and knowledge is, “sorted out and reproduced” (Bazerman, 1993). More specifically, I argued that the role of citations in academic discourse should be taught more directly to students and I defined a mixed methodological approach for studying what happens to highly cited authors and books in our field when they are cited, repeatedly, over decades. In the past, I have presented my research at (February, 2011) Writing Research Across Borders II Conference and the (March, 2010) College, Composition and Communication Conference. At present, I am adapting two chapters from my dissertation research for near-term submission to two journals: the Scientometrics and Research in the Teaching of English.

IV. Publishing about a Grant-Funded Writing Curriculum for Engineering Students

I recently submitted a chapter proposal for publication in an edited collection titled Producing public memory: Museums, memorials, and archives as sites for teaching writing edited by Jane Greer and Laurie Grobman. If accepted, this chapter will be about my grant-funded experience developing and revising a writing-in-the-disciplines curriculum for Engineering students. In three “scaffolded” stages, they were prompted to visit, study, and write about how campus’ memorials and monuments expressed meaning(s), “made present by matter” (Jackson and Fannin, 2010). This chapter will document how my curriculum used writing to enhance these young engineers’ sense of investment in the prominent material and cultural structures that populated their daily campus routines. The results of this course, taught over two years, were PDF publications written, produced, and edited by these students with chapters that captured their own preliminary building proposals to address and meet some civic need. 


Bazerman, C. (1993). Intertextual self-fashioning: Gould and Lewontin’s representations of the literature. In J. Selzer (Ed.), Understanding scientific prose. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, p. 20-41. 

Gordon, D. & Dawes, G. (2005) Expanding your world: modeling the structure of experience. Tucson, AZ: Desert Rain.

Jackson, M. & Fannin, M. (2010). Guest editorial. Environment and planning: Design and space, 29(3), p. 435-444.

Meyer, J. and Land, R. (2006). “Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge: An Introduction.” In J. Meyer and Ray Land (Eds.), Overcoming barriers to student understanding. London: Routledge, p. 3-18.

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