DePew, Kevin Eric “Through the Eyes of Researchers, Rhetors, and Audiences”

From RhetorClick

Jump to: navigation, search



In his article, Kevin DePew discussed the ways in which the digital writing situation can be and is researched. He primarily discusses two different methods: triangulation and text analysis. DePew also discusses four different instances of digital writing research and the methods used to conduct the research. Within each section, DePew discusses how effective each method was and what it lacked.[1]

Through the Eyes of Researchers, Rhetors, and Audiences

DePew begins by describing how digital research has previously been approached: the focus was mainly on the composition programs used by scholars to facilitate writing. Now, however, research is focused on the Internet, where writing is generated and communication facilitated. DePew argues that these new technologies signify a need for a shift in how we understand and study the rhetorical situation. Though many researchers have begun to look at how the rhetorical situation is affected by digital writing, the type of research has remained, for the most part, a textual analysis. Instead, researchers should take a broader approach to understanding digital writing--a triangulated approach. The triangular approach focuses on the rhetor, audience, digital text/discourse, and the context; this allows for a better, more comprehensive understanding of the digital writing. DePew supports this need for a triangulated approach by pointing out that all researchers bring with them personal experience, and it is nearly impossible for research to be completely unbiased. Data triangulation (sampling date from multiple sources) attempts to prevent the researchers biases (conscious or otherwise) from tainting the research. Method triangulation is similar in that it employs the use of multiple methods of research so as to avoid what DePew describes as “single-voicedness.”

Possible Implications

DePew’s ideas about digital writing research are extremely important and should be considered for implementation in the classroom. As demonstrated by the research example of McKee, the triangulated approach allows for a deeper understanding of the subject and forces the researchers to go beyond already established rhetorical theory. DePew’s values are similar to that of Carl Rogers, in that both individuals are concerned with achieving a comprehensive understanding. DePew is fighting against the research tendency to only conduct research that supports the researcher’s opinion, and Rogers is fighting against the individual’s tendency to ignoring the opposing point of view. Writing students could greatly benefit from understanding DePew and Rogers’ theories.


  1. [DePew, Kevin. “Through the Eyes of Researchers, Rhetors, and Audiences: Triangulating Data from the Digital Writing Situation.” Professing the New Rhetorics: A Sourcebook. Ed. Theresa Enos and Stuart Brown. Prentice Hall, 1993. Print.]
Personal tools
Site Navigation
Wiki Help