Since our work situates us at a crossroads between multiple disciplines, we feel it is worthwhile to consider both a range of scholarship on digital practices and to examine in detail research in our own discipline, writing studies. Within writing studies we have found a lack of research that focuses on specifically digital practices. The research that has been done focuses fairly narrowly on practices that are applicable to writing-intensive courses in English (particularly first-year composition). In the disciplines that focus on the construction and management of digital information resources, there is a great deal of useful research on search practices; however, much of this work is primarily quantitative and often seeks to limit focus to the behavior of particular users in a specific digital environment. This focus on the search environment shapes these research studies in ways that exclude research on the development of complex, multi-faceted practices developed by individual users. Our examination of research from these different perspectives has helped us to develop a method and theoretical perspective that not only addresses the interests of various disciplines, but also attends to the ways our particular discipline has shaped our approach to the subject.
In the next several pages we provide an overview of this scholarship and the ways in which our own approach extends and departs from this work.
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