Scholarship as it is understood traditionally is defined,
recognized, and valued based on a familiar set of conventions that govern
written academic discourse. These conventions are guidelines for what constitutes
a scholarly contribution most significantly in terms of content and form.
Online texts, particularly web-based texts that use the unique technological
allowances of the medium, are new kinds of texts that both follow and flaunt
traditional conventions of print-based scholarship. A better understanding
of the ways in which these texts achieve traditional scholarly goals—and imply
new goals that emerge in this unique genre of online scholarship—can
be achieved through close analysis.
The assessment tool developed in this study was designed for the purpose
of closely analyzing texts published in a scholarly online journal. The tool,
on its own, can provide a fair description of online scholarship. However,
it works more fully as part of a broader research project that explores the
nature of online texts toward their acceptance as legitimate scholarship
for the purposes of professional advancement.
A complete analysis of various Kairos webtexts
and a synthesis of content and form characteristics will lead to tentative
conclusions regarding the nature of web-based writing within a reputable
and representative online journal. Findings from this preliminary assessment
tool will also reveal the tool’s own strengths and shortcomings and
will guide the development of a rubric that tenure, promotion, and review
(TPR) committees, as well as other invested groups (scholars, journal editors,
and reviewers), can use for understanding and evaluating the scholarly
nature of texts written and presented in and for the online medium. This
research is a necessary first step for evaluating contemporary web-based
scholarship in TPR settings. Additionally, it may provide a basis for understanding
the emergent new media online
texts that begin to make meaning in increasingly innovative ways.