Chapter 3: Technology-Focused Collaborative Research Initiatives in English Studies: The Possibilities of Team-Based Approaches
Reviewed by Leila Rush
In her own contribution to the collection, Laura McGrath argued that collaborative research initiatives deserve more attention because of what they can offer the field of English studies. Using textual analysis, interviews, and observations at three research centers, McGrath's chapter demonstrated the work already being done with collaborative research and suggested ways to reconsider scholarly work for further collaboration.
McGrath focused on three research centers: the Writing in Digital Environments (WIDE) Research Center at Michigan State University (since renamed the Writing, Information, and Digital Experience Center), the Digital Writing and Research Lab (DWRL) at the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of California–Santa Barbara (UCSB) English department. McGrath found that all centers appeared to be hubs where teams can form; this allowed for multiple perspectives to come together. Her research concluded that these research centers embraced and encouraged collaboration.
Although limited by space in her chapter (which she acknowledged in her conclusion), McGrath offered insight into important questions that require further exploration. Some questions raised included issues of funding and sustainability (p. 97) and issues related to the profession, including dissemination of knowledge (p. 100) and recognition in promotion (p. 101). In raising these questions, she set the groundwork for additional work and brought to light questions the field should be asking. Because of these and other questions, this chapter broadens the conversation about digital, collaborative work and calls attention to the work being done and that can be done in the future.