Young Scholars in Writing and the Conference on College Composition and Communication's Special Interest Group on Undergraduate Research in Rhetoric and Composition represent two examples of Writing Studies' encouragement of undergraduate primary research. In a classroom parallel, textbooks like Douglas Downs and Elizabeth Wardle's Writing about Writing: A College Reader include multiple assignments requiring students to gather data from real-world contexts. Primary research, however, can be hard for English majors at Kean University, a commuter campus that serves working-class students. This essay describes one attempt to support these students through providing an instructor-created data set.
In many ways, the unit described in this webtext comes out of student experiences in a colleague's Writing about Writing course. The representative voice of one student frames those concerns and begins the article. I then report on my attempt to respond to these concerns when I taught the course. Students from one semester then provide feedback and reflection on the unit.