Current Research (In Progress)

Below are descriptions of my current studies along with participation criteria. I hope you’ll participate and spread the word about this research.


Patients Making Meaning: Epistemologies of the Ill and Recovering

In this new project, situated in the field of Rhetoric of Health and Medicine (RHM), my co-authors (Cathryn Molloy and Jamie White-Farnham) and I hope to learn what types of documents and other material artifacts actually work to help patients understand their illness, make them feel supported, and help them make meaning from their medical situation. Our goal is to show how these documents and artifacts achieve certain effects in order to put forward recommendations to medical practitioners, community partners, and those who interact with the ill and recovering about how best to inform and support patients.

We will be collecting and analyzing survey data from patients describing their perspectives about and experiences with materials such as organizational brochures, online medical material, ephemeral items like “get well” cards, text messages, etc.

Click here more information and to participate


The Chronicity of Chemotherapy

The purposes of this study are to:

  • ask oncologists and cancer organizations to consider the ways that being post-chemotherapy can itself be a chronic condition,
  • learn more about how patients come to understand their bodies as chronically affected by chemotherapy,
  • improve chemotherapy documentation so it can better equip patients to face potential long-term side effects, and
  • contribute to the scholarship in the Rhetoric of Health and Medicine.

I’ll be asking participants to take a survey about their experiences after chemotherapy and how those matched up to their expectations based on documents they may have read to prepare themselves for chemo. Participants can also opt in to be interviewed.

Participation criteria:

  • Age 18 and older
  • A cancer diagnosis (any kind at any time)
  • Completed chemotherapy (any kind at any time)

If you meet the participation criteria, you can take the survey here

THIS PROJECT HAS BEEN APPROVED BY THE INDIANA UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD FOR THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN SUBJECTS (PHONE 724.357.7730), IRB Log#: 20-062-IUP.


Online Journal Club: Bridging Communication Between Patients and Health Professionals

This study will look at communication strategies used in a Facebook academic journal club for research on cancer genetics (“BRCA Advanced”), specifically interested in how the group helps bridge communication between patients and health professionals.  In a journal club, participants discuss an article of interest to the group; in the Facebook journal club, research is posted by the group’s moderator. There is no formal meeting; instead, any group members can comment on the article. Within these posts, conversations will sometimes occur between patients and physicians.

Participants will be recruited directly from the Facebook group. This project is in the process of undergoing along with IRB approval. Check back soon for more information.


Time to Know Their Teachers

This study seeks to understand more about how basic writing is taught from varying perspectives – from graduate students teaching the course for the first time to experienced professors nearing retirement. Understanding more about how and why we teach this course and these students could help writing teachers learn more about the teaching of writing in general and more specifically, how to engage with at-risk students as they proceed through their curriculum.

Marilyn Sternglass’ 1997 Time to Know Them, which profiled basic writing students over six years, is one of the most influential studies of college writers, especially underprepared writers, to ever have been written. My study aims to replicate some of the methods used by Sternglass, not only to update what she learned about basic writing students in the 1990s, but to develop a rich understanding of those who have been teaching and teach them now.

This study is underway. Participant recruitment is now closed. 

THIS PROJECT HAS BEEN APPROVED BY THE INDIANA UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD FOR THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN SUBJECTS (PHONE 724.357.7730), IRB Log#: 18-039-IUP.