Diagram of theorizing. Options for approaching: Craft and follow new lines of inquiry. Question the differences between "information" and theories. Critically question and examine accepted ways of thinking. Create connections between multiple texts in order to add to/diverge from them. Consider the ways media affects a text's purpose. Options for doing: Reflective writing on use of media in the process of theorizing. Produce findings from survey/interview data. Compose a project based on research-driven inquiry.

By theorizing, students produce new knowledge and contribute meaningfully to intellectual conversations. While research is often a first step, when students theorize, they are doing more than interpreting, summarizing, or applying others’ ideas. They are creating something that could be interpreted or applied by someone else. Of course, creating new knowledge doesn’t always mean providing answers; more often, it means crafting new questions and lines of inquiry, developing new terms, or crafting a critical vocabulary.

Theorizing Learning Objectives

  • Determine how you will contribute to, change, or provide new ways of seeing a conversation, question, topic, or issue
    • Demonstrate ways media affects aims; 
    • Change the direction of a conversation; 
    • Develop a new line of inquiry; 
    • Propose a new question and demonstrate its significance; 
    • Create a new term or change the terms of a debate; 
    • Extend, adapt, revise entirely someone else's argument;
    • Devise a new method for analysis

Information Literacy Threshold Concepts

  • Research as inquiry
  • Information creation as a process
  • Authority is constructed and contextual

Habits of Mind

  • Creativity
  • Persistence
  • Responsibility
  • Metacognition


Assignment Writing goals Theorizing work
Blog Critically question and examine accepted ways of thinking Work through a problem and posing questions over time through a series of posts
Poster Question the difference between information and theories Present a visual heuristic for conceptualizing a problem
Conference-style presentation Craft and follow new lines of inquiry Present findings and implications of a brief study the student conducted
Article Create connections between texts to add to/diverge from them - question differences between information and theories Make a persuasive, data-driven argument



Scholarly Bibliography

Warnick, Chris. “Texts to Be Worked on and Worked with: Encouraging Students to See Their Writing as Theoretical.” Teaching with Student Texts: Essays Toward an Informed Practice, edited by Joseph Harris et al., Utah State University Press, 2010, pp. 163-70.


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