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David Hanauer

Professor of English/Applied Linguistics

Office: 215D Leonard Hall
Phone: 724-357-2274

A Personal Overview of My Research

What is unusual about my academic work and research is the serious and sustained integration of the humanities, social sciences, and sciences that is manifest in all of my academic activities. I have two major areas of research and activity: science education (primarily undergraduate biology education, scientific inquiry, and assessment) and the scientific study of literature (primarily with a focus on the reading and writing of poetry). In both of these areas, my work is characterized by a deep commitment to the usage and development of new and existing research methodologies.

As might be expected from my background as an applied linguist, I am well versed in qualitative and quantitative research methodologies and during my career have worked on developing new arts-based approaches to research as well. While this sounds like too broad an agenda for a single individual, the push behind all of this research methodology acquisition and development is the understanding and belief that knowledge can only emerge through the systematic application of explicated and logical research methodologies. I have learned, developed or acquired new methodologies as new questions and research projects demanded new ways of answering questions. Similarly, I have put extensive effort into developing a wide range of analytical tools from the fields of linguistic analysis, computational linguistics, literary analysis, content analysis, and a wide range of statistical approaches.

My work as a researcher is characterized by triangulation of varied methods that allow me to carefully consider the diversity and depth of any given phenomena that I am investigating, whether it be the development of project ownership during an undergraduate laboratory course or the development of voice in a creative writing course. 

In all of my research there are a series of quite specific underpinning concerns that I address. My educational research in both the sciences and literacy involves providing increased access to a wide range of students with differing abilities and generating a process of ownership over their educational work. Tied to this concern with access and ownership in my work is the promotion of personally important inquiry activities. As I wrote in an early book on science education (Scientific Discourse: Multiliteracy in the Classroom), I think that the real problem with existing education systems of all types and on all levels is that they are concerned with “old knowledge” and not with the generation of new knowledge. Most education systems are based on the assumption that knowledge exists and that the aim of the education system is to transmit to the new student the collective knowledge of the past. As a researcher, I am aware of how little we actually know about anything. My perception of what is required from a student in the 21st century is that new students be able to generate new knowledge themselves. I do not believe that education is about consuming existing knowledge; it is about becoming a researcher! Hence the majority of publications, classes, research, workshops, and lectures are about methodology. I teach students, faculty, fellow researchers, and workshop participants to create new knowledge.

Science Education Research — A Brief Review

I have since 2003 been involved in science education research. My early work looked carefully, using qualitative methods, at what scientific inquiry teaching in different educational settings looked like. Importantly in 2005, I was introduced to Prof. Graham Hatfull of the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. At that time he was running an innovative scientific inquiry program focused on the isolation and identification of a particular form of virus (bacteriophage). What was special and unique about this educational program was the focus on authentic science and the scientific inquiry that this entailed. This dovetailed nicely with my own interests in inquiry teaching and the research methodologies for studying such contexts that I had developed.

Dr. Hatfull invited me to work as an assessment coordinator and educational researcher for his program and I gladly accepted. Together with Dr. Hatfull and his team, a long series of projects defining scientific inquiry teaching, assessment in the sciences, and undergraduate science education papers and research studies emerged. Throughout this period and continuing at the moment, my work with Dr. Hatfull has been generously supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. This support has allowed me the luxury that not many researchers enjoy—time to really focus and develop a novel body of science education research over an extended period of time.

The important findings from this research context can be summarized as follows: development of the active assessment approach designed for scientific inquiry teaching; data driven understandings of course-based research experiences; and a series of validated assessment tools for assessing laboratory courses. Currently I am the lead coordinator of the SEA-PHAGES program directed by Graham Hatfull and supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Central Publications:

Hanauer, D. I. & Bauerle, C. (2015). The faculty self-reported assessment survey (FRAS): Differentiating faculty knowledge and experience in assessment. CBE-Life Sciences     Education, 14, 1-11. 
Hanauer, D. I. & Dolan, E. L. (2014). The Project Ownership Survey: Measuring differences in scientific inquiry experiences. CBE-Life Sciences Education, 13, 149-158.

Hanauer, D. I., Frederick, J. Fotinakes, B., & Strobel, S. (2012) Linguistic analysis of project ownership for undergraduate research experiences. CBE-Life Sciences Education, 11,     378-385.
Hanauer, D.I., Hatfull, G. F., & Jacobs-Sera, D. (2009). Active Assessment: Assessing Scientific Inquiry. New York: Springer
Hanauer, D. I., Jacobs-Sera, D., Pedulla, M., Cresawn. S., Hendrix, R., & Hatfull, G. F. (2006). Teaching scientific inquiry. Science, 314. 1880-1881.

Poetry Studies — A Brief Review

My research into poetry can be divided into three distinct periods. My early work on poetry (including my dissertation) was directed at understanding the psycholinguistic characteristics of poetry reading. This was work applied a range of quantitative and qualitative research methodologies to explore  various aspects of poetry reading in a first and second language. The main findings of this period of my research was the establishment of the basic genre characteristics of poetry reading and ways in which this differed from reading other types of reading. The second period of my research dealt with processes of writing poetry. Once again using both qualitative and quantitative approaches the aim here was to understand the processes and products of poetry writing. The third period of my research on poetry was directed at developing ways in which poetry writing could be used as a research methodology. In a series of publications I developed the methodologies of poetic autoethnography and poetic ethnography. These methods allow access to information on the level of an individual consciousness and personal subjective experience.

Central Publications:

Hanauer, D. I. (2015). Measuring voice in poetry written by second language learners Written Communication, 32, 66-86

Hanauer, D. I. (2015) Being in the Second Iraq War: A poetic ethnography. Qualitative Inquiry, 21 (1), 83-106.

  • English Department
  • Leonard Hall, Room 110
    421 North Walk
    Indiana, PA 15705-1094
  • Phone: 724-357-2261
  • Fax: 724-357-2265
  • Office Hours
  • Monday through Friday
  • 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.