Rapp Co-Edits Handbook for Discourse Scholars, Students

Rapp Co-Edits Handbook for Discourse Scholars, Students

David RappDavid Rapp

A newly updated academic handbook helps researchers explore new ways to think about and study reading, listening, talking, and writing during a time of rapid change in modes of communication.

Co-edited by Northwestern University learning scientist David Rapp, The Routledge Handbook of Discourse Processes, Second Edition, offers readers a dynamic roadmap to the evolving field, including a comprehensive overview and perspectives from both established and emerging scholars.

The second edition is especially timely in this era of fake news, Rapp said, because of the increased urgency to understand how people comprehend and trust information.

 “We’re bombarded with tons of information all day; it’s a nightmare to critically evaluate all of it,” Rapp said. “It gets even harder to disentangle truth from falsehoods when they are mixed up from different sources.”

The book summarizes the current thinking on how people produce and comprehend language, whether spoken or written.  It includes work from relevant fields including education, psychology, computer science, rhetoric, and literacy.

But it also “pushes forward questions that need to be answered in the future,” said Rapp, a Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence at Northwestern, and current editor of the journal Discourse Processes.

“Junior and senior researchers even write together on some chapters, discussing methods, findings, debates, open questions, and design suggestions for understanding and supporting effective communication,” Rapp said.

As an editor, Rapp commissioned and edited contributions that describe how to use different research methods to help readers who want to get more involved in the field learn the basics.

The book also discusses a wide range of empirical methods currently available: lab and field experiments employing a range of quantitative and qualitative measures; observational studies, including classrooms and organizational communication; big data analyses; conversation analysis; computational modeling; and linguistic ethnographies.

Rapp, a fellow of the Society for Text and Discourse and the Association for Psychological Science for his contributions to the field, studies misinformation and why people fall victim to inaccurate statements. His most recent research looks at the consequences of reading inaccurate information such as fake news, how individual differences influence these effects, and how to encourage people to read more critically.

By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 2/21/18