Interdisciplinary: How to Create a Research Space (CARS)

“The Creating a Research Space [C.A.R.S.] Model was developed by John Swales based upon his analysis of journal articles representing a variety of discipline-based writing practices. His model attempts to explain and describe the organizational pattern of writing the introduction to scholarly research studies.” (From an online tutorial on the CARS model found here.)

Although this model was initially applied to social science research, subsequent studies revealed it applies to the humanities and STEM equally well, possibly because the three CARS moves follow the basic rhetorical steps of a proposal argument.

Introducing this model to CADW students can give them a framework to understand WHY they discuss existing research in the first place: not just to summarize viewpoints, but to establish the importance of their topic (move 1) and construct a “gap” or “need” in the field  (move 2). These two moves thus “create the space” that justifies their own contribution to a conversation (move 3). Teaching this model also gives students a powerful heuristic to investigate research articles in their field of study. This model can be integrated with student writing and research processes to help students shape what type of research they should look for (narrow the scope), how to review scholarship with a purpose, and how to frame their own contributions within an ongoing conversation in their area of study.

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