Serendipity in Rhetoric, Writing, and Literacy Research

In the course of research, most scholars have known moments of surprise, catastrophe, or good fortune, though they seldom refer to these occurrences in reports or discuss them with students. "Serendipity in Rhetoric, Writing, and Literacy Research" reveals the different kinds of work scholars — particularly those in rhetoric, writing, and literacy — need to do in order to recognize a serendipitous discovery or a missed opportunity.

In published scholarship and research, the path toward discovery seems clean and direct. The dead ends, backtrackings, start-overs, and stumbles that occur throughout the research process are elided, and it seems that the researchers started at point A and arrived safely and neatly at point B without incident, as if by magic. The path, however, is never truly clear and straight. Research and writing is messy. "Serendipity in Rhetoric, Writing, and Literacy Research" features chapters from twenty-three writing scholars who have experienced moments of serendipity in their own work – not by magic or pure chance but through openness and active waiting, which offer an opportunity to prepare the mind.

"Serendipity in Rhetoric, Writing, and Literacy Research" illustrates the reality of doing research: there is no reliable prescription or one-size-fits-all manual, but success can be found with focused dedication and an open mind.


Maureen Daly Goggin is professor in and former chair of the Department of English at Arizona State University.

Peter N. Goggin is professor in the Department of English and a senior scholar in the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University.

Serendipity in Rhetoric, Writing, and Literacy Research, edited by Maureen Daly Goggin and Peter N. Goggin
Date published
Utah State University Press

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