Network Sense: Methods for Visualizing a Discipline

By Derek N. Mueller
Copy edited by Lydia Welker, Sarah Truax, and Kasey Osborne. Designed by Mike Palmquist. Cover design by Than Saffel.

Note: This book is currently available in a pre-print format. Library of Congress cataloging information is not yet available and some page numbers might change following print publication.

CoverIn this book, the first published in the #writing series, Derek N. Mueller offers a methodological response to recent efforts by scholars in rhetoric and composition/writing studies to account for patterns indicative of the discipline's maturation. Influenced by work on distant reading (Moretti, 2005) and thin description (Love, 2010 & 2013), this monograph attends to forms of knowledge newly available via computationally mined, aggregated data from large collections of texts, which is then used to build experimental models for discerning non-obvious relationships. By shedding light on large-scale patterns, the models promote what Mueller refers to as a network sense of the field, which regards these as crucial structures of participation for orienting newcomers to the shifting terrain of disciplinary knowledge and for sustaining a generalist's wherewithal in the midst of a growing archive of increasingly specialized scholarship.

About the Author

Derek N. Mueller is Associate Professor of Written Communication and Director of the First-year Writing Program at Eastern Michigan University. A graduate of Syracuse University's Composition and Cultural Rhetoric (CCR) program, Mueller teaches courses in visual rhetoric and information design, rhetorics of science and technology, and computers and writing. His research interests include digital writing platforms, networked writing practices, theories of composing, rhetorical aspects of computational methods, archiving and databases, and discipliniographies related to rhetoric and composition/writing studies. Mueller's work has appeared in College Composition and Communication, Kairos, Computers and Composition, Composition Forum, and JAC. For more, visit

Publication Information: Mueller, Derek. N. (2017). Network Sense: Methods for Visualizing a Discipline. #writing. Fort Collins, Colorado: The WAC Clearinghouse and University Press of Colorado. Available at

Online Publication Date: December 4, 2017.
Print Publication Date: Pending.

Contact Information:
Derek N. Mueller:

Table of Contents

In PDF Format PDF Format   In ePub Format ePub Format

Front Matter


Introduction. The Distant and Thin of Disciplinarity

Chapter 1. Methods for Visualizing Disciplinary Patterns

Chapter 2. Patterned Images of a Discipline: Database, Scale, Pattern

Chapter 3. Turn Spotting: The Discipline as a Confluence of Words

Chapter 4. The Thin, Long Tail of Citation Frequency

Chapter 5. Emplaced Disciplinary Networks: Toward an Atlas of Rhetoric and Composition/Writing Studies

Chapter 6. Network Sense: Patterned Connections Across a Maturing Discipline



Interactive Media

Figure 5. Google Motion Chart

Video | Video Transcript

Figure 6. Google Motion Chart for "Students" and "Writing"

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Figure 7. Google Motion Chart for "Assessment"

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Figure 8. Google Motion Chart for "Multimodal"

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Figure 9. Google Motion Chart for "Style," "Rhetoric," and "Language"

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Figures 18-22. Animated GIF


Figure 30. Conferences: A Chrono-cartographic Projection

Interactive Map | Video | Video Transcript

Figure 31. Consortia: A Locative–Aggregative Projection

Interactive Map | Video | Video Transcript

Figure 33. Diachronic Career Paths

Interactive Map | Video | Video Transcript

Figure 34 Synchronic Career Paths

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Figure 35. Career path models

Interactive Map | Video | Video Transcript


Series Editor: Cheryl E. Ball, West Virginia University

Acrobat Reader DownloadThis book is available in whole and in part in Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF). It will also be available in print at University Press of Colorado.