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Design and User Testing of Disciplinary Reasoning Diagrams




21W: Writing

Faculty Supervisor:

Suzanne Lane

Faculty email:


Apply by:



Suzanne Lane, stlane@mit.edu

Project Description

This project uses textual analysis and expert informants to identify central concept categories in different academic disciplines, and then visualizes their relationship to each other, in order to reveal reasoning patterns in the field. The diagrams we produce map the relationship between field-specific knowledge, reasoning and argumentation, and discourse, and can be used to scaffold the process of learning to reason and persuade in different disciplines. We currently have drafts of a half-dozen diagrams in different fields, and are working on refining the visual design and user testing the diagrams. In addition, we plan to create digital, interactive versions of the diagrams.


Interest in and experience with visual or graphic design and UI/UX preferred but not required. Knowledge of InDesign or other graphics software useful, as well as experience with graphics programming.