Printable KISS Grammar Books Cobweb Corner

An Overview of KISS Research Projects

     I started doing statistical research projects on natural syntactic development almost fifteen years ago. Some projects were fairly well completed; others were left half done because of lack of time. This section presents brief descriptions of those projects and links to what parts of them I have been able to put on the web. As the descriptions indicate, the projects had different objectives, and it will take some time to get the data into the tables in comparable format. If I can manage it, however, the data -- supported by the analysis of each original in each study -- should provide basic guidelines for discussions of style, and for the study of natural syntactic development. The following tables present summaries of the data.

An Essay
Basic Summary of Data and Words per Main Clause
Details on  Main Clauses, Errors, Passives, and Compounds
Type and Embedded Level of  Subordinate Clauses
Types and Location of Noun Clauses
Types and Location of Adjectival, Adverbial, 
& Interjectional Clauses
Types and Length of Infinitives
Types and Length of Gerunds
Types and Length of Gerundives; 
Appositives and Post-Positioned Adjectives
Types and Length of Noun Absolutes; Other Constructions

The 1986 Study

     The 1986 Study was my first major project. My objective was simply to replicate the Hunt, O'Donnell, and Loban studies in a limited way, but a way in which I could see original data. I was able to get a limited number of samples of the writing of fourth, seventh, eighth, and ninth grade students, and the writer's scores on national standardized tests. I added to these samples of the writing of my own students, samples from McGuffey's Fourth Reader, samples of writing from newspapers, and samples of the writing of Henry James. Using a Model IV Tandy computer, I coded and analyzed the data. The study was completed, but advances in computers made my programming in basic obsolete. Because I still have the writing samples, and because getting new samples was difficult, I decided to redo this project in order to address questions of teachers who want to use the KISS approach but who feel uncomfortable with the grammar.

The Spring 1995 Study

     Because my computer programs from the 1986 study were no longer usable, I undertook no major studies for several years. Each semseter, however, my Freshman composition students did a statistical analysis of their own writing. Aware of theresearch that claims that mode of writing affects the statistics, I desired to do a study in which several samples of the same students' writing was analyzed. I started to use six writing samples each, from 66 students. Although this study was never completed, readers may find the parts that were interesting. The analyzed samples also provide more instructional materials for teachers and students.

The Self-Paced Course for Teachers

     Having received numerous calls for help in teaching grammar from teachers, in the summer of 1999, I put the Self-Paced course on the web. The selections  used for exercises were not initially analyzed for data, but because they have already been analysed, it will be comparably easy to add data from them to this overview. The samples include complete texts of jokes and fables, plus the openings of some famous novels.


My First (Major) Aluminum Study

     Late in 1999, several reasons led me to undertake a major study of my college students' revisions of O'Donnell's "Aluminum" passage. All 93 revisions have been analyzed, and it was in writing up this study that I realized the need for this overview. In attempting to discuss questions about compounding, right-branching adjectival clauses, gerundives, appositives, etc., I wanted to refer to the "norm," but there is no established, publicized "norm." In its absence, this overview, provides one, limited as it may be.

This border is a reproduction of
William-Adolphe Bouguereau's
The First Kiss
Brian Yoder's Art Corner

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