Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Dylan Dryer

Second Committee Member

Charlsye Smith Diaz

Third Committee Member

Ryan Dippre


Despite a growing interest in multimodality, little work has examined what factors most significantly impact tacit constructs of multimodality, especially in contexts outside Writing Studies. Because our constructs, whether tacit or articulate, impact all the work we do as academics, it would behoove us to have as robust a construct of multimodality as possible. This thesis reviews relevant literature, arguing that the roots of contemporary multimodal scholarship can be traced back to ancient rhetoric as well as Bakhtin’s theory of reciprocity. Additionally, this project details the conflations and contradictions surrounding multimodality in Writing Studies, arguing that these incongruities suggest that Writing Studies’ construct of multimodality is underrepresented. This seeming underrepresentation provides exigence for this study’s cross-disciplinary approach, using qualitative research methods to explore the tacit multimodal constructs of four scholars from State U. Significantly, participants’ selfpresentation most strongly forecasted their constructs of multimodality, which form a spectrum ranging from most emergent to most articulate construct. Participants with articulate constructs of multimodality discussed by their capaciousness, while participants with emergent constructs tended to either equate or conflate multimodality with a singular element (like teaching or screen-centered technologies). These conflations, uncovered by the findings, may stem from construct underrepresentation. Additionally, the findings also partially replicate Reid et al.’s (2016) findings and reinforce Ball and Charlton’s (2015) emphasis on reception as vital to the future of multimodal scholarship.