Martin Nystrand

Professor Emeritus

Martin Nystrand is Louise Durham Mead Professor of English Emeritus, Professor of Education Emeritus, and former director of the National Research Center on English Learning and Achievement (CELA). His research focuses on the dialogic organization of discourse in both writing and classroom discourse. His writing research examines how writing-reader interaction shapes writers' writing processes and development (Nystrand, The Structure of Written Communication: Studies in Reciprocity Between Writers and Readers (Academic Press, 1986). His classroom discourse research probes the role of classroom interaction in student learning and was the first large-scale empirical study, done in collaboration with UW-Madison Professor of Sociology Emeritus Adam Gamoran, to document the role of open classroom discussion in student learning: Nystrand, Opening Dialogue: Understanding the Dynamics of Language and Learning in the English Classroom (Teachers College Press, 1997). His study, “Questions in Time: Investigating the Structure and Dynamics of Unfolding Classroom Discourse” with L. Wu, A. Gamoran, S. Zeiser, D. Long, Discourse Processes, 35 (2003), 135-196) was the first-ever use of event-history analysis to investigate classroom discourse. See Center for Research on Dialogic Instruction and the In-Class Analysis of Classroom Discourse (

Nystrand is currently working in collaboration with colleagues at the Institute for Intelligent Systems to develop a computer program to autonomously measure and assess classroom discourse as it affects student achievement. Particularly, Nystrand and his colleagues are creating a system that autonomously processes classroom discourse allowing teachers do-it-yourself professional development.

In recognition of his research, Professor Nystrand was awarded the 2011 Distinguished Lifetime Research Award by the National Conference on Research in Language and Literacy (NCRLL).

Contact Information
Phone: (608) 263-2397
Office: 685 Ed Sciences

Current Projects

Automating the Measurement and Assessment of Classroom Discourse