Discourse Community

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Part 1
Data Collection

Type up the following notes in a word document of 300-500 words and upload to D2L Dropbox.

  • Observe members of the discourse community while they are engaged in a shared activity; take detailed notes (field-notes).
    • What are they doing? What kinds of things do they say? What do they write? How do you know who is “in” and who is “out”?
    • Collect anything people in that community read or write (their genres) – even very short things like forms, sketches, notes, messages, etc. These items can be analyzed as site documents.
    • Interview at least one other member of the discourse community. Record and transcribe (write down or type out) the interview. (Electronic interviews are OK)
    • In your interview, you might ask things like:
      • How long have you been here?
      • Why are you involved?
      • What are your personal goals in terms of your involvement?
      • What does the term, “__________” mean?
      • What, if anything, prepared you for the kind of communicating you do here?
      • How do you communicate with other people within this community?

Part 2
Analysis

Type up the following anaylsis in a word document of 300-500 words and upload to D2L Dropbox with part 1.

A. Analyze Data Using Swales Analyze the data you collect using the six characteristics of a discourse community as outlined by John Swales in “The Concept of Discourse Community.”

  • What are the shared goals of the community? Why does this group exist and what does it do?
  • What mechanisms do members use to communicate with each other (meetings, phone calls, email, text messages, newsletters, reports, evaluation forms, and so on)?
  • What are the purposes of each of these mechanisms of communication (to improve performance, make money, share research, and so forth)?
  • Which of the above mechanisms of communication can be considered genres (textual responses to recurring situations that all group members recognize and understand)?
  • What kinds of specialized language (lexis) do group members use in their conversation and in their genres? Name some examples.
  • Who are the “old-timers” with expertise within this community? Who are the newcomers with less expertise? How do newcomers learn the appropriate language, genres, knowledge of the community?

B. Analyze Data Using Johns and Wardle Analyze the data you collect using the ideas discussed by Ann M. Johns in “Discourse Communities and Communities of Practice: Membership, Conflict, and Diversity” and Elizabeth Wardle in “Identity, Authority, and Learning to Write in New Workplaces.”  

  • Are there conflicts within the community? If so, why?
  • Do some participants in the community have difficulty? Why?
  • Who has authority here, and where does that authority come from?
  • What are the “modes of belonging” that newcomers are attempting to use? (Modes of belonging are engagement, imagination, alignment)
    • Posted: 9 days ago
    • Due: 
    • Budget: $10