Discourse Community

DescriptionChoose a discourse community that has made an impact on you or that you are currently a part of and explore its goals and characteristics. Then choose a particular point of interest within that discourse community to consider in more detail. Write a 750 word paper that describes the discourse community and explores the particular point of interest (or research question) that you want to focus on. Use the data you collect to make and support your claims.For this project, you will engage in autoethnographic research on one of your current discourses – it might be easiest to choose a digital/virtual discourse community that you are currently engaged in. Autoethnographic research is“conducted and represented from the point of view of the self,” and typically involves conducting observations and interviews, keeping field notes, journaling, and collecting artifacts (Canagarajah 121).Successful Discourse Communities from Past StudentsThe following are discourse communities that past students used successfully for this assignment.• Group Chats• Facebook Groups• Fandoms• Student Organizations• Major Cohorts (e.g. psychology majors)• WorkplacesData CollectionReflect on your role and experience within the Discourse Community.Observe discourse community members while they are engaged in a shared activity; take detailed notes on what you see and hear.You might note:• 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 samples of writing and other genres (including your own)—even very short things like chats, images, flyers, text messages, and other genres.Data AnalysisFirst, analyze the data you collect using the following six characteristics of a discourse community:• What are the shared goals of the community? Why does the group exist?What does it do?• What methods do members use to communicate with each other (e.g., meetings, phone calls, emails, texts, newsletters, reports, evaluation forms, etc.)?• What are the purposes of each of these methods of communication (to improve performance, make money, make better products, share research, etc.)?• Which of these methods 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—ESL, on the fly, 86, etc. are all examples from other discourse communities. What communicative functions does this lexis serve? (e.g., why say “86” instead of “we are out of this”)?• Who are the “old-timers” with expertise? Who are the newcomers with less expertise? How do newcomers learn the appropriate language, genres, knowledge of the group?• What role does the virtual experience have? How is this community, and their use of genres, impacted by being online?The answers to the questions above will give you an overall picture of the discourse community. After establishing this, you’ll want to focus in on what you’ve learned to identify a noteworthy claim about this particular discourse community or discourse communities more generally. In trying to determine what to focus on, you might ask yourself questions such as:• Have things changed due to the pandemic? How so? What new genres have emerged or been used?• Do any genres help the community work toward its goals especially effectively – or keep the community from working toward its goals? Why?• Do some participants in the community have difficulty speaking and writing there? Why?• Who has authority here? How is that authority demonstrated in written and oral language? Where does the authority come from?• Are members of this community stereotyped in any way in regard to their genres used? If so, why?DraftingAs you develop answers to some of these questions, start setting some priorities. Given all you have learned above, what do you want to focus on in your writing? Is there something notable regarding goals of the community? Are there conflicts in the community? What do you see in terms of the lexis and mediating genres? Do you see verbal and written evidence of authority in the community?Because you’re writing an ethnography – a genre used in many academic disciplines – you’ll want to follow conventions typical to this genre.Your paper should utilize section headings and be broken into the following sections: 1. Introduction/Literature Reviewa. briefly introduce and describe your discourse community, define genre, discourse, and discourse community w/connections to course texts 2. Methodsa. explain how you conducted your research (must be clear and replicable) 3. Resultsa. explain the findings of your research4. Discussiona. interpret the findings of your research and connect it back to your main/ noteworthy claim w/clear evidenceWhat Makes It Successful?Your assignment will be most successful if you’ve collected and analyzed data and explored the way that texts mediate activities within a particular discourse community. The assignment asks you to show a clear understanding of what discourse communities are and to demonstrate your ability to analyze them carefully and thoughtfully. It also asks that you not simply list the features of your discourse community but also explore in some depth a particularly noteworthy aspect of that community. Since this assignment asks you to practice making the moves common to academic research articles, it should be organized, readable, fluent, and well edited.Grading CriteriaDoes the projectdemonstrate the following?• An understanding of how genresmediate group activities• An understanding of discourseand discourse communities• An understanding of genre• An analysis of genres• A noteworthy discussion

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