Unit 3: The Discourse Community Ethnography Assignment First, choose a discourse community that has impacted you or interests you. Some possibilities include specific clubs, occupations, Greek organizations, or religious groups that you belong to, come into contact with, or would be interested in joining. Then, find a preliminary answer to this research question: “What are the characteristics and goals of this discourse community and how are those demonstrated through observed activities and genres?” Your job is split into three steps: Step 1: Collect Data/Observations Observe members of the discourse community while they are engaged in a shared activity; take detailed notes (What are they doing? What kinds of things do they say? What specialized language do they use? What do they write and communicate? How do you know who is “in” and who is “out”?). Collect and analyze anything people in that community read or write (their genres)—even very short things like forms, football plays, notes, IMs, and text messages. Discuss how members of the discourse community move through the hierarchy of the community. Take us through the process of how one enters and moves “up” through the discourse community. This should include how people create identity and gain authority. Step 2: Analyze the Data Use the researchers we read (Ann Johns and Kain & Wardle) to help you organize and analyze the data you’ve collected. Feel free to use any other research or authors you find relevant to your discussion. Step 3: Present Your Findings Given all the data you’ve collected and analyzed, decide what you want to focus on in your paper. Is there something interesting regarding the goals of the community? Types of literacies in the community? Its lexis or genres? Refine the above research question to fit your purpose(s) and then construct an essay that demonstrates what you’ve learned about discourse communities, reviews relevant literature, describes your methodology and your findings, and presents an answer to your specific research question. Format All submitted drafts, including the final draft, should follow the following format guidelines: 6-8 pages, double-spaced (page count does not include the Works Cited page). You may go over this page count but keep it under 15 pages. MLA style for in-text citations, works cited, margins, headers, font, etc. NOTE: For this paper you must submit all transcripts, interviews, and documents you gather. All first-hand materials you collect should be in the Appendix section, including an example of genre.
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