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Hannah Midyette

Olivia Rines
UWRT1101
April 6, 2015
A discourse community is a group of people who come together to accomplish the same
objective. Starbucks is a brand name coffee shop that is becoming globally known. Starbucks
opened 599 stores in North America in 2003 (Fellner105). In its 2015 Company Profile
Starbucks states Today, we are privileged to connect with millions of customers every day with
exceptional products and more than 21,000 retail stores in 66 countries. Most everywhere one
goes in The United States theres a Starbucks available. According to Google Maps, there are 51
Starbucks in Charlotte, NC including the one right on UNCCs campus. With all the traffic in
and out of the Starbucks in the Union, youd think coffee was essential for UNCC college
students and professors. So, does this particular Starbucks on campus qualify as a discourse
community?
When one walks into the front entrance of the Student Union on UNCCs campus,
directly to the left is a Starbucks. As soon as you enter the doorway of Starbucks you are able to
feel the vibe of the store through the alternative music and contemporary walls and furniture. The
store is dimly lit, almost like a fancy romantic restaurant and the songs playing are upbeat and

Olivia 4/8/2015 5:54 PM


Comment [1]: Dont forget your title and
header.
Olivia 4/9/2015 9:34 AM
Comment [2]: These two thoughts do not
seem to go together. I might introduce one
claim (Starbucks) and then the other
(discourse communities) instead of
blending them together.

Olivia 4/9/2015 9:35 AM


Comment [3]: (Fellner 105)

Olivia 4/9/2015 9:36 AM


Comment [4]: You spend a lot of time
trying to prove that Starbucks is global yet
you are only focusing on one specific
Starbucks. I might cut this down to one
sentence.
Olivia 4/9/2015 9:37 AM
Comment [5]: Dont forget that your
audience may or may not know what the
Union is.
Olivia 4/9/2015 9:38 AM
Comment [6]: Is this the purpose of your
paper (i.e. your thesis statement)? It could
be stronger.

Olivia 4/9/2015 9:38 AM


Comment [7]: Describe this vibe.

calming at the same time. There are only two tables and I observed that most everyone who goes
into this Starbucks leaves soon after they receive their drink. Our customers enjoy quality
service, an inviting atmosphere and an exceptional beverage (Starbucks Coffee Company). The
baristas have a constant smile as they take orders and make specialty coffee drinks. They speak
in friendly tones whenever they interact with a customer, making everyone feel welcome.

Olivia 4/9/2015 9:39 AM


Comment [8]: Why do you think this is?
Olivia 4/9/2015 9:39 AM
Comment [9]: Im not sure what claim
this quote is trying to support.

Swales believes there are six characteristics that all discourse communities have. I sat
down with two baristas at Starbucks: Sally, who has been working at Starbucks for two years,
and Sarah, who has been working at Starbucks for three years, and asked them about their

Olivia 4/9/2015 9:40 AM


Comment [10]: It seems like you are
hopping back and forth between two
different subjects. Try to blend these ideas
together.

experiences as UNCC Starbucks employees. The employees names have been changed in this
essay to ensure their privacy. Both Sally and Sarah told me that their favorite part of the job is
how fast paced and challenging working at Starbucks is, always having something to do. I aimed
my interview questions so that I could determine if and how Starbucks fits Swales definition of a
discourse community.

Olivia 4/9/2015 9:41 AM


Comment [11]: Swales

According to Swales, the first characteristic is a discourse community has a broadly


agreed set of common public goals. (Swales 220). Starbucks as a worldwide company has a
mission that all workers in all of the different stores must work towards. Our mission: to inspire
and nurture the human spirit one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time. (Starbucks
Coffee Company). According to Sally, her goal as a Starbucks worker is to provide good
customer service and make their drinks as best I can. According to Sarah, her goal as a worker
is to make money for college and graduate. Sallys goal is similar to Starbucks public mission
statement but Sarahs goal is personal to her. These two different goals are in line with what I
expected for a Starbucks on a college campus.
Swales second characteristic for a discourse community is a discourse community has
mechanisms of intercommunication among its members. (Swales 221). Good and efficient

Olivia 4/9/2015 9:41 AM


Comment [12]: These goals may be what
you expected but how do they relate to
Swales characteristic. It seems that the girls
have different goals. Do they share a
common goal?

means of communications are important to any well-run organization. Starbucks employees


communicate during their shifts to deliver a quality product and good customer service through
verbal instructions and by writing information on cups. Let me explain how it works. The barista
at the cashier takes a customers order and writes the customers name and the name of the drink

Olivia 4/9/2015 9:43 AM


Comment [13]: Name specific
mechanisms of intercommunication
Olivia 4/9/2015 9:43 AM
Comment [14]: Do not talk directly to the
audience.

he ordered on the cup. The cup then gets passed to another barista who uses the information on
the cup to make the drink. If an employee has a question about how a drink is made he asks his
fellow baristas. Once the drink is made the barista calls out the name written on the cup to let
that specific customer know that his order is ready, therefore making the process of serving

Olivia 4/9/2015 9:43 AM


Comment [15]: He? There are no female
customers?
Olivia 4/9/2015 9:44 AM
Comment [16]: He? There are no female
employees? What about your interviewees?

customers efficient without holding up a line. In addition to communicating in order to


accomplish their job, baristas communicate on and off the job to share life experiences, which
brings them closer together as a community. When the line to order gets short, baristas talk and

Olivia 4/9/2015 9:44 AM


Comment [17]: How do they
communicate?

gossip as any other college students would. They talk about classes, upcoming events, home life,
or other activities that interest them. During my observations I overheard conversations about
party dresses some of the workers wanted to buy and even a conversation about the new TV
show Empire. Sarah told me they use pretty informal conversation even when it comes to
communicating with our supervisor and manager cause we hang out outside of work. Other

Olivia 4/9/2015 9:45 AM


Comment [18]: TV shows are italicized.

means of communication that are not used as often include texting, phone calls, and leaving
notes. All the ways of communication used by this group uses keeps the community functional.
The third characteristic is a discourse community uses its participatory mechanisms

Olivia 4/9/2015 9:45 AM


Comment [19]: How so? Support this
claim.

primarily to provide information and feedback. (Swales 221). These are things that the members
of the community must participate in, in order to receive new and updated information on job
aspects and corporate direction. In order to become a barista at Starbucks one has to go through
training to learn each specific job role. Sally explained, I had to learn all the drinks and the
register and I had to learn how to clean all the stuff, just basic training I guess. Sarah talked
about how on her first day she was learning the latte machine and the person training her had to
leave early so she was stuck figuring it out herself. At Starbucks one is not expected to learn all
job roles at once. A barista is trained on either the cash register or one drink machine at a time

Olivia 4/9/2015 9:46 AM


Comment [20]: How does this experience
relate to the claims you are trying to make?

before moving on to the next machine. Once a barista is trained on all the machines he can be
assigned to work at any of them based on what is needed that day. There are no outside trainings
or events that staff are required to go to.
The next and fourth characteristic is a discourse community utilizes and hence possesses
one or more genres in the communicative furtherance of its aims (Swales 221), which means
that a discourse community has different methods of providing information about itself to the
outside community. To fulfill this fourth criteria the company has a website where one can learn
about the company, its goals, environmental and community responsibilities, college programs
and even provides a link to an online store. Since the Starbucks in the Student Union is a chain
store owned by Chartwells rather than the Starbucks corporation, one is able to find information
about this Starbucks through UNCCs website. However the information is limited to opening
and closing times and nutritional value of its refreshments. Starbucks also puts up posters and
brochures in the store to provide customers with more knowledge on what they can purchase in
the store. During my observations I came across an interesting poster, which was interactive by
giving the customers a chance to write their favorite drink on the board. The same poster also
included famous quotes on colorful paper such as Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper
that never tires, and a touch that never hurts. Charles Dickens, which is an example of how
Starbucks communicates its mission to inspire and nurture the human spirit.
Another characteristic that a discourse community must fit according to Swales is in
addition to owning genres, a discourse community has acquired a specific lexis (Swales 222).
Language that is specific to the Starbucks community includes their product names and sizes of
the drinks. Their brand products include Frappuccino (which is registered by the company),
Starbucks Refreshers, Starbucks bottled Frappuccino coffee drinks, Starbucks Discoveries

Olivia 4/9/2015 9:47 AM


Comment [21]: You have not explicitly
proven the third characteristic for your
discourse community.

chilled cup coffees, Starbucks Discoveries Iced Caf Favorites, Starbucks Iced Coffee, Starbucks
Doubleshot espresso drinks, and Starbucks Doubleshot Energy+Coffee drinks. The company
also uses different names for the sizes: tall, grande, and venti. However a customer orders using
the words small, medium, or large, the baristas will understand just fine.
The sixth and last criteria according to Swales is that a discourse community has a
threshold of members with a suitable degree of relevant content and discoursal expertise
(Swales 222). Both Sally and Sarah explained how there are three different levels an employee
can achieve. Most employees are baristas who make the drinks and run the cash registers.
Baristas are the people who work inside the store and interact with the customers. The next level
is a supervisor. There is only one supervisor at the UNCC Starbucks and he monitors the store
and baristas while they work. The supervisor has been trained as a barista so he is able to jump in
as a barista when needed. While the baristas are students, the supervisor and manager are fulltime employees. The highest job level at the universitys Starbucks is the manager. One manager
runs the whole store, fills out the product orders for the store and other paperwork, and counts
the money in the cash register at closing time. The manager has a separate office located in the
Student Union but not connected to or in the Starbucks store. Swales explains that members must
have a specific way of entering and exiting their discourse community. All workers at Starbucks
must be hired in order to be an employee. In order to leave they have the ability to quit their job
or be fired.
Back to our question, does this particular Starbucks on campus qualify as a discourse
community? As we have seen, this Starbucks has goals, different means of communication, its
own registered word and lexis and different levels of job status, hitting all of Swales criteria for
what qualifies as a discourse community.. By exploring how Starbucks is a discourse community

Olivia 4/9/2015 9:49 AM


Comment [22]: This is an interesting
observation. What does this mean for the
lexis of your community?

we can relate Swales six characteristics to the various discourse communities in our own lives.
Some examples are sororities and fraternities, sports teams, and ones workplace. We are all part
of different discourse communities and will continue to be until we die.
This is a strong draft. I really enjoyed learning about your discourse community. In order to
improve, I would consider the following suggestions. First, in the beginning, you seem to have
conflicting purposes for this paper. You are trying to describe Starbucks and explain how it is a
discourse community; however, at the moment these purposes are not blending together. This
about how your description of Starbucks and Swales characteristics overlap. This might help
you adjust your purposes. Also, as a reader, I am not sure why you are writing this paper. By this,
I mean you lack a clear thesis statement that convinces the reader that you have something
worthwhile to say. Yes, you must talk about Swales, but that doesnt necessarily mean that
Swales is the only thing you talk about. Third, I would like to see you incorporate your data
more. You frequently made claims but they werent always supported by information from your
interviewees or from your observations. Make sure the reader knows where you are getting your
information. Finally, while your sentence structure is strong, it could be stronger. Be deliberate
in your word choices and think about how you are phrasing your thoughts. If you have questions
regarding this aspect, either make an appointment with the Writing Resources Center or come
talk to me.
The following is the rubric for the assignment, including what you would have received had this
draft been your final draft. This grade will not be recorded anywhere. It is simply a chance for
you to see where you stand.
Category

Content
(65 points)

Organization
(10 points)

Scoring Criteria
Is focused, clear, purposeful, and meets the needs of the audience
Properly addresses the question, What are the most important things for
an outsider to know about this community?
Describes Swales characteristic #1 (common public goals)
Describes Swales characteristic #2 (mechanisms of intercommunication)
Describes Swales characteristic #3 (participatory mechanisms)
Describes Swales characteristic #4 (utilizes genres)
Describes Swales characteristic #5 (specific lexis)
Describes Swales characteristic #6 (threshold level of members)
All claims made are supported. Writer uses specific references to data
and/or sources to support claims.
Introduction establishes a framework for the rest of the paper and
includes a thesis statement
Conclusion summarizes the paper and pushes the reader to think about
specific issues/concerns outside of individual discourse community.
Utilizes a strong internal structure and purposefully moves the reader
through the text

Total
Points
5

Score
5

10

5
5
5
5
5
5

2
3
2
5
4
5

10

10

10

Style and
Conventions
(25 points)
Score

Sentences are all well-crafted and consistently varied in structure, length,


and beginning. Vocabulary and word choice are precise and varied.
The writer demonstrates a firm grasp of the conventions of written
English (spelling, capitalization, punctuation etc.). There are no typos.
Is formatted according to the conventions of MLA
Is 1500 2500 words
Total Points

10
5
100

9
5
78

Works Cited

Swales, John. The Concept of Discourse Community. Boston: Cambridge UP. 1990. Print.

Olivia 4/9/2015 9:58 AM


Comment [23]: Should be at the top of
the page.

Starbucks Coffee Company. Starbucks Company Profile. Starbucks Coffee Company. January
2015. Web. March 22, 2015.