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Unit Project 2 Guidelines

Discourse Communities: Writing about Being in the World

Chen Spring 2014

Context: In the previous unit, we stretched our definition of literacy and discussed the ways we have become literate. Now we will shift from how we are personally literate to how we live and function within communities. Everyday you probably navigate different communities your English class, your soccer team, your online community in World of Warcraft, your dorm, the student organization you are inusing different language to operate within them. During the next couple weeks, we will think about how we acquire new literacies and how we use language within discourse communities to accomplish specific goals. In our discussion of the writings of John Swales, James Paul Gee, and Tony Mirabelli we will consider the ways people navigate multiple discourses and look at the implications of these communities to our lives.

You will conduct an ethnographic study of a discourse community and then write a report for other college students that explains the discourse practices of your community (how they use language) and is visually interesting. Throughout the unit, using ethnographic methods, you will collect data about your communitys language practices. In your report, you will need to use both texts and pictures to demonstrate the results from your ethnographic study. Your research report need to include the following sections (but feel free to add whatever you think is relevant): Introduction/ Overview, Methodology, History/ Observations/ Interviews, Analyses, and Conclusion. Requirements: You must demonstrate an understanding of ethnographic research and show that you can collect and analyze primary and secondary data. You must also show that you understand the concept of discourse communities. Finally, you must show that you can analyze the language practices of different communities. 1) Keep a detailed research log with dates and observations of the community you choose. 2) Start with an historical inquiry into the community. 3) Conduct at least two one-hour observations of the community and two interviews with people within the community. 4) Collect different texts the community uses (survey, websites, handbooks, fliers, etc.) 5) Create different sections that relate and analyze your findings. Goals: Explain the texts and language practices of the discourse community you choose and come to an interesting conclusion about how the discourse community uses language and texts to mediate activities. 1) To understand the concepts of discourse community and the way you function within multiple communities. 2) To understand research processes and acquire research skills through ethnographic methods. 3) To practice analyzing data and drawing conclusions from research. 4) To strengthen critical thinking skills by considering how and why people communicate differently. Unit Point Breakdown and Due Dates: 300pts Participation: 20pts Journal: 20pts Research Plan (February 7): 20pts Interview Questions (February 14):20pts First Draft (February 23): 20pts Peer Review and Writers Notes (February 28):20pts Research Log (See unit calendar for the due dates): 20pts Final Draft (March 2): 140pts Project Reflection (March 2): 20pts