Research Assignment

Fall 2013
Ethnographic Research Assignment
Research Topics Due: Wednesday/Thursday 9/25-26
Preliminary Research Thesis & Annotated Bibliography Due: Monday/Tuesday 10/1415
Rough Draft I Due: Monday/Tuesday 11/4-5
**Using the photocopies attached to your Annotated Bibliography, highlight areas where
you used direct quotes and/or paraphrased citations. Include these with your first draft.
Rough Draft II Due: Monday/Tuesday 9/11-12 (Bring 4 copies for Writers Workshop)
Final Draft Due: by Wednesday/Thursday, 11/20-21
Throughout this course, we have been looking deeply into our identities as writers, and how our
various disourse communities both influcence and shape our writing. This assignment will ask
you to take this discussion one step further as you complete a researched ethnographic paper on a
discourse community of your choosing, specifically as their identy relates to their accepted body
of writing and communication.
As we have discused thus far in this class, discourse communities share certain characteristics:
common language/vocabulary
behaviors, practices, and/or procedures for doing things
common goals, beliefs, attitudes, and/or assumptions
common ways of communicating with one another
has a threshold for membership, or a means of recognizing who does and does not
belong to the community.
For this assignment, you will:
1. Explore, observe, analyze and explain a discourse community that you either blong too,
or that is new to you.
a. Discourse communities may include a group related to your field of study or
future profession, a group organized around membership to a specific cause or
event/performance, or any sort of club or organization.
b. Methods of observation include collection of written texts from the group,
observation, and interviews with group members.
c. Look for patterns in language, behavior, writing practicies and any people who
don’t fit in the pattern or norm.
d. Your goal is to ultimately explain how this community understands itself and its’
relationship to some aspect of the wider world.
e. Maintain an objective, non-judgemental stance in your research in order to better
understand your community’s values and beliefs.
2. As you focus on the group’s writing practices specifically, consider:
a. For what purpose are their texts produced? Do the writings reflect a shared set of
values or beliefs? What does their body of writing aim to do in the larger context
of the outside (or insider) world?
b. How is writing important to the group as a whole? How do the genres of writing
reflect the group’s values?
c. What genres are produced?
d. How/where/when are texts produced in the community? Does this say anything
about their structure and organization?
e. What guidelines does the community use for determining “good writing?” How
about “bad writing?” Does writing have anything to do with becoming an
accepted member of the group? If so, how?
f. Take note of any specialized jargon – how does it differ from how others outside
of the group would discuss the same issues?
g. How do the group’s writing practices fit into what we have conceptualized as a
discourse community? How do their writing practices (and therefore reflected
values and beliefs) help them make sense of the world?
Your report should be about 6 double-spaced pages (1000 words), following all MLA
format and citation guidelines. It should be presented as a report, or researched argument,
and organized thematically by argument (i.e. not on what you did while researching, but
rather focus on themes of discovery that you uncovered through your research.) Utilize
your data through use of quotations and examples.
Include primary (field research and one personal interview) and secondary sources (i.e.
written artifacts from the community in addition to supportive scholarly sources) to
support your research.
Your audience is someone who is unfamiliar with your discourse community.
Please submit all field notes and interview notes with your Works Cited.
Grading Rubric:
10 pts. Introduction (hook and thesis statement)
25 pts. Quality and Logic of Arguments
25 pts. Adequate Support / Research for each Argument
10 pts. Conclusion
15 pts. Works Cited (has min. number of sources and follows MLA guidelines) – this area
should include copies of field notes and interview notes.
15 pts. Grammar, Spelling, Mechanics
Total: 100 pts.
Eng 101
Fall 2013
Annotated Bibliography Assignment
What Is It?
The annotated bibliography is essentially a bibliography (or list of sources in proper
citation format) with additional information that helps you:
 Better prepare for writing your research paper by asking you to read and critically
think about each source.
 Develop or improve a thesis statement by helping you to gauge what is being said
about your topic, while also making you more aware of what research is available.
For each source, first list the source as it will appear in your bibliography, using MLA
Works Cited guidelines. Skip a line, and then in paragraph form, give a brief 3-4 sentence
summary of your source, and then 2 sentences addressing how useful it will be, and a
comparison to other sources.
Your Assignment
In preparation for writing your research paper, your task is to create a typed, annotated
bibliography of your research. You will be expected to have:
 Minimum of eight (8) sources
 Two of which must be books
 Three of which must be journal articles accessed through the library’s online
 Two of which should be web sites
 Two of your sources should be less than a year old.
 All sources must be scholarly in nature and/or examples of writing within your
discourse community – that means NO encyclopedias or dictionaries.
 Include copies of your articles, web site, and book pages that are relevant.
Due Date: Wednesday/Thursday, October 16/17