Assignment 2: Discourse Community Profile

Assignment 2:
Discourse Community Profile
“No one would talk much in society if they knew how often they
misunderstood others.” --Goethe
One of the ways you will learn more about writing is to analyze
and write about writing. When we examine how others communicate,
we can become more aware of how we can communicate better. We
do this by analyzing discourse communities. A discourse
community is, simply put, a group of people with their own way
of communicating. You are, no doubt, already part of several
discourse communities without even knowing it!
For this assignment, you will analyze online discourse
communities. Using John Swales “six defining characteristics”
as a guide, you will examine how the communities function and
communicate. Then, you will write an essay (1000-1500 words)
for a specific publication of your choice in which you do one of
the following:
1. Profile a single online discourse community. Your profile
should create a single dominant impression.
2. Compare/contrast two online discourse communities. There
must be a compelling purpose for comparison (e.g. two
similar communities that are very different, two very
different communities that function similarly).
Both options will require that you provide multiple specific
textual examples (i.e. quotations), and all research must be
cited and documented according to MLA conventions.
In preparation for this assignment, read the John Swales article
on Discourse Community located on KatesComp under Readings and
Resources. Also, read WT chapter 6 on writing Profiles.
Explore online groups that may be discourse communities. These
might be blog-followers, Facebook page fans, or Reddit
subgroups, for example. Examine the ways in which they do or do
not meet Swales’ 6 criteria. Participate in prewriting activities
in class, including the Swales Map assignment.
Write a formal proposal and email it to Dr. Kates.
Your proposal
should include:
1. Which option you have chosen and why
2. The specific discourse community/communities you will profile or
compare with link(s).
3. Purpose: for option 1, what is your dominant impression; for
option 2, what is your compelling reason for
comparing/contrasting these communities?
4. Draft of your thesis statement
5. Outline of main points
Eligibility Requirements
D2L Discussion Activity (K only)
Proposal and approval
In class Workshop of draft 1
Online Peer Review of draft 2 (K only)
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