Enc1101 Drafting the Discourse Community Ethnography
Drafting your discourse
Mini-peer review: methodology
• What do you need to include?
– Background information about your community
• Can be here (McCarthy), or at beginning of your results
• How long
• How you recorded observations
• How many times/how long
– Collecting texts
• What texts, how many
• How you analyzed them
Looking at structure: McCarthy
• Background to the study
– The Courses
– The Participants
– Instrumentation and Analytic
• Analysis of observations/interviews
• Composing-aloud protocols,
• Analysis of protocols
• Text analysis
• Results and discussion
– The writing assignments
– Dave’s Interpretation
• Writer’s concerns
• Nature of cooperation
– Social aspects
• Roles of participants and
– Relationship to teacher
– Relationship to students
– Role of student texts
– Information sources
Looking at structure:
• Learning to Write in a New Workplace: Alan’s
– Who is Alan and what is his place in the
– What was Alan’s view of himself and his authority?
– How did Alan relate to the department in writing?
Looking at structure:
• Literacy and contemporary theory
• Lou’s Restaurant
• The Menu
Looking at structure:
What about your structure?
– Jot down the names of the scholars you will refer to.
– Jot down what methods you will need to describe.
– Decide what organization will best suit your argument and
create subject headings.
• By Swales’s characteristics
• By questions (see Wardle)
• By community-specific topics (see Mirabelli)
• By descriptive concepts (see McCarthy)
• Write it on the board; let’s compare notes.
Organize your data into your
• Decide what main pieces of evidence
you want to include.
• Add them to your outline.
– Copy them onto the page
– Create a number system (1 for intro, 2 for
methods, 3 for expertise section, etc.) and
write the corresponding number next to
Clarify main ideas
• Write a topic sentence for one of your
– Should connect to overall argument and also the
main point of that paragraph/section
– Example: “The complexity of language at Publix is
evident in the hierarchy of Publix associates.”
• Connects to overall argument (Publix is complex) and
section argument (expertise at Publix)
• Repeat for each section of your outline.
Start drafting one of your sections.
• Decide what evidence you’ll use to
support your topic sentence.
• Decide what order to present your
• Interview with manager: some people
worked at Publix since they were teenagers
• Observation: expertise of different
Start drafting one of your sections.
• Start writing about one piece of evidence.
• “There are associates that are new and taking their first job, but
also seventy-five-year-old store managers who have been
through all the different departments and work to occupy their
time during the day.”
• “In an interview with the Assistant Customer Service Manager,
Julia Pierce, I was informed that she and many of the other
managers have been working for Publix since they were
• “As opposed to some jobs where a new employee might be
handed a pamphlet and told to memorize it, Publix is a little
more complicated. The more experienced associates lead by
example to teach the new employees.“
Drafting with evidence
• Add another piece. Show the connections.
– Context / topic sentence
• “Publix employees’ expertise varies not only by how long they’ve worked at the store, but
also by the part of the store they work in. Publix associates are expected to meet or exceed
the expectations of the customers, whatever their needs may be. This is accomplished
through the use of language amongst the different departments.”
• “For instance, if a customer has a general question, such as where to find something, an
associate of the customer service department would help them. But say that customer
wants to know the difference between different cuts of meat; then, the customer would be
referred to the meat department. The customer service associate would then call the meat
department, give them a heads-up that a customer is coming back and what the inquiry
• “This exchange of information is complex and necessary for
smoother functioning of the store. The customer would never know it
was going on.”
Drafting with evidence
• Keep adding until the end of the
• Remember that you can have multiple
paragraphs in each section.
• Write an analysis of the section that
connects to your overall argument.
Let’s evaluate together.
To start off with, the power of expertise is one of the main components of a formula to create the goals of
community. As I mentioned before the main goal of Crusade for Christ is to create and to develop a sense
of community among fellow Christians at the University of Central Florida. The second week I observed
Crusade for Christ, one of the main concepts I was focused on was expertise. What I notice is that people
with authority have a big influence on the regular members of the organization. Pastors take charge on
stage and preach the gospel to the members and when the talk they always mention about everyone
getting together and performing different task together. For example bowling, skating, going to go see a
movie, and going to bible study together. Not only pastors have authority, but also experienced members
such as community group leaders. I interviewed my community group leader Brandon Smith who showed
me the main importance of expertise in Crusade for Christ. Being a community group leader comes with
big responsibilities. A community group leader, like Brandon, help Christians feel as if they are one big
community, so Christians have something in common with others which makes them have a sense of
belonging. In an interview (appendix B) I asked him this:
7) How does your position help contribute to achieve the main goals in Cru?
-Well in my community group that I lead, I disciple others that way they will do the same to others or to
people who are not part of the organization (Christian/Non-Christians), and we as leaders try to make the
people in our community group feel welcome as much as possible. Sort of like a family.
Brandon puts in effort to “disciple” others so that way the members will turn around and do the same to
other Christians, making them feel warm and welcome. If it wasn’t for the knowledge and leadership skills
of Brandon, there wouldn’t be a community. In order for the members feel as community they need a
leader who knows what they’re talking about and is very experienced. The sayings “how can the blind lead
the blind?” is a major concept to consider. If we put a new member in Brandon’s position, how can he/she
make everyone feel as a community when he/she doesn’t not contain the level of expertise and experience
that Brandon possess.
• What is the argument?
• What is the section?
• Does the evidence fit in the section and
support the overall argument?
• What works well?
• What could be improved?
Remember Swales and the CARS
• Establish territory
– Claim centrality
– Make a topic generalization
– Review previous items of research
• Establish niche
– Indicate a gap
– Raise a question
– Continue a tradition
• Occupy niche
– Outline purposes
– Announce principal findings
– Indicate research-report structure
Let’s establish a territory
I remember my first day as a Publix bagger two
years ago. I went in thinking, “Shoot, any moron
could put groceries in a bag.” On my first day I was
paired with Dennis, a sixty-five-year-old bagger
who’d been working for Publix for eight years. He
didn’t say much, but he told me to watch him and,
when I felt I was ready, to go ahead and take over for
him. I then observed what to put with what, what to
keep by itself, and what to double-bag. It was a little
more complicated than I had thought and I was
impressed by their means of communicating these
rules to me.
Let’s establish a territory…continued
Publix is a discourse community. John Swales states that a
discourse community has a broadly agreed set of common
goals, has mechanisms of intercommunication of its
members, uses its participatory mechanisms primarily to
provide information and feedback, utilizes and hence
possesses one or more genres in the communicative
furtherance of its aims, has acquired some specific lexis,
and has a threshold level of members with a suitable degree
of relevant content and discoursal expertise (Swales 288-
(reviewing previous items of research)
Let’s establish a niche
After reading Swales and his criteria, I realized that
discourse communities are everywhere and I had
never realized it. Even Publix, where I’ve worked as a
bagger for two years, is a discourse community
according to Swales’ criteria.
(continuing a tradition)
Let’s occupy the niche.
There is a great deal of communication amongst us associates.
We have adopted our own lexis which will be talked about later.
We also communicate through bulletin boards, newsletters,
paycheck attachments, and Post-it notes as well. Publix also
has intercommunication as a chain. A latent side effect of
working at Publix is learning how to communicate with other
people. I plan to examine Publix as a discourse community and
expose the complexity of language within the community.
(announce principal findings/outline purposes)
What to include in your paper
• Descriptive title
– Divided into sub-categories with subject headings
• Discussion (or conclusion)
• Appendix A: interviews
• Appendix B: observation notes
• Appendix C: copies of texts (or can include in body of the paper,
if you want to refer to them)
• Works Cited
• Major headings should be in bold
• Minor headings should be in italics
• Headings can be centered, or aligned left
• If you include images in your paper, label,
“Figure 1,” “Figure 2,” etc., so you can refer to
them in your writing.
This is my introduction. I’m writing something really neat. I’m establishing my
territory, and talking about other scholars. Now I’m finding a niche, and occupying it.
Here is where I describe my research methods.
You could potentially give an overview of your results before you start going into
your sub-headings. You could return to your argument, and tell readers what to
If expertise was one of your categories, here is where you would talk about it, using
your evidence, and connecting to your argument.
If lexis was one of your categories, here is where you would talk about it, using your
evidence, and connecting to your argument.
Here’s where you wrap things up. You could also title this “conclusion” if you would