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Purpose: To investigate a discourse community* (e.g. profession) you hope to join and to learn about thekinds of texts (genres) that community uses.1 This assignment will enable you to identify some of those rules or patterns by interviewing a professional in your field of study and by doing outside researchAudience: Your instructor, your classmates, and other faculty members on the 100A portfolio committee.*Discourse Community: Any group of people who form a community—a family, a neighborhood, colleagues, practitioners of a particular profession—and establish informal and formal rules regarding who gets to join their community and how spoken and written interactions (i.e. discourse) occur within the community. Anyone who wants to join that community has to learn its discourse rules and patterns.
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LLD / ENGL 100A
Discipline Investigation Assignment
2019
Purpose and Audience
Purpose: To investigate a discourse community* (e.g. profession) you hope to join and to learn about the
kinds of texts (genres) that community uses. 1 This assignment will enable you to identify some of those
rules or patterns by interviewing a professional in your field of study and by doing outside research
Audience: Your instructor, your classmates, and other faculty members on the 100A portfolio committee.
*Discourse Community: Any group of people who form a community—a family, a neighborhood,
colleagues, practitioners of a particular profession—and establish informal and formal rules regarding
who gets to join their community and how spoken and written interactions (i.e. discourse) occur within the
community. Anyone who wants to join that community has to learn its discourse rules and patterns.
Writing Steps
Step 1: Interview
For this assignment, you will interview a professional in your field of study to gain insight into your future
discourse community. Try to select someone at a senior level, with at least five years of experience
working in this field, who can provide you with a broad view of the types of work and opportunities that are
available to you. Your professors in your field of study may be able to give you advice on finding a
suitable interviewee. Unless you hope eventually to become a faculty member at a research university,
you should not interview one of your professors.
It is preferable to interview the subject in person. The interview should cover 1) your subject’s background
and career path; 2) your subject’s current role and responsibilities; and 3) your subject’s insight on the
types of communication skills required for advancing in your field.
In preparation for the interview, you will work in class to develop a set of questions for your particular
interviewee. You will also discuss various interviewing strategies. Before the interview, you will need to
discuss with your interviewee the confidentiality of the interview. Because people sometimes share
sensitive information in an interview, you may assure them that the information will be confidential and
that you will not use their real name or the name of the company without their permission.
Step 2: Outside Research
Find a minimum of 2 outside sources (articles, journals) that give you additional information about your
future discourse community – for example, what types of work or jobs someone in that field would have,
or what the requirements will be for those jobs in the future. The outside sources must be cited within the
Discipline Investigation report. Make sure that the outside sources you add are relevant to the
content you are discussing in that specific section and are meaningful. You will also provide intext citation where you add these sources. You might also research additional genres of writing that
might be used in your field. Note: Step 2 can be done while you are arranging the interview. You do not
have to wait until your interview is done.
Step 3: Prepare Report
Your Discipline Investigation will report the information you learned during your interview and outside
research, providing an introduction and conclusion to share how your own expectations about the field
may have changed or broadened in doing this assignment.
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This assignment has been adapted from a similar one developed by Julian Heather and Fiona Glade at
CSU Sacramento.
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LLD / ENGL 100A
Discipline Investigation Assignment
2019
Suggested Organization
INTRODUCTION
Your introduction should include a brief overview of the discourse community you investigated for this
assignment and provide a very short background on why you chose your field of study and what your
expectations were before you conducted the interview and outside research.
INTERVIEW REPORT
Background & Career Path
Introduce your interview subject, giving details of the subject’s background and education to show why
the subject chose that profession and how he/she got started in the field. You will also need to give some
explanation of the subject’s career path so far, highlighting particular positions or stepping stones to the
current role. Possible topics to discuss in this section include:



Why your subject was drawn to a particular career field
What requirements or skills were needed before entering the field
The expectations and surprises your subject had in entering that profession
Outside sources (articles) that add additional or supporting information may be used in this section.
Roles & Responsibilities
Provide an overview of your interview subject’s current role at his/her place of employment, explaining the
responsibilities of that position and how it fits into the overall structure of the company or organization.
Your subject should also give you a general sense of the types of jobs and career paths common in that
field. Possible topics to discuss in this section include:





The subject’s job responsibilities in his/her place of employment
Where your subject’s job fits in terms of the overall structure of the profession
Types of jobs people in this profession have
The skills and qualifications your subject’s job requires
The biggest challenges the subject faces in this job
Outside sources (articles) that add additional or supporting information may be used in this section.
Communication Skills
Explain the types of reading and writing typically required in your field of interest. Provide an overview of
the communication skills that are most important in your field. For example, some occupations demand
the ability to work collaboratively on reports, while others may require an ability to respond clearly and
concisely to time-sensitive email inquiries. Possible topics include:



The types of reading and writing required in your subject’s daily responsibilities
The typical audience for written communication (co-workers, clients, general public, etc.)
The communication skills your subject finds most important in his/her role
Outside sources (articles) that add additional or supporting information may be used in this section.
CONCLUSION
Share your thoughts on what most surprised or interested you about your interview and research. Did it
change your expectations about your chosen field? For the remainder of your undergraduate studies,
what further skills, knowledge, or experience (such as an internship) will you need to develop to help
prepare you for the start of your career?
REFERENCES
Include a list of your outside sources (at least two are required). Use the style that is used in your field of
interest (for example, APA, MLA, etc.). Do not forget to include in text citations in the report.
APPENDIX: Include a list of the interview questions you asked. It is not necessary to include a transcript
of the responses.
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LLD / ENGL 100A
Discipline Investigation Assignment
2019
Format Guidelines
Your final draft should be approximately 1500 words, with 1-inch margins and 12 point font, Times New
Roman. The report should have headings (in capitals and bolded) to guide the reader. Please number
your pages.
Peer Review
All students must bring the following to the peer review:
• A draft of the complete report; include links to the outside sources you used.
• A copy of the interview questions you used
• A copy of the peer review sheet; remember to include any questions which you would like your
peer reviewer to answer about the content and organization of your draft.
During the peer review session, you will provide written feedback on his/her paper.
Teacher Conference
Use the feedback from your peer to revise your writing in preparation for a conference with your
instructor. Bring to the conference:
• A draft of the final report (you will annotate both the document and your own report based on your
instructor’s feedback); include links to the outside sources you used and a list of the interview
questions you asked;
• A copy of the peer review.
Important Dates
First draft due (1300 words min); Mandatory peer review
Conference with instructor — bring a 2nd draft based on peer review (1400
words min)
Semi-Final draft due on Canvas (1500 words)
Things to Keep for the Portfolio




A copy of the interview questions you used
All drafts produced for this assignment
A copy of your instructor’s comments and your peer’s comments on your earlier drafts
A clean (unmarked) copy of your final draft.
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