Report on the Communication in My Field of Study

For this assignment you will complete a form, providing information about 4 things:

The program (discipline) you are studying
The program guide you are using and things in it
Analysis of one organization or website from your discipline
Tips for communicating with folks in your discipline
The complete form shouldn’t be longer than three pages. Less than two full pages will be considered under-developed. Read the information below for a broad understanding of the purpose of this assignment. Refer to the attached template for more specific details on what to do.

What is a discourse community?
You learned earlier that writing does not exist in a vacuum, that it is a conversation between writer and reader. One scholar, Erik Borg, says that “We do not generally use language to communicate with the world at large, but with individuals or groups of individuals…these groups are gathered into communities.”

Each of us belongs to a number of these groups (called discourse communities). If you stop at a coffee shop routinely, you are a member of that community. Members know what the “rules” are for communicating with each other, what kind of greeting is used, what the standard length of comments is, what kind of comments are acceptable, and what kind are not. Other discourse communities might be related to activities with children, fitness, or church. You can probably think of examples of a conversation topic or a greeting that would be acceptable at the gym but not at church. In this assignment, you are going to look at the communication that occurs in one of your discourse communities, the one formed by an interest in your field of study (major, program, or discipline).

How do I learn about the discourse community in my field?
What will you be looking for? You will be looking at the kinds of reading and writing members of the community do; the expectations and rules (conventions) for the communication; the way they communicate with each other online; and other tips that help you understand this group.

How will you do this exploration? You will start by looking at the information linked below, first the course catalog and then in guides designed by the APUS Library staff to help researchers in the field. If your program is not listed in the 10 programs shown below, then go to this link to find your program (or one that interests you if you haven’t selected a program yet): Research Guides by Program.

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