Adventureland Project Proposal

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Posted on 22 Mar 2013 00:02

Christina Moawad
Discourse Analysis Research Proposal

1. Introduction

The discourse community I am choosing to analyze is Adventureland Amusement park in Long Island, New York. The park is going on its 51st year of operation for is 2013 season and has been family owned and operated since 1962. The park is broken into many different departments which all co-operate for the greater goal of financial gain and customer satisfaction. There is a hierarchy or workers amongst employees, and also about 6 different departments. I will be analyzing the difference between these groups, what makes one more important than the others, department interactions, and will also try to find out what transforms a worker to be considered an insider. I also plan on generating some sort of “ Guide to Adventureland,” as one possibility to present my research.

2. Description of the current situation

Swales’ piece of writing offers six distinct factors of a discourse community:
1. A discourse community has a broad set of common public goals.
2. A discourse community has mechanisms of intercommunication among its members.
3. A discourse community uses its participatory mechanisms primarily to provide information and feedback.
4. A discourse community utilizes and hence possesses one or more genres in the communicative furtherance of its aims.
5. In addition to owning genres, a discourse community has acquired some specific lexis or terminology.
6. A discourse community has a threshold level of members with a suitable degree of relevant content and discourse expertise.

I am choosing to use this definition of discourse as I think it is the most “clear cut” and fitting for my community. I believe people choose to study discourse community in this way because it gives insight on what it takes to be a part of these communities. If one knows specific reasons of how a certain community functions together, they would know what they have to ultimately do to become an insider. It reveals a set of “un-written rules,” which set a standard for a group, meant for outsiders seeking membership.

3. Description of the project plan

I plan on using my experience from my past four years of employment as a foundation for the start of my research. Based on trends I have notices, I will then ask tailored questions in the form of an online survey to have other employee’s opinions. I will be sure to send surveys to a wide range of employees in the park as well as from different departments in the park. I will also use the written park documents, the park website, and employee online forums as a tool to observe certain behaviors. I also plan to use email as a tool to communicate with the managers of the park to investigate this type of interaction. Some questions I plan to ask in the survey:
How long have you worked at Adventureland?
What department do you work in?
Do you feel like an insider in the community?
How long did it take you to feel like an experienced employee in the park?
What departments do you believe are the most difficult to work in?
On a scale from 1 to 10, how important do you think your daily job is?
Does the age of other co-workers influence your job?

4. Review of qualifications

I think I will be able to take on a project in this manor because I have plenty of resources to base my project on. I think the fact that I am an insider is a big advantage because I can take a step back and look at Adventureland in the perspective of an outsider, but still keep in mind the things I already know. I think the online communication amongst the management and employees will also be of great advantage because it is not written with the intent to be analyzed, but instead, it is real communication. This will be interesting to read from a new perspective.

5. Discussion of costs/challenges

With this project, I might face the difficulty of people not responding to the surveys. Without the surveys I will be missing the personal aspect to my project, which will take away from my analysis. It is important that I do receive answers to the surveys for this reason. Also, since this is the beginning of the new season for the park, protocol and park information may have changed and so I must be aware of new terms and regulations, if any, before I begin my research.

6. Benefits and conclusion

I find value in this project because I am predicting many of the trends related to employment in Adventureland will also be true with other employment discourse communities. In most workplaces there are going to be a hierarchy of employees and similar behaviors amongst employees. This will be useful to the class because we will be part of employment discourse communities in the future. Through my research and analysis of this discourse community, I am hoping to discover factors that allow someone to be considered and insider. If I can successfully do this, I will be able to apply it to other situations, which will definitely be beneficial in the future as we all try to enter other employment related discourse communities.

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