Blog Post 4- BMES

Blog » Blog Post 4- BMES

Posted on 22 Mar 2013 01:00

A discourse community is a group with members who are connected by a common goal. Their unity can be seen in the methods by which they communicate. That link between the members has been strengthened in today’s day and age due to electronic communication, a relatively new genre. John Swales gives seven criteria that must be fulfilled for a group to be a discourse community. The purpose of this research project is to give insight to one of those communities, the City College chapter of the Biomedical Engineering Society. It is a student-run club that focuses “to promote the application of bioengineering knowledge to improve scientific medical practices.” This project will analyze many components of the club including: the club meetings, newsletter, Facebook page, and club trips and events.

Description of the Current Situation
The study of discourse communities looks beyond the surface of the group and inspects the interconnectivity of the community. Just as in chemistry, a compound is defined by the molecules that its made up of and the bonds that are formed between each molecule, the only way of truly understanding a discourse community is by, not only knowing the members, but how they interact with each other through different mediums of communication. That “bonding” is very important because it gives the group characteristics that can only be deduced from researching and inspecting those connections. Tony Mirabelli writes an article about the discourse community of food service workers. He uses a tactic that resulted in insightful finding. He did not focus much on how food service workers communicated with each other but rather on how food service workers communicated with the actual customers using the menu. This method revealed a lot about the discourse community and why they do some of the things that are unique to the group. Even if this method seems unconventional, it was very insightful information for the audience regarding a discourse community that is often overlooked.

Because the biomedical engineering is such a large discipline and discourse community, hopefully analyzing a smaller, educational branch will help reveal a lot about the larger discourse community. The method of investigating smaller branches of a complex structure is a technique used all throughout the research group. Using this method, the audience will be able to learn about the actual biomedical engineering field.

Description of the Project Plan
The methodology of this project will require several steps. I will analyze the components of a club meeting, time allocation, members, and participation of the members. It will be important to see how involved group members are and how they contribute to the goal of the club. It is also important to see the interactions between the club leaders, who are peers of the members, and the members themselves. This step follows Mirabelli’s methodology; the interactions between the leaders and students will show a lot about the workings of the group. By evaluating the events, where the club will be immersed into the real world discourse community of biomedical engineering, a lot will be reveal about how it fits into the busy real world scene and how its development will result in the larger practicing community. The newsletter and the Facebook group will show how the members communicate with each other and if it is enough to keep the group tight-knit.

Reveal of Qualifications
This project is suited for me to carry out. I am a member of the discourse community and have been to events and club meetings already. I have also conducted social science research projects in the past, so I am very familiar with how to conduct research and how to put my findings down on paper.

Discussion of Costs/Challenges
This project will come with a difficult challenge. That problem is piecing together the findings of many components. I will be inspecting many mediums and forms of communication; so making a conclusion at the end of the research will be hard.

Benefits and Conclusion
This research project will help myself understand the discourse community I am a part of and how it will translate to the biomedical engineering discourse community in the future. I think this project will reveal a lot about the macrocosm of biomedical engineering, which would be hard to study because of the size and the separation of little clusters. In addition, many educational institutions have education clubs to introduce students to real world careers; so this project will also reveal how educational representations of professional fields prepare students for the real world and how effectively they do so.

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