Medwin's Midterm Proposal

Blog ยป Medwin's Midterm Proposal

Posted on 21 Mar 2013 17:50

Discourse communities are the frameworks of civilization. As groups of people who have a shared interest or goal and communicate via writing, the bulk of humanity is in at least one discourse community. For my research, I plan on researching the various discourse communities of the academic departments here at CCNY in the hopes of understanding what characterizes these communities and how others view them from the outside.

The Current Situation
After having read through the writings of John Swales, Elizabeth Wardle, and Sean Branick, I have come to the conclusion that researching discourse communities is extremely vital to understanding how one converses with others via writing and speaking. The writings of Swales are particularly interesting and useful as he creates a clear-cut model of what a discourse community is, which is something that I can use in my research as I look into the different departments within CCNY. Furthermore, the example Wardle uses in her piece can be used as a preliminary material as I begin to write my report. The study of discourse communities is particularly important in the field of science, where understanding the discourse of a particular group is vital in persuasion and communication.

Project Plan
For my research, I plan on dividing the research into the two steps. The first step is coming up with the questions for each department I have chosen. I have decided to look into the English department and the Math department for this research. The questions I formulate should range from general questions that I can ask all the departments I have chosen but also questions that are specific to each department. The final step is actually approaching members of these discourse communities and interviewing them. This may involve finding them in their office hours or flagging them down in the hallways. An additional way of getting information from these professors is to simply sit in on their classes and observe how they interact with the students and how they teach.

Carrying out my research is not very difficult. It does require thorough research of the departments here at CCNY and also the courage to talk to a complete stranger but besides that, the research is not too demanding. As a student in Macaulay Honors, I have at my disposal a decently wide array of friends and acquaintances that are on good terms with many of professors. In some cases, I may need to ask others to ask my questions for me in order to maximize the amount of data I collect.

One of the hardest parts of this research would be to actually get the data I need. As it is a busy time of the school year, some professors may be unwilling to answer my questions or to even talk to me. This may pose a problem in collecting data and I may even have to change which department I wish to study as I may have an insufficient amount of data and research.

Overall, this research will definitely benefit me in the long run as it allows me to come into contact with various professors. This will definitely help me down the road when I begin looking for research positions and internships, as I will already have some sort of relationship with these professors. This research will also help other students as it will help them in how they will approach professors in each respective department. The knowledge of how teachers operate with one another is definitely a key in understanding how to operating with them

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