Lesson 15

Announcements and Logistics

  • Change to be made on class-by-class schedule: peer review date for midterm drafts moved to Tuesday, 4/9; final draft due to blog Friday, 4/12
  • I'll be available to chat over break, though might not respond as quickly

Conducting Primary Research

Choosing and Approaching Research Subjects

  • Explaining your project and your objective: elevator pitches
  • Explaining what participation requires: time investment
  • Explaining how you will use the research you gather

Practicalities: Technology matters

  • In person interviews
  • Online or phone interviews
  • Field notes
  • Online survey sites

Resources and potential models:

—> I used skype to talk with Prof Price and recorded the audio of our conversation using quicktime player

—> Interview was done over the phone (on speaker) with a digital recorder. Online survey was done with Survey Monkey.

Solo writing experiment: Interview questions and context

Prompt: For this experiment, I want you to imagine a specific person you might interview or population you might survey. Your first job will be to do a bit of freewriting about this person/population. I then want you to come up with three interview questions. Two of them should be based on Swales' categories for analyzing a discourse community, but the third one should be a more focused question unique to this community itself. Since your audience for these questions won't have studied the same texts we've studied, you're going to have to come up with a brief introduction for each question that helps them understand the context of what you're asking.

a) Identify your audience with a brief freewrite

  • Who are you interviewing?
  • What does this person know?
  • What are you going to have to explain to this person about your project or about the specific questions you're asking?

b) Write three interview or survey questions. Two of them should be focused on gathering data to satisfy Swales's categories. One of them should try to gather some sort of data outside of Swales's concerns (perhaps about group conflict, about identity). This question should be uniquely tailored to your research topic.

c) For each question, compose a brief introduction or contextualization that will help your audience better understand what you're asking them. Explain any terms that are necessary, but also make sure it's clear why you're asking this question.

Time to completion: 15 - 20 minutes
You will share these in pairs

Discussion of Midterm components

Midterm components

  • Review of existing literature
  • Name a niche
  • Explain how you will occupy the niche
  • Describe your research methods
  • Discuss your findings
  • Works cited page

Question: What should we agree to bring in after the break?

For next time


  • TWC Ch 12, "Analytical reports"


  • Post bp4 to the blog by 10pm tonight
  • Bring in minimum 3 pages of findings and initial analysis to be included in your midterm
  • We will discuss how to produce the final midterm analytical report in class on Thurs April 4th
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