Project 1: Discourse Communities

**NOTE** All work is due at the beginning of class. **Please Do NOT** wait until the last minute to ask me questions. Come and visit me during office hours or email me during the week with questions. 

The Assignment

Task One: Choose a Discourse Community! 

Investigate a Discourse Community. It should be a Discourse Community that you are a member of. When choosing a Discourse Community, consider that you will have to conduct research on it, so there must be a certain amount of information available on the Discourse Community for you to access, research, and observe. 

Choose your Discourse Community and have Professor Coleman Approve It! 

Due by the end of class Tuesday, 2/16.

Task Two: Prove It! 

What makes the community you chose a DISCOURSE community? According to Dan Melzer, Discourse Communities share:

  1. A broadly agreed upon set of common public goals
  2. A mechanism of intercommunication among its members
  3. Use of these communication mechanisms to provide information and feedback
  4. One or more genres that help further the goals of the discourse community 
  5. A specific lexis (specialized language)
  6. A threshold level of expert members 

Describe for an outsider the rules of the Discourse Community, how you gain entry (if you can!), the group’s values and beliefs. Is there a unique “identity kit”? Do they have a unique way of communicating

Write a one-page introduction to your discourse community. It should be about 250 words. 

Due at the beginning of class Tuesday  2/23

Task Three: Find and Analyze an Artifact! 

Find one artifact from the Discourse Community. The artifact might provide information about their mode of communication, their values, their beliefs, their “identity kit” etc. It is preferable if the artifact is a primary source. The artifact should provide information about the Discourse Community or be meaningful to the community. 

Examples of artifacts: an interview with a member of the community, a song, a speech, an example of the Discourse Community’s publications (brochure, newsletter), letters, a poem, a book, biography/ autobiography, a tattoo, memes) 

Fill out the DC Artifact Analysis worksheet about your artifact. The worksheet will help you look at the artifact from a number of angles that will help you prepare for your final task of the project. 

Due at the beginning of class Thursday 2/ 25

Task Four: Write about it! 

Now it is time to write about your Discourse Community! You are going to write an analysis of your Discourse Community for an outsider. 

Determine your audience and the purpose. Think about how to write your piece in a way that will match your intended audience and purpose. Write your piece, using the research you have compiled from Tasks 2 and 3 to write about your Discourse Community.

The analysis must be at least 1000 words. 

Draft Due: Tuesday,  March 2nd Final Project Due: Tuesday, March 9th


Each component of the project must be typed. Your analysis must be double- spaced and have one-inch margins.  Please add the word count at the top of the project.

Grading Criteria

    1. Required Elements. Have you completed each of the Tasks? Do your pieces contain all of the required elements?  
    2. Genre awareness. Do you know the “rules” of the genre you’re working in? Do you include the common elements of the genre? Does the style generally reflect the genre?
    3. Audience awareness. Who is the audience? Does the genre match the audience? 
    4. Research. Did you dig deep in your research and find a relevant artifact? Did you learn key information about your Discourse Community? Did you present the information clearly and in a well-organized manner?
    5. Presentation and Formatting. Is your analysis at least 1000 words? Have you revised and edited for clarity, spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Is each element properly formatted? If relevant, is your bibliography properly cited? Do you cite all your sources?  Title your project! Come up with a title of the project that engages the audience and draws in readers. Edit, revise, and take the time to present your project with the love, care, and respect it deserves! 
    6. Effectiveness of Message. This one is simple to explain, but not always simple to do. Does your point get across to your intended audience? For example, did you use appropriate rhetorical appeals?





Meets Learning Objectives : One, Two and Three