, this is a project that entails (primary and secondary) research: will need to find resources using the MSU library assignment guide for this project and study those resources and cite those resources as you discuss them. On the other hand, this is a rhetorical analysis: rather than use the content of your research to participate in a conversation within the discipline or profession you have chosen, you will use your research to inform an analysis of HOW members of the discipline or profession or citizenry make and exchange knowledge. As such, this will be a slightly different sort of research project than you’ve likely done before. As with projects before, this project is exploratory in nature, allowing you to discover a thesis through your inquiry (rather than begin with one).
• Discipline: you may consider a “discipline” to be any of the departments, colleges, or programs of study here at MSU: e.g., Supply Chain Management, Mechanical Engineering, Film Studies, Computer Science, Literary Studies, etc.
• Profession: you may consider a “profession” to be defined by the sorts of jobs or occupations that people take on in the world–ones that may or may not have corresponding disciplines: e.g., Airline Pilot, Architect, Veterinarian, Sports Writer, Graphic Designer, Professor, Geneticist, Kinesiologist, etc. And you may certainly consider the work that one may do in the service of a non-profit or volunteer group a profession for our purposes.
While the common purpose of this project is to help you learn more about what it means to become a participating member of the academic discipline or profession that you hope or intend to join, the ultimate purpose that directs this project will be the learning goals that you identify for yourself for your project: what can the project help you discover now, and continue to learn later?
In a sense, your “conclusions” for the product of your inquiry (the paper) will actually be beginnings, in that they will map out things for you to learn to read and write and ways that you will begin to pursue those goals as you join the discipline or profession you have chosen.
As you did for the Cultural Artifact project or the Video Essay Remix project, you’ll work through artifacts to draw conclusions about cultural values and practices. In this case, though, the “artifacts” in question will be those associated with writing, and the “culture” will be a disciplinary or professional culture.
You’ll also supplement your inquiry with data from a one-on-one interview with a member of the discipline or profession that is the object of your inquiry and the subject of your paper.
For example, let’s imagine that I want to study writing with the eventual goal of becoming a professor. Consequently, I may imagine doing research about the ways people write. We won’t be JOINING the discipline or professional community–at least, not yet.
Rather, for this assignment we will STUDY and ANALYZE the sorts of literate works of the disciplines and professional communities we have chosen. Instead of evaluating WHAT these sources accomplish, we will find a variety of authoritative, literate voices in the community and evaluate HOW they do their work.
The resulting product may be written as a learning narrative that looks like a version of the first and second paper (except with citations), or it can look like a more formal report, with sections and subheadings, or even some combination of the two.
Specifically, you’ll choose a discipline or profession or some aspect of citizenry (one that you’re considering moving into, or that you just want to learn more about) and ask questions such as the following:
• What sorts of things do members of this discipline or profession read and write?
• How do they exchange these works?
• With whom do they communicate?
• What distinguishes how they write (and read) for each other versus how they write for outsiders?
• What forms or genres of texts do they employ?
• What communications are accomplished by other means (e.g.,
face-to-face conversations or meetings)
• What is the role of listening as a practice?
• What sorts of acts of reading and writing are most common?
• What sorts of questions do they ask and address?
• What sorts of information do they exchange?
• What sorts of information are most authoritative?
• What stylistic features distinguish their formal reading and writing from their less formal reading and writing?
• What conventions do they use to identify their sources in their formal reading and writing?
To address these questions, we will find a variety of disciplinary or professional or citizenship literacy artifacts to analyze:
1. At least one interview with a member of the discipline or professional community via video conference, email, or phone call.
2. A work in a disciplinary or professional journal
3. A work in a magazine or website that represents a discipline or profession
4. A work in a popular magazine or website that discusses or reports on the discipline or professional community
By now, you may have already done some interviewing: for Video Essay Remix. Your prior practice with this will serve you well for this project. For your interview, if you are planning to meet face-to-face, or via Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangout, you may want to ask your interviewee to share with you via email three artifacts that represent her or his professional life. Following from our assignment prompt, you might request, “Please, bring with you …
1. something you have written to or received/read from a colleague.”
2. something you have written to or for someone outside of your discipline/profession.”
3. something that someone has written about you or your organization/discipline/profession.”
One nice feature of asking for artifacts, is that you can ask about what these artifacts are about in order to learn what sorts of topics, actions, and people are important to the person you are interviewing. Then you can analyze the artifacts–the texts–to see how they work.
What you ask your interviewee(s) is up to you; however, according to the prompt, you may find some of the following questions helpful in thinking about how to shape your own inquiry:
• About the artifact(s)
o What is this thing?
o Why do you have it?
o How recently was this written?
o Of all the things you could have brought, why did you bring this/these specific piece(s) of writing?
o What different piece of writing may you have brought if it were possible to bring ANY piece of writing?
o How representative is this writing of similar writing in your discipline/profession? That is, is this writing common, especially good, or especially bad?
o When may this piece of writing have been difficult for you to read/write/understand?
o When you were a first-year college student, would you have believed that this is what you would eventually be reading or writing?
• About the discipline/profession
o When did you become interested in joining the discipline/profession?
o What about the work of the discipline/profession seemed most attractive then/now?
o How did you know you would be a good fit for the discipline/profession?
o How did you prepare to do this work?
o What aspects of your work do you wish you had received more or better preparation to do?
o How did you learn to do the things that you were least prepared to do?
o Can you think of an example of a time when you had to teach yourself to do an important aspect of your work?
o What is the most important thing to read for someone hoping to do what you do?
• About the writing
o What do you write the most?
o What do you read the most?
o What do you feel best/least prepared to write?
o What do you most/least enjoy writing or reading?
o What pet peeves do you have about writing from colleagues?
o What represents excellent writing in your discipline/profession?
o If you could take back anything you have ever written, what would it be? Why?
o What things written about you or your discipline/profession do you share with your colleagues? Why?
o What things written about you or your discipline/profession do you share with your friends or family (your partner/spouse/kids/mom)? Why?
Now, that’s A LOT of questions. Depending upon your familiarity with your interviewee and how much time you have for your interview, you may want or need to use only a few of these questions or you may want to ask others that arise naturally from your conversation.
If you are using artifacts, you may want to prepare very few questions apart from
• What have you brought?
• Why have you brought this (and not something else)?
• Say more about that.
However, it’s a good idea to have a few questions that you know will be helpful for your project, regardless of what artifact(s) your interviewee brings to the interview.
You will write an essay (five pages) that identifies and describes the sorts of literacies (reading, writing, and other communication practices, and knowledge about these) important to the discipline or profession you have selected. Essentially, you will tell a story that makes claims about the sorts of things people in this discipline or profession read and write and the work they accomplish by way of reading and writing. You will support your claims with the evidence you have collected by way of your inquiry, and it will be organized into four main sections:
1. Introduction: Announcing the discipline or profession have chosen and why it matters to you.
2. Reading and Writing Within the Discipline or Profession (writing for each other)
3. Reading and Writing From the Discipline or Profession (writing for outsiders)
4. Conclusions: Summarize your findings and identify learning goals for your development as someone who, eventually, may need to do this sort of reading and writing.
In each of the two medial sections of the paper, your purpose is to analyze how people in the discipline/profession address their reading and writing tasks. Consequently, you will want to attend to questions such as the following about the features of the writing itself:
• What sorts of claims do you find in this form of communication?
• What sorts of evidence do you find (or not find) in this form of communication?
• How is evidence identified, attributed, or cited in this form of communication?
• By what means can we identify the intended or primary audience for this communication?
• What features of this form of communication are most/least familiar to you?
o what (style of) language?
o what content knowledge?
o what forms of evidence?
o what cultural conventions?
• What will you need to learn in order to participate in this form of writing?
• How might you learn to write and read this form of communication with confidence?
This project is broken into two-week module, but it will follow familiar steps that will lead you to make familiar assignments:
1. A First Draft of a discussion that addresses the questions above.
2. Peer-review on NowComment
3. A Final Draft of a discussion that addresses the questions above. (30%)
The conclusion of the paper itself will have a reflective component in that it will reflect back over the evidence you have presented in order to articulate some formative learning goals that will direct how you will pursue reading and writing in your chosen discipline or profession. Also, this project is followed immediately by our final reflective project of the semester–so the story of your learning from and through this assignment can live there.
1. Library Orientation, Research, and Prewriting
START HERE: Click on this link and watch videos and other digital tools for doing research on this specific assignment in the MSU library:
2. Draft Workshops
Once you have chosen your discipline or professional community, you will propose why and how you will go about finding sources to review in order to answer the following questions:
• What discipline or profession have you chosen?
• Why? What about this discipline or profession excites you?
• What is your experience with reading and writing in this discipline or profession?
• Who do you know from this discipline or profession that you may interview for more information about its reading and writing demands?
• What are the top three journals that serve the discipline or profession? How might you learn what these are?
• Name some of the things you have already read and/or written about this discipline or profession.
• How well prepared are you to do the work of the discipline or profession?
• How well prepared are you to meet the reading and writing demands of the discipline or profession?
Criteria for success:
• Your essay should be 1500 – 1600 words (5 pages double-spaced).
• Your essay should respond to the questions that guided your inquiry.
• Your essay should have an introductory piece that allows your readers to know what discipline or profession you have chosen and why it is important to you, and that makes a claim about the reading/writing/communication practices of the discipline or profession.
• Your essay should be supported by the following resources:
o At least one interview with a member of the discipline or professional or other appropriate community (via video conferencing, email, or phone call).
o A work in a disciplinary or professional or other relevant insider journal
o A work in a magazine or website that represents a discipline or profession or otherwise addresses a community of outsiders
• Your resources should be documented according to MLA citation style.
• Your essay should be divided into the following 4 subsections:
o Introduction: Announcing the discipline or profession you have chosen and why it matters to you.
o Reading and Writing Within the Discipline or Profession (writing for each other)
o Reading and Writing From the Discipline or Profession (writing for outsiders)
Summarize your findings
Identify and articulate learning goals for your development as someone who will need to prepare to do this sort of communication work as a member of this disciplinary or
3. MLA CITATION GUIDE FROM THE PURDUE OWL
CLICK HERE TO LEARN HOW TO CREATE A WORKS CITED & USE IN-TEXT CITATION IN MLA STYLE