BILLIARDS WAS MY COMMUNITY( APA pool league)
English 100 – Spring 2021
OBSERVATION OF A DISCOURSE COMMUNITY
First Draft Due: March 10 @11:59
Second draft due: March 21 @ 11:59 p.m.
Final Draft Due: May 9 @ 11:59 p.m.
Choose a discourse community that has made an impact on you or one that interests you, and find a preliminary
answer to this research question: “What are the goals and characteristics of this discourse community?” Schedule
time to observe this discourse community take careful notes about what you see and hear, and then write a 4–6-
page essay using your research to show the community and its communication practices.
Given current circumstances and in the interest of social distancing, it would be a good idea to observe
either an online discourse community or one that gathers in smaller groups. Be safe.
1. Observe members of the discourse community while they are engaged in a shared activity (student
organization meeting, church group, sports team/league, college class in another discipline, etc.); take detailed
notes on the following:
• What are they doing?
• What kinds of things do they say?
• What do they write?
• How do you know who is “in” and who is “out”?
2. If possible, collect anything people in that community read or write (their genres)—even very short things
like forms, sketches, notes, IMs, text messages, social media posts.
First, try organizing the data you collect using the following characteristics:
• What are the shared goals of the community; why does this group exist and what does it do?
• What mechanisms do members use to communicate with each other (meetings, phone calls, email,
text messages, newsletters, reports, evaluation forms, and so on)?
• What are the purposes of each of these mechanisms of communication (to improve performance, make
money, grow better roses, share research, and so forth)?
• What kinds of specialized language do group members use in their conversations and their genres?
Identify some examples—ESL, “on the fly,” brothers/sisters, etc. What communicative function does
this specialized language serve (that is, why say “86” instead of “we are out of this”)?
• Are there conflicts within the community? If so, why?
• Do some participants in the community have difficulty? Why?
• Who has authority here, and where does that authority come from?
• What are the “modes of belonging” that newcomers are attempting to use?
• What sorts of multiliteracies do members of this community possess?
• Are members of this community stereotyped in any way in regard to their literacy knowledge? If so, why