discipline investigation

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Purpose: To investigate a discourse community* (e.g. profession) you hope to join and to learn about the kinds of texts (genres) that community uses.1 This assignment will enable you to identify some of those rules or patterns by interviewing a professional in your field of study and by doing outside research

Audience: Your instructor, your classmates, and other faculty members on the 100A portfolio committee.

*Discourse Community: Any group of people who form a community—a family, a neighborhood, colleagues, practitioners of a particular profession—and establish informal and formal rules regarding who gets to join their community and how spoken and written interactions (i.e. discourse) occur within the community. Anyone who wants to join that community has to learn its discourse rules and patterns.

Step 1: Interview

For this assignment, you will interview a professional in your field of study to gain insight into your future discourse community. Try to select someone at a senior level, with at least five years of experience working in this field, who can provide you with a broad view of the types of work and opportunities that are available to you. Your professors in your field of study may be able to give you advice on finding a suitable interviewee. Unless you hope eventually to become a faculty member at a research university, you should not interview one of your professors. It is preferable to interview the subject in person.

The interview should cover 1) your subject’s background and career path; 2) your subject’s current role and responsibilities; and 3) your subject’s insight on the types of communicationskills required for your field.

In preparation for the interview, you will work in class to develop a set of questions for your particular interviewee. You will also discuss various interviewing strategies. Before the interview, you will need to discuss with your interviewee the confidentiality of the interview. Because people sometimes share sensitive information in an interview, you need to assure them that the information will be confidential and that you will not use their real name or the name of the company.

Step 2: Outside Research

Find a minimum of 2 outside sources (articles, journals) that give you additional information about your future discourse community – for example, what types of work or jobs someone in that field would have, or what the requirements will be for those jobs in the future. You might also research additional genres of writing that might be used in your field.

Step 3: Prepare Report

Your Discipline Investigation will report the information you learned during your interview and outside research, providing an introduction and conclusion to share how your own expectations about the field may have changed or broadened in doing this assignment.


Your introduction should include a brief overview of the discourse community you investigated for this assignment and provide a short background on why you chose your field of study and what your expectations were before you conducted the interview and outside research.

Background & Career Path
Introduce your interview subject, giving details of the subject’s background and education to show why the subject chose that profession and how he/she got started in the field. You will also need to give some explanation of the subject’s career path so far, highlighting particular positions or stepping stones to the current role. Possible topics to discuss in this section include: ?  Why your subject was drawn to a particular career field ?  What requirements or skills were needed before entering the field ?  The expectations and surprises your subject had in entering that profession
Use outside sources (articles) to add additional or supporting information about the topics above.
Roles & Responsibilities
Provide an overview of your interview subject’s current role at his/her place of employment, explaining the responsibilities of that position and how it fits into the overall structure of the company or organization. Your subject should also give you a general sense of the types of jobs and career paths common in that field. Possible topics to discuss in this section include: ?  The subject’s job responsibilities in his/her place of employment ?  Where your subject’s job fits in terms of the overall structure of the profession ?  Types of jobs people in this profession have ?  The skills and qualifications your subject’s job requires ?  The biggest challenges the subject faces in this job
Use outside sources (articles) to add additional or supporting information about the topics above.
Communication Skills
Explain the types of reading and writing typically required in your field of interest. Provide an overview of the communication skills that are most important in your field. For example, some occupations demand the ability to work collaboratively on reports, while others may require an ability to respond clearly and concisely to time-sensitive email inquiries. Possible topics include: ?  The types of reading and writing required in your subject’s daily responsibilities ?  The typical audience for written communication (co-workers, clients, general public, etc.) ?  The communication skills your subject finds most important in his/her role
Use outside sources (articles) to add additional or supporting information about the topics above.
Share your thoughts on what most surprised or interested you about your interview and research. Did it change your expectations about your chosen field? For the remainder of your undergraduate studies, what further skills, knowledge, or experience (such as an internship) will you need to develop to help prepare you for the start of your career?

should be approximately 1500 words; 5 pages;