Analyzing genres used in your professional discourse community 

Write an essay (minimum 3 pages double spaced) analyzing genres used in your professional discourse community using Bawarshi’s “Guidelines for Analyzing Genres” (see below).

Analyzing genres used in your professional discourse community

Introduction
The Genre Analysis project asks you to conduct primary research within your professional discourse community (PDC) in order to analyze specific genres used in your PDC. Your primary research will require you to analyze sample genres from your Professional Discourse Community.

Assignment Prompt
Write an essay (minimum 3 pages double spaced) analyzing genres used in your professional discourse community using Bawarshi’s “Guidelines for Analyzing Genres” (see below).

You will have to collect and analyze sample genres from your field. For instance, if you’re investigating a medical discourse community, you might examine the introduction of a research article, a patient medical history form, and an article from a newsletter for doctors, nurses, or other medical professionals. Other places to seek texts are on the websites of professional organizations for your field. Once you have collected your texts, carefully analyze them using Bawarshi’s “Guidelines for Analyzing Genres” below.

Guidelines for analyzing genres (adapted from Bawarshi Re-Placing Invention in Composition 159-160)
Collect samples of the genre.
Study the situation of the genre.

Setting:

Where does the genre appear?

Where the texts of this genre are typically located?

What medium, context?

What other genres does this genre interact with?

Subject:

What topics is this genre involve d with?

What issues, ideas, questions, etc., does the genre address?

When people use this genre, what is that they are interacting about?

Participants:

Who uses the genre?

Writers:

Who writes the texts in this genre?

Are multiple writers possible?

How do we know who the writers are?

What roles do they perform?

What characteristics must writers of this genre possess?

Under what circumstances must writers write this genre (e.g., in teams, on a computer, in a rush)?

Readers:

Who reads the texts in this genre?

Is there more than one type of reader for this genre?

What roles do they perform?

What characteristics must readers of this genre possess?

Under what circumstances must readers read this genre (e.g., at their leisure, on the run, in a waiting room)?

Motives:

When is the genre use d?

For what occasions?

Why is the genre used?

Why do writers write this genre and why do readers read it?

What purposes does the genre fulfill for people who use it?

 

Identify and describe patterns in the genre’s features:

Firstly, What recurrent features to the samples share? For instance:
Secondly, What content is typically included?

Thirdly, What is excluded?

Fourthly, How is the content treated?

Further, What sorts of examples are used?

Additionally, What counts as evidence (personal testimony, facts, etc.)?

Also, What rhetorical appeals are used?

Besides, What appeals to ethos, pathos, and logos appear in the samples?

Further, How are texts in the genre structured?

Moreover, What are their parts, and how are they organized?

Additionally, In what format are texts of this genre presented?

Also, What layout or appearance is common?

How long is a typical text in this genre?

What types of sentences do texts in the genre typically use?

How long are they?

Are they simple or complex, passive or active?

Are the sentences varied? Do they share a certain style?

What diction is most common?

What types of words are most frequent?

Is a type of jargon used? Is slang used?

How would you describe the writer’s voice?

 

Analyze what these patterns reveal about the situation:

Firstly, What do these rhetorical patterns reveal about the genre and the situation in which it is use d?

Secondly, Why are these patterns significant?

Thirdly, What can you learn about the actions being perform ed through the genre by observing its language patterns?

As you consider these questions, focus on the following:

Firstly, What do participants have to know or believe to understand or appreciate the genre?
Secondly, Who is invited into the genre, and who is excluded?
Thirdly, What roles for writers and readers does it encourage or discourage?
Fourthly, What values, beliefs, goals, and assumptions are reveal ed through the genre’s patterns?
Additionally, How is the subject of the genre treated?

Also, What content is considered most important?

Further, What content (topics or details) is ignored?

Besides, What actions does the genre help make possible?

Further, What actions does the genre make difficult?
Moreover, What attitude toward readers is implied in the genre?

Finally, What attitude toward the world is implied in it?

To develop your draft, use the “Guidelines for Analyzing Genres” in Bawarshi’s “Re-Placing Invention in Composition” (see pages 159-160). See especially, the questions and ideas in these guidelines and in Bawarshi’s examples. Keep in mind that you may want to critique one or more of your genres and/or to suggest possible changes in them. Base your critique or recommendations for genre change in your analysis.

 

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