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Authors like Anne Beaufort, Kerry Dirk, Carol Berkenkotter and Thomas N. Huckin have been analyzing genres for decades. They have mentioned the importance of knowledge of discourse communities and the genres that fit into these communities in vastly different ways. From Berkenkotter and Huckin, we get the idea of dynamism that applies to genres. As described, “genres are dynamic rhetorical forms that develop from responses to recurrent situations and serve to stabilize experience and give it coherence and meaning” (479). This means that genres are lively and change depending on the situation they are in. But most blatantly put by Kerry Dirk, “learning about genres and how they function is more important than mastering one particular genre, it is this knowledge that helps us to recognize and to determine appropriate responses to different situations”(259). This quote is one that sums up the following essay as I will try to learn about a genre in a particular discourse community and see its function in an everyday workplace environment. For the past three years that I have spent in my major of psychology, I have gotten a pretty good idea of the typical and usual types of literature that are pertinent to my discourse community. In a field of science, as one could assume, there is much research that must be done all the time because the field is always changing and discovering new concepts and theories. To stay on top of the current issues and ideas as a psychologist, especially a clinical psychologist, it is very important to be able to read and type out new research and analyze it. For this paper, I have chosen to analyze two types of genre that are most popular in my discourse community. As described by Anne Beaufort, a “discourse (community) shapes genre, mastering a genre requires an understanding of the genre’s function within the discourse community” (105). In my discourse community of clinical psychology, a few types of genre that my peers and I will rely on are scholarly journals and articles. These types of writings will
determine my future knowledge in the field. It will be very important for me to understand how to read these as well as to be able to write them myself, especially throughout graduate school and my beginning years as a psychologist. The scholarly article is a peer reviewed and usually approved source of information or research that is available on certain databases, usually needed to be accessed with a username and password. I retrieved this one from the University’s library database. Counseling Psychology in Clinical Health Psychology: The Impact of Specialty Perspective was written by David R. Nicholas and Marilyn Stern. This scholarly article reflects the differences between being trained as a clinical psychologist versus being trained as a counseling psychologist in the field.
Through an array of readings, I have learned many different ideas about genre that would help in the understanding and reading of these materials. Some of the main ideas are understanding the context and culture that the reading is coming from and that being able to write or synthesize a specific type of genre can only be taught once someone is submerged into the field with practice and patience. In the readings with Kerry Dirk, there are three different examples of a ransom letter on page 257. These little excerpts show that a work of writing can be trying to get a specific point across, but unless you know the format and context of how to write it, the effectiveness of the argument can either skyrocket or disintegrate. For the matter of clinical psychology and scholarly journals, there is a very specific set up that most authors adhere to which includes an introduction, research method, results and conclusion. Much of this format is conducive to the understanding of the work and arguments made by the researchers, which I will explain more in depth later. If someone does not know how to set up this specific type of writing in the field of psychology, reading and creating research will be a lost cause. Being able to reproduce works in one’s field of study is something that can make or break their career. Employers will expect that after graduate school, a genre like the scholarly journal will be very familiar to their new employees to the point where they will be able to recreate the same structure for their own original research.
The idea of community ownership of a genre is proposed by Carol Berkenkotter and Thomas N. Huckin. Community ownership is described as the idea that “genre conventions signal a discourse community’s norms, epistemology, ideology, and social ontology” (497). This idea describes how academic writing is so regularly encountered by students and members of a culture that the norms of certain types of writing reflect the discourse community’s norms and formal ideas of how certain genres should be depicted. My idea of the importance of genre and discourse community somewhat brings all of the ideas and concepts that we have been learning and meshing them into a concept of understanding and respect for the culture of the career that you chose to be in. Being a part of a career and choosing the job you want to do after college is a big step in every student’s life. But while choosing this future for them, students need to realize that they will need to recreate and bring to life new ideas and research that will respect the general culture of their area of study. Without respecting these norms of all of the professionals that came before, the genre and discourse community can morph into something completely different than intended. The student and young professional need to respect structure and general norms of certain works, like the scholarly journal that I chose to look into. Journals tend to follow a very specific type of structure that is very important to the furthering of knowledge in the field.
To describe the general set up or framework of this type of work is very important when it comes to reading and navigating the article. Most scholarly journals follow the same general framework and outline when it comes to setting out the research. The headers of the first page usually include the copyright information and the title of the overall work with the DOI and volume numbers included. Then, centered in this particular journal is the title of the work in a bigger and bolder font than the rest of the entire journal. After this, there are the authors names listed below in a slightly smaller font, and beneath their names are their affiliated universities. After this, an abstract, or introduction, follows with an overall look at the article, which I will describe more in depth later. After the abstract, the information is broken into two columns. Immediately after this break, the introduction or background knowledge of the authors is described and given to the reader. After the introduction is through, the units of
information are broken into subsections that are titled with words that are bolded and bigger than the rest of the text.
The first table is introduced on page 333 of Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. The table is headed with the words ‘Table 1’ and underneath this is the title Counseling Psychology Core Values and Model Values Training Statement on Diversity . This is then broken off by a bar and the author of the list, then another bar to separate the ideas. These ideas are then bulleted for easy reading and summary. The importance of tables like this in scholarly journals is that it shows support from other researchers that show the findings and relativity of the idea or research at hand. The tables give an easier way to summarize and idea for the reader that can bring a conclusion or good ideas to better light, especially if the reader is just skimming through the article. After all of the conclusions and ideas are made and brought to light, there is a reference section at the end of the article that lists all of their resources used in APA format. Followed by this there is an order form that allows the reader to purchase the entire subscription and send it in for a certain price.
The beginning of this article begins with an introduction, or abstract. Here, the authors explain what is expected to come in a paragraph that is usually centered in the middle of the page. This is a good way that a reader can access what they are about to dive into before they read the entire journal. This particular source decided that listing in a sentence from A-D what they are discussing and again in another sentence with A-C what their conclusions or findings were was the best way to introduce the reader or scholar to the topic at hand. Their main arguments include core values of psychology, scholarly history and parameters of practice for the typical American psychologist according to the APA.
Another type of genre that my peers and I will need to be able to produce or read in my field of work is a brochure or handout that many clinical psychologists choose to give to their patients. Some clinicians choose to write their own or borrow some online, but these brochures give the patient an easy way to learn about what they are potentially diagnosed with
and some coping or helpful tips that they can bring home with them. The importance of something like this is to reinforce the treatment when the patient goes home. It gives them a little bit of their clinician’s voice to come back to and listen to, hopefully so they can change their maladaptive behaviors and decisions.
This type of brochure is pretty much standard as it is for other types of brochures in other settings and genres. The particular one I chose to review is from the American Psychological Association’s website: Coping With Stress and Anxiety. This brochure introduces a background into an anxiety disorder and ways to recognize it in yourself and others. It also gives ways to cope and live with it, and hopefully make life better by going about certain situations differently or changing lifestyle choices. The main idea here is to inform and give ideas or suggestions in an easy, noninvasive way. This demonstrates a social action through communicating to other psychologists as well as patients in a simple and quick way their research and ideas.
Genre and discourse communities are two ideas that work together completely hand in hand. By knowing how to go about analyzing topics of interest and furthering careers in a specific field of study, it is important for young professionals to respect the work that is done before them and use these types of genres in ways that are both educational and respectful. It is also very important to know how to go about reading such things to further one’s own information and understanding in a specific field of interest. Diving into a type of work without knowing how to read it can become cumbersome and hard to understand, which is why it is important to know how to navigate through these materials, as well as writing them. My analysis has shown that with practice of these writings and a strong understanding of how to navigate, write and read through them is an important part of being in this community of clinical psychology.
Works cited Beaufort, Anne. Writing in the Real World: Making the Transition from School to Work. Teachers College. 1999. Print Berkenkotter, Carol., and Huckin, Thomas. Written Communication (Volume 10). Sage Publications. 1993. Print Dirk, Kerry. Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing (Volume 1). Charles Lowe and Pavel Zemliansky. 2010. Print. Nicholas, Donald R, Stern, Marilyn (July 2011). Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. Retrieved from http://journals.ohiolink.edu.proxy.library.ohiou.edu/ejc/article.cgi?issn=07357028&issu e=v42i0004&article=331_cpichp Vierck, Elizabeth (2003). Coping with Stress and Anxiety. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/pi/aging/09-33-coping-with-stress-fin.pdf
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