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Dr.

Carter * Fall 2009 English 102-H

WA4: An Insider Perspective (ethnographic interviewing)
Description: This essay calls upon you to make extensive use of the ethnographer’s research tools (interview, observations, fieldnotes) to offer an insider’s perspective on your research site. For WA4, you should conduct at least one hour-long interview with a key participant. Review that interview several times for recurring themes, and make sense of those themes through a sustained review of the artifacts, field observations, and other readings you have done thus far. Why? “When you are looking at literacy and culture, for example, [ethnographic interviewing] can help you see how the cultural identities people claim for themselves affect the kinds of literacy behaviors they practice in different parts of their lives. When you look at literacy and class, ethnographic interviewing can help you understand how social stratification and expected literacy practices within different class cultures affect people at the level of the individual. When you look at literacy and work, it can give you a more complex view of the power dynamics involved in collaborative processes of writing. Finally, when you look at literacy and technology, ethnographic interviewing can help you better trace people’s actual social uses of the literacy technologies within particular contexts” (Lindquist and Seitz, Elements of Literacy). You can also make extensive use of this in your final ethnographic study. Resources: Everything thus far! The attached guide should prove useful too. Chapters 5-6 (FW) should prove especially helpful, though space (Chapter 4) and archives (Chapter 7) should play an important role as well. WA4 needs to make some contribution to the scholarly conversation in literacy studies, specifically through the Commerce Writes Research project. But the PERSON you interviewed should take center stage. It won’t be enough Models: Text-based WA4 models are plentiful. Several in FW, Chapter 5, including Singer’s “The Man Who Forgets Nothing,” Marshall’s “Ralph’s Sports Bar,” and (for oral history) Edward’s “I Can Read and I Can Write.” Consider how Brandt and Smith and Wilhelm use interviews, as well as Pleasant (all in Literacies in Context). Anything by Studs Turkel or Mark Singer. But you might also consider developing projects in other modalities. A number of sound-based models exist, including the incredible NPR show This American Life. We’ll talk more about this soon. If you are recording your interviews (with permission, of course!), consider this option. Audacity is free (editing sound), and other programs like Movie Maker (PC) and iMovie (Mac) are standard. You can find them on your computer, but you can also make good use of the Nexxus in the Library and tutors in the Writing Center (who can work with you at those Library computers). Try it! Purpose: To begin making more deliberate and sustained use of the evidence gathered at your research site. WA4 needs to make some contribution to the scholarly conversation in literacy studies, specifically as it manifests itself in Commerce. But in doing so the PERSON you interviewed should take center stage. This project should offer a useful lead into your major research project, so consider exploring these found literacies as they inform your developing research question. Contribution to the Scholarly Conversation in Literacy Studies: To do well on WA4, your project must make some kind of contribution to the scholarly conversation in literacy studies. That means you must go beyond merely summarizing the details of your interviewee’s life or describing the context in which this interview took place. Instead, you should help us understand that interviewee’s responses as they relate to the other aspects of your research project and draw some conclusions about literacy as it manifests itself in the lives of real people in their day-to-day, lived experiences. To do this, draw upon your readings thus far. You should also make extensive use of your classmates blogs, where appropriate. Constraints: NONE! Do this with text. With video. With audio. With all of these modalities. With only one of these modalities. Do what will serve your project best. Due Date: Tuesday, October 9

Dr. Carter * Fall 2009 English 102-H

Responding to WA2
Peer Feedback Activity (in pairs): In order to a get a real reader’s perspective of your current draft of WA2 and some ideas for revising it (and give the same with respect to their piece), trade drafts with someone, take out a pen and paper, place your name (as reader) and the writer’s name at the top of it, and respond to the following questions in as much detail as you think will be useful. You are going to give your responses to your partner, so try to make them as legible and clear as possible. Reader’s Name: _______________________________________________________ Writer’s Name: _______________________________________________________ Note to Reader: You should respond as specifically as possible to each and every question that follows.. Anything less will be quite useless to the writer. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. What did you find most compelling about this essay? Be very specific. This can be a specific story, a specific feel, or some other aspect that really caught your attention and made you want to read more. What did you want to hear more about? Be specific! What does this draft make you think about? Do you have any similar experiences you can share with the writer? Other ideas that came up as you read this draft? Underline your favorite passage in the text. What makes it your favorite? How does the writer make use of Deborah Brandt’s arguments? In what ways does this project contribute to the scholarly conversation represented in Brandt’s article? Offer a choice passage from Brandt that might serve this draft well. How does the writer make use of James Paul Gee’s arguments? In what ways does this project contribute to the scholarly conversation represented in Gee’s article? (NOTE: You aren’t required to use Gee in this essay, but it would likely be helpful in defining literacy and offering another, deeply relevant and highly influential, perspective on literacy) Offer a choice passage from Gee that might serve this draft well. Talk about the title for a minute. What is the current title for this essay? Now that you’ve read the essay, does the title seem appropriate? If so, what makes it so? If not, why not? Offer the writer three possible titles that might work to catch the reader’s attention and give him/her a hint about what the essay will offer. Offer these three suggestions even if you LOVE the title they already have. More ideas are always useful.

8. 9.

10. The revised draft must be four pages long. Offer some specific suggestions that would help the writer make this draft at least one page longer.

Dr. Carter * Fall 2009 English 102-H Discussion (in pairs): Return the draft to its writer and discuss your responses to it (question by question). They have a written version of it, but they may have questions that will only come up if you discuss your responses face to face. After you discuss your answers to the above questions, make certain the writer receives your written feedback. Make sure your name is at the top of the paper (as reader) and his/her name is at the top of the paper (as writer). Response (Individual): After you have both responded to one another’s WA1, take a few minutes to jot down your revision plan. Write about a page in response to one or more of the following questions: (1) How did your reader react to your text? (2) Were his/her reactions the ones you expected? (3) What suggestions did the writer offer with respect to revising this draft? (4) What are your specific revision plans? When you submit WA1 for instructor review, you will need to include these answers and the draft to which your reader was responding.