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ENG 201: Writing in the Disciplines

Paper 2: Analysis of Writing in Your Discipline(s)

Due Dates

On Wed., March 29, a draft of this paper will be due for small group conferences. You should submit
your draft on Blackboard and bring four copies of your paper (per pair) with you to your conference.
After the small group conference, you and your partner will make revisions to your paper.

On Fri., April 7, the final draft of your paper is due on Blackboard. (If you are working in a pair, each
member of the pair should submit their paper separately, even though it is the same paper.)

For this paper, you will investigate the specific ways that writing and language works in the discipline(s)
in which you are majoring. You are asked to interview a member of that discipline (e.g., a professor or
professional working in that field) about the special and specific literacy demands it entails. Find out
about the typical reading and writing activities in the discipline(s), knowledge in that discipline(s), and
use of language/jargon. Your interview and analysis of at least two articles in your discipline(s) will
provide the data for this paper. The analysis for this paper must incorporate course readings and at least
two additional articles on any subject within your discipline(s).

For this paper, you have the option of working in pairs. You can work together to investigate writing in
one discipline, or you can do a comparative analysis of writing in two disciplines.

Your paper use the following sections (label the sections with the bolded headers):

In a paragraph or two, describe the discipline/field of study you chose to examine and the way you view
writing or language in this community. In doing so, you should set up a problem that your thesis will be
responding to. You can do this by citing a scholar like Lucille McCarthys idea that students are often
unfamiliar with the discipline in which they are writing, or you can talk about a misconception you
believe that students or outsiders might have about your field or fields.

You should state a tentative argument about writing in your field or fields toward the end of this section.
Your thesis should specifically address the questions: what are the one or two most important or
most distinctive characteristics of writing in this discipline(s)? How are these characteristics
similar to and/or different from other ways of writing? Papers examining two distinct disciplines
may choose to focus either on similarities or differences between the two fields. Please note that you
should not list too many features without explaining what they mean and/or prioritizing the one or two
features you believe are most important.

In this section, you should describe what you did to obtain your interview and relevant articles. How
familiar were you initially with the discipline or disciplines you were discussing? How did you find your
articles (i.e. what databases and/or journals did you look in and why)? Who is the professor/professional
that you interviewed and how did you gain access to him or her? What kinds of questions did you ask
him or her? (Dont list all of the questions, just give the one or two you believe were the most
enlightening for you.) You may use I or we to describe your role(s) as a researcher(s) in this section.
Theoretical Frame and Literature Review
A literature review is basically your way of telling your reader, This is what other scholars have said on
this topic. In this section, you should use articles from class to talk about the ideas about literacy,
language, and discourse communities in a college of professional setting that informed your study of
your discipline for this paper. For example, you might use Lucille Parkinson McCarthys metaphor of a
stranger in strange lands to discuss your encounters with the rules of these disciplines. You might also
talk about rules for writing that tend to hold up across different disciplines, using Teresa Thonney. Or,
James Porter might help you think about what it means to be a member of a discourse community and the
iterability of the field you are majoring in. Make sure you connect these ideas clearly to your
reasoning for examining writing in your discipline. If youd like to use articles other than what we
read in class, talk to me so we can come up with something that fits what your paper is trying to establish.

Findings and Discussion

This section is really the bulk of your paper, in which you examine your evidence and tell your reader
what you discovered. In three or more paragraphs, discuss what you learned about writing in this
discipline or disciplines, based on the answers to your questions in your interview and your analysis of at
least two articles in your field or fields of study. You should cite specifics here: quotes from your
interview or your articles that demonstrate what writing is like in your discipline. What argument
can you make about the writing and language in this discipline or these disciplines, based on what you
found out from the interview and your examination of the articles? What advice would you give to
students just beginning to write papers in this/these discipline(s)? You should refer back to the sources
you discussed in the prior section to help you talk about this.

Requirements and Evaluation Criteria

Papers that meet the requirements will probably be about 5-7 pages in length. However, yours may be
longer or shorter use the assignment and feedback you receive from me and your peers as a guide. Your
paper should also include a list of Works Cited page, which does not count toward the paper length.

You should use at least two sources that we have read for class and at least two additional sources
from your own research. At least three of these sources should be scholarly (i.e., they should come from
books or online library databases like JSTOR, Academic Search Premier, ERIC, or Lexis Nexis.) Make
sure that you document your sources according to MLA or APA format.

I will evaluate your paper according to the following criteria:

- Cites sources that are relevant to the paper topic and the field you are examining
- Uses and analyzes quotes from sources (quote sandwiches!)
- Demonstrates an understanding of the sources used, with sufficient detail so that someone who
had not read the source would understand it
- Cites details as evidence for how literacy works within the discourse community of the
discipline(s), including quotes from interviews, quotes from the writing observed (the two articles
in the discipline(s) and other observations about writing in the articles (this should be in the
Findings section)
- Puts forth an original argument about the discipline(s) observed that appears at the beginning of
the paper and is sustained throughout