Berkenkotter, Huckin, & Ackerman.  “Social context and socially constructed texts:  The initiation of a graduate student into a writing community.”  In Textual Dynamics of the Professions:  Historical and contemporary studies of writing in professional communities. Eds. C. Bazerman and J. Paradis.  Madison:  University of Wisconsin Press.  191-215.  Print.

  • The authors begin by recognizing the function of disciplinary literacies that require knowledge of specialized discourse for sharing knowledge; however, they also point out that these disciplinary discourse communities are far more distributed than the sort of speech communities that Heath observed in her seminal work Ways with Words.
  • Article method:  The authors will investigate how a new arrival to a research/discourse community (as a grad student) composed introductions to his writing in coursework to try and discover the way that the student included/created/implemented “institutionalized norms” of his discourse community as a way to meet his audience.  The authors do this to demonstrate how the writer was socialized into his discourse/research communities linguistic, rhetorical, and topical conventions.
  • Four important findings of the research conducted and extant research published:

o    Members of a research community share a “model of knowing.”  This model is embedded in research methodology and is also coded linguistically.

o    A research community extends beyond any particular school and includes folks doing research at multiple other institutions.  The research community is an “invisible college” where publications serve as a means to share information/findings.

o    Papers and publications are the research forums that academic discourse community use to communicate, define and debate central issues in the field.

o    Graduate students are initiated into said community through reading, writing, doing research, gaining particular research methodologies, and interacting with faculty and peers.  An especially important element in this process is the use of appropriate written linguistic conventions and codes – in other words, grad students must learn to “speak the language” (192).

  • The four-part constitution of most academic articles (via Swales/Selfe):

o    Establish the field in which you are working

o    Summarize related research in the area of concern

o    Create a research space for the study by indicating a gap in current knowledge or by raising questions

o    Introduce the study by indicating what the investigation being reported will accomplish for the field (192).

  • A revision of this model for academic theses by Dudley-Evans (1986):

o    Introduce the field

o    Introduce the General Topic (within the field)

o    Introduce the particular topic (within the general topic)

o    Define the scope of the particular topic by

§  Introducing research parameters

§  Summarizing previous research

o    Prepare for present research by

§  Indicate a gap in previous research

§  Indicate a possible extension of previous research

o    Introduce present research by

§  Stating the aim of the research or

§  Describing briefly the work carried out

§  Justifying the research

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