Technical Writing



Genre analysis


Week 1 -- Genre readings

Week 2 -- Genre readings

Week 3 -- Genre readings


Week 1


The term discourse communities keeps coming up in the readings on genre. Research and write up a 150-200 word explanation of what discourse community means. Compare at least 3 different sources and how their definition agrees or disagrees.

The answer should be in your own words and not just a cut & paste from the different sources.

The formatting and information access of your answers matter. In technical communication, how you present an answer is as important as what you present. A single paragraph with all the information jumbled together is not readable.


Discussion questions

Week 1


Here are some first paragraphs from the recommendation reports that compared two textbooks and made a recommendation to a department committee about which textbook to use.

Week 2


Swales gives an example of the conference presentation as a genre. Is a conference presentation actually a genre? Does the purpose of presentation change the genre? A conference presentation might discuss: new research, new product features, inspire audience to do better, layout plans for next year. Are each of these the same genre?


A common issue is the no one reads the manual and the support people get frustrated because they are always getting questions that are in the manual. Using genre theory, what is a potential reason that a well-written and grammatically correct manual that contains all of the information is not read or understood? (Ignore the manuals that are clearly written by people who have English as a second language and are not fluent. That is a different issue)


Week 3


.Hailey's work on web page genre showed that people have a difficult time identifying genres. Would this also be true in printed documents?

What do you think is the underlying reason? Why is it that, when a document whether online or not, has multiple genres, people can't identify them? Even people who do understand the concept of genre have this problem.





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