For this essay you will be looking into what writing exists/is favored in your field of interest and how students/ professors/you respond to those forms of writing. This type of observational writing is often referred to as ethnography. The English 254 Handbook provides a useful description of this genre:
Ethnographic research involves the researcher studying a group, culture, community, or institution through observation and occasionally participation. Typically the ethnographer (that’s you!) is an outsider (in your case an individual wanting to learn more about your own field) who enters a space specifically for the purposes of research or gaining knowledge. Ethnographers are interested in:
Understanding patterns of behavior and communication;
Rituals and cultural practices;
Norms and taboos;
The rationales that underlie the above features.
Typically the data sets that are analyzed in ethnographies consist of interview notes, materials/artifacts gathered as part of the observation process, and some transcripts or paraphrased material from research subjects. . .
Though interesting insights might be discovered and theorized from a single observation of research subjects, ethnographies should almost always include multiple visits. Additionally, though ethnographic work is sometimes a looser research methodology, researchers should make it as systematic as possible, taking copious notes on observations and things said. Many ethnographers use a double-entry notebook format for ethnographic work, recording information and quotes on one side and adding analysis, thoughts, and reflection on the other side. (100-101)
Again, this particular ethnography should help your reader understand the role of writing within your field. It should provide real-world examples that you find through your research, identify common features (aka “conventions”) of these examples, and explain how these conventions increase yours and others’ understanding of your major. To do this, the ethnography will consist of two parts:
Part One- Report:
The first segment (and majority of the essay) should focus on presenting your research to your readers and analyzing it to help answer the question, “What kind of writing does my field/major value?” Some additional sub-questions to consider include:
What are some examples of ways that professionals communicate in your field that you found in your research (e.g., published articles, memos, advertisements, product recalls, patient charts, etc.)?
Who appears to be the main audiences in these examples you found?
How do these examples work to persuade their audience(s)?
Do you notice major similarities in your examples? Differences?
Do these examples utilize other means of communication beyond the written word (e.g., pictures, music, videos)?
This report should utilize everything we have been using in the course up to this point, including readings, Explorations, texts you’ve analyzed, research and citation skills, etc. The language of this report should be professional and use “I” infrequently (focus instead on talking about the major/field directly).