Community Literacy Profile

Community Literacy Profile

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Task Description

You will write a literacy profile of a community to which you belong or are interested in. By literacy we mean any learning or shared knowledge as a form of know-how. A literacy profile informs your audience of the shared knowledge and discourse of specific community functions. You will focus on specific language, written artifacts, and genres. You will conduct primary research by:

  • observing the community in action,
  • interviewing a community leader, or active member, of your chosen community.

You will also conduct some secondary research to help interpret and synthesize your primary research. In your profile you will quote evidence from both your primary and secondary research to provide multiple perspectives of the community’s discourse strategies and group literacies.


Part 1: Discovery & Research

In this part of the project you will conduct both primary and secondary research to learn about your community. Each research activity will require a mini-report that summarizes what you learned.

  • Understanding Profiles as a Genre Activities: Research examples of profiles. Learn the obligatory moves in design, organization, content, and style (D.O.C.S.) of profiles.
  • Observation Report: Experience the community or place in action; go where they are at and systematically document what they do.
  • Interview Report: Find a knowledgeable and experienced community member, either a leader or active member, that you can interview. You’ll ask questions to help fill in the blanks of what you still need to know.


Part 2: Writing a Profile

Some questions to consider while planning and writing your profile:

  • What information about community activities gathered during research should you highlight?
  • What are the most interesting aspects of this community’s language, especially for your intended readers?
  • How much description of location, activities, and people involved is needed for your readers?
  • What are your own biases about the group you are profiling? How much of this bias should be reflected in your profile?
  • What is the lasting impression on your audience?
  • Start the profile with a lead paragraph or “hook”—what do you find in the community that will be most compelling to your audience? How will you support that lead?
  • The profile should be about 1500-1700 words and should follow MLA format as described in Writer’s Help 2.0, Lunsford.


Context surrounding the project:

  • Information can be drawn from published studies and reports, news media, and personal experience (secondary research);
  • Information will be obtained firsthand, through interviews, observation, surveys, correspondence, or attendance at public events (primary research);
  • Reporters of information check that their sources are credible and accurate;
  • The level of detail is adjusted to anticipate what readers are likely to know already and to make new information easier to follow;
  • Informative documents often use illustrations – such as charts, tables, graphics, and images – to help readers understand concepts and ideas;
  • Your project will be developed through a writing process that requires planning and forethought;

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