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English 1121

Research basics for students writing about literature, current social issues, or discourse communities.


Discourse communities (sometimes called Interpretive Communities) are groups who share: texts, ways of interpreting information, and belief systems. The concept of a discourse community was initially associated with different textual genres and genre is still a great way to learn more about a discourse community. We are all members of discourse communities and most of us are part of many, sometimes intersecting, discourse communities. (Chandler, D., and R. Munday. "Discourse Community," A Dictionary of Media and Communication 2011.)

Usually, when you're doing research about a discourse community, you're interested in learning more about:

  • Genres and communication conventions 
  • Perspective on different social issues or topics



There are many ways to approach genre and media research. Sometimes, you'll want to analyze a particular source carefully in order to learn more about it's purpose, intended audience, design, and tone. Sometimes, you'll want to conduct research about a genre or media format like: Comic Books, Collage, Science fiction, Tweets, or Tik-Tok Videos. Below are some recommended places to find article from academic journals, magazines, and newspapers about genres and media.


If you're researching perspectives on different social issues, the library has databases with opinion journalism that offer different perspectives on social issues and current events. If your discourse community doesn't typically use journalism as an outlet to express their viewpoints, you might need to look beyond the library. Some places in New York City that collect materials about different communities are listed below...but this is only a small fraction of the kinds of material that exist.