Summary: Discourse Community

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Science is often stereotyped as a primarily independent endeavor. Most people will never step foot inside a research lab during their lifetime, so their only understanding of a scientific researcher is the one portrayed in books and movies -- the smart, eccentric, socially-isolated male who spends all his time in the lab and doesn’t do much else. People assume that biomedical research is only for introverts, since it is often misrepresented as pipetting miniscule amounts of liquids for hours on end. In addition, researchers are assumed to be unusually intelligent. How else are they going to cure cancer or discover life on Mars? Based on these stereotypes, one could quickly conclude that scientific research involves little collaboration, and…show more content…
It is my hope that examining the lab as a discourse community will increase public knowledge about how the biomedical research community functions, and in doing so will dispel any myths about research’s inherent lack of collaboration. Since the Jordan Lab is small, I will also explore how small a group can be while still being considered an active discourse community, and how size can affect a discourse community’s functioning. Finally, I will examine the role assimilation plays in the Jordan Lab, and then generalize those findings to discourse communities as a…show more content…
While members of the Jordan Lab may have distinct reasons for pursuing pediatric research, ranging from the Principle Investigator’s goal of bettering the lives of children with histiocytic disorders to the undergraduate student’s goal of learning how basic science research is conducted, all members are ultimately committed to advancing a specific field of medicine. Furthermore, this central goal is made available to the general public. Dr. Jordan’s faculty profile on CCHMC’s website explicitly states that his research interests are “better understanding histiocytic disorders and developing novel therapies for them, regulation of the immune response, and the immunotherapy of cancer” (cite). This means that researchers funded by his lab will conduct focused projects around this central interest. Publishing the Jordan Lab’s specific research goals allows others with experience or interest in the same topic to join the discourse community, thereby adding to the existing
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