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Athletic Training and Writing Studies

Genre Analysis

This paper will take an in depth look at two articles that are representative of two different discourse communities. It will also analyze features that are different amongst the two discourse communities so that people have a better understanding of the different characteristics that discourse communities possess. It will explore the different styles that each discourse community utilizes, including but not limited to writing, citation styles and organizational styles.

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Keywords: Discourse Community, characteristics, organizational style, citation style writing style

Many people do not understand that to be considered a discourse community, a group must have certain attributes. These attributes represent the way that the discourse community read, write, or communicate with one another. It is important that these attributes are done on a level that will be understood by those within the discourse community they are a member of.

Although each genre typically has their own way of communication, whether it is via writing, email, or another form of communicating, some utilize the same ways and other genres utilize different ways. Regardless of the choice of communication, the goal is the same throughout discourse communities and that is to have effective communication. The differences and similarities are apparent when analyzing two articles from two different discourse communities, Athletic Training and Writing Studies.

The first peered reviewed article accessed from the Athletic Training Education Journal titled “Redefining Professional Knowledge in Athletic Training: Whose Knowledge Is It Anyway?” examines the way that Athletic Training has defined it body of knowledge and how to secure that body of knowledge in the Athletic Training discourse community. The second peered reviewed article titled “Rhetorical Reading Strategies and the Construction of Meaning” not only discusses reading and writing at a college level, however also discusses the role of rhetorical reading while writing and reading.


Identifying the differences and similarities between the two peered reviewed articles, “Redefining Professional Knowledge in Athletic Training: Whose Knowledge Is It Anyway?” by Patrick O. McKeon, PhD; Jennifer M. Medina McKeon, PhD; Paul R. Geisler, EdD and “Rhetorical Reading Strategies and the Construction of Meaning” by Christina Haas and Linda Flower gave more clarity on the different and similar writing styles of the two different discourse communities.

The first difference that was apparent was the formatting of the two articles. The first article by McKeon et al. appears to use an APA format for their article. APA format typically includes an abstract as well as a reference page that list the sources that were utilized throughout the paper, this paper included both. The APA citations are also different than the MLA citations. The Haas and Flower article is done in an MLA format, it does not include an abstract, title page and the source page is referenced as a “work cited” page which is typical of MLA formatting.

The citations in MLA formatting are presented differently on the “works cited” page than a reference page of the APA format. What was observed in both articles that was similar, although using the different formats, was that both articles were 1-inch margins and 12-point font which is adhering to both the MLA and APA formats.

To attract a reader typically organization of an article is important. These two articles differed in how they were organized, for instance the article “Redefining Professional Knowledge in Athletic Training: Whose Knowledge Is It Anyway?” is organized by headings that clearly represent the facet of the information that is to follow the heading. Haas and Flowers article “Rhetorical Reading Strategies and the Construction of Meaning” does not include headings to present information, the information is sporadically placed within the article, including data represented by the study itself.

A prominent similarity between the two articles was that they were both evidence-based articles. The article “Redefining Professional Knowledge in Athletic Training: Whose Knowledge Is It Anyway?” the study shows that by clearly relating the Professional body of knowledge and the evidence that is utilized in the evidence-based practice helps to secure that there is, in fact, authority and legitimacy to the Athletic Training Profession body of Knowledge. (McKeon, el.at.)

The article “Rhetorical Reading Strategies and the Construction of Meaning” was based on studies done with college students. These studies represented primarily the different ways that college students read and write. These studies were performed in hopes that undeniable proof would indeed help to strengthen the abilities of college students in the aspects of reading and writing.

There were similarities to the stylistic form of writing of both the articles. The Haas and Flower article was more of an active voice rather that a passive voice. This was noted mainly because of wording and sentence structure. An active voice basically describes what the subject is doing or going to do, which in this article could be clearly defined throughout. The article by McKeon el. at. also used an active voice throughout the article.

Suggesting what could be done as well as what is being done to secure their Professional Body of Knowledge in the Athletic Training field. Using an active voice in both articles helped to validate the strength of the articles which is important to the reader.
Regarding the convention of the two articles they differed in how information was conveyed through visual illustration. It was clear that the authors Haas and Flower utilized multiple illustrations to identify the results and convey important information a manner that was visually understood.

This allowed for information to be conveyed faster and accurately with different visuals, i.e. graphs, figures. In the article “Redefining Professional Knowledge in Athletic Training: Whose Knowledge Is It Anyway?” the authors chose to not utilize many visuals, instead they utilized the grammar convention, which made deciphering the article slightly more time consuming that when visuals are incorporated.

In short, the common goal of both articles was to communicate information to help advance their specific discourse community. In the Writing Studies community the information relayed, no matter how, was to improve the reading and writing skills of college students. In the community of Athletic Trainers, it was to facilitate a better understanding of the Professional Body of Knowledge and the relation to their stature in the healthcare field. The common goal simply stated was to advance each discourse community with the studies that were performed.


Reading both articles, it was clear the active voice was representative of both the Writing Studies and Athletic Training discourse communities. Using the active voice defines a characteristic of both communities and the way they communicate, making sure that information is conveyed, clearly, concisely and straight to the point. This is an important attribute to these discourse communities simply because to advance it is important to understand and communicating efficiently is important. Utilizing the active voice also relays the strength and validation to the article which is important to the reader also.

These two articles are clearly written as evidence-based articles, this is another important characteristic of the discourse communities of which the authors belong. It shows that both discourse communities rely on data that has scientifically evident and data that proves the facts. This information is made available in both articles through concise experiments that resulted in a conclusion that was beneficial to both discourse communities.

This is an important attribute in the discourse communities because the reputable proof that is determined through these experiments reflects that the discourse communities require information that is only factual and based by scientific evidence.

Organizational manner of both articles as stated was different. The article by McKeon, el. at. chose to structure the paper with an introduction, method, result, analysis and discussion format. This type of structure can be a representative characteristic of the discourse community Athletic Training by suggesting the discourse community relies mainly on scientific evidence and factual data. Utilizing headings helps the reader follow and have a clearer understanding of the material that is being discussed.

The article by Haas and Flower chose to take a more laxed approach to the structure of their article. The authors used very little headings and left the article with points that could be further discussed. Even know results were apparent this article was left more open-ended, maybe to leave the reader no choice but to ask questions? This type of structure demonstrates the discourse communities will to speak freely and offer any elaboration that is needed.

The different formatting of the articles APA and MLA represent the different characteristics that both discourse communities possess. The Athletic Training discourse community utilized an APA format in this article, this is representative of the concise, reliability and validity that is expected when writing in this discourse community. The authors of the Writing Studies article utilized the MLA format for the structure of their paper which is typical of the discourse community.

This type of format demonstrates the discourse community’s openness to further discuss and elaborate on the subject at hand. The difference in the formatting of the citations on both the reference and works cited pages represent the discourse communities’ differences of what they stress importance on when using multiple sources. MLA citations always begin with the title name and APA citations usually begin with author first. The Athletic Training discourse community, using the APA format prefers to emphasize the importance of the author (writer) contrary to the discourse community of Writing Studies who choose to emphasize the importance of the subject in their citation.

The conventions that were apparent in the articles displayed the discourse communities’ differences in respect to conveying information. The Haas and Flower article had multiple visual illustrations that conveyed precise information in a quick manner. This is standard of the Writing Studies discourse communities will to open minded for elaboration. Presenting a graph or figure can reflect the need for more discussion.

The McKeon el. at. article used only one display of visual illustration to convey information which is contrary to the discourse community who is usually under time constraints. The authors chose to use more grammar conventions such as mechanics, usage, and sentence structure to convey their message. This is also typical of the discourse community of Athletic Training and their continued effort to communicate in a fashion that is easily understood, straight to the point, concise and efficient.

The last noted similarity in both articles was the fact that the articles were written in a manner that provided information to improve their discourse communities. Knowledge is power, and this was reflective in both articles with the information that was conveyed. This makes sense as both discourse communities have common goals and that is to better the community to which they belong by further research and continued communication.


This Genre Analysis has given me the opportunity to explore and examine the different writing styles of the discourse communities of Writing Studies and Athletic Training. Despite that the discourse communities are from completely different realms, I analyzed both articles which later proved to achieve one common goal and that was communication through writing. After analyzing the two articles it was clear that the discourse communities had different as well as similar writing styles that they utilized to convey their messages. I was able to gain an understanding that the overall goal of conveying information effectively and concisely. Of which, ironically, was a common goal among both discourse communities.

This analysis has also given me a better understanding of how writing, or the type of writing used can identify the characteristics of a discourse community. For example, the Athletic Training discourse community writes in a fashion that is straight forward and to the point to communicate the outcome. The Writing Studies discourse community tends to leave some information open ended, up for discussion they are a little laxer in their approach.

No matter the approach in writing among the discourse community the bottom line will always be the same, to write in a manner that is concise and effective. Another very important aspect that was observed was the importance of adapting to the writing styles of the discourse community you belong to. Adapting will ensure that you can communicate effectively within the discourse community and most importantly be respected by fellow members.


  • Haas, C., ; Flower, L. (1988). Rhetorical Reading Strategies and the Construction of Meaning. College Composition and Communication, 39(2), 167-183. doi:10.2307/358026
  • Patrick O. McKeon, Jennifer M. Medina McKeon, and Paul R. Geisler (2017) Redefining Professional Knowledge in Athletic Training: Whose Knowledge Is It Anyway?. Athletic Training Education Journal: April-June 2017, Vol. 12, No. 2, pp. 95-105. https://doi.org/10.4085/120295