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An Author's Credibility In The Academic Discourse Community

2124 words - 8 pages

An Author's Credibility In The Academic Discourse Community

The academic discourse community has certain expectations about an argument which make the work convincing and credible to members of the community. Before the work is even considered however, the community has expectations of the author. The author must fulfill these expectations in order to be considered credible or convincing. Some general criteria for an author in the academic discourse community include having a voice in the work, credentials and experience that make him or her qualified to write on the subject, a sense of professionalism about them shown in the tone and diction of the work, and a balanced view of all sides of the issue. In the case of author Damien Cave and his article "On Sale at Old Navy Cool Clothes for Identical Zombies!" and John E. Calfee with his article "How Advertising Informs to Our Benefit" one can see the difference between an author who fulfills the academic discourse community's expectations and one who does not. While Damien Cave can be persuasive in some communities, neither he nor his writing is credible to the academic discourse community because he lacks the qualities that this community values in an author.

One important trait that the academic discourse community looks for in literary work is a strong voice on the part of the author. In a community where independent thought and intelligence is highly valued, no one wants to hear someone summarize another's thoughts. Here, it is the author who should be somewhat of an expert on the subject matter and so the author should have the predominating voice in the work, not his sources. Cave makes two errors in this regard. First, he does not state the side of the argument that he supports until the very end of the article. Even then, he only alludes to his opinion on the subject, vaguely stating that he would not consider it a loss to have such stores' products as Ikea ruined (29). The delayed and half hearted attempt at a thesis is not a good feature of an argument according to the academic discourse community. The second error that Cave makes is that he looses his voice in the paper as a whole. Short though it is, Cave still manages to stuff no less than eleven sources in his article. While a wide variety and scope of outside sources in not intrinsically bad, on the contrary it usually is desirable, summarizing the sources rather than having them back up his own ideas is where Cave goes wrong. There are 21 paragraphs total in Cave's article, only 5 of which contain his own voice. At a scanty 24% appearance rate, the academic discourse community would be sure to note the lack of the author's voice. Both the tardy, weak thesis and the overkill of sources as compared to Cave's own voice make the reader question his credibility as an author.

A strong voice of the author is present in John E. Calfee's article entitled "How Advertising Informs to Our Benefit". First, Calfee has a clear and strong...

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