msu science and culture museum

msu science and culture museum

Paper #3 (WRA 1004)

Writing Situation: In our class exercises, you explored an artifact that represented an important aspect of your home culture; in your last paper, you analyzed your translating processes, in moving from one language or culture to another.

Now you will turn your attention to MSU culture: something that is still in the process of becoming your “home.” Your paper will explore an aspect of culture here at Michigan State University that you would like to understand in greater detail.

To use an image from class, MSU culture can seem like an iceberg—where you see only the surface, but 7/8s of the “iceberg” is beneath “water,” beneath what we see. This project invites you to explore some part of MSU culture that you know very little about. Your job is to learn more about this aspect of MSU culture (through interviews, surveys, web searches, a popular article, a scholarly article)—so that you come to a deeper understanding of why this culture does what it does, how it does it, and how it thinks about and responds to students.

Rhetorical Purpose: to demonstrate to others your growing knowledge of MSU culture, in a way so that others, especially students, can benefit from what you have learned.

Learning Goal: (1) inquiry into the “hidden” conventions and practices of a culture that is relatively new to you; and (2) practice locating, evaluating, and synthesizing source materials for an original research project.

Audience: other students who can benefit from what you have learned about this aspect of MSU culture.


  • Interview notes/Survey samples, along with field notes from observation
  • Field & interview notes
  • Dialogic note-taking (on at least one article, either popular or scholarly, related to your topic—will work on this at the library)
  • Rough drafts and final draft (4-5 pages), including a visual
  • Reflection (in class pm 11/2) – what I used from my research and why; what was most / least helpful to my paper’s purpose and how
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