OSense O-Sense

Colloquium on Discourse communities at the 23rd October 2014 at Lake Side, Anuradhapura

(Former Nuwara Wewa Rest House, in Anuradhapura)

The main objective is to prepare the Mphil students for the defense of their thesis and enlighten Prof Swales on the outreach of the Concept of Discourse Communities into Ethnographic Research, Musicology and Art History. The two PhD candidates too participated.


  • Mr. Jayathilake
  • Mr. T. Arunakirinathan
  • Mr. Vimalashankar
  • Mrs. V. Pushparaj
  • Mrs. K. Sivaji
  • Mrs. Nirosha Kulasekara
  • Mrs. S.Y.Dias
  • Mrs. R.R. Attigale

by Dinali Fernando (Dept. of English UOK)

  • Began after lunch with Mphil and Phd students
  • 8 Mphil and PhD students presented their work up to now
  • 7 presented in English, while 1 presented in Tamil with an English translator
  • The research studies were based on several discourse communities in Sri Lanka
  • They represented the diversity of DCs in the country
  • Some were particularly little known areas that were being researched for the first time
  • The studies focused on several underprivileged, marginalized, minority communities, which was one of the most outstanding features overall
  • Combined linguistic and cultural studies, another plus point
  • Overall, the students seemed very interested and passionate about their research studies
  • They were in different stages of the research – while some had completed data collection and some of the analysis, some others appeared to be at preliminary stages of data collection
  • Some research studies lacked focus, had not narrowed down their areas in a researchable way
  • Several presentations lacked a convincing description of methodology – orientations, approaches, tools, and the justification for these
  • Ethical issues were not addressed by most of the presenters, even though many work with vulnerable groups – this is a significant limitation
  • It also appeared that some students had not heeded previous guidelines and suggestions for revisions given at earlier sessions
  • Some presentations also lacked a comprehensive literature review, or they were left out of the presentation
  • Some researchers did not refer to significant previous research in the area
  • The concept of a discourse community did not come across very clearly particularly in the research on English language learning (this was John Swales’ comment)

(These were mostly Prof. Manique’s and Prof. John’s comments)

  • Timing was mostly maintained well by the presenters, despite the constraints. However, one or two of the presenters ignored the time limitations.
  • Power point slides were sometimes too wordy, and contained too much information.
  • Visuals were underused except for the presentation that focused on visual representations.
  • Reading out everything in the slides was another failing – often the audience was not given the opportunity to read them.
  • Advice was also given to one student to limit the scope of the research – to focus on a lesser number of communities.
  • Advice was also given to modulate voices and to speak at a slower pace in order to improve communication.

Professor Asoka de Zoysa
Coordinator HTEC Project