ENGLISH1 OER TEXTBOOK_2018 (6).pdf - ENGLISH 1 OER TEXTBOOK Edited by Angelina Misaghi \u2013 Updated August 2018 This textbook is adapted from Oregon

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Unformatted text preview: ENGLISH 1 OER TEXTBOOK Edited by Angelina Misaghi – Updated August 2018 This textbook is adapted from: Oregon Writes: Open Writing Text A Project of Oregon Writes Edited by Jenn Kepka CC-BY Creative Commons Attribution and The Process of Research Writing by Steven D. Krause CC-BY-NC-SA Creative Commons Attribution Table of Contents Part 1: Situation and Analysis Part 4: Rhetorical Modes What Does the Professor Want? Understanding the Assignment By Amy Guptill 2 Backpacks v. Briefcases: Steps Toward Rhetorical Analysis By Laura Bolin Carol 13 Description From Writing for Success 126 Murder! Rhetorically Speaking By Janet Boyd 26 Research Writing and Argument: All Writing is Argument By Pavel Zemilansky Persuasion/Argument From Writing for Success 141 Part 2: The Writing Process Constructing the Thesis and Argument from the Ground Up By Amy Guptill Identify Begin Your Search By Deborah Bernnard, Greg Bobish, Jenna Hecker, Irina Holden, Allison Hosier, Trudi Jacobsen, Tor Loney, and Daryl Bullis 42 54 Developing a Strong, Clear Thesis Statement From Writing for Success 63 Writing Body Paragraphs From University of Minnesota 71 Part 3: Research 82 Strategies for Gathering Reliable Information From Successful Writing, v. 1.0 Seven Steps of the Research Process From Cornell University Library Narrative From Writing for Success 117 122 Part 5: Critical Reading Research and Critical Reading By Pavel Zemilansky 153 Part 6: The Process of Research Writing (selected chapters) By Steven Krause 178 Introduction 179 Chapter 1 Thinking Critically About Research 186 Chapter 2 Understanding and Using the Library and Internet for Research Chapter 5 The Working Thesis Exercise Chapter 6 108 The Annotated Bibliography Exercise Chapter 10 The Research Essay *Refer to the page numbering on the upper right corner of the pages in this textbook 204 228 244 252 PG 1 Part 1: Situation and Analysis The process of preparing to write is as important as the drafting process itself; in many cases, it’s more important. Yet this is the process that most of us will skip when in a rush, preferring to dive directly into the writing part of any given writing assignment. Here, through a few excellent readings, we’ll look at the value of starting early; of considering a college writing assignment thoroughly to avoid the misunderstandings that lead to costly rewrites and failing grades; and of considering your audience and final purpose before pen (or keyboard) connects to paper. Our first section on pre-writing also serves as a review of active reading, the most critical skill for college (and daily life) survival that we teach. PG 2 What Does the Professor Want? Understanding the Assignment Amy Guptill Learning Objectives • Understand assignment parameters • Understand the rhetorical situation Writing for whom? Writing for what? The first principle of good communication is knowing your audience. This is where writing papers for class gets kind of weird. As Peter Elbow explains: When you write for a teacher you are usually swimming against the stream of natural communication. The natural direction of communication is to explain what you understand to someone who doesn’t understand it. But in writing an essay for a teacher your task is usually to explain what you are still engaged in trying to understand to someone who understands it better. Often when you write for an audience of one, you write a letter or email. But college papers aren’t written like letters; they’re written like articles for a hypothetical group of readers that you don’t actually know much about. There’s a fundamental mismatch between the real-life audience and the form your writing takes. It’s kind of bizarre, really. It helps to remember the key tenet of the university model: you’re a junior scholar joining the academic community. Academic papers, in which scholars report the results of their research and thinking to one another, are the lifeblood of the scholarly world, carrying useful ideas and information to all parts of the academic corpus. Unless there is a particular audience specified in the assignment, you would do well to imagine yourself writing for a group of peers who have some 3 4 Oregon Writes Open Writing Text PG 3 introductory knowledge of the field but are unfamiliar with the specific topic you’re discussing. Imagine them being interested in your topic but also busy; try to write something that is well worth your readers’ time. Keeping an audience like this in mind will help you distinguish common knowledge in the field from that which must be defined and explained in your paper. Understanding your audience like this also resolve the audience mismatch that Elbow describes. As he notes, “You don’t write to teachers, you write for them.” Student Advice Don’t be scared whenever you are given an assignment. Professors know what it was like to be in college and write all kinds of papers. They aren’t trying to make your lives difficult, but it is their jobs to make us think and ponder about many things. Take your time and enjoy the paper. Make sure you answer the question being asked rather than rant on about something that is irrelevant to the prompt. — Timothée Pizarro Another basic tenet of good communication is clarifying the purpose of the communication and letting that purpose shape your decisions. Your professor wants to see you work through complex ideas and deepen your knowledge through the process of producing the paper. Each assignment—be it an argumentative paper, reaction paper, reflective paper, lab report, discussion question, blog post, essay exam, project proposal, or what have you—is ultimately about your learning. To succeed with writing assignments (and benefit from them) you first have to understand their learning-related purposes. As you write for the hypothetical audience of peer junior scholars, you’re demonstrating to your professor how far you’ve gotten in analyzing your topic. Professors don’t assign writing lightly. Grading student writing is generally the hardest, most intensive work instructors do. With every assignment they give you, professors assign themselves many, many hours of demanding and tedious work that has to be completed while they are also preparing for each class meeting, advancing their scholarly and creative work, advising students, and serving on committees. Often, they’re grading your papers on evenings and weekends because the conventional work day is already saturated with other obligations. What Does the Professor 5 PGWant? 4 You would do well to approach every assignment by putting yourself in the shoes of your instructor and asking yourself, “Why did she give me this assignment? How does it fit into the learning goals of the course? Why is this question/topic/problem so important to my professor that he is willing to spend evenings and weekends reading and commenting on several dozen novice papers on it?” Most instructors do a lot to make their pedagogical (teaching) goals and expectations transparent to students: they explain the course learning goals associated with assignments, provide grading rubrics in advance, and describe several strategies for succeeding. Other professors … not so much. Some students perceive more open-ended assignments as evidence of a lazy, uncaring, or even incompetent instructor. Not so fast! Professors certainly vary in the quantity and specificity of the guidelines and suggestions they distribute with each writing assignment. Some professors make a point to give very few parameters about an assignment—perhaps just a topic and a length requirement—and they likely have some good reasons for doing so. Here are some possible reasons: They figured it out themselves when they were students. Unsurprisingly, your instructors were generally successful students who relished the culture and traditions of higher education so much that they strove to build an academic career. The current emphasis on student-centered instruction is relatively recent; your instructors much more often had professors who adhered to the classic model of college instruction: they gave lectures together with, perhaps, one or two exams or papers. Students were on their own to learn the lingo and conventions of each field, to identify the key concepts and ideas within readings and lectures, and to sleuth out instructors’ expectations for written work. Learning goals, rubrics, quizzes, and preparatory assignments were generally rare. They think figuring it out yourself is good for you. Because your professors by and large succeeded in a much less supportive environment, they appreciate how learning to thrive in those conditions gave them life-long problem-solving skills. Many think you should be able to figure it out yourself and that it would be good practice for you to do so. Even those who do include a lot of guidance with writing assignments sometimes worry that they’re depriving you of an important personal and intellectual challenge. Figuring out unspoken expectations is a valuable skill in itself. They’re egg-heads. Many of your instructors have been so immersed in their fields that they may struggle to remember what it 6 Oregon Writes Open Writing Text PG 5 was like to encounter a wholly new discipline for the first time. The assumptions, practices, and culture of their disciplines are like the air they breathe; so much so that it is hard to describe to novices. They may assume that a verb like “analyze” is self-evident, forgetting that it can mean very different things in different fields. As a student, you voluntarily came to study with the scholars, artists, and writers at your institution. Rightly or wrongly, the burden is ultimately on you to meet them where they are. Professors value academic freedom; that is, they firmly believe that their high-level expertise in their fields grants them the privilege of deciding what is important to focus on and how to approach it. College professors differ in this way from high school teachers who are usually obligated to address a defined curriculum. Professors are often extremely wary of anything that seems to threaten academic freedom. Some see specified learning goals and standardized rubrics as the first step in a process that would strip higher education of its independence, scholarly innovation, and sense of discovery. While a standardized set of expectations and practices might make it easier to earn a degree, it’s also good to consider the benefits of the more flexible and diversified model. It is understandably frustrating when you feel you don’t know how to direct your efforts to succeed with an assignment. However, except for rare egregious situations, you would do well to assume the best of your instructor and to appreciate the diversity of learning opportunities you have access to in college. Like one first-year student told Keith Hjortshoj, “I think that every course, every assignment, is a different little puzzle I have to solve. What do I need to do here? When do I need to do it, and how long will it take? What does this teacher expect of me?” The transparency that you get from some professors—along with guides like this one—will be a big help to you in situations where you have to be scrappier and more pro-active, piecing together the clues you get from your professors, the readings, and other course documents. The pr prompt: ompt: what does “anal “analyze” yze” mean anyway? Often, the handout or other written text explaining the assignment—what professors call the assignment prompt—will explain the purpose of the assignment, the required parameters (length, number and type of sources, referencing style, etc.), and the criteria for evaluation. Sometimes, though—especially when you are new to a field—you will encounter the baffling situation in which you What Does the Professor 7 PGWant? 6 comprehend every single sentence in the prompt but still have absolutely no idea how to approach the assignment. No one is doing anything wrong in a situation like that. It just means that further discussion of the assignment is in order. Here are some tips: Focus on the verbs. Look for verbs like “compare,” “explain,” “justify,” “reflect” or the all-purpose “analyze.” You’re not just producing a paper as an artifact; you’re conveying, in written communication, some intellectual work you have done. So the question is, what kind of thinking are you supposed to do to deepen your learning? Put the assignment in context. Many professors think in terms of assignment sequences. For example, a social science professor may ask you to write about a controversial issue three times: first, arguing for one side of the debate; second, arguing for another; and finally, from a more comprehensive and nuanced perspective, incorporating text produced in the first two assignments. A sequence like that is designed to help you think through a complex issue. Another common one is a scaffolded research paper sequence: you first propose a topic, then prepare an annotated bibliography, then a first draft, then a final draft, and, perhaps, a reflective paper. The preparatory assignments help ensure that you’re on the right track, beginning the research process long before the final due date, and taking the time to consider recasting your thesis, finding additional sources, or reorganizing your discussion.5If the assignment isn’t part of a sequence, think about where it falls in the semester, and how it relates to readings and other assignments. Are there headings on the syllabus that indicate larger units of material? For example, if you see that a paper comes at the end of a three-week unit on the role of the Internet in organizational behavior, then your professor likely wants you to synthesize that material in your own way. You should also check your notes and online course resources for any other guidelines about the workflow. Maybe you got a rubric a couple weeks ago and forgot about it. Maybe your instructor posted a link about “how to make an annotated bibliography” but then forgot to mention it in class. Try a free-write. When I hand out an assignment, I often ask students to do a five-minute or ten-minute free-write. A free-write is when you just write, without stopping, for a set period of time. That doesn’t sound very “free;” it actually sounds kind of coerced. The “free” part is what you write—it can be whatever comes to mind. Professional writers use free-writing to get started on a challenging (or distasteful) writing task or to overcome writers block or a powerful 8 Oregon Writes Open Writing Text PG 7 urge to procrastinate. The idea is that if you just make yourself write, you can’t help but produce some kind of useful nugget. Thus, even if the first eight sentences of your free write are all variations on “I don’t understand this” or “I’d really rather be doing something else,” eventually you’ll write something like “I guess the main point of this is …” and—booyah!—you’re off and running. As an instructor, I’ve found that asking students to do a brief free-write right after I hand out an assignment generates useful clarification questions. If your instructor doesn’t make time for that in class, a quick free-write on your own will quickly reveal whether you need clarification about the assignment and, often, what questions to ask. Ask for clarification the right way. Even the most skillfully crafted assignments may need some verbal clarification, especially because students’ familiarity with the field can vary enormously. Asking for clarification is a good thing. Be aware, though, that instructors get frustrated when they perceive that students want to skip doing their own thinking and instead receive an exact recipe for an A paper. Go ahead and ask for clarification, but try to convey that you want to learn and you’re ready to work.In general, avoid starting a question with “Do we have to …” because I can guarantee that your instructor is thinking, “You don’t have to do crap. You’re an adult. You chose college. You chose this class. You’re free to exercise your right to fail.” Similarly, avoid asking the professor about what he or she “wants.” You’re not performing some service for the professor when you write a paper. What they “want” is for you to really think about the material. What Does the Professor 9 PGWant? 8 Potentially Annoying Questions Preferable Alternatives I don’t get it. Can you explain this more? or What do you want us to do? I see that we are comparing and contrasting these two cases. What should be our focus? Their causes? Their impacts? Their implications? All of those things? or I’m unfamiliar with how art historians analyze a painting. Could you say more about what questions I should have in mind to do this kind of analysis? How many sources do we have to cite? Is there a typical range for the number of sources a well written paper would cite for this assignment? or Could you say more about what the sources are for? Is it more that we’re analyzing these texts in this paper, or are we using these texts to analyze some other case? What do I have to do to get an A on this paper? Could I meet with you to get feedback on my (preprepared) plans/outline/thesis/draft? or I’m not sure how to approach this assignment. Are there any good examples or resources you could point me to? Rubrics as rroad oad maps If a professor provides a grading rubric with an assignment prompt, thank your lucky stars (and your professor). If the professor took the trouble to prepare and distribute it, you can be sure that he or she will use it to grade your paper. He or she may not go over it in class, but it’s the clearest possible statement of what the professor is looking for in the paper. If it’s wordy, it may seem like those online “terms and conditions” that we routinely accept without reading. But you really should read it over carefully before you begin and again as your work progresses. A lot of rubrics do have some useful specifics. Mine, for example, often contain phrases like “makes at least six error-free connections to concepts or ideas from the course,” or “gives thorough consideration to at least one plausible counter-argument.” Even less specific criteria (such as “incorporates course concepts” and “considers counter-arguments”) will tell you how you should be spending your writing time. 10 Oregon Writes Open Writing Text PG 9 Even the best rubrics aren’t completely transparent. They simply can’t be. Even well-written, nationally admired rubrics may still seem kind of vague. Take, for example, the Association of American Universities and Colleges critical thinking rubric as an example, what is the real difference between “demonstrating a thorough understanding of context, audience, and purpose” and “demonstrating adequate consideration” of the same? It depends on the specific context. So how can you know whether you’ve done that? A big part of what you’re learning, through feedback from your professors, is to judge the quality of your writing for yourself. Your future bosses are counting on that. At this point, it is better to think of rubrics as roadmaps, displaying your destination, rather than a GPS system directing every move you make. Behind any rubric is the essential goal of higher education: helping you take charge of your own learning, which means writing like an independently motivated scholar. Are you tasked with proposing a research paper topic? Don’t just tell the professor what you want to do, convince him or her of the salience of your topic, as if you were a scholar seeking grant money. Is it a reflection paper? Then outline both the insights you’ve gained and the intriguing questions that remain, as a scholar would. Are you writing a thesis-driven analytical paper? Then apply the concepts you’ve learned to a new problem or situation. Write as if your scholarly peers around the country are eagerly awaiting your unique insights. Descriptors like “thoroughnes...
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