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•August 25, 2012 • Leave a Comment

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What we’ve covered

•December 10, 2009 • Leave a Comment

It’s been a lovely semester. Here is what we’ve worked on:

Different Rhetorical “Situations”

• Critical reader response • Rhetorical analysis • Memoir • Summary • Compare/contrast • Reflection • Narration • Peer Review • Positioning • Letters/emails • Argument/persuasion

Aspects of Writing

• Purpose • Audience • Thesis • Voice/tone • Introductions, bodies, conclusions • Transitions • Paragraphs • Parts of speech • Context • Analysis • Description • Logic • Argument • Ethos, Pathos, and logos • Facts, opinions, emotional conditions, calls to action • Grammar

Writing as a Process

• Freewriting • Drafting/generating • Outlining • Research • Editing • Peer review • Analysis • Critique • Group discussion/dialogue • Evaluation of sources • Synthesizing information • Copy editing • Getting support/guidance • Citation

Grammar and Punctuation

Commas • Subjects, verbs, and predicates • Verb tense • Subject-verb agreement • Copy editing

MLA Style and Use of Sources

• Conducting research • Legitimate sources • Citing sources appropriately • Integrating source material • plagiarism

College Writing in General

• Standards of correctness • Etiquette within a discourse community • Gender-neutral language • Ownership of work •  Appropriate, legitimate source material • Rhetorical media literacy • Plagiarism and the use of other’s work • Values-identification and the link between values, emotions, thoughts/ideas, and behaviors

Peer Review: Argumentative Research Paper

•December 8, 2009 • Leave a Comment

1.)    Evaluate the opening paragraph. After reading the entire paper, did the writer address everything he/she indicated would be in the paper in the first paragraph? Did the first paragraph (or first two paragraphs) pay off? Any suggestions for revision?

2.)    What is the thesis of this paper?

3.)    Does this thesis take a stand? How so?

4.)    Is this thesis specific? To what?

5.)    Is this thesis relevant? Does it justify its existence? How so?

6.)    Does this thesis express one main idea? What is it?

7.)    What logical points does the writer use to support the thesis?

8.)    What is the evidence presented to support those logical points?

9.)    How are the transitions in the paper from point to point? How does the paper flow? How does the writer indicate transitions between points?

10.) What are the sources used in the paper? Are the sources legitimate? Are they used effectively? What are some other possible sources this writer could use to make the paper stronger?

11.) How is this paper structured? Can you follow the paper’s logic through its structure? Is there anything that seems misplaced, or extraneous?

12.) What are the counterarguments the writer has identified? Is he/she refuting  counterarguments effectively? Are there other counterarguments you feel the writer should address?

13.) How does the conclusion work? Does it reinforce the thesis? Does it stick to the consistent message of the paper?

14.) Has the writer done a good job of using logic to persuade a reader? Even if you disagree, has the writer made the logical leaps necessary to form cohesive arguments that support the writer’s thesis? How so? If not, how could it be improved?

Top 12 Best Practices for Writing an Argumentative Paper [And Making Arguments in General].

•December 3, 2009 • Leave a Comment

1.    Always propose a solution, even if you’re arguing against something. (If you’re arguing against something, you can propose several possible solutions. Also, when proposing a solution, it is appropriate—and effective—to add a call to action.)
2.    Always concede something, no matter how small. It lends legitimacy.
3.    Demonstrate an understanding of the viewpoints of others. Show that you understand the issue from other angles.
4.    For every point you make, provide evidence that supports that point. On average, most argumentative papers cite a source ever 250 words or so. On a six- to eight-page paper, that’s five or six sources.
5.    Things that can be quantified (or felt through the five senses) often provide the strongest evidence supporting an argument, followed by two or more experts confirming your point of view.
6.    Your goal is not to win. Your goal is to persuade, with logical evidence and the use of rhetoric (ethos, pathos, and logos) that what you propose is the best solution to a problem. Your goal is to convince your audience that your ideas or course of action will solve a problem.
7.    Show how your proposed solution will provide the greatest benefit over all other solutions.
8.    Avoid logical fallacies.
9.    Use your personal experience for pathos, and, to a lesser extent, ethos, but don’t consider it reliable for logos. The experience of one person usually doesn’t make for a strong logical argument for issues that affect a large amount of people.
10.    Don’t be afraid of the proverbial “we.” It’s inclusive and it’s powerful.
11.    Remember the power of these two human emotions: Love and Fear. You can imagine them as Comfort and Danger. You can image them as Peace and War. At any rate, most rhetoric relies on the masterful understanding of these two basic emotions.
12.  When constructing a thesis statement, be specific about the Who, What, When, Where, and Why of the issue. Particularly the Why.

And don’t forget all you have learned already about writing, and include deft use of: a.) active voice, b.) sensory detail, and c.) the differences between statements of fact, emotional conditions, statements of opinion, and calls to action.

Neglected Warriors: Editorial, New York Times

Par for the Course: Commentary, Slate Magazine

Assignment: Argumentative Research Paper

•November 19, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Your assignment is to write a 6 – 8 page Argumentative Research Paper on a topic of your choice. The paper must:

•    Take a stand on an issue
•    Use logic, evidence, and effective writing to make an argument for your stand
•    Use logic, evidence, and effective writing to counter opposing views
•    Use 5-7 legitimate sources effectively
•    Cite sources using MLA style
•    Avoid the most common logical fallacies
•    Contain fewer then seven spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors

11/19        Understanding the assignment.

11/23        Preliminary topics researched. Possible thesis statements developed .

11/28        Research on thesis conducted. Thesis refined. Sourced gathered from books,   magazines, newspapers, and web sites.

12/01        Assignment 29: (10 points) Typed thesis statement, plus three to five sources typed in MLA style (based on your preliminary research). You must DROP IN DROPBOX and BRING A COPY TO CLASS. Library Research Day. Come to class first.

12/03       Assignment 30: (10 points) Detailed Outline. DROP IN DROPBOX and BRING A COPY TO CLASS.

12/08       Assignment 31: (20 points + 20 points) Draft One of Research Paper + Peer Review. Bring two copies to class.

12/10       Additional research conducted. Paper proofread, copy-edited. Library Research Day with in-class tutors. Come to class first.

12/11       Revision of paper completed.

12/11    Assignment 32: Final Assignment: (100 points) Draft Two of Argumentative Research Paper. DROP BOX  CLOSES AT 9 p.m.

12/14 and 12/15 Final individual conferences.

For Thursday

•November 17, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Summary of health care bill currently on Senate floor. This is the summary of the bill that was brought forth by the Democratic committee and passed in the House. Read this before class.

Analysis of American engagement on the issue. Read this before class.

Another argument in the form of a personal testimony. We will watch this in class.

Another argument in the form of extended metaphor. We will watch this in class.

Another argument from Ron Paul on CNN Live. We will watch this in class.

Another argument from Glenn Beck. We will watch this in class.

Peer Review, Genius Essay

•November 9, 2009 • Leave a Comment

1.)    Does the opening paragraph grab you, or tell you what the paper is about? Is the paper’s subject and intent clear to you in reading the first few paragraphs?
2.)    Who is the audience for this paper?
3.)    What are the four qualities of “genius” as defined by the author? How does the author use these qualities to assert that the person is a “genius”? Is it convincing to you that these four criteria make a “genius”? Why or why not?
4.)    What methods of argumentation does the author use to claim that this person constitutes a “genius”?
5.)    What evidence specifically does the author use to support his/her claims? Describe.
10.)  In your view, has the author properly used sources and cited them in the body of the essay? Describe the methods of source citation that the author is using (paraphrasing, summary, and/or quotation).
11.)  Review the source list. Under the guidelines we discussed, are they legitimate sources? Are they presented (to the best of your knowlege) in MLA style?
10.)  In your opinion, does this paper make convincing arguments? Why, or why not? Where does it fall apart for you logically?
13.)  Where in the paper does Ethos, Pathos, and Logos appear? How is the author building a case,  persuading us to his beliefs?
15.)  What are the counterarguments the author presents? Are the other counterarguments to be made? Think of one that detracts you from accepting the author’s arguments.