Last Lecture – Conclusions and Citation Notes

finish line long

Last Word on Citations

Rule of Thumb:

If you are not sure whether you need a citation after any particular statement in your paper, it is better to cite than not. You will not be marked down or accused of plagiarism if you have too many citations, but you could be marked down or accused of plagiarism if you have too few.

You should cite when:

  • You give statistics.
  • The information is unique and not known by most people.
  • The reader might ask, “How do you know that?”
  • You use a direct quotation from someone else.
  • You use someone else’s ideas.
  • You paraphrase a direct quotation from someone else.

You don’t need to cite when:

  • The information is commonly known (either by the general population, or commonly known within the particular discipline).
  • When most or all of your sources say the same thing on that particular point.
  • When it is your own original thought or opinion.

What if you’re not sure?

If you are not sure, as stated under “Rule of Thumb” above, it is better to include a citation. You will not be accused of plagiarism for citing something you didn’t need to.

 

Conclusion Strategies Review:

The Simple Summary:

What it’s for: To recap what you have said.

Use this approach when you have a long or complex essay or an instructional text that focuses on concepts.

Caution: In a short, easy to follow essay, a summary conclusion can be dull or even annoying to readers. A brief summary followed by a more artful concluding strategy can sometimes be effective.

 

Larger Significance Conclusion

This draws the readers’ attention to the importance to or the applications of your argument.

Good for: when you want to elaborate on the significant of your problem by showing how your proposed solution leads to understanding a larger conclusion or brings practical benefits to society.

 

Proposal Conclusion

Good for: Call to action, or call for future study.

Often used in analysis or argument papers, this conclusion states the action that needs to be taken. It also briefly explains its advantages over alternative actions, or it may describe its beneficial consequences.

In a call to action, if your paper analyzes the negative consequences of shifting from a graduated to a flat-rate income tax, your conclusion might recommend an action such as modifying or opposing flat taxes.

In a call for future study, your conclusion might indicate what else needs to be known or resolved before a proposal can be offered. Common in scientific writing.

 

Scenic or Anecdotal Conclusion

Good for: when you want to use a scene or a BRIEF story to illustrate your theme without stating it explicitly.

This strategy is often used in popular writing. It can help the reader experience the emotional significance of a topic. Example: a paper favoring public housing for the homeless may end by describing a homeless person collecting bottles in the parl.

 

Hook and Return Conclusion

Good for: when you want to return to something mentioned in the beginning of the essay.

If your essay begins with a vivid illustration of a problem, the conclusion can return to the same scene or story, but WITH SOME VARIATION to indicate the significance of the essay.

 

Delayed Thesis Conclusion

Good for: stating the thesis for the first time at the end of the essay.

This can work if you are writing about complex or divisive issues and you don’t want to take a stand until you have presented all sides. In this case, the introduction of the essay merely states the problem, giving the exploratory feel.

 

Conclusion notes from Allyn and Bacon Guide to Writing, 4th Edition, Florida International University Edition, pp. 616-617

 

 

Class Notes “Cram Session”

                            stuffed suitcase

How to Write an Intro:

 Introductions: Page 593-598 in Composing and Revising Closed-Form Prose

I went over this in class. Remember the Napster article? It’s a great example of revising a sloppy intro.

YOUR INTRO ONLY NEEDS TO DO THREE THINGS:

  1. to spark the interest of readers,
  2. to move readers gracefully toward the thesis statement, and
  3. to present the thesis statement of the essay

Just get the reader’s attention, in a clever way if you can, move toward the thesis statement, and then present the thesis statement.

Introductions generally are not long, certainly not longer than body paragraphs. Avoid going into depth developing ideas in the introduction. That’s for the body paragraphs of an essay, not for the introduction. The primary purpose of an introduction is just to introduce your essay.

 How to write the first sentence in a paragraph.

  • If you want to keep it simple. Make your first sentence a clear topic sentence.
  • If you are transitioning to a new paragraph and the next paragraph is dealing with the same topic….use phrases such as “similarly,” “in the same vein,”
  • If you are presenting a new idea, just come out with it. Say it.
  • If you are presenting an idea that is contrary to the one you just finished, use transition words such as “On the other hand, critics of the iPod 6 maintain that….”

How to stretch a topic to last 5-7 pages

Write everything you think you can write about each viewpoint. See how many words you have, or how many pages you have. If you have written everything you know to write. Then write your conclusion and your introduction. Then take a look at the balance between your points you are making. If they are roughly the same length, and you are short by a page and a half, then each of the three topics needs 1/3 of a page more. Here’s where you go deeper into your topic.

Perhaps your paragraphs are too simple. Perhaps you stop your sentences short and they could be expanded on.

In contrast to Hemingway’s simple use of sentence, Denis Johnson uses more complex sentences.     Well, so what? Why don’t you tell us in what way here. Expand it right out of the gate:

In contrast to Hemingway’s simple use of sentence, Denis Johnson uses more complex sentences, often incorporating elements of black humor, double entendre, and subtle drug references within the guise of language-rich compound sentence structure.

How to Avoid  Dropped Quotations

What are they?

Dropped quotations are lines or passages from the text that stand alone as sentences, or are spliced into sentences in a grammatically incorrect manner.

For example:

In his short story, “Little Things,” Raymond Carver clearly shows a conflict between the two characters.  A couple is fighting over custody of their baby.  “She would have it, this baby.  She grabbed for the baby’s other arm.  She caught the baby around the wrist and leaned back.  But he would not let go.  He felt the baby slipping out of his hands and he pulled back very hard.” 

 

Why is this a problem?

As a matter of style, dropping quotations is simply not elegant.  As a matter of content, dropped quotations demonstrate a lack of mastery over the material and a lack of context for the quoted information.  Who is saying this?  Why?  What does it mean?  How does it relate to your thesis?  The reader should not have these questions when you are using textual evidence.

How do I fix the problem?

There are three easy fixes:

  1. Use a simple “signal phrase”:

Carver writes, “She would have it, this baby.  She grabbed for the baby’s other arm.  She caught the baby around the wrist and leaned back.  But he would not let go.  He felt the baby slipping out of his hands and he pulled back very hard” (2). 

  1. Choose key words and phrases and blend them into your own sentence

Carver writes that the mother “grabbed” the baby while the father “pulled back very hard” (2). 

  1. Use block quotation format for quotes longer than four lines:

Carver writes:

She would have it, this baby.  She grabbed for the baby’s other arm.  She caught the baby around the wrist and leaned back.  But he would not let go.  He felt the baby slipping out of his hands and he pulled back very hard. (2) 

 Note punctuation of citations in the above examples.

 

Dropped quotation:

McMurphy also engages in a game of manipulation similar to that of the Nurse, as he manages to make a fool of her on several occasions, further undermining her authority and psychological hold over the patients.  “She’s glaring at those big white whales leaping round his shorts in pure wordless outrage.  That’s more’n she can take” (88).  The Nurse was compelled to surrender because she could not bear to have the other patients see her in a vicious, vengeful state brought on by McMurphy, so she temporarily abandoned her desire to chastise him.

Blended quotations:

McMurphy also engages in a game of manipulation similar to that of the Nurse, as he manages to make a fool of her on several occasions, further undermining her authority and psychological hold over the patients.  When she sees him in his boxers, she “glar[es] at those big white whales leaping round his shorts in pure wordless outrage.  That’s more’n she can take” (88).  The Nurse was compelled to surrender because she could not bear to have the other patients see her in a vicious, vengeful state brought on by McMurphy, so she temporarily abandoned her desire to chastise him.

By keeping the meeting delayed, the people of the ward can see the nurse is thrown off.  Through subtle delays or obstructions, Bromden can see that “the nurse’s head gives one little jerk, barely enough to see, but my heart is suddenly roaring” (97).  Even the slightest weakness in the Nurse fills Bromden with a sudden rush of emotion, a “roaring” that represents power and freedom.

After he volunteers Doctor Spivey to share news with the group, she reacts: “The nurse’s head gives one little jerk, barely enough to see, but my heart is suddenly roaring” (97). 

 

The people of the ward can see the nurse is thrown off.  Even the slightest “little jerk” in the Nurse fills Bromden with a “sudden” rush of emotion, a “roaring” in his “heart” that represents power and freedom (97).

In-text citations:

https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/02/

 General Questions

 Should I state my own viewpoint in the thesis?

No. Use the essay on transracial adoption as an example of when/where to state your own opinion.

https://www.uscupstate.edu/uploadedFiles/academics/arts_sciences/Language_and_Literature/ELF%20Volume%203%202011.pdf

Or use the sample of the Critical response from our textbook on page 72.

How do I improve my sentence structure?

Practice writing. Read sentences aloud. Have a paragraph of an article you admire in front of you when you read. Copy the structure of the paragraph. Use it like paint-by-numbers. Don’t copy the content, just the structure. Read a lot. Read your own work out loud.

Attempts at explanations for increases in voter participation in this year’s elections were offered by several candidates.

Better: Several candidates attempted to explain why more voters participated in this year’s election.

Here’s another: A person taking on the role of caregiver for another, a sick elder, perhaps, is a very demanding job. (Mixed construction)

 Better: A person taking on the role of caregiver for another, a sick elder, perhaps, has a very demanding job.

 

When dealing with the viewpoints, do I include background information?

It depends. If it needs it, you include it. Look at sample essays :

 

How do I know if the information I am providing is valuable or if it is going over something the reader already knows?

Sometimes if a reader knows information already, they will overlook it to discover the new thing you are talking about, or if they are more advanced than you, they might keep reading to see how well you make your point, even if they already know what it is.  It is okay to give background information, even if you suspect it is common knowledge (AJ paper).Background info orients the reader. You run into problems if your thesis/argument/ or supporting information is globally rudimentary. Again, read a lot. Read the kind of writing you have to do.

Are op-ed pieces reliable as sources?

It depends on the authority of the person writing the piece. If it is Jack Johnson, retired deli owner, writing a piece on military strategy, probably not.  If it is Jack Johnson writing a piece on the recording industry today, it is better. It also depends on the context. What you pull from it needs to be relevant to the piece you are writing.

Can I insert my opinion?

  • What does the assignment sheet say?
  • What does the layout of sample assignments suggest?

 

How do I get help with my commas? I still can’t do them right.

If you are struggling with proper use of commas, or with any writing skill, find your way to a writing lab, or Google something like, “Comma practice worksheet” and practice them until you get them right.

Here is one. I found it in point five seconds.

http://www.grammarbook.com/grammar_quiz/commas_1.asp

Help! I still need more help understanding my topic! What do I do?

If you don’t understand your topic, read and read until you do understand it. College is not like high school. No one will spoon-feed you information. Sometimes a professor will say write a paper on x, and it will be loosely based on theories you cover in class and you are responsible for taking what you learn and applying it to a totally different topic that may not have been mentioned in class.

I once unwillingly took a class in Late Victorian American Literature, where we read a whole bunch of obscure texts and talked about literary theory of the late 1800s. Then I wrote a paper on a book we had never mentioned, using a theme we had never mentioned, and literary theory we had never mentioned, and in fact, my professor knew little about. I had no idea what I was doing but I read for five hours a day for three weeks before I even produced my annotated bib. And I’m not special. It’s what everyone does.

Help! I feel like the research in this paper is very had to find – we have to tie in disabilities, and it makes the paper a lot harder than it should be. What do I do?

See above, and also, put in as much time and effort as it takes. They say for every one credit hour in which you enroll, you will spend approximately two to three hours outside of class studying. Use the formula: 3 credit hours (1 course) = 3 hours in class per week = 9hours study time per week per three credit course.

 

Unit 4 Critical Analysis 11/8 – 11/13

bad yearbook photo

Monday/Tuesday 11/9 and 11/10

Class Objectives:

  • Discuss two sample papers from BDT –

Homework:

  • Read BTD p. 46 – “Should Welfare Recipients be Drug Tested?” Be prepared for class discussion.
  • Finish The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. We will be discussing next week, so you can take all week to read.
  • Prepare paper proposal to turn in 11/11 and 11/12

Wed/Thurs 11/11 and 11/12

Class Objectives:

  • Discuss Dubois’ argument. How does it respond to Washington’s argument? What concessions, if any, does Dubois make? Why and how does he disagree with Washington’s argument? How does this fulfill the obligations of a critical analysis?
  • Group work: Discuss “Should Welfare Recipients be Drug Tested?”
  • How to write an annotated bibliography

Homework:

 

 

 

Paper Proposal Format

frogcape

YOU CAN DO IT

Here are the steps for writing this one page(ish) (roughly 250 word) proposal for the Critical Response paper.

1. Choose a topic you have an interest in.

2. Generate an interesting problem you see regarding the topic. Turn that into a question. Write the question.

3. Turn the question into arguable, meaningful thesis. Write the thesis.

4. Write a brief, 1-2 paragraph description of the paper as you see it in idea form. Be sure to include a tentative title (this can change).

5. Roughly, briefly outline the parts of the paper as you see it possibly progressing ( this can also change)

6. Explain the significance of the topic and what contribution the paper will make to knowledge about the topic. For example, you might write how your paper will give the reader more insight on a specific topic.

7. List planned references for the paper (this can also change).

 

This whole assignment should be under two pages.

It should look like this:

Your name and identifying info

Ms. Davies, blah blah blah

                                                                            Tentative Title

Topic:

Question:

Thesis:

A paragraph or two describing the paper as you think it might go.

A short paragraph about the significance of the topic.

Very brief outline.

 

References:

Easy sneezy.

 

Sample Critical Response Papers

I found USC Upstate’s paper English literary file! There is one critical response paper called “Where to Draw the Line Between Transracial Adoption.” Check it out. https://www.uscupstate.edu/uploadedFiles/academics/arts_sciences/Language_and_Literature/ELF%20Volume%203%202011.pdf

http://www.chabotcollege.edu/learningconnection/wrac/online/essays/Exampleresponseessay.asp   this is about 1500 words.  It is first-person heavy. A little too much for our assignment, but the student does use primary research. The tone is also less academic than we are looking for with our assignment.

http://www.vilondon.org/writing-solutions-free-critical-response-essay-example.htm  This essay is about 580 words. About 1/3 of the length we are looking for with our essays, but it is fairly solid.

http://www.tc.umn.edu/~jewel001/CollegeWriting/WRITEREAD/CritReview/samples.htm  Sample 2 is about 1225 words, a little short of our goal, but it is close in pacing to what we are looking for with our assignment.

I hesitate to share this website, because it is an essay-writing site that sells term papers. Do not use this. You will get caught and it will not go well for you. However, the little sample essays are not too shabby. They include outlines. This should help you with your writing process to see the outline modeled, then read the paper. Here is one:

http://www.custom-essays.org/examples/Solitude_and_Violence_Essay_Desert_Solitaire_vs_River_Runs_Through_It.html  This is 1449 words, just about at where you should be with this paper assignment.

Here is a page with several more:

http://www.custom-essays.org/samples/by_type/Critical_Essay_Examples.html

Again, don’t ever buy an essay. It is outright cheating. As well, I will be collecting Word Docs of this paper when we turn in the hard copy of the final draft, and will be using Turnitin software for the final assignment. Other than that, have fun.

 

 

 

 

 

Unit 4 – Critical Analysis – 11/4 and 11/5

Wed/Thurs 11/4 and 11/5

Objectives:

  • Understand different types of research (primary, secondary)
  • Learn how to evaluate sources and take a position
  • Argue Your Own Thesis
  • Brainstorm potential topics- group exercise

Homework:

  • Read BTD – pp. 65 – 85 “Writing Projects: Critical Response Paper”
  • Read BTD – Booker T. Washington, “Atlanta Exposition Address,” p. 108
  • Read BDT – W.E.B. Dubois, “Of Mr. Booker T. Washington,” p. 112

 

 

Bonus College Application Essay Tips!

college-admissions

Since many students have asked me about the college application essay, and I don’t have time to help everyone individually,  I thought I would put together a few resources for you to use when writing your essays, if you haven’t already written them.

The college application essay is an opportunity to demonstrate how well your thinking process manages abstract to concrete ideas, how you organize your thoughts, and how well you can think through a topic.

A college essay is an opportunity to create a real person – you- that the admissions committee can relate to, not just another student writing about the death of a grandparent, or the impact a foreign missions trip had on their awareness of poverty (common themes to avoid). Use the essay to create a literary holograph of what makes you tick, images and language that brings you to life right there on the admissions conference table.

A college essay is an opportunity to demonstrate why you would be a valuable addition to their student body, to set your achievements, goals and ideas apart from the masses of students.

A college essay, when done right, will help you shine a light on who you really are, and why you deserve to go to your dream school.

We all love sample essays. Here is a collection of application essays that worked for the Johns Hopkins undergrad admissions committee.

Here is a big collection of essays that worked at colleges including Stanford, Vanderbilt, UC Berkeley, and more, as well as samples from the Common App. If you click on the school logo to the right of the essay listing, it will take you to all of the posted essays by that school. At the bottom of each essay are pros and cons.

The Daily Beast has a collection of essays

 

Finally, I want to share the College Confidential website with you all, if you don’t already live on it.

They have a forum where people who have already gotten in to schools you are interested will “chance you,” based on your test credentials, grades, extracurriculars,  and such.

Also, there is a lot of college info on there outside of their forum. I encourage you  to check it out.