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Final Research Paper

REMINDER: The final research paper is due at the beginning of class on Wednesday, May 4.

In Class Work Wednesday, February 23

February 23, 2011

Part One: Rewrite the below sentences to be clearer, more precise, and more direct.  Correct grammatical errors.

  1. The man who did it was arrested for crimes.
  2. However shortly thereafter the previous time though all the people went until which was a hard time back to work.
  3. In Kanye’s memoir he states that it was hard to sing with microphones.
  4. As he talks about later in the memoir Kanye thought Ashton was hating on him for punking him at his music video shoot even though it was for his show and for fun.
  5. The article by Marshall focuses on the events that occurred in Philadelphia two centuries ago.
  6. As years passed since the first draft of the Constitution, important changes have been made to the document.

Part Two:

Part Two: Compare the following three thesis statements:

  1. Thurgood Marshall’s essay was organized historically.
  2. Thurgood Marshall organized his essay by beginning at the drafting of the Constitution and then progressing chronologically to the present day.
  3. Thurgood Marshall organized his essay by beginning at the drafting of the Constitution and then progressing chronologically to the present day. This chronological arrangement allows Marshall to present his evidence as a series of cause and effect relationships, which supports his argument that compromises have lasting, long-term effects.

What are the differences between these three statements? Why is the third one a stronger thesis than the first two?  What information has been added to the third that makes it better?

Look specifically at the third thesis statement. What are the various claims that need to be discussed in the body paragraphs? How would you argue this thesis? What are the two criteria being focused on in this evaluation?

Part Three: Based upon what you’ve read in the textbook and the above activity, compose a series of three thesis statements evaluating the reliability of Thurgood Marshall’s essay (you can use the thesis that you wrote for homework as a starting point, if you would like).


Homework Due Wednesday, February 23

February 16, 2011

Note #1: This homework assignment is a bit longer as you have a full week to complete the assignment.

Note #2: If you didn’t pick up or lost your essay #2 assignment sheet, download and review it from the widget.

Part One: Skim Chapter 9 “The Elements of Persuasive Academic Arguments” (320-343), Chapter 10 “Reading Academic Arguments Critically” (344-355), and Chapter 11 “The Role of Claims in Academic Arguments” (356-365). For each chapter, select an important and/or useful point or idea and elaborate on that point. How will that point be important for you in your own research and writing? What did you learn from it?

Part Two: Print out and read the H. Jefferson Powell essay for Essay #2 (in the widget at the right). While you read the essay through, I would like you to annotate the essay. In the margin next to each paragraph, write down the purpose of the paragraph. Underline what you think is the thesis of the essay. Circle words that you don’t understand, look them up, and define them in the margin. Note down references (such as “Platonic Guardians”) that you don’t know. Consider looking them up and noting down what they are in the margin as well.

Part Three: In the first paragraph of Powell’s essay, Powell discusses three “usages” of the word “Constitution”. I would like you to write a series of three paragraphs in which you identify each of these usages, explain what each usage means, and then come up with an original example that illustrates that usage. Your response should take into consideration why these differences are important.

Part Four: Using both Powell’s own claims and your own knowledge, thoughts, and ideas discuss why these different “usages” of the word “Constitution” might cause problems. You should discuss one direct quote from Powell and one specific idea or piece of knowledge that you provide. Consider how to present your own idea in a concrete, persuasive, and disinterested manner that a reader can easily understand and accept.

In Class Wednesday, February 16

February 16, 2011

Part One: Read the below quote and respond:

The more technique you have, the less you have to worry about it. The more technique there is, the less there is.

-Pablo Picasso

What are examples of technique when writing a paper? Restate Picasso’s claim in your own words. What does he mean in this statement? Do you agree or disagree with his claim about technique? Why? Write for 7-9 minutes.

Part Two: Look at your analysis thesis from the homework and think about what it means to analyze an essay’s organization. Come up with a list of categories or topics that you should consider when analyzing organization, such as “order of the paragraphs” or “order of the sections” or “location of concrete examples.” Come up with a list of 5-7 additional categories or topics that you could look at to analyze an essay’s organization.

Part Three: Look at your evaluation thesis from the homework and think about what it means for an essay to be reliable. Come up with a list of criteria (at least 5 items) that you could use to evaluate an essay’s reliability. For example, one criterion could be the education and expertise of the author. Then for each criterion, jot down how a specific description of how you would actually perform the evaluation. For example, when evaluating the education and expertise of the author, I would look at what undergraduate and graduate degrees the author has, how those degrees relate to the topic of the essay, what the author’s work history is and how that relates to the topic of the essay, and look at the author’s previous publishing history.

Homework Due Wednesday, February 16

February 14, 2011

Part One: Read Chapter 8 “What Makes an Academic Argument ‘Academic’?” (pages 308-319). Using the claims and ideas from this chapter, answer the chapter’s title question: What do you think makes an academic argument ‘academic’? Specifically address your own strengths/weaknesses in writing and the ideas in the chapter that you think will be particularly useful.

Part Two: Return to the Thurgood Marshall essay that you wrote about for your first paper. I would like you to write two strong thesis statements (not full essays, just the thesis statements) based on the below analytical and evaluative prompts.

  1. Analyze the organization of Marshall’s essay. Consider the questions on organization posed in the textbook on page 260-261 as possible prompts to guide your analysis: “How does the organizational pattern contribute to the meaning of the piece? Would the meaning change if the parts were arranged differently?”
  2. Evaluate the reliability of Marshall’s essay. Your thesis should include specific criteria that you would use to evaluate the text.

In Class Monday, February 14

February 14, 2011

Part One: What does it mean to analyze a text? What experience do you have writing an analysis paper (hint: what did you do in English 101)? What does it mean to evaluate a text? What experience do you have writing an evaluation paper (hint: what did you do in English 101)? Based upon our ultimate goal of writing a research paper, what specifically do you think I will be asking you to do for this analysis and evaluation? Write for 8-10 minutes.

Part Two: Perform a thorough process analysis of making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (by thorough I mean it should be 15+ steps long–be ridiculously specific and detailed).

Part Three: Perform a problem analysis on the problem: How do you fix the traffic on the I-15 near the Las Vegas Strip? Remember that a problem analysis is concerned with discussing the causes and effects of the problem more than the solution–a solution is NOT necessary. Write for 7-9 minutes.

Part Four: Look at this political advertisement. Evaluate the advertisement based on the following parameters (this might seem long–I just want you to jot down notes, rather than worry about crafting perfect sentences; worry about the content rather than the style here). First, you should identify what the advertisement is trying to do–what is its ideal goal (this is analytical and unconcerned, at the moment, with whether it succeeded or failed). Second, you should identify specific criteria (2 or 3) that allow you to evaluate whether the advertisement achieved its goal. Third, you should provide a specific piece of evidence/example from the advertisement that relates to each criterion. Fourth, you should then evaluate each piece of evidence. Finally, you should give a final, overall judgment based on the findings of the specific criteria. Do as much of this as you can in about 15 minutes of writing.

Homework Due Monday, February 14

February 9, 2011

Part One: Based on the results of your peer review and your own editing process, rewrite, revise, and proofread your essay. Remember, that you must turn in the following to receive full credit:

  1. The final paper formatted in MLA style
  2. A separate sheet identifying your thesis, your specific intended audience, the best aspect of the essay, and the worst aspect of the essay.

Part Two: Skim through Chapter 7 “Analysis and Evaluation” (pages 254-305). Briefly describe what you think the differences and similarities are between a response essay, an analysis essay, and an evaluation essay.

In Class Wednesday, February 9

February 9, 2011

In class today, we performed a peer review designed to help you revise and edit your essay. In order to recreate the peer review on your own, you will need to find a peer or use the resources at the writing center:

Peer Review Worksheet.

Instructions: Hand the paragraph-purpose list to your partner. Read your essay out loud while your partner follows along looking at the list.

1. Listen to your partner read his/her essay. As you listen, place a check mark next to the purpose statements that you heard in your partner’s paper. After your partner is finished reading, look at the paper and discuss purpose statements that you did not hear–are they in the paper or is the paper not adequately expressing that idea/purpose?

2. Now hand your essay to your partner. Read each others’ essays. Circle each pronoun (he/she/it/they/one/you/we) and draw an arrow that points to the pronoun’s referent. If there is no referent write a question mark at the end of the arrow.

3. On the back of your partner’s paper, jot down some brief answers to the following: What essay question is your partner responding to? Does the thesis directly answer the question? What exactly is the thesis?

4. Jot down 3 ideas how you think your partner could improve his/her paper.