Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Courtney Adams Blog #13

Chapter 5 covers material surrounding the concept of writing an exploratory essay or annotated bibliography.  As I was reading I found a very important rule for writing exploratory essays, “Asserting a thesis too soon can prevent writers from acknowledging an issue’s complexity” (Reader 105).  I have had personal experience with this as I wrote my essay for class and I find it somewhat difficult.  As you are writing and analyzing sources it would be so much easier just to say yes that author is correct and that’s what I believe.  But exploratory essays do not allow for such closure to happen early on in the researching process.  I think this is almost a type of literacy because it takes some getting used to explaining a thinking process like that.  “The essential move for exploratory thinking and writing is to keep a problem alive” (Reader 107).  By prolonging a conclusion and making tension between sources, the thesis question becomes much more interesting.  This can keep the paper alive by making somewhat of a fight or argument.
            Another hot spot I found in chapter 5 was the idea of double-entry research notes.  Before this class I had never heard about this idea.  While reading a source you always take notes but these notes are special that you make, “One column for taking notes on a source and another column for recording your own think about the source” (Reader 111).  I think this is very helpful in remembering the ideas of sources and also making relations to the source.  This also stood out to me because I feel it is something that most people do not use. If it were taught to more people, say in high school, I feel it would be a huge help in writing research essays.
Chapter 8 is titled “Incorporating Sources Into Your Own Writing”.  One of the main points I found here was the use of sources.  Reader states, “Your own argument should govern your use of source” (199).  I think this is important to mention because sources used in an essay should always back up the position of the writer on a topic.
Another thing to remember about sources is how to most effectively incorporate them into an essay.  “Depending on your purpose you might (1) summarize all or part of a source author’s argument, (2) paraphrase a relevant portion of a source, or (3) quote small passages from the source directly” (Reader 202).  These different ways of citation can be used to better explain a certain topic.  For example I usually summarize specific dates and data because I feel that is the best way to reveal that type of information.
Chapter 9 gives more information about citing and documenting sources.
The first hot spot I found in this chapter was that, “It is often difficult to determine when a given piece of information falls into the “common knowledge” column” (Reader 220).  I struggled with this in the part of my exploratory essay where I state Barbie’s dimensions are humanly impossible for a girl to have.  I feel like this is common knowledge but maybe to a guy it wouldn’t be.  The way I have been taught is if you can find the same information on more than 5 sources, it is common knowledge.
Writing works cited pages is always a dread for me.  Keeping everything straight with sources and making sure nothing is plagiarized is very important.  Something to keep in mind is that in works cited, “The list includes all the sources that you mention in your paper.  However, it does not include works you read but did not use” (Reader 225).  This seems confusing to me because everything I read for a paper kind of goes into a research paper folder in my head.  So at the end of the paper I am tempted to list all of the sources I have read but in fact that is incorrect.

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