Making Claims

In Project 5, you’ll develop claims about your progress or growth in each of the four learning outcomes (writing, reading, researching, and reflecting). Each of these contains several elements, and while you’ll address each element, you’ll likely do so to varying degrees.

This link might be helpful to review regarding claims.

Claims need to be specific and arguable, and will likely fall in one of the categories below.

Claims of fact or definitionMany of you ended your I-search papers with such claims (though you may not be aware of it). For example, if your I-Search question was, “What do I need to do to be a successful English major?” and your research led you to answers like engaging in the academic community and reading and writing daily, then you’d be defining, in essence, what a successful English major looks like: “A successful English major engages in the academic community and reads and writes daily.”

Practice: What does it take to be a successful college writing (1020) student? What characteristics would you fill in the blank, based on your experiences in the class?

Claims about value–If you have found certain areas of the writing or research process to be especially important in your success in projects, or for reaching particular audiences, you might develop claims about these elements. For example, “Eliminating wordiness in college writing is important because it makes one’s ideas more clear and succinct for the reader,” could be a claim about what is especially valuable in college writing. 

Practice:  What skill did you gain or enhance over the course of this semester?  What part of the writing process had the largest impact on your success at writing tasks?

Claims of cause and effectPerhaps you see your work on one of our projects or an in-class activity as having been especially key in one of your growth areas as a writer. In this case, you could note the causal link between the experience and the result: “Because so-and-so’s I-Search paper was so engaging to me when I read it, I used it as a model for my own project. Using so-and-so’s paper as a model helped me write an equally engaging I-Search paper.” The second sentence here would be a cause and effect claim. 

Practice:  To what extent did writing short responses assist you in creating successful large writing projects?

Claims about solutions or policiesYour proposal arguments centered on these kinds of claims; with your group, you identified a need or issue and then proposed a solution to address that need or issue. While policy claims are not likely to show up in a reflective argument essay, as you think broadly about your research and writing process, you might be able to develop some solution claims. For example, if you had trouble revising sentences for clarity, but found the Elbow reading aloud exercise to be especially useful, you might develop a claim like, “When a writer is having trouble identifying problem areas in sentences, reading aloud is an integral exercise for the revision process, because it allows the writer to hear the text the way a reader will read it” 

Practice:  What did you learn about your shortcomings as a writer or researcher? How did you overcome them and where did you get guidance, an example, or advice?

For each of the developing claims above, what would you do to provide evidence? What examples from your own work this term would be useful for demonstrating your growth and supporting the claim? Which examples would be especially relevant evidence for your audience: your peers, future writing students, teachers from the English department, and even future employers or advisors with whom you share your writing portfolio? How would you write about those examples in your discussion?


Write the reflective argument Rough Draft.  Bring in two copies of just the reflection. (5-8 pages)

Establish portfolio file with the file name of “11588_(accessID)_1020F2014” if you have not already done so.

Your final file should look like these samples:

Portfolio and Reflective Argument Sample #1

Portfolio and Reflective Argument Sample #2

Portfolio and Reflective Argument Sample #3


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