Tag Archives: 1020

Intro Comp

Research Project Presentations and Workshop

One thing that will greatly influence the tone and style of your essay is the intended audience.

In your proposal argument, you want to convince your audience to take action. Your thesis, which should appear at the end of your introduction paragraph(s), describes that action. The body of the essay lays out the reasons for and logistics of that action. Later, in your conclusion, you will reinforce that action.

The first step is to know is who your target audience. This  will help you focus your research, your rhetorical appeals, and the direction of your essay.


Who are you trying to convince to take action? Who has the power to actually make this change? That “who” is your audience.

In your introduction, you need to do a few things to address your audience:

  • Through your identification of relevant details of the discourse community and your discussion of your stake in that community, you will establish your ethos (credibility) as writers.
  • Through your discussion of the issue (What is the problem? Why is it a problem? What have others written or said or done about this problem?) you will show your audience what YOU know about the issue/need and will also bring them up to speed on the discussion at hand.
  • Through your thesis, you will indicate, in a nutshell, what your solution is and why it is important.

Take a look at a sample introduction from last semester. In the intro, the student writers indicate that they plan to write a proposal to the Chipotle corporate office. Thus, as it is written now, the audience is their peers. How would you revise this introduction if the audience was the Chipotle corporate office?

chipotle essay intro that needs to be revised.


Read: Revising by Reading Aloud

Write Project Four! Post work-in-progress to blogs before class on Tuesday.





Evaluations and Proposals


Building Evaluations

What we have to work with:

  • Criteria for Evaluations–Practical, Aesthetic, Ethical
  • Templates for constructing an argument
    • e.g. “X is (not) a good Y because it (fails to) meet(s) criteria P, A, E.”
  • Evaluation arguments are focused on judgments (this is how you should feel about something).  Evaluations focus on whether or not a particular thing “is” problematic (or good or bad) and often what positive or negative consequences occur from this phenomena.  two-thumbs-up
  • Evaluation arguments usually proceed through a strategy of matching components of the evaluated item to specific criteria.  Typically, we put evaluative critieria into one of three categories:
    • Ethical–“right or wrong” “moral” “proper”
    • Aesthetic–“appealing to the senses” “artistic” “captures the spirit”
    • Practical–“beneficial” “economical” “realistic”
  • Evaluation Arguments must be made using practical, ethical or aesthetic criteria.  In other words, it follows the structure “X is (not) a good Y because it (fails to) meet(s) criteria A, E, P.” Otherwise, it’s simply a statement of your opinion with no sound reasoning behind it such as…

Kanye West, Taylor Swift


  • Pick an item to be evaluated
  • Find out the stakes involved in the claim (is this evaluation controversial and/or interesting to others? Who would be opposed to this evaluation and why?)
  • Develop criteria for evaluating that item (what makes it good or bad? which are most important? which are obvious and which ones do you have to argue for? Which are most likely to impact your audience?)


Google Maps is the best mapping program because it is easy to use, it is accurate, and it provides entertaining and educational features such as Google Earth.


astronautRecently, NASA decided to end the space shuttle program.  However, NASA will continue to send humans into space and are researching new vehicles for the purpose.  Since the beginning of the space program, the issue  of whether or not manned space flight is a necessary risk has been a guiding question for NASA as well as its detractors. How can we evaluate whether or not this is a good policy?

  • Practical:
    • Space travel enhances scientific knowledge and many technological benefits have resulted from the research done in this objective. (Pro)
    • We can more cheaply send robots instead of humans. (Con)
  • Aesthetic
    • Space travel is essential to the way we understand ourselves as humans; mtv-moon-astronaut-moonman-flag-300x192US astronauts in space is an indelible American cultural image; popular culture (e.g. MTV) has adopted space pioneers as heroes. (Pro)
    • The very public loss of life due to space disasters can be harmful to our national psyche. (Con)
  • Ethical:
    • Much of space exploration undertaken benefits, directly, human life on earth. (Pro)
    • The huge expenditure required for human space travel would be better used elsewhere.  Human life is endangered by space travel. (Con)

 Weighting Criteria:

Often, as in the space travel example above, there will be both positive and negative conclusions based on your criteria.  After all, if there were *only* good or *only* bad consequences from an action, we probably wouldn’t have to bother doing a formal evaluation.  Therefore, we need to analyze both sides of any topic.


Once you have evaluated a situation or problem and discussed the ramification of the issue for stakeholders, you are ready to move on and propose a solution.


Much like evaluations, proposals are created based on specific criteria and follow a basic structure responding to your claim that “We should (should not) do X.” Proposals are typically arranged in a three part structure:

1. Convincing the audience that a problem exists

e.g. “Economic decline has demoralized the residents of Detroit.”

2. Showing the particulars of your proposal (your solution to the problem)

e.g. “Therefore, we should build a statue of RoboCop…”


3. Justifying why your proposal should be enacted (that your proposal is feasible and will have positive outcomes).

e.g. “…which can be financed by private donations.  This should be done because it will spur tourist interest in the city as well as honor Detroit’s emerging role in film culture.”




Is the real challenge convincing your audience that a problem exists or is it convincing them of a viable solution to a problem they already know exists?

  • Prioritizing the Problem: Depending on the particulars of your topic, one or more of these items may be prioritized over the others. For instance, if you are proposing a fairly straightforward change that requires little detail – say, convincing an audience to ban stem cell research – you might spend the majority of its times on item one (convincing the audience that stem cell research is a problem), with items two (it should be banned entirely in the US) and three (negative consequences if the ban is not enacted) relegated to the final few paragraphs.
  • Prioritizing the Solution: Conversely, often your proposal might be addressing what the majority (if not all) of your audience will agree is a problem; in this case, the challenge is providing a viable solution (if the finding the solution is not a problem, presumably the problem would have already been solved). For instance, most WSU students would agree that parking on campus is a problem; however, providing a feasible solution to this problem is difficult.

The Outline:

  1. Introduction with a nice hook enticing the reader.   Introduction should state:
    1. If you choose to write to a specific audience, say, legislature, you must state the nature of the audience
    2. Issue/problem at hand
    3. Your thesis as the form of a proposal responding to that issue. “We should (not) do X.”
  2. The Stakes–Convincing the audience a problem exists.  In this section, you will evaluate the issue.
    1. What is the problem? Use Practical, Ethical, or Aesthetic criteria to describe the issue
      1. What are the negative consequences?
      2. What is the extent of the problem?
      3. Define any terms that arise which may be controversial.
    2. Who are the stakeholders? Who is affected? Who stands to be affected next?
    3. Is there an end/relief in sight?
  3. The particulars of your proposal.  In this section, you may have to define terms or concepts with which your audience may not be familiar.  All aspects of your proposal needs to be discussed in detail and may include the following:
    1. What is required to enact your proposal? (a new law, money, willingness to change, etc.)
    2. Feasibility of your solution.  Much like Practical Criteria of Evaluations
    3. Positive benefits of your solution discussed using Practical, Ethical, or Aesthetic criteria
  4. Justification of your solution.  Any one or all of the following may apply.  Your task is to discuss them and show why your proposal is superior.
    1. Counterarguments may arise as to whether or not your issue is even a problem.
    2. Your solution may be controversial to enact.
    3. It may have unintended negative effects.
    4. Alternative solutions may have been suggested.
  5. Conclusion.  Like all good conclusions, wrap up the paper.  Restate (not word-for-word) the issue and proposal. Make a final push to persuade.

Homework: Read your research. Begin drafting sections of the essay.  Rough Draft in class by Tuesday, November 13.

Write: On your blogs, please post by Thursday, 11/6, a response (of no more than 300 words) to the following:

How do you view yourself as a researcher? How has this changed over the semester?  What do you view as your role within your group? How is this beneficial to the group as a whole? How have your experiences with collaborative writing in this class differ from other experiences you may have had working with a group?

Post I-Search Reflection and Annotated Bibliographies

Post-project Reflection

Now that the I-Search is behind us (well, I still need to grade them) let’s pause to reflect on where we are in the course.  At this time please write a response and post it to your blog of about 300 words addressing the following:

  • To what extent are you satisfied (or not) with your findings in the ISearch essay?
  • How do you feel you have changed as a reader and writer after completing the Isearch?
  • In regards to writing and researching, what skills do you feel you have gained from working on the ISearch?
  • How will you apply those skills moving forward in this class as well as outside of this class (other classes, work, daily life, etc)?

    Annotated Bibliography Sample

Take a look at the annotated bibliography sample which I passed out.

What do you notice about it?

How do you feel it will help with Project Four?


Read Wayne Writer Ch. 5 pp. 145-159 and ch. 6 pp. 188-215 for class on Tuesday.
Write Annotated Bibliographies.

1020 Session Fifteen: Team Charters and Research Issues

Team Charters:

Before work can truly begin on Project Four, even before you make a final decision on a research problem, it would be helpful to know how your team will plan to work.  With your group mates, develop a team charter.  Address the following points:

  1. Overall, broad team goals for the project
  2. Measurable, specific team goals
  3. Personal goals
  4. Method of collaborating on research, writing, and revision (you may wish to revisit Session Seven).  Be specific, here, about the means you will work together.  How will you divide up workload? Which tools (Google docs, Dropbox, email, adding each other as users of your WordPress sites, etc.)
  5. Other factors that might affect the project
  6. Statement of how the team will resolve impasses
  7. Statement of how the team will handle missed deadlines
  8. Statement of what constitutes unacceptable work and how the team will handle this

Post this on each team member’s blog page. Print it and have all team members sign a copy to be retained by me by Thursday, 10/30.

Choosing a Research Issue


Once your team has decided how they will work, I need to know on which topic you will do research.  Please post on your blog a statement, of no more than 300 words, on the following:

  • the research issue you and your partners will be examining;
  • the specific community about or for whom you are writing;
  • your stake in that community, and thus, in this project;
  • your interest in the topic;
  • what you may already know about the topic;
  • how you will research.

Work with your team members to develop this response.  Ideally, there will be some similar responses to each bullet point.

Where to begin research?

Head to the WSU Library guides via the link to the left or by clicking here.

Use scholar.google.com, ProQuest, CQ Researcher, Opposing Viewpoints, or any of the other databases available to Wayne State students.

Your annotated bibliographies (I’ll show you the format Thursday)  are due next week, Tuesday, 11/04.  You need to have credible sources including at least two new sources not used for any other work this semester (including the ISearch) .


Finish I-Search.  Post on blog and to SafeAssign via BlackBoard.

Read Wayne Writer Ch. 5 pp. 145-159 and ch. 6 pp. 188-215


1020 Session Fourteen: iStick an iFork into your iSearch. It’s Done!

Well, maybe your not quite done.  But you will be soon.

Final Draft posted to your blog and uploaded to SafeAssign via BlackBoard by 11:59 pm Tuesday, October 28.

Before we head into a rough draft review, let’s pause for a mid(ish) semester reflection and feedback on where we’ve been and where we’re heading.

I’ve taken the learning outcomes we have discussed previously and have pulled them apart.

Define or explain you still want to know about the following terms or concepts:

  • Using knowledge of genre to write effectively
  • Using knowledge of the rhetorical situation to write effectively
  • Using knowledge of the discourse community to write effectively
  • Using reflection to write effectively
  • Developing a flexible writing process
  • Writing effectively for various audiences
  • Using analytical and/or critical strategies to read complex texts
  • Identifying/analyzing genre features
  • Conducting research by finding sources
  • Using sources to generate ideas during the research process
  • Integrating sources into your writing

Finally, discuss what it means to be a reflective student. To help you write through this, think about things like:

  • When I am about to start a new writing or learning task, what do I do to make sure I know how to begin?
  • How do I use writing reflection (either assigned, or on my own) to help me think through learning tasks?
  • How do I engage in reflection when I am not in class or at my computer? Are there other times I am working through reflection?

Write or email your response.  I also want you to post your response on your blogs.


The Rogh dRft Revue!

Speed Dating Style!

You know the drill by now.  One printed copy for me and one for collecting comments from your peers. Here’s the twist:

  1. Sit in chairs facing each other.
  2. Exchange papers and decide whether you will read each others’ work or present your work to your partner. You may wish to just discuss general ideas about your paper, ask your partner to read a specific section, read the whole draft, or brainstorm ideas for finishing or continuing research.
  3. After 10(ish) minutes, the inner row will stand and move one spot to their right.
  4. Repeat.  Try to do a different activity in step 2 with each new “date”.

Final Words of Advice on this project.

Don’t sweat it.  It will feel like it’s unfinished; you will be left with new questions or  questions unanswered.  That’s fine.  That’s part of the research process.

Happy Writing!




1020 Session Thirteen: I-Search Finishing Touches


At this point, you should have made the research moves necessary to further your inquiries on your topics.  Be sure to take notes of every detail of every research step you made as they should all be written up in the body of the essay.  Don’t forget to write a conclusion to your I-Search.  Your conclusion may address, but is not limited to, the following:

  • your successes and/or failures in the research process;
  • the main lesson you learned about your topic;
  • what you may have learned about the research process;
  • any questions that linger;
  • any new questions that have come up.

I-Search Rough Draft Review will be on Thursday, October 23.  The final draft is due by 11:59 pm, Sunday, October 26.

In my email last week, I asked you to use the directory of student blogs on the course website, and navigate to four other students’ work.  You were to visit your two partners from the analysis project and two random classmates, read their I-Search posts, and leave a comment.

The purpose of this was two-fold.  One, it would allow everyone to receive feedback from at least two people. Secondly, it would allow you to see on which topics everyone is writing.  This is to your benefit as the next project, The Proposal argument, will be done in collaboration with 2-3 other students.  You may use one or more of your I-Search projects as a springboard for this essay.

Let’s take a look at Project Four.



Write: Rough Draft of I-Search.  Please bring two printed copies to class on Thursday.



1020 Session Twelve: Research for your I-Search

In Class Reflection:

Spend a few minutes writing about your experiences as a researcher. What kinds of topics have you researched or written about before? How do you usually conduct research? What is important to you about the research process or what have you learned from research in the past? How do you see yourself tackling the research required for the I-Search?


Beginning your Search for Answers


Read Selections from Sharan Merriam’s Qualitative Research

Conducting Effective Interviews

Being a Careful Observer

How to Analyze Qualitative Data

Write on your blog, Part One of your I-Search.  This serves as an introduction to the larger project. Be sure to discuss what you already know, what you wish to learn, and why you want to learn more about your topic. Use your skills in crafting a narrative. Be creative. Throw in a picture or two (optional).

Sign up for a conference time via an email if you missed class.

1020 Session Eleven: Presentations

Your  Presentations!

Testing your questionshttps://i1.wp.com/www.ajoconnor.com/sites/default/files/images/Question_shutterstock_77267023.jpg

Look at the topic you wrote for the last blog post.  Apply teh following tests:

  • Is it stated as a question or set of questions, instead of a statement?
  • Do I need to clarify any terms to make my research question understandable to my audience?
  • Is my question about one of my secondary discourses/discourse communities, or one that I plan to/hope to join in the NEAR future?
  • Is my question related to the function of that d.c., communication in that d.c., ways of being in that d.c. or movement within that d.c.?
  • Am I personally invested in exploring this question? Why or how will exploring this question help me understand my discourse community?
  • Is my question something I can research using primary and secondary sources? What research site or scene do I plan to investigate? Can it be answered too easily, or do I need a diverse set of sources to understand the answer?
  • Is my question specific or concrete enough to explore in 1500-2000 words? Or is it too broad or too narrow?


Read these sample I-Search essays:

erinn w isearch

kristin h isearch

david c isearch

Write a short response (@200-300 words) as a blog post answering the following:

What are the important writing moves the students make to convey his or her research process and findings to the audience? How do I see an I-Search paper as shaping up differently than a research paper? What changes should I make to my topic (last blog post) so that it conforms to these models?


1020 Session Ten: I-Search Topics

On Tap Today:

  • I-Search Structure
  • I-Search Topics

What does the paper “look” like?

The I-search is a narrative of sorts, describing your search for answers to your research questions.http://9poeticfingers.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/bigfoot-is-blurry-bigfoot-mitch-demotivational-poster-1221833576.jpg?w=221&h=276

Macrorie lists four parts of the paper, though, as he notes, this is flexible:

  1. What I Knew
  2. Why I’m Writing
  3. The Search
  4. What I Learned

In this way, the introduction begins with what prompted the questions you’re asking, and the paper moves on from there, in narrative fashion. The writing you have previously done may help you get started, but you also might more formally write about what you knew about the topic and why you’re writing the paper.

The body of the paper, then, is the narrative of your search for answers and your reflection on the process and use of methods. I https://i1.wp.com/mrsspeachenglish.weebly.com/uploads/4/2/9/4/4294947/3553514.jpgoften suggest that you begin with the source that is “closest” to you, the one that is easiest to access, and see where the information you find there leads you. However, you might also have a more concrete research plan in place when you begin.

You will use primary sources for this paper, things like interviewing, observation and field notes, surveys, other documents from the context you’re studying. What you choose in terms of methods and sources depends, of course, on your research questions. We will work through some readings and mini-presentations in class in order to learn more about these kinds of methods.

The conclusion of the paper is likely going to be different than the https://i1.wp.com/www.ajoconnor.com/sites/default/files/images/Question_shutterstock_77267023.jpgtraditional conclusion you may be used to in academic writing. While you may be able to summarize what you’ve learned, it’s also just as likely that you will be left with more questions, or will have gone down an unsatisfying research path. This is also worth writing about, as you are nevertheless learning about the research process, and can always carry your inquiry forth in a future paper.


Bear in mind that you will be working with 2-3 partners on Project Four

  1. Take a few minutes to brainstorm a list of key words about your topic.  What do people debate about it? What do you find most compelling about it?
  2. Write at least one question that could be raised about your issue that starts https://i0.wp.com/www.scribewise.com/Portals/202647/images/Better%20Questions.jpgwith each of the following words: who, what, when, where, how, why, should, would. In other words, you need to come up with eight (8) questions total.
  3. Answer the following:
    • What is your ultimate goal in writing about this topic? Are you informing? Defining? Evaluating or comparing? Proposing a solution?
    • Who is your audience? What will they be interested about your topic?
  4. Eliminate the questions from step 2 that do not fit your goal or audience.
  5. Of the questions that remain identify the most compelling.  Which is the most interesting?
  • Extra nuances to create open-ended questions:
    • Use a phrase such as “To what extent…” “What are the effects…” “What would happen if…
    • Combine two of your original eight questions.

Finally, you may wish to consider other prewriting strategies such as:

  • cluster mapping

Sample Cluster Map

  • Freewritinghttps://i2.wp.com/www.library.dmu.ac.uk/Images/free_writing.gif

Testing your Question

When you’re thinking about whether or not your I-Search question will “work,” ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is it stated as a question or set of questions, instead of a statement?
  • Do I need to clarify any terms to make my research question understandable to my audience?
  • Is my question about one of my secondary discourses/ discourse communities, or one that I plan to/hope to join in the NEAR future?
  • Is my question related to the function of that d.c., communication in that d.c., ways of being in that d.c. or movement within that d.c.?
  • Am I personally invested in exploring this question? Why or how will exploring this question help me understand my discourse community?
  • Is my question something I can research using primary and secondary sources? What research site or scene do I plan to investigate? Can it be answered too easily, or do I need a diverse set of sources to understand the answer?
  • Is my question specific or concrete enough to explore in 1500-2000 words? Or is it too broad or too narrow?

Homework due by classtime Tuesday, 10/7/14

Finish presentation for Project Two

Write a blog post (@300 words) about your understanding of the I-Search assignment.  Demonstrate your understanding by referring to the Macrorie and Postman and Weingartner readings.   Also discuss what topic you will use for the I-Search.  Answer the following:

What do I know (or think I know) about this topic?

Why do I want to know the answer(s) to my question?

1020 Session Nine: Project Two Review and Intro to I-Search 9-30-14

On Tap:

 Integration of Quotes:

It is important to make a smooth transition from your own words to those of another source. Never simply drop a quotation into a paragraph. A quotation can never stand in a sentence by itself without an introduction.

 For example:
Incorrect: T.S. Eliot, in his “Talent and the Individual,” uses gender-specific language. “No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists” (Eliot 29).

In this example, the reader is not prepared for the quote and will become confused as a result.

To avoid dropping quotes in, use signal phrases. These are phrases which precede the quotation. They may include the author’s name and a verb (argues, compares, suggests, demonstrates, points out, etc.). An example is the following:

Correct: T.S. Eliot, in his “Talent and the Individual,” uses gender-specific language. He argues, for instance, that “no poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists” (Eliot 29).

The above example will be easier for the reader to understand as you are making it clear that the quotation is coming from that specific source.

It may not always be necessary to use an entire passage to prove your point. To use only a phrase you must weave the quote into your own sentence.

Correct: I find it striking that though “women novelists have probably dominated American literature since the middle of the nineteenth century,” our literary tradition is still incredibly gender specific (Schweickart 201).


In some cases one can avoid direct quotation by paraphrasing the quote–that is, by restating what the author says in one’s own words (not looking at the quote when you are paraphrasing may help with this). To avoid plagiarism, you must be sure to (a) use your own words whenever you don’t use quotation marks or block a quote and (b) cite your sources, especially if the ideas or information you are paraphrasing are not common knowledge, are specific to that author, or include specific numbers or other very specific information. When in doubt, cite the source.

Always cite the source of the paraphrased material. Just because it is in your own words does not make it your intellectual property. To not cite would be plagiarism.

An example:

 Correct:: The author points out that women have had a strong voice in literature since the middle of the nineteenth century. As a result, it is striking that our literary tradition is still so gender specific (Schweickart 209).


After Peer Review (and if you survive it), Look over your work.  If you do not understand someone’s comments ask for clarification.  If a reviewer only leaves vague or short comments, ask for elaboration.

On to the Review!

Rough Draft Questions

As you critique your peer’s paper, please comment on any sentence-level and grammatical errors you detect, as well as any other advice you may have, but please also answer the following questions:

1. Does the paper have a clear thesis that relates to the “skeletal structure” we’ve discussed? I.e., does it both identify the central argument(s) of the work it is analyzing and identify the trope and techniques the author/director/creator uses to make their point(s)? Underline the thesis, comment what your group likes about it, and make a suggestion for improvement

2. Does the paper have a clear exigence and purpose? Identify the exigence with a squiggly line.  Comment on how effective the writers are in explaining whether the work they are analyzing is important or interesting and/or the importance of analyzing this piece of work.  Do you agree with them?

3. Does the project contain ample support statements/support paragraphs that refer to and back up the thesis?  Identify at least one sentence in each body paragraph that refers to and supports the thesis.  Write a comment on how effective (or not) the writers marshal evidence to support claims and, ultimately, their thesis

4. Does the author make appropriate references to particular moments in the text  or film(quotations, paraphrases, etc.)? Are there enough (or too many) references to both back up the thesis and allow a reader to follow the argument being made?

5. Does the paper quote directly from the source when needed?  Are the quotes integrated well into the essay? Are quotes and paraphrases cited properly?  Do the writers quote other material besides the one being analyzed?

6. Does the project read like an analysis rather than a review? I.e., does show a clear attention to the structure and technique of the piece rather than simply summarizing it and explaining its strengths and weaknesses?

7. What is the strongest part of the paper (most interesting, most powerfully argued, etc.)?

8. What is the weakest part of the paper (or the part that needs to be improved, further developed or extended)?

9. What grade would you give the paper if it was a final draft?

“There is no learning without a learner. And there is no meaning without a meaning maker. In order to survive in a world of rapid change there is nothing more worth knowing, for any of us, than the continuing process of how to make viable meanings” (Postman and Weingartner, 11).

Brainstorm Session for I-Search


In class reflection:

Take 10-12 minutes to freewrite. Think of a time when you had to make a decision or learn something new.  How did you do it? Who helped you? What did you know about the topic beforehand? How did you gather new information? How did you determine what information was worth learning or knowing?


On a separate sheet, with your name on it, write down a topic you would like to know more about.  Also write a question or two (or three) that you have about that topic.  Use the journalist’s questions: Who, What, Where, When, Why, How. You may also wish to consult Postman and Weingartner.

Pass the paper.

On your classmates paper, write down your reaction to their topic and/or questions.  This may be further questions you may have, suggestions on how to find answers, and/or comments.  Also take note of the name of any classmates that suggest a topic similar to yours or that you may be interested in collaborating on.

Pass the paper… and so on…


Read Macrorie “Cutting wasted words”

Write: Final draft of  Project Two including personal reflection posted to SafeAssign via Blackboard by 11:59 pm Wednesday, 10/1/14.

Multimedia presentation to be finalized before class on Thursday, 10/2/14. Place it or a link to it on your blog.