Quick Write

What problem are you considering for your final essay? How do you know it is a problem?

What’s Motivating This Writer?

Chapter 14 suggests that when you are reading for understanding, you should read for the conversation. If we understand that good academic writing is responding to something or someone, we can read texts as a response to something.

Deciphering the conversation. When you read a text, imagine that the author is responding to other authors. Figure out what views the author is responding to and what the author’s own argument is.

When the “They Say” is unstated. Some writers assume that their readers are familiar with the views they are including. When the conversation is not clearly stated, it is up to you to figure out what is motivating the text.

A gap in the research. A challenge to “they say” is when the writer is writing about something that is not being discussed.

Reading particularly challenging texts. Sometimes it is difficult to understand the conversation writers are responding to because the  language and ideas are challenging or new to you. The conversation can be quite large and complex and understanding it can be a challenge. When this happens, we can write a summary of the ideas. Summarize the conversation as you see it or the concepts as you understand them. Writing things out is one way we can begin to understand complex ideas.

What is Academic Writing?

The article “What is Academic Writing?” is a brief introduction to the writing you will be expected to do in college. The article begins by addressing common myths about what academic writing is. Which ones have you heard before? Think of one or two more myths, or ideas of writing, that you have heard before.

  • Myth #1: The “Paint by Numbers” myth
  • Myth #2: Writers only start writing when they have everything figured out
  • Myth #3: Perfect first drafts
  • Myth #4: Some got it; I don’t—the genius fallacy
  • Myth #5: Good grammar is good writing
  • Myth #6: The Five Paragraph Essay
  • Myth #7: Never use “I”

Irvin quotes a study by Lee Ann Carroll about the writing students do in college:

What are usually called ‘writing assignments’ in college might more accurately be called ‘literacy tasks’ (7).

What do you think she means here? In a short paragraph, write what you think the author is saying.

Research the Problem

Locate an article that helps define and substantiate the problem you are researching. We first need to prove that this is a valid problem.

How do you think we can do that with scholarly research? How does what we talked about today help us with that?