Any questions on research?
We are researching not to find a ready made answer to our problem, but to find evidence to examine and support the answer we come up with. There is no perfect source, but sources that will help us to learn about the topic/point/problem we are researching. It is up to you to come up with a solution to the problem and support it using reliable evidence.
Elevator pitch. Imagine you have one minute to present yourself and your ideas to someone who can implement your solution or make a change. What would you say in that one minute elevator ride to convince this person that your ideas are worthy of attention. You have ten floors to make a compelling case. Take a few minutes to figure out how to make your proposal professional, succinct, and interesting. Then, write it down.
Introductions are very important. Much like an elevator pitch, an introduction has to make a good impression, grab your reader’s interest, and make them want to keep reading.
Take the elevator pitch you just wrote and figure out how to work it into your introduction. The elevator pitch can work as the intro, or add to your intro, to make a case for reading the rest of the essay.
For the Proposal, make sure you:
- Define the problem
- Recognize an audience
- Create, explain, and justify a plan of action.
- Persuade readers of the problem and proposed solution.
Problem Solution Example
“The Danger of a Single Story” by Chimamanda Adichie.
To quote a CNN article on the Danger of a Single Story:
Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie believes in the power of stories, and warns that hearing only one about a people or nation leads to ignorance. She says the truth is revealed by many tales.
She illustrates this with a story about coming to the United States, as a middle-class daughter of a professor and an administrator, and meeting her college roommate. Adichie says that her roommate’s “default position toward me, as an African, was a kind of patronizing, well-meaning, pity. My roommate had a single story of Africa. A single story of catastrophe.”
Adichie also tells how growing up in Nigeria reading only American and English children’s books made her deaf to her authentic voice. As a child, she wrote about such things as blue-eyed white children eating apples, thinking brown skin and mangos had no place in literature. That changed as she discovered African writers, particularly the Nigerian Chinua Achebe.
This is a great quote that highlights some of the moves we need to do in our article. It summarizes her topic, problem she is addressing, and solution; including examples she uses.
Topic: Many people do not realize that they are getting only one story. A single story is incomplete and she says dangerous.
Problem: Having a single story about an issue or group of people leads to stereotypes and incomplete information.
Solution: To look for multiple stories of whatever issue or topic you are hearing. She recommends we get our news and stories from multiple perspectives.
Reasons and evidence: She gives examples from her personal life to highlight that she has a personal connection.
Background: She gives background information, citing quotes and examples that place her issue in a historical context. She also uses current examples to place the issue in a contemporary context.
This is the first of many peer reviews. Keep these things in mind.
- Peer edit the same way you revise your own work.
- Be specific in identifying problems or opportunities.
- Offer suggestions for improvement.
- Praise what is genuinely good in the paper
What is your plan of action for revising your essay?
Chapter 2 was an introduction into critical reading. Critical reading is very important to critical thinking and writing. The two main points are:
- One should read carefully
- Making a summary helps one grasp an argument.
While these may seem obvious, they are also often ignored by students. Knowledge begins with reading carefully. Students that struggle with critical writing and argument usually have a difficult time because they failed to read carefully.
DO NOT ASSUME you know what they are talking about. You need to put in the time to read, follow, and understand others arguments in order to become a critical thinker and writer.
Writing a summary of a reading or an argument helps us to make sure that we understood it correctly. I ask you to summarize in your weekly journals, because I am looking for how you are reading something, if you are reading it correctly and understanding it. It is very easy to miss read something.
Chapter 3, Critical Reading: Getting Deeper into Arguments takes us further into critical reading. It is much more in depth and thorough.
Persuasion is to convince someone else to accept or adopt your position, which can be accomplished in a number of ways (80).
Argument writing or critical writing focuses more on the logos, or appeal to reason.
- Logos: appeal to reason
- Pathos: appeal to emotions
- Ethos: appeal to credibility or trustworthiness
Argument represents only one form of persuasion, one that relies on the cognitive or intellectual capacity for reason (80).
An argument doesn’t require two speakers or writers with opposing positions. They may, but you can write an argument, using appeals to reason with out setting it up as a dispute.
Dispute is a special kind of argument in which two or more people express views that are at odds (81).
Reason v Rationalization
Reason: the power of the mind to think, understand, and form judgments by a process of logic.
We can reason through induction and deduction.
Deduction takes beliefs and assumptions and extracts their hidden consequences/conclusions (106).
- Premise: Humans are mortal
- Premise: Socrates is human
- Conclusion: Socrates is mortal.
This statement is a syllogism. premise + premise = Conclusion
All premises must be true
The syllogism must be valid, premises support the conclusion.
Then, the argument is said to be sound.
Fallacies are kinds of invalid arguments.
Induction uses information about observed cases to reach a conclusion about unobserved cases.
If we see the train arrive at six am, several days in a row, we can reason that it will arrive at six am tomorrow.
Unlike deduction, induction yields conclusions that go beyond the information contained in the premises used in their support.
Rationalize means to devise a self serving reason.
We can come up with reasons and justifications to make ourselves feel better, but that does not mean that we are using reason. This is where the struggle will always be.
We can’t be sure we are not rationalizing, but we can seek to think critically, examine our beliefs, scrutinize out assumptions, look for counter evidence, and think if it’s reasonably possible to draw different conclusions (92).
We need to have sufficient sample size in order to reason effectively.
Assumptions can be stated or unstated, explicit or implicit.
Implicit assumption is one that is not stated but, rather, is taken for granted.
An explicit assumption is one that is stated and given as evidence, also known as a premise.
Evidence: facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.
Different disciplines use different kinds of evidence. We can use a text, field research, or experiments as evidence.
Experimentation: science involves the systematic study of claims tested, designed to yield particular observations.
Examples: a previous sample used as evidence.
- Real events drawn from history.
- Artificial or hypothetical cases cannot be used for evidence but can be used for persuasion.
Analogies: a kind of comparison that asserts things that are alike in some ways are alike in others.
Authoritative Testimony: citation or quotation of authorities.
Statistics: numbers and data used to support claims.
- Graphs, Tables, Numbers
- Statistics can be misused and can be seen as misleading.
- Unreliable statistics, looks impressive but is insubstantial or irrelevant.
Satire: witty ridicule
Irony: contrasts what is said and what is meant
Sarcasm: the use of irony to mock or convey contempt.
Humor: being amusing or comical in writing or speech.
In arguments we appeal to reason. Sometimes emotional appeals can be used effectively to aid the reason. Appeals to emotions can distract from the facts of the case, but they can also make the audience care about the evidence.
Are emotional appeals fallacious?
You should focus on the facts and offer reasons, but you may also provoke appropriate emotions in the readers. Be careful.
- Do not falsify
- Do not distract attention from the facts
- Do think ethically about how emotional appeals may affect the audience.
Does All Writing Contain Argument?
No, but most does. Most writing uses reason to get the reader to agree with what the writer is saying.
In college, you should be using reason and evidence to support what you are saying. There should be a clear purpose and reason to your writing, hence it should be an argument.
The First and Last Rule
Authors place main points of emphasis at the beginning and ending of essays, paragraphs, and sentences.
Summarizing and Paraphrase
Summary: Say briefly what the whole adds up to.
Paraphrase: a word-by-word or phrase-by-phrase rewording of a text. A translation of the author’s language into your own.
Why summary and paraphrase?
- validate the basis of your argument.
- clarify the complex ideas contained in a text.
- support your argument
- lend authority to your voice
- help you build new ideas from existing ideas on the topic.