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October 31, 2006

Sources

The time that we spent today in class today looking on the library websites was really helpful. I think that was just what everyone needed. I know it really helped me because I finally found a scholarly source after much searching. How do you know if the source is peer reviewed just by looking at the works cited?

So I've got a quick question. The topic/ thesis that we hand in on thursday, is that our final topic? Can we change it later down the road if it is to specific or to broad? If we couldnt that would suck. Also, what do you guys think about the corrections on papers for points? I think its great, granted if you got a B+ you would have a disadvandage, but seeing how this is a 4 credit class, and I really need all the A's I can get, THANK YOU MAGGIE1!

Prospectus

As I sit here is class, I am glad Maggie went over how to find a scholarly source because I was amazingly confused. The resources were probably where I had the most trouble. With my topic, it is hard to make it the topic and audience more narrow. Moving into my final draft, I feel more confident about how this paper will turn out.

Difficulty with Sources

As we saw this morning, its not necessarily that difficult to find scholarly sources on our topics. But what happens when the topic is legal, and you need to search statutes and laws? I was looking through the website of the Minnesota state legislature this morning, and found it horribly tedious to find statutes pertaining to my topic. If you have the know-how to quickly/easily find specific laws in text please help!!

Great In Class Time!

I was really pleased when Maggie allowed us to search around for scholarly sources during class. I know we are all atleast a tab bit confunsed on what exactly to do, and when she was there to help us it was superb. I hope that as we continue down the road in this class, she continues to help us with our research for our final paper.

October 30, 2006

Prospectus Revisions

Revisions to the prospectus seem to be rather easy, and the assignment as a whole seems to be much easier than I initially expected it to be. My first impression after doing the reading was that I needed to do a sizable amount of research (which we had to do anyway) and more or less write a fragmented abstract of our final paper. Thankfully, at least for me, after the meeting with Maggie I was rather relieved that what I had completed was more or less on track for the assignment and took a huge load off my shoulders. I think that this process is going to be extremely useful for forming the argument in the final paper and I'm very happy that we're doing it. I've never done anything like this before and it is really helping me form my arguments before I actually need to, which will make writing the final paper just that much easier.

body paragraphs of argumentive research papers

I think that after you select a topic for a research paper, it is very hard to figure out what your main points for the argument will be. There is just so much information out there for each topic. Also, the information you find is not organized by your argumentive points, so the research is very hard and time consuming. I had a very hard time doing all of the research and coming up with the outline for my prospectus. My topic for this assignment is on the U.S. involvement with the issue of nuclear weapons in North Korea. There is a lot of information out there, but a lot of it had to do with speculation and possibility which are not very good points to make in an argumentive paper.

October 25, 2006

Revising Papers

I thought it was really nice of Maggie to let us revise our papers if we get a B or lower. It gives us a chance to improve our grade, which is always nice. Also, it helps us learn from our mistakes and it helps us become better writers. I also thought it was nice that we get to fix our mechanical errors in our previous papers for extra credit. I am sure other teachers in the future will not give this option, so if I can, I will take advantage of it.

Weight of a Paper

Way is it that the prospectus is worth a hundred points when it a pretty simple thing to write when the argument analysis which I found harder and more difficult to write be worth the same amount of points. I know the prospectus will help us with are final paper as much as the argument analysis did, but come on it is going to take me a lot less time to write this prospectus then it did for me to write the four page argument analysis

Finding A Topic

It's going to be tough for me to narrow down my interests into one topic, especially into one, cohesive argument. When I think about something that interests me, I often view it as a subject affiliated with and connected to other important subjects; trying to disconnect my thoughts from eachother will be a project in itself! I want to choose something that is applicable and important to my life, but the possible choices that I do think apply to my life seem slightly overwhelming. The topics I've been thinking about are extremely broad and could be argued with many different views. Sometimes I feel like the topics I might consider researching have too much information and not enough at the same time.. if that makes any sense. hmm... this prospectus will probably help with these little issues I'm having.

Scholarly Research

So I've been doing some general research for my prospectus, and at first I was worried about where to begin, since I didn't really want to head to the library just yet and the internet doesn't have the most trustworthy sources. Well, I gave Google a shot using the advanced search. I limited the domain to .org & .gov, and then as I searched it asked me if I wanted scholarly articles. Long story short, I have plenty of scholarly sources, but not much else. Is this a problem? I then began to wonder if some sources on Google which were not scholarly could come in handy. They could reflect misconceptions given to/ made by the public.

urban vs. rural?!

Hello Everyone! I wanted to get your imput on my research question for the next few assignments. I want to research the impact of living and having children in an urban environment vs. a rural environment. Im sure most of us grew up in the suburbs, so do you think were the benefits and disadvantages of this. Im just curious to see what you're thoughts were on living in rural areas compared to urban areas! Thanks everyone....have a great weekend!

October 24, 2006

Quizzes or Vacation?

The class seems to be split pretty evenly between the idea of vacation or quizzes. Eventhough the vacation idea worked I think the quizzes are a better way for the teacher to know if we are doing our readings. Initially everyone was doing well on the quizzes and I don't think that has changed. Why change what is working? If everyone is doing well on quizzes there is no reason to change.

Prospectus

The prospectus seems to really be going easier than I origninally thought. I really think it will help me write my paper when that time comes. It ensures you are starting to think about your paper before you actually start. Although It is a little difficult to fiind a scholarly source, the assignment isn't too bad.

Prospectus

I think that having to do the prospectus assignment is a great one because it is getting me to think about what I want to do for my for my final paper now instead of when it is handed out. Also I can get some of the information that I will need now and can sort through it to figure out the stance I want to take and what type of information I should get.

Conferences

I think having these individual conferences are a great idea to help us get on the right track for such a large paper. I mean having to do research papers can scare a lot of people because of how they have to get a whole bunch of information and sort through it come up with an opinion on what your stance is and getting to talk about it one on one really helps to put you on the right track.

October 23, 2006

New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys

Now that I have your attention, I would like to voice my opinion about the current situation with quizzes in class. I do like the current system, but I think the idea of putting people on vacation is rediculous. It silences some of the best discussion starters that help the other people learn in class. Now by no means am I saying that I want to start doing quizzes again. In my opinion, we should just have our discussions with no quizzes, and those who do not read won't participate and their writing will suffer.

Conferences

I am really glad we are doing the individual conferences. This is a really big, intimidating assignment coming up, and it will really help the process to be able to meet with Maggie and discuss the overall direction and evidence of the paper. It will give us a chance to ask her one on one if there are any areas of our writing or setup of our papers that need inprovement.

Prospectus

I actuall enjoyed making this prospectus. It allowed me to really take a look at what I am going to write this paper about, and more importantly, if I can gather enough relevent information on the subject to make a pressing argument. In the end, it saves a lot of time in your changing of subjects and adds a lot less thought the the descision of changing becuase you didnt invest too much time in your research.

Vacation

I am coming to like the vacation idea. I felt I really needed to prepare for lecture when before I sort of stood back and let others talk. I like this better than quizes simply because it gives the people who do not talk much and want to talk a chance to do exactly that. I think we should have another vote soon to see what will end up happening with our discussions. I do not like quizes simply because I put things off to the last minute and then hope for the best at the end.

October 22, 2006

I am really excited about the rest of this class. I mean as writing classes go anyways. There are some really interesting topics that I have always wanted to do some research on and now I get to do so and get credit for it. Also, there probably isn't a better way to learn about a topic than by going through the processes associated with writing a good paper.

October 20, 2006

Prospectus Assignment

I think that writing a prospectus for our final paper is a great way to get started. This prospectus will help us with some of our sources and research, as well as let us think about our topic way in advance. For me, these big papers are very overwhelming because it is hard for me to get started. I often times try to begin writing my rough draft before i have a good idea of exactly what I want to write about or even before all of my research is complete. I am gald that Maggie is requiring us to write a prospectus to help us get started. However, I can't figure out how this is worth 100 points. It seems way too easy. I realize that it will be somewhat time consuming, but it just appears that this will be the easiest points all semester. Am I overlooking something here? I just see this assignment as doing some research, and outlining what your paper will be about.

October 19, 2006

Prospectus

When we first started talking about the prospectus assaignment I thought it was going to be a real pain since we were all going to have to pick our own topics and wouldn't be able to brainstorm with our peers. Today. during 'class we did brainstorm ideas and heard what other people were thinking of writing theirs on and it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. It wasn't even really that hard to pick a topic. I have my topic picked out, but now I am a little worried about the lengh, it has to end up being atleast eight pages in the end.

October 18, 2006

Vacation

At first I did not like the idea of the vacation. I don't love quizes but they are really easy points. After class on Tuesday, however, I found how much easier it is. It seemed like a regular class discussion, with only a few people not able to talk. In my opinion I think we should continue doing the vactions because it gives other people a chance to talk, and it gets everyone to do the reading by the assigned date.

October 17, 2006

So, what's the point?

Upon writing my paper (which, by the way, I am ready to put through a shredder....) I came to the realization that we are writing an argument analysis on something that isn't a genuine arguement. Remember from the reading a while back in chapter four I think it is, two things are needed for a sound argument: a shared assumption, and two sides willing to discuss and come to a conclusion. In other words, no fanatical beleivers or skeptics. I am afraid to say that this argument has BOTH fanatical skeptics and believers. Those that believe the Ivory-Billed is alive believe it so blindly that they cry during interviews when they talk about it. They are no where near willing to open up their minds for a fraction of a second to maybe consider that the bird doesn't exist. Because of these fanatical beleivers, we have a Psudo-argument. So my question is, why are we writing an ARGUMENT analysis on something that isn't even a real argument??? Just something to consider....

Maybe I'm just frustrated. It's going to be a long week.....

Existence!?

Ok, I completely understand that the evidence used to favor that the Ivory-billed Woodpecker does exist isn't very concrete although the evidence isn't concrete to prove that the bird doesn't exist. Either way no one side seems to be stronger than the other. I don't think either side can truly say that it does or doesn't exits. The Debate will continue until an Ivory-Billed woodpecker lands on a researchers head while a video camera is rolling!!!!:) After reading the evidence it seems that some articles and opinions are just there to try to prove the other side wrong. Is every piece of evidence really trying to prove it does or doesn't exists, or just trying to prove that others are wrong and they are right!?

Kiros

I think that kiros should be an undisputed addition to common rhetoric terms. Timing is very important in writing. A good example of this is the Patriot Act. Had this been presented before Congress before 9/11, it would have been unanimously shut down by democrats and republicans alike. However, following in the wake of 9/11, the same thing was almost unanimously passed.

Ivory-billed Woodpecker

I would just like to point out that, in my opinion, it is absolutely ridiculous for the Cornell researchers to claim what they have in their report to be credible evidence to support their claim that the ivory-billed still exists. All I saw was a bunch on grainy still-frames that did not remotely resemble a bird even a forest. The whole analysis of the evidence is also based upon speculation and eyewitness accounts rather than solid, scientific fact.

October 16, 2006

unbiased research

In our class we were talking about the differences between scientific journals and popular magazines. One of the points was brought up that scientific journals have less bias then magazines. I do not agree with this statement. When conducting a scientific experiment you create a hypothesis. This is something that you expect to happen. The creation of this hypothesis automatically makes you biased. You cannot have unbiased research. You will want to find something. Also there are not many scientists hired to do unbiased research. Oftentimes the companies want to fins something and those views are then transferred to the researcher. There is no unbiased research.

Ivory Billed Search-Trash or Treasure?

Down the line, after the series of events are connected- event a to event b ... event a126, I'm sure that the search mission, existence, extinction, or any other event even remotely related to the ivory billed woodpecker will somehow affect my life. (I.e. less than one billionth of my federal taxes from my former minimum-wage income went to funding the expedition.) If this woodpecker did or didn't, does or doesn't survive, what does that matter to us? Most likely it matters less than whether our professors were cold and wet this morning because of the rain or whether they remembered their umbrella, considering that, in theory, the mood of our professor while they are grading our papers potentially has more direct power over our futures than does the number of ivory billed woodpeckers remaining. In that aspect I do have to agree with the viewpoints written in Matt's last post and Jenny's comment on it. In contrast to Jenny's comment, however, if privately funded research teams would like to spend their time and money looking for a bird that may or may not exist, I have nothing bad to say about that. If that is what is important to them, I am compelled to express my congratulatory feelings toward them for doing what they enjoy in life. I hope that I am lucky enough to one day find my passion. And instead of "moving on with my life", I hope I am smart enough to "spend money and waste time" pursuing my passion.

October 15, 2006

Papers

I kinda like the idea of having the subject of what to write about given to us because I have a really hard time thinking of a topic to write about. It usually takes me forever to think of the topic and then to get it started. When I heard about the Ivory-billed woodpecker assignment I thought it was going to be really boring and not fun. When I started reading about the bird it got kind of interesting. I never knew that there was even a debate going on about if this bird was extinct or not, infact I never knew that there was a woodpecker called the ivory-billed. Well, what im trying to say is that I think that it is easier for me to write about a topic given to me than to think of a topic on my own. I think that the next few papers are going to be tough since I remember Maggie telling our class that we were going to have to pick our own topic.

Quizzes?? Vacation?? Which One??

I know everyone has their preference on which one they like better, so I like the idea of trying to do a little bit of both. I did not really prefer the one idea of putting someone on the spot to answer a question about the chapter just because nerves could come into play. Vacation I like because it includes others into the discussion; although, if someone who is on vacation has a great idea, I think they should be able to share their thoughts. I don't mind quizzes, but it gets kind of boring sometimes, so doing both of these ideas are nice just to mix things up to get our daily and quiz points.

October 13, 2006

ivory-billed

I can't seem to find a stance to take on this topic. Even though it isn't required for the assignment, I for some reason feel the need to take a stance on this one. On one hand, the video doesn't seem like it can be used very well as strong evidence because it is way too blurry to make any positive assumptions about the bird's species. It's like watching the film of the JFK assassination-you can't see much anything at all. There is one frame that I feel can be used to identify the bird as an ivory-billed though-the frame where you see it's wing from behind the tree. You can clearly see the coloring on the wing in that frame despite the horrible quality of the shot. The bird's movments are described as abnormal for a pileated, and fit the descriptions of the IB from the past, but who's to say that the bird just wanted to get away really fast? Obviously, I've been having a lot of fun with the believer/doubter game on this particular topic because of the many possibilities available with such a video.

October 12, 2006

A bird? So what?

I don't disagree with the assignment or the topic of our latest paper but i just wonder why we care about a woodpecker. As I have been going through the Internet sites and finding information i am astounded by the amount of money being spent to find this animal. I may be ignorant by thinking that we shouldn't care if it exists or not, but i don't think we missed it while it was "extinct" and i don't think we will care if we do find it. I am not trying to criticize the topic or make anyone feel bad who cares about this subject, but i just don't get why we are making this a multi-million dollar bird that might not exist.

Length of Argument Paper Take 2

Well, my last attempt didn't work and I considered crying but that would not help either. So after thinking it over, this is my thoughts on the length of the paper. It has been said before that this topic has little to no interest for most of us. Researching this topic is very difficult because for the existence, they have media evidence. Against the exsistence, they speak of how terrible the media evidence is. There are other arguments, but they do not play as big of a role as those two. To write a 3-5 page paper on this would end up being repetitive and obnoxious. Some solutions to this problem would be to either shorten the paper in order to sound less repeptive, or have us choose a topic and do the argument analysis. At this point in time, the only rational idea would be to shorten it up. If this blog does not help, next class we will all have to cry and hope Maggie feels bad for us. Emotional appeals are the best!

October 11, 2006

(Dis)agreement

I agree with Mark that it is difficult to write on a topic that i have little or no interest in and does not directly affect my life. Also, as stated by Moira, it is possible to complete a persuasive argument in less than 3-5 pages. But i think the point of this paper has been overlooked. There will be times in the future where one will have to write about a topic of disinterest and with a specified length that one may disagree on. I believe that this paper will help prepare us for those future papers that will possibly be on harder subjects and longer page requirments. I personally think the benifits of this paper easily outweigh the costs.

Agreement

I have to agree with my two classmates who have posted before me. While I will do my best on this assignment because it was indeed assigned. It has been almost impossible for me to do any research on this topic. I feel that this topic has little to no significance in most of our lives and because of that it doesn't peak most peoples interests. More than one person has posted about their troubles with research and I am just another. I have sat down multiple times and have tried to read the articles on the websites, and I have been extremely unsuccessful. I think that if the topic assigned pertained to OUR lives (even if it was a blanket topic), it would be easier to research, pick a side and write a paper about out decision. Now I will try to argue logically about a change of subject.

Claim: This Paper should have a topic change, or be thrown-out

Stated Reason: Because most people in the class have no personally appeal ,therefore lacking pathos for this topic, and won'd do their best work.

Evidence: Multiple people have posted about their displeasure for this topic on the class blog, and others have talked with me personally about a dislike for this topic. Many people have had trouble getting started because this doesn't pertain to their lives and therefore they have had trouble researching.

Warrant: Students will do poorly on this assignment because they have no interest.

Backing: Students who have dis-interest in a topic will do worse on the paper, and have less of a love for the class during the time of writing, because they are dreading the final paper for a boring topic.

While I know that my post, will probably not do much to change the assignment, I hope it is read by Maggie and atleast I get some feed back on my arguement.

October 10, 2006

Argument Length

In class, we have gone over many many times what the credentials of convincing arguments are; claims followed by reasons, because clauses, acknowledgment of opposing views, etc. And not once has there been a specification for length. Now maybe somewhere in the books it’s been said that you need a substantial amount of evidence in order to prove your point, but never an arbitrary 3-5 pages per argument. I think that if we, as students, believe we have formed a credible and persuasive enough argument in less or more than 3-5 pages, then we have fulfilled the assignment; and that there shouldn’t be length requirements, maybe suggestions, but not requirements.

Woodpecker Assignment

This assignment for me has been difficult for me too. I'm finding it very hard to get my head around this whole idea. I mean, birds aren't exactly my favorite topic. And I can't get really interested in it. Also, I'm having a little bit of trouble with choosing a side, and frankly, I think it's because I just don't really care too much. Hopefully next time we are assigned a paper, we'll have more freedom to form the assignment to something we are interested in. And maybe I haven't given it a fair shot yet. I will try tonight and we'll see what I come up with.

woodpecker

I think that the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker paper is a very hard assignment for me. The research is probably the hardest part of this assignment. There is a lot of infromation out there and trying to find the important information is a challenge. It is also very hard to search for credible sites on google, especially finding .edu websites. I think that once my research is complete, it will be much easier to put the paper together. Is anyone else finding the research hard?

October 9, 2006

Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

When this was assigned I definitely thought it was going to be boring, but I was wrong. This story is very interesting, obviosly it is a heated topic and experts on the topic are expressing their opinions. The crazy part is top experts on the topic are saying different things which intensifies the debate over whether the woodpecker is actually extinct or not. This makes it easier to write a paper on either side of the topic.

Library Search

Hey Everyone,
I have been trying to look up information for the Ivory-Billed woodpecker, and have not had any luck with searches on the UMN Library. I am curious if anyone has any good search words to use to find good sources. I typed in the bird name and nothing came up. Help would be loved. Also to answer others questions...I think we just need an outline by Thursday.

Sides!?

I first have a question.....what exacty is due thursday? The outline? The paper? or both? Im not clear on what we will be peer reviewing!
I also believe that we need sometime to go over things as a class. The topic is so broad I don't even know where to begin. What side are you guys supporting? Just curious to see what everyone believes! I find myself between sides. Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Plagiarism

In class we talked about what plagiarism really is. What plagiarism is when you take work from someone else information and use in a paper and not give credit to the real author for their work. Many people do not know that even though some things are published that it does not have to be cited in a paper. This is called well known knowledge, and if you know this information with out having to look it up then it is not considered plagiarism to use it in a paper with out citing it.

October 8, 2006

More Time Versus Less Pages

Really, the content of our upcoming paper is extremely interesting... I like it a lot. Unfortunately, it is tough to truly develop a solid argument because the topic is broad, obscure, and totally mutually-exclusive! I'd argue that we're alloted more time to do the assignment rather than having Maggie reduce the amount of pages we write. Either way, it's quality over quantity, but having an adequate amount of time to research the topic (as well as complete various assignments for other classes) is essential. It IS midterm time for most people in most standard classes- bio, chem, foreign languages, math, etc. I believe it would be better to have more time to do the assignment (or even in class time to research!) and talk through it because that way we don't put it at the bottom of our lists while trying to studying for our mids. That's just my two cents.

Pathos

The use of pathos is critical to an effective argument according to our textbook, and I could not agree more. Using common sense, how easily could you persuade someone if they don't really care about the topic? In the first example in the book, about telemarketers, the key to making it persuasive is giving the annoying telemarketer a human face and a name. Even something that simple brings a tremendous increase in strength of an argument. Of course some people are going to be more strongly affected by such an approach to persuasion and others will attack the idea of bringing a personal instance into an argument meant to encompass the whole group of telemarketers (an attack to the possible intiypicallity of the situation). As strong a tool as pathos is, it cannot be used solely to persuade everyone...to some people it's all they need to hear, others want nothing but the facts and statistics. Despite the people who pathos doesn't effect, and there's likely very few of them, pathos is almost completely necessary to form an effective argument and gain strong support from people who, after hearing your argument, believe the same.

October 7, 2006

Woodpecker Paper

I also agree with Sherief and those who brought it up in class that three to five pages is a little much due to the fact that there are so many other things going on right now. I also had a busy week last week and the this coming week is going to be busy as well. I would very much like it if the paper's length was reduced to two to three pages. Also I was wondering if anyone knew if there was a way to see how many times we have individually written on here without going back through them all to see how many we wrote? Also do comments count as our weekly post? Thanks a bunch!

October 6, 2006

Argument Analysis

Here we are entering a couple of weeks of midterms and test-taking. In our Rhet class, we come across a paper that is 3-5 pages long about a bird. Now, do not get me wrong, it is an interesting topic, but it is probably the last thing on most of our minds. For most of us, these are the first midterms of our young college careers. It is crunch time, and where will be find the time to do a 5 page paper? It would be amazingly helpful if it were reduced to about 2-4 pages. It is hard to put out one's best work when they have about 5 other things they feel is more important. Although these reasons can not relate to all of us, this is why lowering the length of this paper would be helpful.

October 5, 2006

Ivory Billed Woodpecker

I was reading through this assignment and trying to understand what we are suppose to do. It seems a little hard since we have a short period of time to do this in. I don't know how I am going to be able to read all about the woodpecker and be able to create an outline of it. That is probably the thing that is most confusing to me. I don't think that I have ever had to make an outline for a paper before I write it. I have always just been told what to write and what is suppose to be in each paragraph. I think that this is going to be the most challenging paper yet. I am kinda nervous about it. I am also wondering how the peer review is going to go, since we have to peer review an outline.

October 4, 2006

Abstracts

I thought that the abstract assignment was not very difficult. The toughest part for me was the peer review. I don't remember who brought this up in class, but they said that it was really hard to make global revisions on something that is only 125 words long. In my opinion, next time we have to write something that is shorter like that we should somehow maybe do our peer revisions differently. Otherwise I really enjoyed doing this assignment more than the literacy autobiography one. As far as the new woodpecker assignment, I am not really sure how I feel about it yet. I think the most difficult part of the paper is that we are not able to choose one side or the other.

Ivory Billed Woodpecker

This stuff is pritty cool. I started looking for information about it tonight, and I won't have a problem finding information. I found so much stuff in about an hour. The problem is I don't know how specific our thesis is supposed to be. I know maggie said that it shouldn't be extinct or not, but I don't know how to phrase it otherwise. If I were to say, "the video evidence on the IBW is not reliable and conclusive enough to base any definite conclusions.", I would be able to write 2 pages worth of material. The minimum is 3 pages. How am I supposed to form a thesis that is partail and still come up with 3-5 pages of supporting facts. Also, I kind of got the feeling that we were supposed to include both, pro and con, regardless of what our position is, I think I misheard. Help me out.
Alex

I would have to agree that the abstract assignment was difficult for me. I find it much easier to write about a subject myself instead of summarizing another person's work. However, I think it was important for me to see the process of writing an abstract and also to learn how to pick out the main points of an argument. As we've been learning in class, it's crucial to learn how to find the key claims in an argument and the evidence supporting such claims in order to have a greater understanding for the argument being made. It was an effective assignment, but I would probably rather not do one like it again!

October 3, 2006

Abstract

The recent abstract that was due was one of the easier things to write in my opinion because all the information on it was in one article and all that was needed for the descriptive abstract was to summarize the paper with the only hard part being how long it could be. The informative was some what harder but still easy to write due to it was putting what was in the article and putting it in to a condensed version the true hard part was the length of it.

Argument Analysis

Maybe it's just me, but I actually think that our current writing assignment is going to be the best of the three that we have so far been assigned. Granted, the abstract assignment is going to be hard to beat, but now we actually have an assignment left open to our interpretation of how we would like to make an argument. And the best part: it's not about ourselves, either. Call me a nerd, but I think this next assignment could actually be fun.

Abstracts

A lot of people have been commenting about how easy the abstracts have been. Personally I think that writing these two abstracts was a fairly hard assignment. Reading the article and picking out the main points was not too bad, just time consuming. I think that figuring out the difference between the descriptive and the informative abstracts was challenging. Once I figured out the process for writing the abstracts, getting the main points down and the supporting facts was not too hard. I believe that the hardest part of the abstracts was trying to explain what the thirty page article was about in only 125 words and trying to summarize the main points, major facts, and arguments in only 200 words. I had a very hard time trying to get within the allotted word count.

Plagiarism

I just wanted to give my opinion on the whole plagiarism talk we had. I can honestly say I have never intentionally plagiarized but it still scares me to think that I could get a whole paper taken away for unintentional plagiarism. If I was to write a paper in my own words and thoughts, is it still possible to get blamed for plagiarism? What if somebody else had a paper that I had never seen and ours looked alike? It scares me to think this could happen, and I hope it doesn't happen to any of us.

October 2, 2006

Bamboo flooring link

Hi everyone - I've received several emails on this and saw your blogs as well. The link to the bamboo flooring article is down. In fact, the entire Dovetail site is down.

If you don't have a paper copy of the article, follow this link:
http://72.14.209.104/search?q=cache:zG5mrmsotgEJ:www.dovetailinc.org/documents/DovetailBamboo0305.pdf+DovetailBamboo0305.pdf&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=3

It's a cached site, stored as an HTML file, so it won't like as nice as the PDF, but all the page numbers and text is there.

ABSTRACT

I thought that the abstract assignment was surprisingly easy and fun. I really enjoyed reading the article "Out of Balance", about food marketings role in obesity. I found that i spent more time reading the article than i did writing both of my abstracts. I dont believe I shortened it by taking shortcuts, but rather i took my time while reading and it was much easier to summarize and article that i knew so much about. I think this was a good assignment, that increased our skills as writers, readers and gave us some usefull real world knowlege.

Another feature on www.lib.umn.edu

So last Friday I had to sit through another virtual tour of the libraries. However, during this one I noticed something that I didn't last Tuesday. Did you know that when searching the databases for a book and using "Find It", there's an option on there that says "Post this citation on your blog"? Well if you didn't, now you do. I just thought I'd inform you guys because it may come in handy at some point down the road, especially since we've been discussing plagiarism. Just to test it out, I'll post a citation for one of the topics we searched during the tour.

p.s.- I'm not exactly sure what I'm doing.

Attitudes of rural landowners toward wolves in northwestern Minnesota.

Author: Chavez A. S.
From: Wildlife Society bulletin
Date: 2005
Volume: 33
Issue: 2
ISSN: 0091-7648
Pages: 517-

Question?

Is anyone else having trouble opening up the bambook website!? I still need to site the source....AND I CAN'T OPEN UP THE LINK!!! can anyone help!?!? thanks so much!

October 1, 2006

Abstarcts- The hardest part for me!

Don't worry about the abstract assignment only taking alittle over an hour to complete. The hard part of the assignment isn't finding the main points to put in the article, but to find a way to put the information together to flow from one idea to the next. Its pretty clear that most of the same article abstracts will have the same ideas, but its all about your organization. Finding the best way to include all the information you want and in the precise word limit, that was the hardest part for me.

About those abstracts....

So I did an abstract on the food choices article, and I almost felt as thought it was too easy. Is this a bad thing to think that? This article I felt was particularly easy because of the bolded main sections. Am I doing something wrong? It took me no more than an hour and a half to write the two abstracts in total, and I think I did them right. Mind you, I did do plenty to pre-work the week preceeding the due date, but it still feels like because it didn't take that long that I am doing it incorrectly. But in the end I do believe this will be good for me. I have no plans to write a scholorly (spelling?) article any time in the future, so these will probably be the only abstracts I will ever write. However, this is a good excersise for me, because I have that bad paper writing virus that high school gives you that you write as much as possible to fill up pages reguardless if it has to do with the topic or not. This is teaching me to be more concise with my work, and to just get the main ideas down without a whole bunch of flowery words to go along with it.
Haha, this post is a prime example of my "highs school paper writing" virus coming out....
Cures for this, anyone? And does anyone else suffer from this seemingly incurible disease? Maybe we can start a support group....

Election Rhetoric

Campaign season is starting up and the ads are starting to fill the air waves. Many are annoyed, or put off, but personally I am always happy to see them. It is always amusing to watch the candidates attempt to insult your intelligence, by showing superficial sound bites in a quest for your vote. And hey, it is better that hearing about the latest and greatest Gladware product. (Has it been two weeks already?)

Anyway, what really has annoyed me this time around is the republicans focus on taxes. Formerly, the right advocated for fiscal responsibility, now they spend even more than liberals, yet lower taxes all the same. If they are so patriotic, why don't they shut up, and happily pay taxes like proud americans, especially considering that our troops are fighting a war. Instead, they make ads targeted at the hordes of idiots who are too lazy to think and think, "yeah, more money in my pocket sounds great!" Well, in twenty years, when Asian and European Banks stop buying US bonds, because the it finally dawns upon them that they will never get their money back, and this brings on a

world-wide economic crisis, we'll have to pay the piper. You can pay now, or pay more later, it is that simple.

Plagarism?!

Plagarism is extremely overblown. Three points.

1) Language is infinite. There are an infinite number of ways to say the same thing. Therefore, although it is clearly blatant plagarism to copy someones exact words, it is much easier to nick someone's idea, then paraphrase it.
Therefore, when we talk about plagarism, we should really only focus on stealing ideas, not words.

2) People come up with the same ideas simultaneously. That does not make them thieve or guilty of plagarism, it just means that 2 of the 6 BILLION people on the planet had a similar thought. This is probably especially common now that so many people can publish things. Say a two scholars, one in China and one in the US write similar papers on a given subject, both in their respective languages. It would be absurd to accuse one of plagarism. How would they know about each other's work? One is written in English the other in Chinese!

3) Therefore, intent matters! "unintentional plagarism" is not plagarism! Just like unintentional homicide is not murder, it is manslaughter. Scholars can be careless at times, like not keeping good records during research, and thereby forgetting to credit someone. But humans aren't perfect, and making an honest mistake, which is correctable, is not the same as plagarizing by malicious intent.