ENGL 112: Term Notes

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Department
English
Course
ENGL 112
Professor
Peter Mahon
Semester
Winter

Description
January 21, 2013 Wednesday, January 02, 2013 5:40 PM Abstract: Every proposal even very brief ones should have an abstract. Some readers read only the abstract and most readers rely on it initially to give them a quiz overview of the proposal and later to refresh their memory of its main points Though it appears first in a research proposal, the abstract should be written last, as a concise summary (approximately 120-150 words) of the proposed project's research question, its objectives and its methods. The abstract should appear on a page by itself. Determining if the research topic will work. Whether research has been done, is it a viable topic etc. The abstract provides the reader with his/her first impression of the research project, and, by acting as a summary, frequently provides the reader with his/her last. English 112/04M in subject for emails The research proposal will change, as the research and analysis begins. Deter from completely changing the topic or direction of the research paper. If this happens please consult the prof. SAMPLE: The research topic I have chosen focuses on the Canadian mental health system and homelessness. Specifically, I want to explore how Vancouver as a community addresses the problem of homelessness among the chronically mentally ill. My research begins by examining Harrison's exploration of homelessness in Vancouver as well as Haraway's case- study of the Belgium town of Geel, where community-wide programs for tackling the problem of homelessness among the mentally ill have been running for the last decade. I will also examine Patterson's study of the Village Integrated Service Agency (VISA), a pilot project based in Long Beach, California that seeks to address the ways in which the mental health. Start broad, and then focus in on the main sources that will be used in the paper (approximately 1 sentence). Second sentence should narrow in on the topic of the research paper. Third sentence introduces the most important sources and gives a very brief explanation (include sources that are the most important and relevant. The last sentence outline what exactly will be done with the sources, ties it all together, how the sources are going to be used in conjunctions with the research paper. Annotated Bibliography: Going to need three peer-reviewed sources for the research paper. An annotated bibliography is a list of academic books, articles, and documents relevant to the research project. Each sources is followed by a brief (usually about 80-100 words) descriptive and evaluative paragraph - the annotation. The purpose of the annotated bibliography is to inform the reader of the relevance and suitability of the sources cited to the research topic. An annotated bibliography also serves several important functions: 1. It gives credit to those who have laid the groundwork for the research you are going to carry out. 2. It demonstrated both your knowledge and understanding of the theoretical and research 2. It demonstrated both your knowledge and understanding of the theoretical and research issues related to your research question by showing your ability to identify and evaluate relevant information. 3. It demonstrates your ability to integrate and synthesize existing research into your thought. Annotations vs. Abstracts: Abstracts are descriptive summaries often found at the beginning of scholarly articles and papers in journals and databases. Although they can be very useful for initially narrowing down you search for sources, it is best not to rely completely on abstracts; there may be more important material relevant to your research included in the article or paper that is not mentioned in the abstract. There is absolutely no substitute for reading the source itself. Annotated bibliographies are, as the name suggests, descriptive and evaluative. They give your reader a chance to see the content of your sources and demonstrate the relevance of the sources to your research topic. Abstracts attached to articles or essays cannot do this. Next Monday January 28, will be the first peer editing session The Process: Creating an annotated bibliography calls for the application of summary skills (your ability to use and identify abstract language, synthesis, and reporting expressions) and informed library research Locate and record citations to peer-reviewed books, periodicals. Briefly examine and review those items to determine their relevance to your project Cite the book, article or document using MLA style Each annotation should (a) summarize the main argument the book or article chosen, (b) explain how this work illuminates your topic and (c) be approximately 80-100 words long. Your proposal will need three academic sources. The final version must incorporate at least 4. SAMPLE: Goldscheider et al. use data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Young Women and Young Men to see if living away from home changes the attitudes of young adults toward traditional family roles. The authors find that their hypothesis is strongly supported in young females but less so in young males. They conclude that spending time away from parents before marrying increases the sense of individualism and self-sufficiency in young women. This study's findings lend support to my research to my research which examines how going to university is important for developing a strong sense of individuality in young women. Research Proposal (Due January 28) *Bring 2 copies 1. Abstract 2. Annotated bibliography (at least 3 sources) Research proposal counts for participation marks Bring the course package to next class January 23, 2013 Wednesday, January 23, 2013 11:01 AM The final exam will be an essay type question relating to the course package Stanford Prison Experience (Phillip Zimbardo): • If you are told you cannot have it, you want it more • Power only seems to relevant destruction • Trying to recreate the psychological experience of being a prisoner • Determine how prisoners become prisoner and guards become guards • In a prison it is difficult to determine if there are psychological issues or personality defects etc. that can not be controlled in a real prison • Prisoners that populated the prison had gone through psychological evaluations and weeded out people with psychological issues (only normal participants were accepted) • Wanted to determine if the prison will produce changes in the people ○ Groups were composed of homogenous people (same types of people) • Zimbardo was incorporated/taking a role within his own experiment • Prisons and concentration camps in this article have been connected (similarities) • Dehumanisation and immasculinity was trying to be reproduces in the prisoners in the study ○ It is difficult to do this when subjects know the term (length of the study) ○ Try to rob subjects of their identity through uniforms and structure of the study  Give the subjects feminine clothing, and the same hair colour • Zimbardo related wearing pieces of clothing with ways of acting or behaving ○ Prisoners wore clothing like dresses and started to walk and move in way that were more feminine • Prisoner had to ask for everything, even simple things, creating helplessness and child like behaviour • Guards were able to put up with smells of the prison, because they felt like they have the power to do so • Once a prisoner is in the prison, the past has been wiped away, no family, friends, routine etc. ○ Zimbardo created a windowless prison in order to reproduce the psychological effect of disconnection of time and previous life • Guards wore glasses that prisoners could not look into their eyes (general uniform for guards) ○ Guards were given freedom to improvise and create their own rules, law/order • The prisoner/guard relationship was symbiotic (reliant on each other) • People loose sight of the fast that this was a study and not reality • Prisoners believed the guards were sub-human • Prisoners start to see each other as the guards see them • The social situation that one is put in is stronger than one's personality ○ When you are in a situation, one's personality is the first thing to be overwritten • The normal behaviour for the guards becomes abusive, and if the guards step outside of the norm, the guards are thought to be off • Clash between personalities and values, and the environment that has been created within the prison ○ Even the guards that have power, are beginning to feel powerless • The guards who were showing compassion for the prisoners just wanted to ego boost from being liked in the prison, rather than being nice to be nice ○ Even the good guards stood up for the prisoners • It no longer matters the length of the study, but rather what is happening to the personalities and behaviour of the guards and prisoners • • What is good/correction if it is made up of bad • Security becomes the only thing that the study leaders were worried about ○ Dismantle the jail in order to have security • Blames the victims for what they are getting • Someone who sees as a pacifist and non-violent after five days was able to turn/over ride and could not believe they were doing the things they did • Ended the study after only 6 days January 30, 2013 Wednesday, January 30, 2013 11:02 AM The techniques of summary and critical summary are intended to liberate you from the written arrangement in your source materials so that you are no longer a slave to them: putting your sources into your own words also allows you to put them into new arrangements - with each other, with your research proposal, etc. Rearranging source material is also the first step in construction a thesis: your thesis will emerge from your research proposal. In academic writing, meaning and intelligibility depend on an organizing principle. High level abstractions or concepts such as "Social Organization" or "The Role of the Media" are meant to dominate lower level assertions: they make texts meaningful. Such concepts are crucial for writing your thesis. Readers generally use a paper's concepts to manage their comprehension simply because writers, in planning, drafting and revising their work, spend a great deal of time constructing concepts that control and connect detail and examples. If your paper does not supply a thesis, your reader is left to speculate and may supply one of his/her own making: the problem her is that the reader's concepts of your thesis may be completely different from the one you intended. • Must make the thesis explicit, upfront, and tell the reader what you are setting out to do/explain/determine/analyze etc. Thesis Writing: Aboutness and Coherance Aboutness: A thesis supplies your paper's aboutness by tying its diverse items of information together. A good test for aboutness is to ask if a series of sentences you have written could be given a title. It is difficult to give a title to a series of randomly strung together sentences that have no organizing principle. In the context of academic writing, random sentences have no meaning because a reader cannot say for sure what the writer is talking about: such randomly strung together sentences cannot earn marks. Coherence: A thesis also supplies your paper with the organizing principle of coherence. Coherence is the principle that gives your entire essay meaning. Coherence is supplied by the reiteration of your thesis at strategic points throughout your paper. Such reiteration continually (re) establishes the relevance of specific details through your thesis. Papers without such reiterations are considered incoherent. Disproportion: A common form of incoherence that occurs when large pockets of specific/concrete details are piled on top of each other in a piece of writing: when disproportion occurs, the writer fails to convey a strong sense of the thesis to the reader, stranding him/her in too many disconnected details. To avoid this problem, think of reader of always having the following question in your mind: Why is the writer telling me this now? Imagine your reader asking him/herself this question about every single thing you write. If you as a writer cannot answer this question, you cannot reasonably expect your reader to do so. As mentioned above, your thesis guides a reader's interpretation. Take the following very simple data: The table was bare, the floor swept clean. The window was open, and a keep breeze crossed the room. The walls glimmered in the pale light. Here, a reader would have no problem identifying the various components mentioned above Here, a reader would have no problem identifying the various components mentioned above s/he knows that this is vaguely about a room. However, the passage has no meaning, no principle of coherence. The scene was one of desolation and abandonment of emptiness. The table was bare, the floor swept clean. The window was open, and a keep breeze crossed the room. The walls glimmered in the pale light. This scene is now on of desolation, loss and abandonment. Alternatively: All clarity and candour, the scene suggested renewal and fresh beginning. The table was bare, the floor swept clean. The window was open, and a keep breeze crossed the room. The walls glimmered in the pale light. The scene is now one of renewal, promise, and hope. The first sentence is the thesis statement. Situating your Thesis Statement: Ideally, the reader will meet your thesis statement at the beginning of your essay, before encountering the facts that develop it. However, even though this is a natural position for the reader to encounter the thesis statement, it is not so natural for the writer: a thesis only starts to come into being after conducting some research. Redrafting your paper is the only way to refine your thesis. Your thesis should also be paraphrased at strategic points throughout the essay. In other words, you should restate your thesis (but not simply in an identical way) at paragraph/section divisions where your reader has to make important decisions about what to do with the information presented (ex. What to retain and what to drop). A strong thesis will thus direct your readers clearly, helping him/her to concrete, remember and read efficiently. However, this strength is proportional to the quality of the writer's effort in constructing the thesis. • Have sections headings that allow you to rephrase the thesis in the start • Alert the reader about the purpose as they move from one section to the next • Thesis must be clear otherwise the reader will be unclear 1. Thesis + supporting paraphrase of thesis = thesis statement 2. Partial renewal of thesis, followed by narrowing of the topic 3. Supporting detail 4. Renewal of thesis 5. Partial renewal of thesis 6. Supporting detail 7. Partial renewal of thesis 8. Support detail 9. Partial renewal of thesis In the schema, the thesis frames lower-level material and controls the reader's interpretation of that material by telling him/her (a) what to keep in mind and (b) how any new information relates to the thesis. In this way, the thesis creates your essay's meaning and coherence. To recap • By providing unmistakable guidance to interpretation, your thesis explicitly instructs the reader in how to condense lower-level details into higher-level, space saving abstractions. This reduces the build of information without scarifying it, leaving the reader free to concentrate on new material reader free to concentrate on new material • Your thesis explicitly instructs the reader as to which issues can be temporarily placed in the background but should be kept handy for later use. When these issues are needed, a partial restatement of your thesis will explicitly recall them and show the reader how they relate to the information currently being discussed. • Your thesis will explicitly instruct the reader as to which materials are peripheral and can be sent to long-term storage, or perhaps even forgotten. Such material will not be needed later, and do no have to take up the reader's attention for very long • Your thesis will emerge from your research proposal • When putting together the thesis, show the reader how you have put together the research ○ Some background information that is essential for the remainder of the paper ○ The language used in the thesis is heavily conceptual February 4, 2013 Monday, February 04, 2013 11:01 AM February 6: In class #2 prep February 8: peer-editing 1st page of draft (intro) February 13: critical summary Essay Introductions: Your research essay introduction should include: 1. Your thesis statement 2. A brief outline of 2-3 of the major points you will make in discussing your thesis: use forecasting: "First, I will examine ….; second, I will explore ….; third I will consider ….." 3. Brief citations from the most important sources you will be using (ex. In your thesis statement and in your forecasts) 4. Any important introductory definition(s) (use a research definition, rather than a dictionary). a. Do not use dictionary definitions, but instead how the sources define the concept etc. 5. The hallmarks of scholarly style discussed so far: conceptual language, reporting expressions, citation and forecast (remember, how you write your research paper is as important as the topic you are researching). Your introduction will be approximately one page long February 6, 2013 Wednesday, February 06, 2013 11:01 AM Techniques for Critical Summary: Before getting into critical summary, some words on summarizing case studies, fold-stories, novels, films, creative non-fiction, etc.: these types of writing do not always clearly announce their conceptual levels; it is therefore up to the reader to supply the higher level concepts that the original does not supply on its surface. Thus, a reader might need to give names to story's key moments/episodes or provide a key concept to explain a situation. In doing so, a reader creates meaning and displays his/her critical skill and insight. For example, a reader might summarize a report stating "Several schools were burnt down in the last six months" using the concept "Vandalism." Or, when talking about the character of Cinderella, a reader could use the concept "the representation of women." More of this on pages 95-102 Part of your role as an academic writer is to guide the reader through the different levels of information the constitute your argument: you demonstrate abstract/conceptual/statements with concrete details and explain the concepts at work in specific phenomena. Critical Frame and Critical Stance: As the name implies, critical summary builds on the techniques of summary (please remember to review notes of summary). A critical frame is an indispensable part of the critical summary. • Critical frame introduces a source openly and directly using reporting expressions ○ Ex. Calhouns essay "Heterosexuality" argues that • A critical frame indicates One of the major difficulties in writing a critical summary arises when you submit yourself to someone else's rigorous argument: you may feel that you are not in a position to criticize it. For example, you may thing that the argument is completely convincing (or unconvincing) or that you have nothing to add: this simply means you lack critical distance. To overcome this problem, you must detach yourself from the original argument: constructing a critical frame is the first step is detaching yourself from your source, allowing you to judge it impartially. Your frame first creates critical distance through the use of "reporting expressions" - references to the author(s), followed by a discursive verb: • Smith claims …. • Jones suggests …. • Fiske and Hartley argue …. Critical framing thus allows you to begin creating the distance needed to make a critique: it tells your reader that you are reporting information from elsewhere, and that you are removed from it. A crucial part of the critical frame is a critical stance, where you evaluate the argument you have reconstructed in your summary. A critical stance is where you offer the reader statement of your own based on your analysis and interpretation of your sources. However, a critical stance does not simply condemn an argument as "mistaken" or "wrong"; nor does it praise an argument as being "totally excellent." A critical stance is not simply an "opinion" - especially one which praises or blames. Begin constructing your critical stance by looking carefully at your summary of your source's argument (again, remember to review your notes on summary!). An apparently airtight argument (again, remember to review your notes on summary!). An apparently airtight argument can, when summarized, exhibit gaps that call for further questioning: pieces that seemed to slide together at first may not fit together so easily in the summarized version. To ensure that these gaps are not the result of misunderstanding the text, ask yourself: • Are the weak logical connections in my summary actually in the source? Is there a fault premise? A faulty conclusion? Are there skipped logical steps? • Is there enough information presented to the reader? • What kind of evidence does the source use? Historical? Sociological? Ethnographic? Biological? Psychological? • What methodology does the author use? Quantitative? (statistic, questionnaires, theoretical analysis, experimental, etc.) Qualitative? (participant observation, case studies, interviews, etc.) In the (admittedly unlikely) event that logical problems do exist in your source, highlight them for your reader. Even if there are no major logical problems in your source, asking questions about the author's evidence and methodology enable you to assess the effectiveness of each point in his/her argument. Your critical summary should thus show awareness of how an argument uses logic, evidence and methodology; if you find problems, your criticism should be constructive and should make suggestions for possible improvements: above all, try not to inflate a flaw into a condemnation,. Instead, ask yourself if something could be added to the original argument - using your own reasoning - to strengthen it. In this way you show respect to the original writer's argument, which may have a lot to teach you despite its problems. Categorizing Your Critical Stance There are three critical stance (a) agreement; (b) disagreement; (c) sitting on the fence. If you find yourself having trouble articulating your critical stance, try the following techniques. a) If you find yourself agreeing with an argument but cannot say why, play Devil's Advocate, an excellent technique for gaining critical distance: ask yourself, "What would someone who disagrees with this argument say?" These rival viewpoints may be explicitly stated or they many need to be coaxed out. By reading in this way, you provide yourself with critical distance and a good sense of the argument your source is opposing, which you can then use to flesh out your stance. However, you may find that the source does not successfully overcome these objections; you may even find yourself changing your initial stance. b) If you find yourself disagreeing with an argument but cannot say why, ask your self what views/viewpoint it is opposing. Again you may find your self changing you initial stance. c) If you find yourself sitting on the fence, but cannot say why, follow the techniques in (a) and (b) above. Since sitting on the fence involves being aware of both the pros and cons of an argument, so you will need to convey to your reader an awareness of both sides of an issue and their limits February 15, 2013 Friday, February 15, 2013 11:03 AM FEB 25: 2 Pages of draft • 1st page revised, and new second page FEB 27: Prep for the third in class Definition (AW 135-147) Definition brings important concepts terms into focus. It helps a writer address readers who may not be familiar with key research-related terms used by other academic writers and not researchers. For readers already familiar with those terms, definition confirms common ground. Apposition, in an instrument of definition: it is directly attached to an abstraction and use other words to define it. Take the following summary: Chavez's work on undocumented immigrants offer new perspectives on transnational communities: communities whose members leave their homes and settle in another country while maintaining important connections with their original homes. Here, the writer recognizes the reader may not be familiar with the abstraction/concept "transnational communities," and takes steps to address him/her. The use of apposition can also help a writer to define his or her position by sharpening the application of an abstraction: Academic knowledge is now generally recognized to be a social accomplishment, the outcome of a cultural activity shaped by ideology and constituted by agreement between a writer and a potential skeptical discourse community. Here, the apposition sharpens up the very abstract concept of "social accomplishment" to the relation between an academic writer and his/her audience (AW 135-140) Definition usually takes the form of a core statement of equivalence, which basically translates into the formula "x=y". The core statement often, but not always, uses the verb "to be." • Salutations are verbal and physical gestures • Cybernetics or the science of maintaining order in a system Note that the apposition forces a particular grammatical structure on the writing: the subject of the verb tends to be short and the complement much longer. The subjects in the above sentences are also abstract nouns, which tend to immobilize events or the performance of an action. For example, "Billy bullies Mary" is a concrete situation; however, in the abstraction "Bullying," both concrete individuals - Billy and Mary - disappear (a grammatical phenomenon known as agentlessness) and the verb of the sentence is turned into an abstract noun: nominalization. In a similar fashion, one might turn the concrete report "Fred burnt down his high-school last night" into the abstraction "Vandalism": once again, the concrete specifics, "Fred" and "his school," disappear and are converted into an abstract noun, "vandalism." Formal and Sustained Definitions Formal definition is a style of definition that focuses closely on a concept and isolates it for scrutiny by separating it from accidents, mix-ups, fuzziness and real life. Formal definition is scrutiny by separating it from accidents, mix-ups, fuzziness and real life. Formal definition is therefore ideal in focus. Day care is the institutional provision of care-taking services to young children, these services including feeding, supervision, shelter and instruction. In this example the concept "Daycare" is defined by the appositional phrase (beginning with "is the ……") The apposition enlarges the reader's view of the concept by identifying the larger class of activity to which "daycare" belongs: "the institutional provision of care taking services" (other services would be healthcare, corrections, education etc.) The definition of "daycare" then goes on to refocus the reader's attention on the concept by identifying the features of "daycare" that differentiate it from the other members of broader class of "the institutional provision of care-taking services"; thus, "daycare provides care "… to young children, these services including feeding, supervision, shelter, and instruction." Thus, the structure of formal definition consists of a double movement: enlargement to classify and reduction to differentiate. Use formal definitions at least once, but it may be used several times if necessary. The structure of definition allows the writer to focus on a concept's situation in the broader - social, cultural, etc. - context. For example, a writer might contextualize the concept of "television" by placing it in the larger conceptual system of "media." However, this type of contextualizing is interpretive: definition places concepts in contexts that are plausible but not inevitable: they can and will be re-interpreted. Writers also frequently use definition to emphasize the key concepts they intend to use in their work. As the term suggests, therapeutic supervision combines surveillance with … By deconstruction, I mean the critique of Western metaphysics…. Writers can also use definition to direct the reader's attention to an important concept by analyzing it, that is, by dividing it into parts and comparing it to its near neighbours" Life broadcasting, the print media, particularly daily newspapers, popular magazines and journals…. Each of these strategies - calling attention to a word, analysis, comparison - develops the definition's focus
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