Grissom's Grammar and Composition

This blog is for any student writing papers for college, for current and former students in my Communications Cluster at Lindenwood University, and my students at St. Charles Community College.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Class Week August 27, 2007

Read your assignments. "The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't." - Mark Twain

Monday Class - bring a draft of your literature paper and do the assigned poetry readings. Remember there is no class on Labor Day, September 3rd.

Wednesday Class - Finish reading the short stories listed and turn in Journals 5-8. Don't forget to include a copy of the article you reviewed for Assignment #5/Journal 6.

Everyone: Look deeply into the human condition. Or at least bring paper and a pen to class.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

More Literature Research Resources

Jack Lynch of the University of Pennsylvania has a list of other Literature Resources you might want to check out for both your oral presentation on a poet and the literature paper.


Online Resources for Researching Literature

For research, first check out Lindenwood’s Literature databases. You will need to sign in for access to the databases. They are listed under the heading Humanities.

Next you can go to the companion site for our Literature book. It has study guides for each piece of literature. The names of the authors are alphabetized in groups, so you have to click on a group of names to find study questions on the stories. So to find questions for Kate Chopin, you have to click on Alexie-Erdrich because her name is located alphabetically between theirs, much like an encyclopedia. Most features don’t require registration, but for the quizzes and some other material, you will need to register.

One section of the site explains the elements of short fiction and provides examples. This would be good to look at before our final exam. Another part of the website explains different approaches to looking at literature – feminist, reader response, Marxist, and more.

Context explores how the life and times of the author influence their work. Examples are provided on the site for "Young Goodman Brown," "Girl,"and "The Story of an Hour."

Our book's website also has LitLinks, a list of web links related to specfic authors. Click on the author's name and you will find sites specific to that author. Purdue’s Owl explains how to write about Literature, including choosing a topic for a paper and using MLA to document research.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Research Tip - Google News Alerts

Google has a new form that lets you sign up for Google news alerts based on key words.

Example: If you are doing a research paper on the guest worker program, you type key words like "guest worker program" and "immigration" into the google alert request, and it will send you the latest news stories containing these words from papers all over the country.

Some stories will be repeats of the same information, but you get a news flash if something happens regarding your topic. You can go back and cancel the alert when you are finished using it. It's great for researching current issues.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Top 3 Ways to Argue in a Paper

I don't know about you, but everyday arguing at my house isn't usually to convince anyone to agree with me. It is more of a take-no-prisoners-I-am-right-you-are-wrong conflict about who left the lights on downstairs.

Arguments in writing, though, must be different. They seek to persuade your audience rather than win an argument. Using the three argument methods below can help you persuade an audience to agree with you.

1) Go For Their Emotions
Students think school writing must be as dry and factual as possible. While evidence is crucial to research writing assignments, living, breathing human stories show your audience how the issue works in real life. So get to the audience's emotions by showing stories they can care about. For example, include the experiences of home schooled students for an essay on home schooling. If you don't show how the problem affects average people, you will ignore a valuable argument tool. This is also called the Pathos Appeal.

2) Appeal to Their Logical Side
Using logic is critical to arguing. You must have solid evidence and logical arguments that back up all of your ideas. Don't use any logical fallacies and if it is a research paper argument, include plenty of reputable research like expert opinions, studies, experiments, and surveys. Style Guides like MLA have directories that show how to cite different types of sources, so every kind of source listed is fair game. The more evidence, the better. This is also called the Logos Appeal.

3) Get Them to Like You
You have a personality when you write, just like you do when you talk. If your writing sounds reasonable, your readers will listen to you. If you offend an audience, they won't agree with you. We don't want to agree with people we don't like, so avoid name calling the other side or you'll be labeled radical and untrustworthy.And consider your audience. If your paper is on recycling and you lecture your readers for being wasteful, they won't listen to you. Acknowledging arguments on the other side also contributes to your credibility, so don't ignore valid points on the other side. Acknowledge that you see their point, but explain why you still hold your view.

Example: Yes, we have made strides in medicine by experimenting on animals, but now we have computer models that can simulate the way actual human cells will react, so we no longer need animals to experiment on.

If the oppositions arguments aren't valid, then explain why in a reasonable tone.

This method is also called the Ethos Appeal.

Due August 6th and 8th

Monday Class: Oral Presentations are due. Also your 2nd Draft of the research paper, complete with a works cited. Bring any questions you have for our conference.

Wednesday Class: Bring two copies of your first draft plus the formal outline (assignments #6 & #7) in a folder.