Monday, April 12, 2010

Evaluating your sources.

To build a strong paper you must choose the sources you cite carefully. Judge if the source is credible and the relevance of the topic. This section of the DK Handbook explains how to make those judgments.

When judging the credibility of a source you should ask these question;Who is the publisher? Does the writer have the right credentials? What is the evidence? Is the evidence accurate? Are the author's claims supported by evidence? Does the source cover all the relevant facts and opinions? What is the genre of the source? Are the sources perspective and biases clear? Does the source seek out different perspectives? Does the writing sound reasonable and thoughtful?

You can measure the relevance of the source by asking these questions; Is the information from the source focused on your topic? Is the publication date appropriate for your research? Does the source have different information than the sources you have already collected? Does the source make an interesting point? Does the source suggest another direction your research can go in?

If you use a source that isn't credible your stance can become weak, and the reader won't take you seriously. If the sources you use aren't relevant to your research your stance will appear sloppy and have a lack of focus. Evaluating your sources is very important when trying to build a strong argument.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A search for research

Alright I am trying to find a topic for a research paper, going over the news picking through the current events. The head lines read;"Scientist appeal for improvement in flu prevention mechanisms." and, "Newly Single Jim Carrie Criticizes Ellin Woods." Before too long I had made a list of topics that I might like to do so a research paper on. Lets see; Illegal immigration in the U.S., obesity in America, the psychology of art, string theory, climate change. Then i came across a article far from the front page, it was titled, "First Unveiling of New Strain To Redefine The Medical Cannabis Industry, New Released Scientific Data Supports Medicinal Value, U.S Government Ignores Scientific Data." Now this is a subject i can really get my teeth into.

When my friends and I get together over a bottle of wine or a cup coffee, depending on the time of day, our discussions range from science and history to religion and politics. More often that not out discussion will turn to some of the more obvious injustices imposed on us by those who have a hold on the reigns of law and military. We open each other to troubling truths, such as how our nation's prison system is almost entirely privately owned. The people who are making the big money off of keeping the prisons full of people, and keep politicians in the same pocket as the keep their wallet. These companies have a invested in trying in putting people in prison who don't belong their. Throwing people in prison for non-violent crimes such as a parking ticket, and smoking pot.

That leads us into our next topic of discussion, since my friends and I are all big advocates for the reform of marijuana laws, this is not a uncommon topic for us to discuss in depth. As we go around throwing in our two cents we will often introduce each other books and articles and news of what progress is being made. I have been doing some light research for years on the topics of marijuana legalization, and what I have learned has a connection to a personal and important part of my life.

My father is a retired Army veteran, he has been through stuff I can't even imagine. He is 100% and permanently disabled. He is taking so much medication for pain, stress and PTSD. These medications are seriously killing him. The medication he was taking for his nerve damage has really taken a tole on his brain functions, and taking hundreds of milligrams of medication every day is overloading his liver. I have discussed with him and my mother how he can benefit from replacing much of his medication with marijuana. Marijuana has proven to be a very safe and effective medicine for many of the symptoms he suffers from. My mother is aware of how much his medication if effecting him, and she agrees that he really could benefit from using marijuana. My father is not apposed to the idea of switching to a medication what is much safer, and more effective. My father is a very conservative man, and walks a narrow path of morals beliefs, he has told me that he would like to try some marijuana to ease his pain, to help hims sleep, and to give him some relief from the stress and anxiety from his PTSD. But he will not break the law, and Utah dose not currently recognize marijuana as a legitimate medicine. So until my father lives in a place that will allow him to have a safer more effective medicine he will have to continue to over pollute his body for mediocre relief. I wish I could convince the Utah legislation to pass a law allowing marijuana to be used as a medicine.

Some people believe that marijuana is just a recreational drug that hippies use to get high and have a good time. Some people believe that there marijuana has not medicinal properties, and marijuana should not be legalized for any purpose. I believe that marijuana is a wonder drug safer than most pharmaceutical products, and can treat a wider range of symptoms that any of them. Marijuana should be legalized for medicinal use. And as for recreational, how can we justify having alcohol legal and marijuana illegal? There are a countless number of deaths and violent crimes attributed to the use of alcohol, and virtually zero are contributed to marijuana use.

This university, as well as every university who are interested in social progression, should make the topic of medicinal marijuana a point of great discussion and research. To change the social injustices that are based ideology we must make information on the issues available to students to study and ponder. Because, yeah, we really do hold the keys to the future.

I spent a few hours on the libraries web-site, searching through catalogs and databases. I found tons of articles, books and films on the subject of medicinal cannabis all from credible sources and filled with great information. I picked out ten articles from a range of sources, covering different aspects of the medicinal cannabis. I created a annotated bibliography for these ten articles to get me started. Doing some more general research on the open web, I found some great sources that got me thinking about the other benefits we can take advantage that are being blocked by marijuana prohibition; economical, industrial as well as medical. Maybe I need to do a bit more thinking about exactly what I would like to focus on, or how i can tie some of these things together to create the most effective argument. My broad interest is really in decriminalizing marijuana all together, and having it regulated like alcohol and tobacco.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A rhetorical analises of a rhetrorical analysis.

This student has done a decent job with her rhetorical analysis. The student did a good job with supporting their ideas with examples from the text. Their logic was fairly solid. The student also did a good job with the summary, and with the rhetorical situation. The attended audience was clear, and so was the thesis. After re-reading the analysis I found some weak points. The chronological organization the student used could have been done in a executed effective manner. This student jumps around between her main point, and even strays off on tangents perhaps a bit to far from the main point. This makes their analysis difficult to follow. Another small problem I identified is the student's inconsistency of the academic tone. At times student strays from the initiated academic tone and gives way to a more personal tone, for example when the student describes as author of the speech he is analyzing as the student insisted,“He is a man in sync with a moral code.” Another example of the student inserting their personal opinion is when the student implies that “religious roots that are most likely deeply embedded within members of his audience.” by stating these personal assumptions this student weakens their credibility. The student does repeat the important points of their thesis, but perhaps to much. Making it appear as if the student hasn't sufficiently analyzed the speech and has a difficult time coming up with way's to illustrate of their idea's. This students analyses was decent, I got the main points, and understood their analysis with a fair amount of depth. But I was unable to sufficiently grasp the essence of rhetoric of the chosen speech.

Friday, March 26, 2010


My personal writing process goes something like this. I start off with main ideas I want to get across in my paper. I then write a sentence or two that explain each main point. Then I try to arrange a logical order to put the main ideas in, trying to make a good flow between my main points. After I get a good arrangement of my main points, I will free write a paragraph about each main point. My first run through will be rough and long. Then I will go through and refine the paragraphs. Using less words, choosing better words, rearranging the words in the sentences, and rearranging the sentences in the paragraph, trying to get a good flow, and make it easy for a reader to make scene of it. Even after that, my paper is still pretty rough. I had some people read my rough draft, they caught a lot of inconsistencies with my verb tense, and some simple grammatical error. I also read it aloud to some one, I was able to catch some messy sentences that didn't easily make sense. I actually spend quite a bit of time wrestling with pretty much every sentence. It takes me a few tries, of rewriting, refining and rearranging.

"Revisions: From First to Final Draft", by Sharon Williams helped me catch a lot of my errors. I realized I was using too many quotes, and I didn't always explain the significance of each quote I used. I also made an outline of my paper as Williams advised, this helped me catch some problems in the flow of the paper. By going over my outline I was able to rearrange a few paragraphs to make it flow better. I have spell checked and proofread many times over, and I am fairly proud of my paper.

Friday, March 5, 2010

"Does college matter?"

Examples of rhetorical appeal:

  • The author cited the book and PBS documentary "Declining by Degrees", since PBS is a pretty legitimate and popular documentary source it is a credible source, giving the blog some credibility.
  • She also establishes a common ground with the audience by writing about her experience as a mother of a girl in high school decided whether or not to go college. Parents, college students and high school students can all relate to this blog.
  • She also builds further credibility by respecting the opposition. She is not a big fan of the college institution, but she recognizes that college can do a lot of good for young kids looking to find out what they want to do with their lives.
  • The author tells a personal story about her daughter deciding not to go to college. This builds a emotional appeal when the reader thinks about the mother's concern for her daughter.
  • She also takes other peoples stories about their careers in relation to a college education, broadening the range of her emotional appeal.
  • The tone this author uses in this blog is cynical. Through out the entire blog she criticizes the college institutions. Her strong feelings made this blog pretty persuasive.
  • By stating the fact that the average education in computer science, engineering and medicine become partly obsolete within 18 months, the author builds a logical appeal.
  • Also by stating the fact that a college degree means you will earn more money, but money doesn't necessarily make people happy, she makes her cynical view seem more logical.
  • The Author writes about how students perceive college as being about socializing and independence. Then she brings up the logical notion that college can cost $80,000 and if some one is looking for socializing and independence there are much cheaper ways of going about it, like going on a bicycle trip across Europe.

My Response to the blog:

I have been a college student at UVU for seven years. When I was a junior in high school i decided to take my GED and just go to college a year earlier than my other classmates. I started college with eagerness and passion. I chose a degree in fine arts because i have a great talent that would be a shame not to nurture to its fullest potential. After a few years of just messing around, not really focusing on graduating, which is why i still have no degree after seven years, I noticed that being a successful artist will have little to do with my degree. If i am going to make it as a artist it will happen with or without a degree, it just depends on how much work i put into it. I took the last year off school to catch up on bills, and came to the conclusion that i do need to go back to school, because i now have a family i need to provide for. And the truth of the matter is that i do need that piece of paper called a diploma to get a good job with benefits. Sure i can try to make it as a successful gallery artist or illustrator, but that is a really risky way of trying to feed a family. Some of the greatest art masters in history either never made any money doing art while they were alive, or it took them most of their life to start making money off of their art.

But going to college is far more that getting a degree, I am learning how to learn. In painting and drawing classes I am learning about composition, color theory and what not. And through these classes, to my surprise, I am learning concepts and mechanisms that help me out in every day life and in other courses. I learn how to be efficient and complete project, I am learning how see the big picture and how everything works together and paying attention to detail at the same time. I find my self applying the things i learn with my paintbrush to other aspects of my life.

In addition to a bachelors in fine arts I am working on a associates in science. I feel i am getting a well rounded education. The things i learn about physics, cosmology, history, psychology, math... you know the general ed stuff, I apply them in my every day decision making. Somehow i will be in a situation were my knowledge of osmosis helped my make good decisions to a every day problem.

I chose to go to college to make a stable future for my family and I, but through the adventure of college I was able to "grow up" and find out who i am and what i believe in. College has shaped me as a person. By attending classes i have gained a deep appreciation for my teachers. I realized that teaching is what i really want to do with my life, I cant think of a nobler profession. Doing art makes me very happy, it is a way for me to express my soul, but this is all something i do for selfish reasons, I paint for no one else but me. But i want to do something more in my life, I want to do something for others, and what better way to do that than teaching, passing on knowledge, and providing people with the tools for a successful life, broadening their perspective and helping them make sense out of these dimensions we live in.

I'm not going to say the college is the place for everyone. But for me it is the right place, it makes me happy. What I am gaining through my college education is invaluable to my life, and i wouldn't trade it for anything.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Homosapien 2.0

Now that we have all logged on and actively disconnected from the real world, maybe we can share some of our ideas with the hostility that comes along with face to face conversation. People tend to find my point of view offensive and are quick to tell me were i am wrong. But with a blog like this I wont have to be interrupted. So if you don't like my point of view, then stop reading. If you feel like you need to tell me something, then do so in the designated comment area. It is a much more polite way conversing. Online we are disconnected from the human aspect of conversation, and being disconnected promotes honesty. I'm not saying we are all lying when we talk face to face, but we do hold somethings back.

Using blogging as a tool for an college English class I think it is inventive and bold. But i don't think it is healthy. Like most technology, I think blogging is separating us from the natural way of life. Blogging removes the most important part of conversation, the connection from one human soul to another. When we talk to some one we are using much more than just words, and we receive and give much more than just ideas. That raw human interaction is becoming more rare. What a shame.

Sure our technology has connected the world, but that is not what we need. A globalized community is not what nature intended for us, we are supposed to have small tight nit tribal communities. Our minds and bodies were carefully sculpted through evolution by nature. But we have a strange quark in us, we have taken control of our evolution, mother nature no longer dictates the path for our species. We have snatched the reigns away from mother earth around the time that agriculture was invented, and we have been on a slippery slope ever since. Slowly growing further and further from our natural state of being.But there is still a simple check in balance system built into the universe, which we will never be free of. Successful strategies will live on and unsuccessful strategies will fall. So I have faith that the human race will live on long after the earth dies, with all of our technology we have learned to survive in outer space.

Oh yes I almost forgot about the main point “blogging”. So before I wrap it up let me bring it all back around. Though blogging might be a unnatural way of communicating, what the hell. I might wish to be a human again, a raw organic human, but we as a society are way past that point now, and there is no turning back. We are on our way to becoming cyborgs, half human half technology. Just look at us; lap tops, cell phones, I pods, are all becoming a inseparable part of our society. And as technology progresses those devices get smaller and more personalized, what's next cell phone implants in our brain? It's not that far out, the cyborg is on its way. It is the next generation of humans, the next evolutionary step for a new species, Homosapien 2.0 .