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I've been tweeting about important subjects and calling my friends and family. I'm sending emails to my customers. Receiving calls on my employer's behalf, writing notes for my boss, and talking on Whatsapp.
Emails to customers, reports for my boss, phone calls for my boss, and emailing clients
Tweeting important topics to my parents, messaging my family and friends, sharing my Facebook profile, and speaking with my Whatsapp squad
In contrast to personal speech, formal writing reflects on the importance of the subject and the concepts contained within it. The author’s viewpoint is usually written in a third-person with a high degree of focus on the subject matter being communicated. As a result of this focus on the subject matter, the tone preferred for most formal writing is one that is objective and detached from the speaker, holds emotions in check and whichever concern available is expressed by the use of strong arguments and other devices including academic and instructional. Besides the tone, the formal writing follows a rigid structure that seeks to develop a specific argument at each time in supporting a defined thesis. When drafting formal writings, it is important to clearly define the thesis in the first or second paragraph to allow the reader to understand the purpose of writing at the earliest opportunity. Most importantly, the choice of vocabulary is critical as more technical words to the topic under discussion should be used.
While both formal and informal writing are correct, the main difference lies in the purpose for which they are written. Informal writing uses casual English to communicate to friends and people close to the speaker about everyday events. The tone used for this writing is more personal as well as subjective including being sarcastic, thoughtful, serious, angry, casual and amusing. This writing style does not need to adhere to a rigid structure and the thesis may be located at any part of the correspondence. The vocabulary choice may include colloquial and slang, contractions as well as the use of use of first, second or third language.
Entry 10: Definition
Before reading the text book about the definition of plagiarism, I did not have a full understanding of the full extent of the academic fraud. I understood plagiarism to mean copying the wording of another person without acknowledging them. However, I now understand that plagiarism includes using the structure of the sentence, ideas, and the organization of an essay or write-up without acknowledging the source (McWhorter 602). While I understood copying and pasting the exact words from another source amounted to plagiarism, I did not know that taking information or ideas from an article and writing them in one’s own words amounted to plagiarism. I did not understand that there are two forms of plagiarism; deliberate and accidental.
Understanding the scope of plagiarism is important as it prepares me to undertake my writing with an informed mind. I am now able to determine what amounts to plagiarism and being dishonest academically and avoid it. I believe my essays will improve as I will be able to acknowledge the sources from where the ideas I write about were obtained. Besides, it does help me become a better person by respecting the ideas and information of other writers and scholars as I will expect somebody else using my ideas to do. Finally, I believe I can help advice my fellow students on the effects of plagiarizing their work.
McWhorter, Kathleen T. Successful College Writing: Skills, Strategies, Learning Styles. Bedford/St. Martin's, 2000.
Entry 11: Cause and Effect
Causes: Desire to make a contribution to humanity, desire to attain academic excellence, passion for life-long learning, desire to reach leadership position.
Short Effects: Less time for unnecessary commitments, more disciplined, I have become more organized
Long term Effects: Increase my knowledge in the field of health care, allow me to contribute to humanity through research, assume leadership position to make a bigger impact, Life-long learning to be up-to date on health care practices
The first graphic organizer (Figure 19.3) on page 467 of the textbook best suits my brainstormed information. (Graphic Organizer for an Essay on Multiple causes and Effects)
Why I returned to School
Growing up in a vulnerable community, I was taught to appreciate the suffering of others. I chose to pursue a career in health care because I believe it offers me the best opportunity to make little contributions to improve the lives of fellow human beings. Returning to school was necessary if I was to attain the goals that I have laid down.
Desire to Contribute to Humanity
Desire to attain Academic excellence
Passion for Life-long learning
Desire to attain leadership position
Contribute to humanity through research
Increase my knowledge in the field of health care,
Life-long learning to be up-to date on health care practices
Assume leadership position to make a bigger impact
The only way to achieve these goals was to return to school.
Entry 12: Review
It has been surprising how the things that I have always taken for granted can be so crucial not only in helping me come up with a disciplined and focused academic life but also being organized in the social life. I intend to use the knowledge that I have acquired to ensure that all my academic essays adhere to the principles of formal writing by using the correct tone, language, structure and mechanics. Besides, the patterns of development will allow organizing my writings and explaining the points using the narration skills that I have developed during the prewriting stage. After drafting the initial paper, it is critical to proof read to ensure that grammar and spelling mistakes are avoided. I also learned the forms that plagiarism can take. I intend to use this knowledge to ensure that all my essays and academic papers avoid this academic dishonesty by acknowledging the source of any information that is not original. The cause and effects pattern of development is critical as it enables one to be organized in both the academic life but also in the future career. This has been a great learning opportunity that I intend to use in the coming courses and in my career.
Entry 13: Evaluating Sources
Using sources is an important component of college-level academic writing. The sources provide the researcher or student with information that helps in enhancing the understanding and knowledge base. The sources are also used when one needs to build, support or even develop arguments to illustrate the understanding that has been achieved. At the college level writing, most institutions require the use of secondary sources and hence it becomes an academic expectation of the institution. Using sources shows that the writing does not solely rely on personal opinions in addition to pointing to the ability of the writer to incorporate content from various sources. Sources are also used to avoid plagiarizing other peoples’ works.
When writing, it is critical that one differentiates opinions from facts while choosing the sources to use. Indeed, with the internet, there is so much content that is nothing more than just opinions. As such, checking to determine whether the source is a primary research and in which journal it has been published becomes a critical process in establishing the suitability of the source. Relying on sources that do not present facts means the paper written will be faulty and inaccurate. Academic writing requires one to understand when facts are required and the appropriate sources to provide the said facts.
Entry 14: Organizing Information
Organising the information gathered from the sources is a crucial aspect that allows the selection of the most appropriate and relevant information to be included in the study. There are various methods that enable one to manage the information so that it makes logical sense. Using the research question, one can categorize the gathered information to establish any existing patterns (McWhorter 593). This process involves classifying particular themes that are relevant to the study under question and matching them to the respective sources. Such categorizing gives one an insight on the ideas that may have been missed and hence make necessary revisions to include them. I find this method relatively easier to use and track any changes that I may make to the document.
Another fundamental method for organizing the information that I find useful and easy to use is evaluating the research. This method allows one to alter the chosen thesis as new facts, ideas and information is gathered while researching (McWhorter 593). In the process of researching, it is important that one is cognizant of the research questions that he/she had begun with, whether the answers to the questions were obtained, and if there were any discoveries. Besides, the researcher should be aware of any conclusions that can be drawn from the studies and an awareness of how the working thesis may be affected by the findings of the research (McWhorter 593).
Plagiarism is an academic dishonest conduct of not acknowledging the ideas, wording and sentence structure of another person when writing. Copying and pasting words, borrowing ideas even when paraphrased, buying essays and papers and presenting as if it one’s original work are some forms of plagiarism (McWhorter, 602). Citing information is a critical aspect of formal writing as it is a means of avoiding plagiarism when using ideas from other sources. Citing is also important when stating facts obtained from outside sources. However, it is not necessary to cite personal opinions.
McWhorter, Kathleen T. Successful College Writing: Skills, Strategies, Learning Styles. Bedford/St. Martin's, 2000.
Entry 15: Using Sources Responsibly
Summarizing is the act of writing down short notes to indicate the main points that are contained in a given article or reading. It involves eliminating some details that are not so critical in explaining an idea. Paraphrasing involves presenting the ideas of the author using different words and structures of the sentences. While paraphrasing, the author’s intended meaning must be kept albeit in different vocabulary. A direct quotation refers to a block of words that have lifted directly from a source and used in a given essay. When quoting directly, the same exact words are used and enclosed in quotation marks. However, adjustments may be made to allow the sentence to fit into the flow of the idea as long as the meaning of the quotation is not altered.
Summarizing is an important skill of gathering information as it allows the writer to pick out the most significant information from a given source. This is important when the source has a large content and only a fraction of the information is relevant to the current thesis. Paraphrasing is a significant source that helps when one desires to avoid plagiarism. The skill requires that one reads the source and understand it and writes the information in own words and structure. Using direct quotes is useful when an author seeks to prove to the reader that he made sufficient research and that facts stated were obtained from a reliable source.
Entry 16: Planning an Argument
Using renewable energy is beneficial and economical compared to the use of traditional energy sources.
Type of Claim: This is a value based claim.
Purpose: This research seeks to provide reasons and arguments that support the claim that using renewable energy may be beneficial and economical compared to the continued use of traditional sources of energy.
The traditional sources of energy have begun to exhaust
Renewable sources do not contaminate the environment and cannot be exhausted
Renewable sources of energy will provide more jobs to the economies of the world
Will bring stability in countries faced with conflict resulting from the presence of fossil fuels
The use of global energy is on the rise, especially from developed countries. This is a result of rapid economical and industrial growth. Yet the traditional sources of energy, mainly fossil fuels, are continuously getting depleted (Edenhofer et al. 23).
The current civilization relies heavily on the oil to run the economies. This is a dangerous proposition as the reserves are getting depleted as a result of growth in population and climate changes.
The IEA says that there will be an annual growth of 0.5% in the use of energy among countries within the OECD.
Union of concerned scientists revealed that if economies utilized 25% of all the amount of the energy used, the volume of carbon emission from the power plants will be reduced by 277 metric tons per year (UCS 1).
Professor Richards Hans from University of South Calgary argues that the cost of fossil fuels has been on the rise while the price per watt for production of solar energy had declined by a massive 60% between 2007 and 2017 (Hans 12).
Professor Ayhan Demirbas of the University of North Seattle argues that the reason for the high costs of installation of renewable sources like solar panels is due to the exorbitant costs related to the materials for making the panels.
Appeal to needs: The use of renewable sources has a direct relationship to the physiological needs like health, well-being and food. The continued use of traditional sources of energy has led to pollution with the consequences being poor health and diseases like cancer, heart diseases and COPD (Parker, Cindy and Shapiro 39). It has also contributed to global warming and climate change resulting to tsunamis, droughts and famine. These disasters challenge the very right of citizens to safety, food, shelter and a sense of belonging (Sterger, et al., 97).
Appeal to values: the continued use of unrecyclable sources of energy threatens the very values of freedom and liberties to freely conduct business within a community especially in the regions faced with conflict because of the oil and fossil fuels (Smith and Taylor 15).
Edenhofer, Ottmar, Ramon Pichs‐Madruga, Youba Sokona, Kristin Seyboth. Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation: Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, 2011.
Hans, Richard. Alternative Energy. Chicago. HillCrest Publishers Ltd., 2012.
Parker, Cindy L., and Steven M. Shapiro. Climate Chaos: Your Health at Risk: What You Can Do to Protect Yourself and Your Family. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2008.
Smith, Zachary Alden, and Katrina D. Taylor. Renewable and Alternative Energy Resources: a Reference Handbook. ABC-CLIO, 2008.
UCS, "Benefits Of Renewable Energy Use". Union of Concerned Scientists, 2016, http://www.ucsusa.org/clean-energy/renewable-energy/public-benefits-of-renewable-power#.We9ryVtSyUk Accessed 23 Oct. 2017.
Entry 17: Recognizing the Opposition
The first and most significant way of making an argument to stand out is to ensure that the strength of the argument has been determined. This is critical before beginning to think about the opposing views. It helps if one can sketch down the strong points that will make up the argument. An assessment of these points can reveal if the points look like they can win an argument. This evaluation allows the writer to get a sense of where the paper should concentrate in arguing for while refuting the opposing views. It is also significant to anticipate opposing arguments through thorough brainstorming and establishing some of the probable opposing arguments. The final step is to refute the opposing arguments by determining how they match up with the strong arguments that are made for the thesis.
Strong arguments are those that acknowledge the opposing viewpoints. In the essay “Abolish the Penny”, William Safire makes his writing strong because he exhibits an in-depth analysis of his strong points and the alternative viewpoints. In my opinion, the ability to understand the two sides and presenting a rebuttal to counter the alternative arguments gives the reader the opportunity to determine for himself/herself which side of either argument is winning. The graphic organizer gives methodical arrangement of ideas that support the viewpoint, those that oppose it and the refutation offered.
Entry 18: Course Reflection
This course has been more educative than I first thought. Initially, during the introductory lessons, I thought it was a waste of time as most of the things seemed to have been very basic and what we had studied at high school level. How wrong I was. I grew interest in the course as it began to take shape especially when the lesson of description and narration prewriting began. I was amazed how wrong I have been writing my essays without any particular organization. While I had some idea about formal and informal writing, the course crystallized the concept clearly on the format that is taken. Thesis statement writing is one area that I had not paid much attention to prior to taking this course.
Another critical aspect that I vividly remember is the precise definition of and what constitutes plagiarism. I learned that plagiarism is more than just copying and pasting another person’s words, but includes failing to acknowledge another person’s ideas, or using a sentence structure and words without properly citing them. Citing sources that were used in writing an essay is important as it ensures that one avoids academic dishonesty as well as being able to integrate various materials into the document. I learned how to cite using various methods including MLA and APA. Besides plagiarism and citation, organizing the various components into a graphic organizer is essential in arranging ideas to form a strong essay.
Organizing information is crucial in achieving a write-up that is backed up with defined reasons, facts, statistics and expertise opinions. It is important that facts are differentiated from personal opinions and indifferent attitude. To avoid plagiarism, it is important that the sources are used responsibly. I learned some methods applied to achieve this including quoting directly, summarizing and paraphrasing. These methods are important as they allow one to either take important information from source which is summarizing. Paraphrasing is where the ideas of the source are written in a one’s own words and a different sentence structure. Finally direct quotes refer to the use of the same exact words but enclosing them in quotation marks and noting the page from where they were picked from. Through this learning, my writing has improved significantly as I am able to avoid plagiarising my essays.
At the beginning of the course, I set out to gain the ability to write a coherent and flowing essay that captures the mind of the reader. Besides, I undertook to create time to read the examples provided in the textbook to allow me master the mechanics of writing. I have always wanted to have an article published in one of the newspapers and when I realized that I am pursuing this course, I saw it as an opportunity to achieve this target. I anticipated that by the end of the course, I shall be in a position to improve my written correspondence at my place of work.
I am delighted to be in a position to write powerful documents with few writing mechanics errors. My correspondence at the place where I work has greatly improved if what my boss is receiving as positive feedback from our clients is anything to go by. I managed to create enough time to read the examples provided in the textbook and took time to practice on my own some of the assignments suggested but not required by the Instructor. However, I was unfortunately not able to submit any article to any of the newspapers for publishing. This is one failure that I regret but still believe that with the knowledge that I have gained, I am in a position to write highly rated articles. This was a wonderful experience.
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