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Try College 101

Unit 7: Academic Writing and Research in College   This unit addresses a very important topic: college-level writing. Improved writing is one of the major, universal skills that you will take away from a college experience, and it will likely be the skill you use most in your post-college life. Consider for a minute the many ways in which your writing is the first impression people have of you: for example, when you compose emails, write thank-you notes to your parents’ friends, complete job applications, draft the report your supervisor forwards to the CEO, or post to your blog or personal website. Good writing will distinguish you dramatically from your peers and bring you terrific advantages in the long term.
 
Yet, college writing is a very specific kind of writing, with its own set of rules and requirements that are different from any writing you will probably do before or after college. College writing is designed to teach you about methodical thinking. Writing out a problem, organizing the pieces of the solution to the problem, and then describing the solution clearly for the reader requires you, the writer, to think carefully about the problem itself. So, good writing is both a goal in itself and a tool you will use to reach other goals.
 
Writing in college is often also designed to teach you about academic research, provide you with opportunities to conduct research, and teach you how to present the results of research. In some classes, you might write about research you physically do – such as lab research in a biology or psychology class – but in other classes researchmeans reading what many other people think about a topic, then coming to your own conclusion on it. This unit covers the basic process for doing this second form of research, including the important issue of how to find quality information and trusted resources on the Internet.
 
In sum, this unit of the course will help you understand the steps you need to follow to become a better academic writer.

Unit 7 Time Advisory
This unit should take you approximately 15.5 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 7.1: 1.75 hours

☐    Subunit 7.2: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 7.3: 2.75 hours

☐    Subunit 7.4: 4.75 hours

☐    Subunit 7.5: 1.25 hours

☐    Subunit 7.6: 2 hours
 
☐    Unit 7 Assessment: 2 hours

Unit7 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to: - identify key differences between writing in high school and writing in college; - define academic writing; - identify the expectations for college writing; - compare writing techniques for improving essays, papers, and reports; - develop productive pre-writing and revision strategies; - distinguish between revision and editing; - define and identify plagiarism; - describe how to integrate research into your writing; and - differentiate between credible online sources and non-credible online sources when you are performing academic research.

7.1 What Is Academic Writing?   - Reading: College Success: “Chapter 8: The Importance of Writing” Link: College Success“Chapter 8: The Importance of Writing” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Complete this chapter’s self-assessments, titled “Where Are You Now?” and “Where Do You Want to Go?”. Then, read the introduction to Chapter 8, titled “The Importance of Writing.” Pause to consider your own writing skills and how often you use them. Jot down any reflections on your past writing in your notebook.
 
Reading this section, completing the self-assessments, and writing in your notebook should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 License without attribution, as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

7.1.1 Differences between High School and College Writing   - Reading: College Success: “Chapter 8, Section 8.1: What’s Different about College Writing?” Link: College Success“Chapter 8, Section 8.1: What’s Different about College Writing?” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read the first part of Section 8.1, focusing on the introduction and the section titled “Difference between High School and College Writing.” Note that college writing assignments will likely ask you to use one or all of the higher-level thinking skills you learned about in Unit 5. As you read, make a list of the main differences between high school and college writing in your academic journal, and note the differences you may already have encountered in your own education thus far.  
This reading also provides information you need to know for subunit 7.1.2 as well as subunit 7.2 below.
 
Reading this section and writing in your notebook should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

7.1.2 Types of Academic Writing Assignments   - Reading: Purdue University Online Writing Lab’s “Common Writing Assignments” Link: Purdue University Online Writing Lab’s “Common Writing Assignments” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this webpage, beginning with the section titled “Understanding Writing Assignments” (click on the title to access the full webpage covering this topic). Then, click on the nine different types of writing assignments listed on the webpage. Read each section for an introduction to various types of writing assignments. In particular, note the different approaches suggested for each type of assignment. In some cases, an instructor will not be clear about which type of writing he or she wants; in this case, you can ask the instructor for clarification and use your critical thinking and problem solving skills to determine the best approach. In fact, it may be very helpful to you to bookmark this webpage for use throughout your college experience.
 
Reading this webpage should take approximately 1 hour.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

7.2 Approaches to a Writing Assignment   - Reading: College Success: “Chapter 8, Section 8.1: What’s Different about College Writing?” Link: College Success: “Chapter 8, Section 8.1: What’s Different about College Writing?” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read the second part of Section 8.1, comprising the text under the heading titled “What Kinds of Papers Are Commonly Assigned in College Classes?” In conjunction with the nine types of writing presented on the Purdue website, this reading will give you some very useful tools for evaluating specific writing assignments. Use these tools once you have received a writing assignment from an instructor. After you finish the reading, make sure to complete the checkpoint exercises at the end of the section.
 
Reading this section and completing the exercises should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

  • Activity: The Saylor Foundation’s “Evaluate Writing Prompts” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Evaluate Writing Prompts” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Complete this activity in which you will practice the skills you have learned in Subunit 7.2 by evaluating three different writing prompts.
     
    Completing this activity should take approximately 30 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

7.3 Becoming a Better Writer   7.3.1 A College Instructor’s Expectations for Writing   - Reading: College Success: “Chapter 8, Section 8.2: How Can I Become a Better Writer” Link: College Success“Chapter 8, Section 8.2: How Can I Become a Better Writer” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read the Section 8.2 introduction and the text under the “What Do Instructors Really Want?” heading. Do not rush through this reading; college instructors often will not take time to explain to you exactly what they want, especially for a writing assignment. They may assume you already know this information, so it benefits you to have a solid understanding of these expectations.
 
Reading this section should take approximately 15 minutes.

 Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under
a [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/) without
attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.
  • Reading: Brooklyn College: L. Melani’s The Eighteenth Century English Novel: “Midterm Examples” Link: Brooklyn College’s L. Melani’s The Eighteenth Century English Novel: “Midterm Examples” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Click on the link above to access a sample student essay on the novel Robinson Crusoe. You do not need to know anything about the novel to complete this reading. Scroll down to the heading that reads, “Robinson Crusoe,” and read the writing prompt for the two essays; then read the two essays and begin to think about how each essay responds to the writing prompt. You will evaluate the introductory paragraph of the first essay in the assignment that follows this reading.
     
    Reading these examples should take you approximately 15 minutes to complete.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “Evaluate an Introductory Paragraph” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Evaluate an Introductory Paragraph” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Follow these instructions to evaluate an introductory paragraph written by a college student. After you have evaluated the paragraph, you will rewrite it to improve it. Once you complete this assignment, check your answers against the Saylor Foundation’s “Guide to Responding to the Evaluate an Introductory Paragraph Assignment.”
     
    Completing this assignment should take you approximately 1 hour.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

7.3.2 The Writing Process   - Reading: College Success: “Chapter 8, Section 8.2: How Can I Become a Better Writer?” Link: College Success: “Chapter 8, Section 8.2: How Can I Become a Better Writer?” (PDF)
 
Instructions: In Section 8.2, read the text under the headings titled “The Writing Process,” “How Can I Make the Process Work for Me?,” “What’s the Difference between Revising and Editing?,” and “What If I Need Help with Writing?” Be sure not to rush through this material and to carefully take notes on the information provided in this reading. Remember that writing is the most commonly required skill for a college student – you need to know how to do it well!
 
Reading this section and taking notes should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 License without attribution, as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

7.3.3 Using Style Guides and Writing Handbooks   - Reading: Purdue University Online Writing Lab’s “General Writing Resources” Link: Purdue University Online Writing Lab’s “General Writing Resources” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Explore the different resources available via the links on the webpage above. Note in particular the sections that can help you refine your own writing process (“The Writing Process”); answer your questions about basic writing skills (“Mechanics, Grammar, and Punctuation”); and the extremely helpful citation guides on the left-hand navigation under the heading titled “Suggested Resources” (particularly the MLA Guide and the APA Guide). Note that you may click on each heading on the webpage to access a particular section for more detailed information.
 
Reading these webpages should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: The Saylor Foundation: Becky Samitore-Durand’s “Writing Resources” Link: The Saylor Foundation: Becky Samitore-Durand’s “Writing Resources” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: You have already visited Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab and explored some of the resources there. There are many other good online resources to assist you in your writing. Several more options are listed in the article above. The most important thing for you to do at this time is to become very familiar with what is available among these resources. By evaluating these resources now, you can access and navigate them more quickly when you need to refer to them for specific college assignments. Be sure to bookmark these resources so that you can quickly find particular guides when you need them in the future.
     
    Reading this resource should take approximately 15 minutes.

7.4 Using Others’ Writing Correctly   - Reading: College Success: “Chapter 8, Section 8.2: How Can I Become a Better Writer?” Link: College Success“Chapter 8, Section 8.2: How Can I Become a Better Writer?” (PDF)
 
Instructions: In Section 8.2 of the textbook, read the text below the headings titled “Plagiarism – and How To Avoid It” and “Forms of Citation.” Be sure that you understand the underlying reasons why it is important to cite where you have found information. Many students learn how to cite without understanding that citation is an important research tool and a critical component of academic integrity – not a meaningless rule. After you have completed this reading, work through the checkpoint exercises at the end of the section.
 
This resource also covers the topics outlined in subunits 7.4.1-7.4.4 below. 
 
Reading this section and completing the exercises should take approximately 1 hour to complete.
 
Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

7.4.1 Someone Else’s Words   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 7.4 above. Pay special attention to the paragraph about the dangers of using another writer’s words in your own writing. There is a correct way to do this that is not plagiarism – this method will be covered in more detail in subunit 7.4.4 below.

7.4.2 Someone Else’s Ideas   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 7.4 above. Just like words, ideas also belong to the original writer. In college, you will be encouraged to read and use other people’s words and ideas, but you will need to know the correct and incorrect ways to do so! Subunit 7.4.4, below, will show you the correct way.

7.4.3 Common Knowledge vs. Distinct Contributions   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 7.4 above. Many students struggle with knowing what is common knowledge and what needs a citation. If you are ever in doubt about whether to cite something or not, err on the side of caution and cite it. You will never get in trouble for telling someone where you found your information – but you might get in trouble if you do not.

7.4.4 Citing Your Sources   Note: This topic is partially covered in subunit 7.4 above. The reading under the heading titled “Forms of Citation” gives you the names of different citation methods you may be asked to use, but it does not actually describe the methods or show you how to use them. You have already explored several great online resources and citation manuals. For your convenience, links to two important citation styles, MLA and APA, have been provided again below for your review. Click on one or both of the links below to further explore these resources. Specifically pay attention to the menu of clickable links that run down the left-hand side of the page. These links include both style guides as well as examples of specific citations and documents that you can use as models. Do this right now, while you are thinking about citations. Don’t wait until you need this information at the end of a research assignment! Because different instructors may ask for different types of citation formats, it might be a good idea to bookmark both of these webpages for later use.

  • Reading: Purdue University Online Writing Lab’s “MLA Formatting and Style Guide” Link: Purdue University Online Writing Lab’s “MLA Formatting and Style Guide” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Use this guide to gain a more in-depth understanding of the MLA Style Guide. Be sure to click on the links at the left-hand side of the webpage to explore examples of specific parts of MLA style.
     
    Reading this guide should take approximately 1 hour to complete.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Purdue University Online Writing Lab’s “APA Formatting and Style Guide” Link: Purdue University Online Writing Lab’s “APA Formatting and Style Guide” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Use this guide to gain a more in-depth understanding of the APA Style Guide. Be sure to click on the links at the left-hand side of the webpage to explore examples of specific parts of APA style.
     
    Reading this guide should take approximately 1 hour to complete.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Web Media: Rutgers University: Paul Robeson Reference Library’s “How to Avoid Plagiarism” Web Media: Rutgers University: Paul Robeson Reference Library’s “How to Avoid Plagiarism” (Adobe Flash)
     
    Instructions: The website above contains four videos (including a quiz). Start by clicking on the words “1. What is Plagiarism?” to watch the first video and learn about what plagiarism is and some possible consequences that committing plagiarism could bring to your academic career. Continue to the second video by clicking on the words “Click Here for Part 2” on your screen. This section will explain how to cite your research in the correct way in order to avoid plagiarism. Continue to the third video by clicking on the words “Click Here for Part 3.” When you come to the quiz show section, select your answers and then read the responses. After you have finished watching these videos, take the time to locate and familiarize yourself with your own college or university’s academic honesty policy by searching the school’s website or asking an advisor.
     
    Watching these videos and completing the quiz should take approximately 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on thewebpage above.

  • Reading: The New York Times: Trip Gabriel’s “Plagiarism Lines Blur for Students in Digital Age” Link: The New York Times: Trip Gabriel’s “Plagiarism Lines Blur for Students in Digital Age” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this article to learn about the complex issue of crediting your sources in order to avoid plagiarism. Following your reading, answer the following questions in your notebook: How do you feel about the different examples described in the article?  Have you ever been in a situation where you were not sure whether you should cite a source?  Considering what you know now, how would you have handled that situation?
     
    Reading, note-taking, and answering these questions should take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on thewebpage above.

7.4.5 Style Points for Using Quotations   Note: Many new college writers struggle with how to integrate the research they have collected from other sources into their own writing. Learning the mechanics of how to do this is one thing (which you learned earlier in this unit) but what about style? Read the “Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing” resource found via the first link below to understand your different choices. Then, click on the second link below, which provides you with an essay and a sample summary, paraphrase, and quotation from the essay. Before reviewing the sample summary, paraphrase, and quotation, you may want practice writing your own summary, paraphrase, and quotation based on the essay, and then compare your work to the sample provided. Make sure you understand how these elements are different from each other and how to create your own summary, paraphrase, and quotation in the future.

  • Reading: Purdue University Online Writing Lab’s “Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing” Link: Purdue University Online Writing Lab’s “Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this guide to quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing another author’s work. You will use this resource to inform your own summary, paraphrase, and quotation in the reading below.
     
    Reading this guide should take approximately 30 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Purdue University Online Writing Lab’s “Sample Essay for Summarizing, Paraphrasing, and Quoting” Link: Purdue University Online Writing Lab’s “Sample Essay for Summarizing, Paraphrasing, and Quoting” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this sample essay. Then, in your notebook, write down your own summary, paraphrase, and quotation from the essay before reading the examples provided below the essay. How do your summary, paraphrase, and quotation compare with those on the webpage?
     
    Reading this essay and answering the question in your notebook should take approximately 30 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

7.5 Integrating Research into Your Writing   7.5.1 Begin Research   - Web Media: The University of California Libraries’ “Research Tutorial: Where Do I Start?” Link: The University of California Libraries’ “Research Tutorial: Where Do I Start?” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: You will use this website for all of Subunit 7.5, including subunits 7.5.1-7.5.4. For this subunit, read all the content under the tab titled “Begin Research.” Click the small arrow on the top right hand of the webpage next to “1 of 17” to read all 17 entries and answer any questions within these entries.
 
Completing this assignment should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

7.5.2 The Knowledge Cycle   - Web Media: The University of California Libraries’ Research Tutorial: “The Information Process?” Link: The University of California Libraries’ Research Tutorial: “The Information Process?” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Read all the content under the upper tab titled “Knowledge Cycle.” Click the small arrow on the top right hand of the page next to “1 of 16” to read all 16 entries.
 
Completing this assignment should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

7.5.3 Finding Books   - Web Media: The University of California Libraries’ Research Tutorial: “How Do I Find Books?” Link: The University of California Libraries’ Research Tutorial: “How Do I Find Books?” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Read the content under the upper tab titled“Find Books.” Click the small arrow on the top right hand of the webpage, next to “1 of 15,” to read all 15 entries.
 
Completing this assignment should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

7.5.4 Finding Scholarly Articles   - Web Media: The University of California Libraries’ Research Tutorial: “How Do I Find Articles?” Link: The University of California Libraries’ Research Tutorial: “How Do I Find Articles?” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Read the content under the tab titled “Find Articles.” Click on the small arrow at the top right hand of the webpage, next to “1 of 10,” to read all 10 entries.
 
Completing this assignment should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

7.5.5 Search Strategies   - Web Media: The University of California Libraries’ Research Tutorial: “Use A Boolean!” and “Search by Subject Headings!” Links: The University of California Libraries’ Research Tutorial: “Use A Boolean!” (Adobe Flash) and “Search by Subject Headings!” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Read the content under the “Basic Search” and “Advanced Search” tabs. Click the small arrow on the top right hand of the page next to “1 of 19” to read all 19 entries in the first tab and next to “1 of 15” to read all 15 entries in the second tab.
 
Completing this assignment should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

7.6 Evaluating Online Sources   - Reading: Cornell University: Jim Kapoun’s “Teaching Undergrads WEB Evaluation: A Guide for Library Instruction” Link: The American Library Association: Jim Kapoun’s “Teaching Undergrads WEB Evaluation: A Guide for Library Instruction” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Use this document to complete the activity assigned below this resource.
 
Reading this article should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Activity: The Saylor Foundation: Becky Samitore-Durand’s “Evaluation Skills Activity” Link: The Saylor Foundation: Becky Samitore-Durand’s “Writing Activity” (PDF)
     
    I
    nstructions: After you have reviewed Jim Kapoun’s guide to evaluating webpage resources, especially the “5 Ws,” linked in the reading above, click on the document above and evaluate one of the websites linked at the bottom of the PDF. Write your evaluation in your notebook.
     
    Completing this activity should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Unit 7 Assessment   - Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “Put your Writing to Work” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Put your Writing to Work” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Writing is a critical life skill, and your mastery of writing will have a tremendous impact on your academic and professional career. Like many skills, the best way to improve your writing is to practice. This assignment will help you apply many of the writing guidelines and techniques that you have explored this unit.
 
You will find more information about this assignment at the link, including an essay review checklist to help you check your work after you have finished writing. Please keep your audience in mind: This essay is intended to be posted and discussed on the Try College 101 Discussion Board.

 Composing and revising this essay and engaging other students on
the course discussion board should take approximately 4 hours to
complete.