Thursday, September 27, 2007

Exercise 1.8 - Ways of Reading to Write

The most important thing about reading for a research paper is:
to take good notes, analyze the exert and read to understand.

Trapper's Last Shot

This opening seems to foreshadow the fact that people need to be more careful and consider what they are doing before they actually do it. The idea of a beautiful community was present in the beginning, but then the boy was struggling on his own in a lake that was anything but peaceful. "He got to the bank before he fell, and thought they wanted to help him, they couldn't keep from backing away." Things are not always as they appear. "The surface all around, even the farthest edge, roiled when he hit as if the pool were alive, but they didn't see the snakes at first." There seems to be a wildlife problem here (because the pool was full of snakes) as well as a lack of enough water for the humans and snakes.

Academic Article

"...Identity is the most important goal of adolescence," was suggested in this article. The theorist examined several different methods that "adolescence" use to determine their identity. He concluded that most of them form their identity based on events in which they are forced to make critical decisions. Any conflicting decisions are examined and the individual then comes to a conclusion about what they think and that becomes part of what defines them.


In both approaches to the exerts, I analyzed the contents and looked for themes. However, I looked at the first one as I would a piece of literature, while the second seemed more philosophical. Usually when I am reading, I look for themes and specific examples that support that theme (or contradict it). I also look at the tone being used - formal or informal? I usually reread or skim the numerous different things that I read so I can better understand them and their context and I know where the article is going at the very beginning (having already read the whole thing through). I am also a note taker. Organized notes help me to think through my thoughts so I can see them on paper and develop my ideas more constructively. I believe that I did a good job at following my own reading for writing rules. Key difference: the first was quite informal, the second one was quite formal. I had problems trying to figure out where the writer was going with the exert. To fix this, I just analysed from where they were coming so I could somewhat predict where they were going.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Exercise 1.7 - Research Proposal (on One Knee =)

Focusing Question: What defines or constitutes marriage?

Primary Purpose:


  • How does the government view/define marriage?
  • What is/are the religious aspect(s) of marriage?
  • How do most Americans view marriage these days?
  • What are the reasons why people marry?
  • How does a person's past affect their view of marriage?
  • What is the divorce rate verses the marriage rate?
  • What constitutes a healthy marriage?

Argue: Marriage is a special, emotional bond between a man and a woman that should not be broken.

Analyze: I think that Americans generally view marriage too lightly these days and do not take is seriously. I want to find out if this is true and how often it is true. Because there are so many divorces, I think that my theory is correct, but I may be surprised when I start researching and interviewing people.

Assumptions, Beliefs, Preconceptions, Ideas, &/or Prejudices:

I assume that not many people share my view of marriage. I believe that marriage is the sacred union between one man and one woman. I believe that it is more than a legal contract. It is a special, unique emotional bond between one man and one woman. I believe that divorce is not an option. I do not agree with the way that gay men and lesbian women behave and live. I find it rather disgusting and offensive. I do not think it is natural or the way marriage was intended. I do not see the point since it is impossible to naturally reproduce. If men and women were supposed to have intimate relationships with their own sex, why don't animals do this, too?

Exercise 1.5 - Marriage to My Topic

Focusing Question: What defines or constitutes marriage?
  • How does the government view marriage?
  • What are the different views about marriage?
  • Is a legal marriage important? Why?
  • What are the different types of marriages allowed in the US?
  • How do the majority of Americans view marriage? Is there a majority one way or the other?
  • Is there a religious aspect of marriage? How many? What does it include?
  • How does co-habitation look in comparison to marriage?
  • Is marriage taken too lightly these days?
  • How do people view marriage? A contract? A promise?
  • Why do people marry?
  • How does eloping relate to marriage, legally?
  • Who should be allowed to marry?
  • What is the age limit on persons aloud to marry?
  • How much of a role do parents play in marriage in America?
  • Does the way you are raised affect the way you view marriage?
  • What makes a marriage last?
  • Should there be a time limit on marriages?
  • What is the marriage rate verses the divorce rate?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Exercise 1.5 - Finally Focusing

Focus Question: How do you decide what job?


  • Does work study get you a good job? Is it worth it?
  • How do you narrow down the job lists?
  • How can you figure out what skills you have that would make the best job?
  • Can you find a job that is enjoyable, but also pays the bills?
  • Are there jobs that are only available to certain people? Is there one that requires your skills?
  • Are there good jobs that are specifically geared for college students?
  • Are there jobs that you do not want? Can you eliminate some options?
  • How do you sort through all of the good jobs for the "best" one?
  • What are your chances of getting your dream job? Is it worth fighting for?
  • Do the job tests out there really help you decide what job you should have or would enjoy?
  • Is it best to find a job through someone you know or by seeking one among strangers?
  • Do employers look for students who stood out in college (perfect student) or the most rounded even if the student did not do wonderfully?
  • Should the job pay be the deciding factor in finding a job?
  • Is it healthier to work at a job that pays well or at a job for half that, but enjoyable?
  • Are there overall guidelines for finding a job?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Interest Inventory - Steps 2 & 3


How does it effect the way we walk?
What types are health hazards?
What does it say about who we are?
Why do we put such an emphasis on shoes?
Why should we care?
How has footwear progressed/evolved through the years?
Are Greek or Roman sandals healthier than flip-flops?
How does footwear vary among different regions of the world?
Are the variations practical for that region?
Do we choose shoes mainly by what they look like instead of how they feel?
Why are shoes so expensive?
How do Dutch shoes figure into all this?

Interest Inventory - Step 1

Mount Rushmore
Lincoln Memorial
Washington Monument
Smokey Mountains
Black Forest in Germany
Garmish, Germany
Trunbellbac (sp) Falls in Switzerland
Young Frau getting smaller

Train system in Europe
"Tube" system in England
Computer Printer
Human Cloning (ethical?)

Civil War
What causes eyes to twitch
European Castles
Trench warfare

Trends & Things
Water skiing vs. Snow skiing
Yellow "Caution" tape
Healthfulness of raw vegetables & fruit today vs. a century ago
Paper clips
Baseball caps
Coffee drinking
Caffeine effects
Study habits
College students and weight gain
Statements made by clothes

Industrial Revolution effect on Global Warming
Eminent Domain
War in Iraq
Presidential election 2008
Unequal separation of powers in US Gov. right now?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Part II - Fastwrite Response

Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia that is edited by people around the world. It can be edited by anyone. This means that it is possible to have invalid information. However, it is also possible to have more current information than what might be found in an actual, hard copy encyclopedia. It is "one of the largest reference Web sites." So, it must be considered fairly reliable to have become reputable.

I have used Wikipedia to find articles that supported my points, but I never knew that it was possible to edit them. This causes me to rethink my decision. Somehow, I did not know that it was a collaborative source and not just an online encyclopedia. I have mixed feelings. I want to say it is unreliable because anyone can edit it, yet that can make it more reliable because it is updated by knowledgeable people. The organization says that it can be updated on current events within hours as apposed to years for hard copy encyclopedias. Also, anyone can look and see the page history to find out when, who and how it was last changed or updated. This information should make it more reputable, however I still am unsure how I feel about the fact that anyone has the ability to edit the articles contained in this database.

Because numerous people visit the site to edit, share or create knowledge, the odds are quite high that most edits are legitimate and correct. This seems good. Yet, I still do not know how I feel about using Wikipedia articles in my research. The information is overwhelmingly in favor of using it, but the fact that anyone can edit it might outweigh all of their precautions. From now on, if I use Wikipedia (about which I am still unsure), I will thoroughly review the page history to decide whether I think the information given is logical and accurate. I think it will all depend on the subject that I am researching.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Part I - Quotes from Source

The following quotes are all from Wikipedia:About.

"Wikipedia (IPA: /ˌwikiˈpiːdi.ə/ or /ˌwɪkiˈpiːdi.ə/) is a multilingual, web-based, free content encyclopedia project. Wikipedia is written collaboratively by volunteers from all around the world. With rare exceptions, its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the Internet, simply by clicking the edit this page link. The name Wikipedia is a portmanteau of the words wiki (a type of collaborative website) and encyclopedia. Since its creation in 2001, Wikipedia has grown rapidly into one of the largest reference Web sites."

"Because Wikipedia is a going work to which, in principle, anybody can contribute, it differs from a paper-based reference source in important ways. ... However, unlike a paper reference source, Wikipedia is continually updated, with the creation or updating of articles on topical events within minutes or hours, rather than months or years for printed encyclopedias."

"Tens of thousands of regular editors — from expert scholars to casual readers — can edit Wikipedia, an openness that encourages inclusion of a tremendous amount of content.
Several mechanisms are in place to help Wikipedia members carry out the important work of crafting a high-quality resource while maintaining civility. Editors can watch pages and techies can write editing programs to keep track of or rectify bad edits. Over 1,000 administrators with special powers ensure that behavior conforms to Wikipedia guidelines and policies."

"Many visitors come to this site to acquire knowledge, others to share knowledge. In fact, at this very instant, dozens of articles are being improved, and new articles are also being created. "

"Wikipedia articles are all linked, or cross-referenced. Wherever you see highlighted text like this, it means there is a link to some relevant article or Wikipedia page with further in-depth information elsewhere if you need it."

"As a wiki, articles are never complete. They are continually edited and improved over time, and in general this results in an upward trend of quality, and a growing consensus over a fair and balanced representation of information.
Users should be aware that not all articles are of encyclopedic quality from the start, and may contain false or debatable information. Indeed, many articles start their lives as partisan, and it is after a long process of discussion, debate and argument, that they gradually take on a neutral point of view reached through consensus. Others may for a while become caught up in a heavily unbalanced viewpoint which can take some time — months perhaps — to extricate themselves and regain a better balanced consensus."

"Several studies suggest that the science entries of Wikipedia are of a similar order of accuracy and similar rates of both serious and minor errors to Encyclopedia Britannica, that it provides a good starting point for research, and that articles are in general reasonably sound. However, it does suffer from omissions and inaccuracies and sometimes these can be serious."

"Wikipedia's greatest strengths, weaknesses and differences arise because it is open to anyone, has a large contributor base, and articles are written by consensus according to editorial guidelines and policies. The MediaWiki software which runs Wikipedia retains a history of all edits and changes, thus information added to Wikipedia never 'vanishes', and is never 'lost' or deleted."