Core Value 1. My work demonstrates that I used a variety of social and interactive practices that involve recursive stages of exploration, discovery, conceptualization, and development.
At first, I certainly wasn’t looking forward to revising and re-writing preliminary essays, and over time, that sentiment did not change. That doesn’t mean I didn’t realize how helpful it is. The Causal, Rebuttal, and Definition essays were tedious and repetitive in nature, but by the time I got to my actual research paper, everything was a lot easier. Having rewritten three essays with different perspectives and goals in mind, crafting my final essay was more of a matter of piecing together the paper than starting from scratch. In my Rebuttal and final Research essays, for example, I drew examples from Frederick Douglass’ autobiography. This essay had to do with the life of an American Slave, but the connections to my discussion of Depression and the human mind were too obvious to ignore. This brought my entire project history, credibility, and an alternative perspective.
Core Value 2. My work demonstrates that I read critically, and that I placed texts into conversation with one another to create meaning by synthesizing ideas from various discourse communities.
In previous courses, I am guilty of having been a lazy researcher. I would often write my essays without any statistical evidence included, and then at the very end add a sentence from a source that might help my cause. Rarely did I search thoroughly for information to use throughout my paper, and rarely did I even read the articles I quoted. Writing essays through the scope of three different lenses, however, helped me to find different but similar sources. I intended to find sources that followed some kind of order, meaning that one source would lead into the next. This way, my topics would coincide and my transitions would ultimately be smoother. I see this especially in my research essay, when I open up talking about African slaves and their experiences with music, and then using the musical therapy topic to push into another source which talks about the use of musical therapy in healing veterans.
Core Value 3. My work demonstrates that I rhetorically analyzed the purpose, audience, and contexts of my own writing and other texts and visual arguments.
I often go on tangents in my writing that can sometimes lead me somewhere good, and other times just waste characters. It is important to write with freedom. But to write with freedom and remain in context with what the essay is about is challenging. To write concisely without being afraid to write passionately is what this class has helped me understand. The best example in my writing that shows this process is in my definition essay. In my definition essay, I attempted to define Music as a drug, or means of healing. Throughout the essay, I break down definitions of medicine, disease, and therapy among others. After understanding their meanings, I continued to connect them and build the definition of Music as a drug.
Core Value 4: My work demonstrates that I have met the expectations of academic writing by locating, evaluating, and incorporating illustrations and evidence to support my own ideas and interpretations.
To say I researched this essay as thoroughly as is possible would be a lie. But within the semester, I managed. Using resources provided to me such as the library and the online catalog for scholarly articles, I was able to come up with enough material to link my papers and research paper together. Over the semester, I probably tried over 20 different sources. This comes with picking them out and then re-evaluating them at a later date. Sometimes the sources were not as relevant as they had been previously, because my topic may have altered, or because my stance may have changed. Overall, I believe I attempted to find scholarly evidence that successfully backs up my writing to the best of my ability. In my Annotated Bibliography assignment, a list of all my references are made, and my reasons for choosing these sources are clearly explained in detail.
Core Value 5. My work demonstrates that I respect my ethical responsibility to represent complex ideas fairly and to the sources of my information with appropriate citation.
Academic dishonesty is something that has no place at Rowan, and even less so in the writing world. A writer’s word is all a writer has. Writing in itself is a practice that requires one to think independently and freely. The beauty of writing is that the writer’s voice gets to be heard. Because of this, passing someone else’s work off as your own is not only immoral, but disrespectful to the original writer. The amount of time I spent this semester researching material and constructing my final research paper is an amount of time I never want to spend again. And if I were to find out that somebody had taken my work without given me credit, it would definitely be offensive. In my research paper, I accompany every quote with the source it is from, and the name of the person who said it. Sometimes, I even used the block-quote technique to make my quotes more clear.