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Responding to Texts in Academic Writing. Academic Writing is a Social, Conversational Act. It calls on writers to express their own ideas It also calls on writers to respond to what others have said Your job as a writer is to enter into a conversation. They Say/I Say .

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academic writing is a social conversational act
Academic Writing is a Social, Conversational Act

It calls on writers to express their own ideas

It also calls on writers to respond to what others have said

Your job as a writer is to enter into a conversation

they say i say
They Say/I Say

Effective arguments begin with this template: “They say________, but I say_______.”

This move indicates you are entering a conversation.

Sample: For decades, we’ve worked under the assumption that mass culture follows a path, declining steadily toward lowest-common-denominator standards, presumably because the “masses” want dumb, simple pleasures and big media companies try to give the masses what they want. But…the exact opposite is happening: the culture is getting more cognitively demanding, not less.

-Steven Jonson, “Watching TV Makes You Smarter”

let s look at that passage again
Let’s look at that passage again…

For decades, we’ve worked under the assumption that mass culture follows a path, declining steadily toward lowest-common-denominator standards, presumably because the “masses” want dumb, simple pleasures and big media companies try to give the masses what they want. But…the exact opposite is happening: the culture is getting more cognitively demanding, not less.

-Steven Jonson, “Watching TV Makes You Smarter”

In generating his own argument from something “they say,” Johnson suggests why he needs to say what he is saying: to correct a popular misconception.

here s another example from an essay about american patriotism
Here’s another example from an essay about American patriotism

My daughter, who goes to Stuyvesant High School only blocks from the former World Trade Center, thinks we should fly the American flag out our window. Definitely not, I say: The flag stands for jingosim and vengeance and war. She tells me I’m wrong—the flag means standing together and honoring the dead and saying no to terrorism. In a way we’re both right…

KathaPollitt, “Put Out No Flag”

1. The first example showed John using society at large as his “they say” statement.

2. Here, KathaPollitt uses her daughter’s point of view as her “they say” statement.

sometimes the they say statement is only implied
Sometimes the “they say” statement is only implied…

“I like to think I have a certain advantage as a teacher of literature because when I was growing up I disliked and feared books.”

Gerald Graff, “Disliking Books

at an Early Age”

1. What is the implied “they say” statement?

the uses of they say i say
The Uses of They Say/I Say

Helps you articulate your position

  • You don’t always have to disagree with what “they” say
  • You might instead extend what “they” say

Example: “Some critics say that The Sopranos television series presents caricatures of Italian Americans. They are right; however, those critics fail to consider that the main characters are very complex, which helps mitigate the stereotypes.”

Helps you develop a thesis statement for a critique of a book or article

      • X is correct in his assessment that ____, but he overlooks the fact that ___.
      • X highlights an important issue that many authors overlook. She connects ___ to the larger context/theme/issue of ___.
templates to develop a thesis statement
Templates to Develop a Thesis Statement
  • Read the text
  • Fill in these templates:
    • The author argues ______________.
    • The argument is supported by research/evidence/statements showing that ________.
    • I have mixed feelings about the author’s claim that ______. On the one hand, I agree that _____. On the other hand, I still insist that _____.
    • The last template will make sure you don’t fall into the trap of a simple “yes” or “no” argument.
    • This issue is important because ___.
how templates can help
How Templates Can Help
  • Use templates to
    • Summarize your chapter (Note: you should summarize the text to make sure you understand what it says. Do not include your summary as part of your essay)
    • Determine your response
    • Tie the main issue(s) of the chapter to larger concepts from your textbooks.
    • Establish why your claims matter.
templates to summarize the text
Templates to summarize the text:

The author provides an overview of ___.

His principle theme is _____.

He describes how ____.

He discusses the causes _____, which include ______.

He shows how ____, ____, and ___ played a role in _____.

**NOTE: These templates are intended to help you think about the text in useful ways. Remember: You should limit the amount of summary you include in your paper

templates to determine your response
Templates to determine your response…
  • Disagree
    • I think X is mistaken because she overlooks ___.
    • X’s claim that ___ rests on the questionable assumption that ____.
  • Agree
    • X’s idea that ___ is extremely useful because it sheds light on the difficult problem of ___.
    • I agree that ___,a point that needs emphasizing since so many people believe ___.
  • Agree and Disagree Simultaneously
    • Although I agree with X up to a point, I cannot accept his overall conclusion that ___.
    • X is right that ___, but she seems on more dubious ground when she claims that ___.
templates to tie the main issue s of the chapter to larger concepts in your textbook or article
Templates to Tie the main issue(s) of the chapter to larger concepts in your textbook or article

By arguing ____, X’s work extends the important idea that ____.

X’s argument that ___ overlooks the larger issue of ___.

X’s work tells us a great deal about ___. Her point that ___ confirms/challenges/extends/refutes the notion of ____.

templates to establish why your claims matter
Templates to Establish Why Your Claims Matter

___ is an important issue because it addresses the larger matter of ___.

Although X may seem of concern to only a small group of ___, it should in fact concern anyone who cares about ___.

Recent studies like these shed new light on ___, which previous studies have not addressed.

These finding challenge the work of earlier researchers, who tended to assume that ___.

discussion
Discussion
  • How can these templates help you with your specific assignment?
    • 1.
    • 2.
    • 3.
this presentation is based on
This Presentation is based on

Graff, Gerald and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say/I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing. 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 2008. Print.

remember you can always visit us at the writing center

Remember, you can always visit us at the Writing Center!

104 MORRILL HALL

PHONE: 405-744-6671

EMAIL: WRITINGCENTER@OKSTATE.EDU

ONLINE APPOINTMENTS:

WWW.RICH15.COM/OSU/SCHEDULE/