Tips For Effective Writing The Penn State Berks Writing Center
Considering Your Audience • Who is my audience? • Why should my audience be interested in my topic? • What do I want my writing to achieve? Am I writing to college students?
Considering Your Audience • What will my audience already know about my topic? • What won’t my audience know about my topic? • What kind of writing will my audience expect? Am I writing to my professors?
Considering Your Style or Genre Am I writing a . . . • Persuasive English Composition Essay • Literary Analysis • History Research Paper • Business Research Report • Chemistry Lab Report • Psychology Internship Description • Newspaper Article • Short Story or Poem Or am I writing a text message?
Considering Your Purpose What do I want my writing to do? • Inform • Persuade/Argue • Narrate • Describe • Analyze • Examine/Investigate • Respond • Summarize Do I want my writing to anger? Or maybe incite a riot? Or maybe something lighter, like entertain and amuse?
Narrowing Your Topic • Choose a topic that isn’t too broad for your assignment but will give you enough to write about. Oh no! I have to write about the lasting impact of William Shakespeare’s plays over the past 400 years?! What am I going to do?!
Let’s Look at an Example! You’ve been given an assignment to write an article for the Berks Collegian on the topic of social networking on college campuses. Where to begin?
Narrowing Your Topic Too broad: Social networking on college campuses. Still too broad: Facebook in college classrooms. Just right: Facebook and teaching strategies in the college classroom.
Brainstorming Ideas • Everyone brainstorms differently! • Outlines • Mapping • Jotting ideas down • Free writing • Drawing or doodling • Don’t worry about format, grammar, or structure. You can always go back and refine later.
Brainstorming Ideas • Many students already use Facebook, so professors can utilize that mode of communication. • Many departments and clubs at Berks use Facebook. • Facebook is easy to use and has many options for privacy controls.
Developing an Initial Thesis or Controlling Idea • Your thesis statement will depend on what kind of paper you are writing. • Analytical • Expository • Argumentative • It should be specific. • It will usually appear in the introduction. • Be prepared to revise your thesis as you do research.
Developing a Thesis - Examples • Not Specific: A lot of college students use Facebook. • Specific: Even though most college students use Facebook as a primary mode of communication, traditional forms of communication, such as face to face interaction and phone calls, are not becoming obsolete.
Developing a Thesis - Examples • Not specific: Smoking should be banned on the Berks campus. • Specific: Smoking should be banned on the Berks campus in order to promote a healthier environment for all students, staff, and faculty.
The Next Step – Research • Your research should be from credible sources. • ProQuest • Databases • The CAT • Reputable websites and magazines • Avoid websites like Wikipedia or others that do not have authors, editors, and/or fact checkers. • After you’ve done research, go back and revise your thesis to reflect what you’ve discovered. The Thun Library
Maintaining Organization in Your Paper • The body of your essay should prove the point or claim that you are trying to make. • How can you prove your point to your audience? • Logical reasoning • Research • Examples
Using Evidence • Evidence is the inclusion of specific information and details that help support a position or argument. • Claim: Many students at Berks already use Facebook on a daily basis. • A recent survey found that 95% of incoming freshman at Berks log in to Facebook at least once a day. • Freshman Bernard Allen says of Facebook, “I check my account like thirty times a day. I can’t live without Facebook. One time, the power went out for a few hours, and I went into total shock. Facebook is my life.”
Introducing Quotes Always be sure to introduce a quote with the name of the person who has said it and why he or she is knowledgeable on the subject. According to Professor Ivan Von Dinkleberg, a top researcher of sociology at Vanadoo University, “Facebook is becoming a popular mode of communication with every generation. Businesses, organizations, and even colleges and universities are using it to reach audiences. It won’t be long before professors post class assignments to a Facebook page.”
s Professor Von Dinkleberg
Revise, Revise, Revise! • Always be open to the revision process. Revision is much more than editing or proofreading; it allows you to make changes to your writing to make it even stronger. • Remember: Writing is a process!
Where To Go For Writing Help The Penn State Berks Writing Center • Franco 167 • 610-396-6029 610-396-6333 • email@example.com • Find us on Facebook by searching Penn State Berks Writing Center
Additional Resources Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab owl.english.purdue.edu
Trivia Time! With Candy!