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.

I found my professor’s feedback extremely helpful when it came to revising my individual research papers because in general, I have a hard time distancing myself from my own writing. Simply seeing something through someone else’s perspective is greatly valuable for reflecting upon my own writing process. My professor helped me throughout my research paper to improve my writing style and techniques as well as providing valuable and interesting ideas for future drafts. For example, in my rebuttal first draft I made the mistake of titling my essay to proclaim a position contrary to my own. This led me to change my title in my rebuttal revised draft, to better reflect the topic of my essay thanks to my professor’s feedback. My professor also provided valuable advice on how to refute by naming in which he suggested that in order to own a concept, I must name it. His advice helped me to address my counterargument as “The Soft Skills Advantage” as opposed to “liberal arts advocates.

My professor also gave me valuable advice on how to omit needless words in order to reduce my word count in my Stone Money Draft. I learned to never pad my writing with filler words and to watch out for phrases or longer paragraphs that repeat words with similar meanings. By taking this advice into consideration, I was able to effectively concise the information from the Stone Money article and omit useless words and phrases into a 1000 word essay in my revised draft.

 Furthermore my work demonstrates recursive stages of exploration and discovery by retrieving information from numerous research studies, outlined in my annotated bibliography. My annotated bibliography helped me to critically analyze and synthesize information from a variety of sources as well as to assess the source’s credibility and potential use for my research paper. Furthermore, my annotated bibliography allowed me to share my sources amongst my classmates and professor collectively, in order for them to obtain a comprehensive understanding about my research topic. Ultimately my annotated bibliography helped lay the foundation for conducting my semester long research paper.

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. 

Throughout the process of writing my research paper I learned that good writing requires good ideas, intriguing concepts and analysis that are clearly arranged. I further learned that the first step of building an argument is invention. Although I struggled at first to generate ideas for my research paper, I began to research about what I didn’t know, with questions and curiosities that I genuinely wanted to resolve. When writing, I found how some of my ideas changed and developed even when I was in the middle of a draft or embarking on a major revision. In order to trace and recognize how my ideas emerge and combine meaning in other’s arguments, I created a white paper which allowed me to generate ideas while thinking visually about how they function together. I was able to follow my lines of thought, and visualize which ideas connected, and what the scope of my research paper might look like. Furthermore, by writing down central ideas, concepts, features and questions around my topic, I was able to see what elements of my paper were underdeveloped.

In addition, when synthesizing and analyzing my sources in my white paper I repeatedly asked myself the following questions: What is the author trying to explain? Why does he/she think these points are important? How has he/she decided to construct the argument? How does the structure of the argument affect the reader’s response to the author’s ideas? How effective is the author’s overall argument? By adopting this strategy it helped me to improve my analysis and understanding of the material by not only noticing what the author(s) says, but also how and why the author(s) communicates his/her ideas.

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.  

In my causal essay I tailored my argument towards women and minorities as well as employers and education professionals; addressing the implicit bias in the STEM education system and focusing on how to transform the STEM curriculum in order to stop the growing skills, racial and gender gap in the workforce. For example in my causal essay I state that “ In order to narrow the skills, racial and gender gap there needs to be reforms within the STEM education system as well as an opportunity for making STEM more accessible for racial minorities and women which are both essential to the U.S becoming a thriving high-tech based economy.” I was appealing to this audience by addressing how there needs to be an increase in the participation and representation of women and other minorities in the STEM education system and fields as well as workplace inclusivity. Throughout my causal essay I address what the U.S education system and labor market can do to make STEM fields open to and desirable for women and minorities. Throughout writing my research paper I learned that you always write for an audience, whether it be for an individual or a generalized group of readers and even sometimes for yourself. By knowing who my intended audience was helped me to make good decisions about what information to include, how to organize my ideas and how best to support my argument.

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.

My professor taught me how to find sources for my research paper using Google Scholar, which is a web-based academic search engine. Google Scholar helped me to find hundreds of relevant scholarly articles and studies within seconds, pertaining to my topic. Furthermore, the search engine provides a list of references under each source and allowed me to pick which formal citation style I wanted to use such as MLA, APA or Chicago; but for the purposes of the assignment I chose APA. My professor also taught me when finding sources for my paper using Google Scholar, it is important to know the right keywords which can sometimes make all the difference in conducting a successful search. When identifying the most appropriate sources, I evaluated the relevance of the study to my topic by asking myself what connection can be made between the information that is presented and my thesis. I also evaluated the author’s perspectives of my sources. Although biased sources can be helpful in creating and developing an argument, I made sure to find sources to help me understand the other side of the debate as well. I disregarded extremely biased sources because they often misrepresent information which can be ineffectively used in my paper. Furthermore, I checked the credibility of my sources by first evaluating the author’s credentials. I then checked if the study had supporting documentation such as statistics, graphs, charts, illustrations, etc. In addition, I evaluated the timeliness of my sources because I wanted the most recent information pertaining to my topic. Lastly, I evaluated my sources intended audience and the publication’s purpose. 

My professor also taught me how to cite my sources informally which involves citing the author or editor, title, and date of publication. For example in my rebuttal  essay I cited the following source: According to the study “Occupational Employment Projections to 2018,” conducted by T. Alan Lacey and Benjamin Wright from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), “it is projected that by 2020, a 34% increase in professional, scientific, and technical services will take place.”  Through the process of writing my research paper, I learned how to informally cite within the text of my paper at the point where I integrate outside information or new ideas; briefly identifying the sources for my intended audience which allows them to locate the source easily in my reference list at the end of my paper.

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.   

Through the process of writing my research paper, I religiously cited my sources as a way to pay a small token to the author’s work who helped me build upon my argument. My citations not only encourages my readers to check the other author’s work by giving them additional attention, but also it shows my appreciation and acknowledgement for their efforts. Furthermore, correctly citing information and including direct quotes is a way of backing up my arguments and points made throughout my research paper. When I cite my sources properly, I intend to leave no questions in my readers’ minds regarding points or arguments I am trying to make. In addition, I intended to establish my credibility amongst my audience by documenting the various sources I used throughout my paper in my references list. My reference list  allows readers to easily keep track of the sources and information I incorporated in my portfolio. Citations also shows my audience that I have done extensive research and know what others have said about my topic.  Other important reasons as to why I give credit by citing sources is due to maintaining academic integrity and avoiding academic misconduct and plagiarism. While including citations is an ethical requirement, it is also key to stronger arguments, better research and better work over all.

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