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.
The first step I took towards the completion of my research position paper was forming my hypothesis. Immediately, I was met with rebuttal from one of my classmates, and I quickly realized how difficult it would be to discover evidence that would support my hypothesis. At the time, I wanted to research how MLB should allow the use of PEDs, and that attendance and tv ratings would go up if the league allowed players to use them. My classmate’s points were valid, but I was stubborn and passionate about pursuing my initial hypothesis. Then, I sat down with my professor in a conference, and he reminded me that the goal of a hypothesis was to draw conclusions (not trying to prove a hypothesis because it could be “proved” true or false). He recommended that I alter my hypothesis to something that still had to deal with improving attendance and tv ratings, but it had to be researchable. Upon exploring databases, researching what variables affect competitive balance in sports, and using my background knowledge, I developed the perfect hypothesis: MLB Needs to Adopt the Hard Cap in Order to Increase Fan Attendance and TV Ratings.
In addition, I demonstrated Core Value 1 when rewriting my definition essay. I learned the importance of social interaction when my professor gave me feedback. I often make the mistake of assuming my audience knows the concepts of sports that are often quite complex, but gaining someone else’s perspective was incredibly valuable to the development of my definition argument. For example, my professor helped me realize I needed to do a better job defining several concepts within my paper. In the first draft of my definition essay, I defined the MLB luxury tax, and then I described the penalties for the hard cap system. My professor revealed that I did not effectively provide readers with a way to compare the penalties of each cap system. In definition rewrite, I dedicated two paragraphs to defining the luxury tax and laying out the penalties so that my audience could see the obvious differences between the hard cap and luxury tax. Next, my professor enlightened me about how to approach a definition argument. I learned the importance of achieving ones’ goal when writing because much of my definition argument turned out to be more fitting for use in my causal argument. Using his advice, I revised my definition essay into an essay that was much more clear, concise, and on topic. In the new version, I used analogies, a hypothetical situation, and more statistics to further define the terms of my argument.
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.
As I prepared to write my rebuttal argument, I analyzed many different sources. I quickly realized that taking different perspectives into consideration was crucial. To form the strongest and most persuading rebuttal, I needed to first identify and fully comprehend the best counterarguments to my hypothesis. In taking different perspectives, I gained respect for different communities’ thoughts and opinions regarding my general topic. I also learned an immense amount about my rivaling perspective(s). Since I conducted an abundance of research and gained so much knowledge, I was able to combine my knowledge about my position, as well as others’ positions, to create a stronger rebuttal argument.
In addition, my white paper was essential to the production of all three of my essays (which were combined into one final research paper) because it enabled me to synthesize and organize thoughts. Although it was later converted to an annotated bibliography, my white paper was the foundation for all three of my essays. My white paper allowed me to gather and organize my thoughts and ideas about each source so that I could effectively use them when I began writing the essay. As I reviewed my white paper, I analyzed each source and questioned who wrote it what the author’s intentions were, why their evidence was important to my argument, and how I could use it to further support my argument. In doing so, it aided me in my understanding of each author’s viewpoints as well as how/why the author presented their information the way they did.
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 rebuttal argument, I addressed my target audience several times. My primary audience was MLB fans that do not think hard caps are more effective than the luxury tax. In fact, my professor advised me to give my “sides” names. In order to generalize a large range of fans, I called fans that dislike the hard cap “Luxury Tax Fans.” In my essay I stated, “For example, the New England Patriot’s dominance over the past decade is a reasonable reason for “Luxury Tax Fans” to assume that the hard cap fails to effectively create competitive balance. The Patriots have made the playoffs in eleven consecutive seasons (dating back to the 2009-2010 season), earned a ticket to the Super Bowl in five of those seasons, and won it all three times.” Not only do I respect the other side of the argument, thus generating a positive relationship with my counterpart, but I also relate to those who are fans of both the NFL and MLB. By developing a relationship with my audience, I improve the odds of my readers accepting and truly giving my thesis a fair chance. I learned that it is invaluable to maintain focus on the audience within one’s essay because it engages the readers. Plus, outside of writing the essay it is very useful to always understand the audience so that one can develop ideas, gather information, and prepare methods of communication that appeal to specific audiences.
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.
In my causal argument, I located one of my sources from the academic database, Google Scholar. Google Scholar’s incredibly large range of resources supplied me with more than enough evidence for reference. My professor advised that I cyclically search my sources and observe the resources that each article used. I did so until I could identify the original source of the information. The combination of the academic source along with two non-academic sources created a “storyline” situation that aided me in persuading my audience. I began by citing a source that explained how the Yankees and Dodger dominated MLB because they paid the luxury tax many years in a row. Then, I presented the reader with a revealing statistic, derived through research from the academic source, to reveal that large market advantage is least in the NFL and most in the MLB (by double!). In tandem, the sources make it apparent to the reader that large market teams have a significant advantage in MLB. Lastly, the third source indicates a significant drop in attendance for MLB games since 2015, an issue that the NFL has never had. The three sources I decided to include in my essay effectively persuade the reader into believing my thesis that the hard cap would improve attendance and tv ratings, as well as create parity between big and small market teams in Major League Baseball.
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.
Throughout my research paper there are citations, block quotes, and references to qualified authors. Not only should I reference my sources because it is academically honest, but it is imperative to show respect to those who shaped my essay. Acknowledging my sources and providing the reader with them also enables the reader to review them to gain a better understanding of the subject matter. In addition, it reveals the effort I put into researching, supporting the legitimacy/credibility of my work. The reader is given the ability to go directly to the source and review it themselves, which promotes both the article that I used as well as interest in my own article. When I cited all my references in my annotated bibliography, I intended to give any interested readers the opportunity to track my sources in an organized and simple format. But because my references were in alphabetical order and were the sources that I used in my causal argument (for example), my references page provided everything a reader could possibly want/need in an organized format! In conclusion, crediting sources is arguably the most overlooked, yet most important, aspect of writing. It should not be neglected, and authors should make their citations/references evident as well as easy to access, just as I did in my research position paper.