Student Work

Project 3: Responding to sources

Metcalf – ENG 1010 – Winter 2014

Overview:  This goal of this assignment is to learn and utilize key strategies/concepts that “expert” writers use to enter into a greater “conversation.” Writers (like all of us) respond to what has already been said – writers do not create out of nothing.  Similar to any oral conversation, writers listen to what others are saying (or writing), think about it and then respond to it with their own ideas.

This assignment is asking you to take on that role. You will be reading (again) the text you chose to summarize, listening to what the author(s) is/are saying, and then developing your own view on the issues being discussed. Your papers will not only need to be original, contributing something that has not already been said, but they will also need to speak to the author(s) who have already joined the conversation. In other words, you will need to connect your own ideas to what others have said, showing how you are adding to the conversation and not merely speaking into the air.

This is the conversation cycle: listen to what others are saying about an issue (read), develop your own position on the issues (annotate, elaborate, synthesize), directly connect your position to the conversation taking place (talk about the ideas that the authors put forth), and use parts of what others have said to support your unique contribution (integrate quotes into your own original ideas).  This is a complex intellectual task – but this is also an exciting opportunity to develop your own ideas and write meaningful papers on real issues. Joining real conversations on important issues is the core of your university education.

Task: You have already read your article of choice multiple times. I want you to engage with these ideas in whatever way most meets your needs right now as a writer (see the textbook again for the various ways to respond to a text). That said, you should absolutely do three things:

1) You should generate your own “take” on what we’ve read – your essay should not merely repeat the same ideas from the texts – this is *NOT* a summary! You *should* add to the authors’ ideas by including your own thoughts, prior knowledge, experiences, analysis, etc.

2) You need to reference the author(s). In other words, a good response that builds your credibility as a writer will include some in-text citations of the author’s ideas to which you are responding.

3) Try to present your idea in such a way that your reader is invited to think about this issue. Offer insights that might lead someone to ask questions or consider his/her own situation.


Sample Student Response 1

Sample Student Response 2


Observational Analysis

Project 4: Observational Analysis
Metcalf – ENG 1010 – Fall 14

Overview:  This goal of this assignment is to learn and utilize the skills of analysis. Analytical thinking and writing are at the core of higher education and this assignment (pre-writing assignments as well as the final paper) will introduce this concept to you through various readings, reflections, and discussions. In the final paper assignment, you will be asked to use the analytical skills you’ve developed to analyze a site of your choice.

How does analysis differ from response? As you recall from our previous assignment, responding to something (a text) requires that you introduce your own opinion/perspective to an existing idea/set of ideas. In other words, for a response you were asked to “integrate ideas and information from sources with your own ideas” (Course syllabus).

In an analysis, however, you will be asked to provide an objective assessment of the subject/site. Where response includes personal opinion and background knowledge, analysis involves a close reading/viewing of a subject/site to determine two things: what function the subject/site serves and how it performs this function. Personal opinions, agreements, and/or disagreements are NOT part of an analysis.

Pre-writing goals and tasks: Throughout the coming weeks, we will familiarize ourselves with the function of analysis and how it is done. We will view different examples of observational analysis and practice this analysis ourselves. We will consider several questions including but not limited to:

1) What is the difference between subjective and objective and why does it matter?
2) What is field observation and how is it done?
3) How do we categorize information, determine themes, and analyze those themes?

We will practice analysis in the following ways:

1) Practicing analysis by observation/data-collection.

2) Learning how to write and analyze field notes.

3) How to produce a written analysis based on observation notes.

Final paper assignment:

For the final paper, you will be asked to write an analysis of the site of your choosing utilizing the field note data you collect. You project will include a thesis that details your objective observational analysis, informing the reader of what was observed (what) and the reasons why/how you came up with that conclusion using your data (why/how).

Format: 1,500 – 2,000 words / MLA format



[Sample student analysis 1] [Sample student analysis 2]