Critical Thinking & College Writing

Introduction

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Critical thinking & college writing

ENGL 101

HASKELL UNIVERSITY

FALL 2015

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Writing & Learning

  • Writing provides an opportunity to learn more about a topic
  • Researching a topic allows you to survey the opinions a variety of people before you make a final decision about where you stand
  • Writing an argument helps you understand the nature of evidence; some evidence is more compelling than other information
  • In order to be persuasive, you must understand the needs and values of your audience. What will it take to convince them to see your position?

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Skills acquired through writing

  • Organization—introduce your topic; order your evidence; and finish with a strong conclusion
  • Time management—identify multiple sources, select relevant sources, read about your topic until you understand it thoroughly, and then create multiple drafts until you achieve a compelling final essay
  • Clarity of argument & written communication—write in order for people to understand your position and be moved by your argument
  • Consistency of thought—learn to avoid contradictions in your thought
  • Importance of logic—learn to use sound reasoning when discussing important issues
  • Importance of tone—use a tone that will convince readers of your reasonableness
  • Conventions & style of an academic audience—learn what scholars expect of each other

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Writing skills enhanced

  • Reading texts (sources) closely
  • Summarizing key elements of an article or book
  • Quoting & citing sources accurately
  • Using other writers and thinkers ideas in your argument to make your essay even more compelling

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Your College Essay: why it matters

  • When you complete your essay, you will have produced a valuable document. Your reader will learn something about an important topic. You will have thoroughly researched your topic and included a valuable survey of the current status of an important issue.
  • Your essay will reflect what other writers and thinkers have written or said about the issue. You will use your research to arrive at a thoughtful opinion; then you will try to convince your reader to consider your position. If you have done your job well, the reader will also have learned more and will now have more worthwhile information on which to base his/her opinion. That is what it means to be a college writer.
  • Upon completion of college, these same skills acquired through writing will help you succeed in the workplace. You may be called upon to research, communicate, or persuade others to consider the position your organization has taken on an important issue. Success will depend on your ability to this well.